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Read This to Your Children

Published: 2/24/2012

Spencer Seupel (Poughkeepsie Journal)When 22-year-old Spencer Seupel took his own life last Friday, his mother did an extraordinary thing. In the face of unimaginable grief, she sat down and wrote an obituary for her son – one of the most beautiful obituaries we at Legacy.com have ever seen.

She told us about the goodness of her son's soul: What Spencer really wanted, more than anything else, was closeness. He wanted to be a doctor so he could help others; he was an EMT.

She told us about his inward struggle with how to be a man: When Spencer was in sixth grade, he told me he thought he should see a doctor because at times, "water" came out of his eyes. Of course, he was not crying; that was not manly.

She told us about his descent into alcohol abuse: That night, Spencer got very, very drunk. Binge drinking at college has been a regular thing since freshman year. Why didn't he get the proper help?

And she frankly, heartbreakingly, told us of his suicide: It was stupid and impulsive and he would not have done this thing if he had not been drunk. Spencer had plans and goals and family that loved him. He knew this. We talked about it -Spencer said he would never do such a thing. But he did. Because of alcohol. The drunken impulse in a moment of despair that can never be taken back.

It's never an easy task, writing an obituary for a loved one. Even the best writers can balk when asked to memorialize someone whose loss is still so fresh and painful. But this mother did more than write an obituary – she created a moving testament to some of the greatest dangers of our society. We hope those who read it will help the Seupel family with their mission of raising awareness of suicide.

One way readers can help is by donating to Ben Speaks, the suicide prevention organization to which the family has requested memorial contributions in Spencer's memory. Another way is to sign Spencer's Guest Book and offer their condolences. And finally, maybe most importantly, they can share Spencer's story – with their children, their friends, anyone who matters to them – and ensure that he won't be forgotten.

Written by Linnea Crowther

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