Posts Tagged ‘suicide’

Many times we read an obituary and we wonder about the cause of death. Sometimes the family will request donations to a particular organization. In lieu of flowers. That helps one suss out the cause of death. Well, not always. My father did not die because of food even though we requested donations to the Rhode Island Food Bank. Laugh out loud.

Other times it is just spelled right out for you. There was a recent obituary here in New England. There was absolutely no guessing about why this young fifteen year old died.

His family wrote an obituary that was just heart breaking.

Connor Francis Tronerud, 15, took his own life on Monday, December 4th, after struggling with bullying from peers. 

That was the beginning of an obituary for a child who was loved. This was an obituary that never should have been written. Never.

At home, Connor could most commonly be found “chillaxing” in his room with his iPad, Nintendo, and peanut butter cookies. He enjoyed going on hikes with his father; he looked to his mother for support as a confidant. He didn’t hesitate to ask his brother to borrow his credit card for online shopping. 

There is more, of course. Hard to sum up a person’s life in an obituary. So most folks usually stick to the facts rather than descriptions of personality and accomplishments.

He was an altar boy, had the highest GPA ever earned at his school and was a member of the National Junior Honor Society.

See Connor’s full obituary here.

This obituary captured the essence of Connor. For us. His family was sharing him with us. So we know that he was loved. That he was smart. That he was involved.

That this could happen to anyone. That bullying is real.

It’s not new. Behaviors are never really new. Ask a psychiatrist or a priest and they will tell you that they’ve heard it all. Nothing about human behavior is new.

But social media has opened the floodgates. And made it worse. Because there is no safe place. In order to recover or get assistance.

I read one comment from a man named Matt on the family’s fundraising page.

This saddens and frustrates me. I really don’t get the benefit of social media for teenagers. Most adults can’t even handle it responsibly. Kids like this, who probably already get picked on all day long during school hours, get sucked in to getting slammed on social media instead of discovering who and what in life motivates and fulfills them. No sure what the answer is.

I’m with that guy. I do not know the answer. But Connor’s family is raising money to fund bullying prevention. I sincerely hope that their efforts will assist young people and prevent another death. Maybe find an answer.

I honestly cannot imagine the family’s pain. Cannot. A nightmare of the worst kind.

This is their intro on the fund raising page.

Connor was a dynamic, witty, unforgettable young man. He was also an intensely private person. As he transitioned into adolescence, he struggled with peers invading that privacy in order to provoke a response . He had many spaces in which he felt safe and nurtured; others – including social media – proved overwhelming and harmful.   

No child should suffer marginalization; at the same time, the complexities of a “connected” world and its pathways to poor decisions can be difficult for adults and teens to navigate. As a result, the Tronerud family is committed to directing memorial resources towards funding for bullying prevention and self-harm awareness education in their area. The more we can equip peers, coaches, teachers, mentors, and friends to bolster those who are isolated, the more lives can be saved, and the sooner healing can begin. 

Thank you for offering your support to this worthy cause.

I wish you and your families a safe and secure place. Always continue to encourage kindness, compassion and caring in our children.





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Never Know

Suicides are a result of a depressive state. We tend to think that it means months or years of a depressive state.

What we don’t always factor in is that sometimes it is a situational feeling of depression.

I have written about situational feelings in previous blog postings.

When I was a teen, I remember the boy who was “outed” at school and went home to slit his wrists and blow his brains out with a gun.

I remember the young fellow, who after a night of partying, hit another car and went home and killed himself.

And sadly, a few other cases.

It’s the feeling of being ashamed. We have all been ashamed. Or mortified. We don’t always kill ourselves. But it could be waiting in the wings.

It could be anything that triggers it.

Most recently, a former neighbor of mine, and former husband of a dear friend, took his own life. In the prime of his life. Good job. Kids are great. Girlfriend. Golfing. Motorcycling. Horseback riding.

But sometimes things get tough. It could be a DUI. Or any number of things. It gets folks thinking that life will never be the same.

I say this. Not that anyone will listen.

Take a deep breath. Get with those that have your best interests at heart.

Those things that seem life changing might actually be life changing but not always in a bad way. Face it with the support of others.

You are still needed by many. And there really is a way to figure it all out as long as you reach out to others.

I’ve said this before, “Life is very short.”

We don’t need to make it any shorter. If it’s in our power. Reach out.

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Too Soon

Rory called me from college last night. I could hear that she was upset and crying. A terrible thing to hear over the phone. You just don’t know what to expect.

She told me that a student had committed suicide by jumping from the sixth floor window of the dormitory next door.

Lord, have mercy.

I can’t imagine the desperation the poor boy was feeling that led him to die in such a painful, horrific manner. I cannot imagine the shock and trauma of those students who were the final witnesses. Nor can I imagine everything else that follows such a tragedy. I cannot begin to imagine the pain of his family.

It’s Finals Week at the school and there’s a lot of pressure. Rory said she wondered if that had anything to do with it.

I told her that I hoped not. A final exam is just a grade. And not indicative of who you are or of any future success. You just do your best.

That’s what I always tell my kids. Not to soften them up and make them any less competitive. But to make them realize you can only do your best. And your best is good enough. Always.

I really hope that it wasn’t pressure from his studies. But if that wasn’t the reason then it was something else that caused the young man to take his own life. For some reason he felt like he couldn’t go on living. And that breaks my heart into little pieces. As a parent and as a person.

I believe that there is no good reason for people to leave this earth before their time. But I also know that people struggle with deep depression and life seems insurmountable. They can’t see all the wonderful things.

There is always help out there. Even in the darkest hours. Some folks rely on their faith to get them through the tough times. Others lean on their fellow human beings.

But the important thing to remember is that there are many folks out there that want to help. There is help. It could be medicine. It could be friendship. It could be support. No one has to be alone in their despair.

No one should leave before their time. When it happens survivors are permanently wrecked and bereft. Mourning the loss of the future. The contributions, talents, friendship, love, and companionship that no longer exist.

If life seems insurmountable and wonderful things are nowhere to be seen then it’s time to reach out for assistance. And if reaching out is too difficult then just grab the hand that is extended. And keep grabbing. And then grab some more.


In memory of my Auntie Maureen who died soon after her twenty fifth birthday. She was a nurse, intelligent, loving, had a gift for languages and a wonderful sense of humor. 

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