MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A tragic obituary went viral after a 14-year-old boy took his life this past spring.
Now, a Stillwater family believes it’s time to fight back against the stigma and talk more about teen suicide, before it’s too late.
Colin Morrissey should be starting 10th grade this fall. But, in a moment of frustration he ended his life in April.
“In that moment of being alone he made a decision that he can’t take back,” Colin’s dad, Larry Morrissey said.
His mom, Tamara, reads the notes many kids left on his locker.
“Colin we’ll miss you. You and your jokes will always be in our hearts,” she reads. “We will miss everything about you.”
They are the pages of a scrapbook no parent should ever have to see.
“Some will say, ‘Oh, good will come of this.’ And good may, but not nearly as much good as we would have gotten if Colin had lived his life,” Tamara said.
Colin was known for the sense of humor as colorful as the bracelets he proudly wore, for his quiet kindness and for the void he filled as the baby of this family of five.
“We actually had Colin’s name picked out even before we got married,” Tamara said.
By all outward accounts, Colin was a typical young teenager; a good student, who loved Boy Scouts, and who lettered in weight lifting as a freshman.
That didn’t mean growing up didn’t have its challenges.
The difference in Colin’s school picture in just one years’ time show that he grew six inches in less than two years, put on weight and his voice was changing.
Colin took medication to treat ADHD. But, he’d been on the same dose for years.
More than anything, his parents believe academic pressure somehow sent their son into a spiral that April night.
“That’s the kind of the mystifying part of it, that he seemed to be fine,” Larry said.
After their usual family dinner they left for a band concert. Colin had asked to stay home to finish a paper.
“We were happy. He wants to do his homework, let’s take advantage of that,” Larry said.
The Morrisseys were home two hours later, only to find Colin dead by his own hand.
Police don’t think Colin had even researched suicide. A hastily written note and a search of his cell phone yielded no real answers.
“The sense was that it was a very abrupt decision,” Larry said.
Investigators believe Colin’s decision took less than 15 minutes to make.
“There’s an impulsiveness to this that’s really frightening. Because if it takes only 15 minutes out of a kid’s life for their life to end than every kid is at risk. Every kid,” Tamara said.
It’s why Tamara and Larry, a pediatrician with extensive knowledge of children’s health, made the choice to be open.
Their son’s obituary went viral, touching families around the world.
“Colin took his life in a bad moment in time on April 11, 2017,” Tamara said.
Colin’s own family now asks us all to focus less on our differences. Especially, during the years kids’ think their parents could never possibly understand.
“I wish Colin at 14 could have met Larry at 14 because we were very much the same,” Larry said.
The Stillwater School District has also decided not to stay silent, partnering with mental health professionals, doctors and parents to develop a better plan.
The Morrisseys are convinced part of it needs to focus on what happens after suicide. Colin’s sister, for example, more than anything wanted to share her anger.
“It really affects a lot of people in a lot of terrible ways,” Sarah Morrissey said. “Creating more pain because of your pain shouldn’t be seen as an option at all.”
Sadly, Colin wasn’t able to grasp the love so many had for him in that moment. Forever devastating a family, now pleading with anyone in dark times to speak up.
“If you need help, ask for it. Someone will help you. If you’re doing good look around because there’s probably someone who needs help and you can give it,” Larry said.
WCCO found Colin’s thoughts are all too common, a recent survey found nearly a quarter of all 9th graders in Minnesota public schools have said they’ve thought about suicide.
If you know someone going through tough times, help is only a phone call away. 1-800-273-8255 or visit Suicide Prevention Lifeline online.