Reporters rarely write obituaries for everyday people who commit suicide. It’s usually too difficult to get the person’s relatives to speculate on why their loved one would end his/her own life and the warning signals they may have noticed.***
The family of the late Brian Arredondo, who died at his own hand at age 24 on Dec. 19, opened up to Boston Globe reporter Bryan Marquard. Apparently, both the reporter and the family hoped to prevent other troubled individuals from committing that irreversible act.
Marquard’s poignant article starts with Brian Arredondo at age 17 in 2004, when two Marines arrived at the Maine home of his mother, Victoria Foley, to deliver the news that her oldest son, Alex, a Marine lance corporal, had been killed in Iraq.
A short time later, Alex’s father Carlos in Florida took gasoline, a propane tank, and a lighting device into a Marine Corps van outside his house. The van began to burn, and though Carlos said later it was an accident, not a suicide attempt, the flames seared about a quarter of his body.
Arredondo’s mother, father and stepmother would subsequently seek treatment for depression. They urged their son to do likewise, but he refused. He had episodes with substance abuse, was in trouble with the law and had other problems.
“I didn’t give up, you know? I knew he was depressed, I knew he was having a hard time coping, but I couldn’t reach him,’’ his mother said. “And maybe it’s harder for boys. We’ve got to let these boys know that it’s OK to be emotional and to share it.’’
Marquard urged his Facebook friends to read Arredondo’s story. Read it because Brian Arredondo should have had more of an emotional chance than he did, Marquard wrote. Read it because on any given day of despair, he is us and we are him.
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Click here for suicide loss and prevention information from Legacy.com partners the American Association of Suicidology and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer. She is the director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers.