Spencer Watson Seupel
1990 - 2012
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Spencer Watson Seupel

High Falls - The Details:

My beautiful son, Spencer Watson Seupel, of High Falls, New York, took his own life in his fraternity room at Penn State, State College, PA early in the morning of Friday, February 17, 2012. He was 21 years old. Spencer is survived by his brother, Taylor, his mother Celia, his father Herbert, and his grandmother, Genie Watson. Spencer's funeral will be held at Copeland Funeral Home, Inc., 162 South Putt Corners Road, New Paltz, NY 12561 Thursday, February 23, 2012. Friends and relatives may visit at the funeral home from 2-4pm; a Celebration of Life Service will begin there at 4pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Spencer's name to www.benspeaks.org, an organization founded by my in-laws to help prevent teen suicide.

The Story:

Spencer loved to be always moving. As a baby, he could be held close only in sleep. As soon as he could stand, he was jumping. As soon as he could walk, he was running.

Once, when we were in New York City's Central Park, we came upon a ring of people listening to the haunting Peruvian flutes. Spencer, who was two, ran into the empty space and began to dance. He turned round and round, he jumped, he rolled on the ground and came up waving his arms. Spencer loved to dance and later even studied dance in New Paltz.

But he gave up dance for baseball, the more manly sport. Later it was lacrosse and football. Spencer, like all boys in our society, began looking for ways to be a man - as if being himself were not enough. I remember the rage and frustration he felt in Little League when he struck out; the unbearable self-hated. My unending gratitude to Frank Coddington, a coach who saw something special in Spencer and helped Spencer develop what he could be good at - his speed. Spencer was always fast.

It seems early on Spencer felt he was not good enough. I don't know why, but I do know it is something many young people feel today. How much teen and youth suicide do we have to endure? In 2007, suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24. There is despair among the young of our society that springs from a misapprehension of what it means to be human.

Every human needs to feel special, to feel that he or she belongs as a valued member, to feel appreciated and honored by others. But so many of us don't. In our huge anonymous schools and conformist youth culture, in our adult world of fame and wealth, social climbing and cool, competition and winning seem to be the only means of finding what we need. We have lost our way.

Love and tolerance is the way - the antithesis of teenage culture. As adults, we preach love and tolerance at school, then fail to lead by example. In business, in sports, in entertainment, in personal relationships and in the media … how often do adults place people before profit, a helping hand before blame, caring ahead of winning, others ahead of self?

Spencer's true nature was one of extreme sensitivity. He was easily and deeply wounded; he cried when others were cruel. 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.

But Spencer was very smart, resourceful, ambitious and determined. As he grew, he built a new and tougher personality: a personality of cool, of fun, of hard work and goals. He built stubborn walls to protect that fragile self. He constructed a defensive, brittle confidence. He made friends; he gave parties; he got drunk; he achieved Eagle Scout; he drove fast.

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. How ironic; how typical: His own walls and drive to be the best kept him apart from the closeness he craved. Ever determined, he worked hard on understanding what he was doing wrong, how he could be a better person, a better friend. And I think he was really beginning to get it.

Drinking sabotaged all that: seductive, deadly alcohol. The drug that brings down the walls and helps us feel close - as long as we're drunk. The drug that circles back and rakes out your heart.

The afternoon before Spencer died, he called me between classes. He was thrilled and excited about a lecture he'd just heard about nanotechnology and medicine. "This is the future," he said. "This is what's going to pull our country out of recession." Spencer had just won an internship for the summer. He was planning on applying to a med school that emphasized the special relationship between doctor and patient. He was excited about his future.

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?

Thursday night was one of those binge nights at the frat. He had a fight with his best friend. He said he was going to kill himself. He locked his door and did it. He did not leave a note. He did not look for help. Alcohol brought down those prefabricated walls, and all that was left was thoughtless pain.

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.

Kids drink this way because they need to escape their own false personalities. They strive to be the best, to be cool, to be popular and successful. Underneath, it's all about the same old human needs: to feel valued, to feel important and special, to belong, to be loved.

Lectures and platitudes to the young will never change their society. We must all be the agents of change. Our society, as it gets bigger and more global, must evolve just as our species has evolved. Each of us, at work in the office, at home, in the post office, at the grocery store and in the government, must honor and value each person we encounter. How would your day be if, instead of trying to be right, you were trying to help?

In the media, we must pay homage to the ordinary hero: not the superstar, but the man who goes to work and loves his kids, the person of integrity who has the courage of his convictions. The culture of children in huge schools should not be left to run amok with misguided values, churning out young men and women who believe that social status is the measure of their worth. It is more than destructive; it is brutal, a de-evolution of humanity.

Now Spencer, finally, is at rest, and I hold him close within me. Please hold him close, as I do, in your mind and your spirit. Remember the meaning of this tragedy. If a young man or woman says maybe I'll kill myself, tell someone. Don't leave him alone. If a young man or woman drinks too much, say something. It's not a game; it's a symptom. And let us find and encourage within ourselves, within our society, those gifts that make each of us special: not star power, not intellectual prowess, but the ineffable mystery and extraordinary beauty of the simple human heart.


To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Poughkeepsie Journal on Feb. 21, 2012.
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725 entries
February 14, 2021
I just read this beutiful entry. I was Spencers dance teacher. I was very sorry to see spencer go, he was extremely talented. I know somewhere I have a video of the show he was in, I would like to connect with Spencers Mom and see if she remember the year he danced with us or the music he danced to .. I can be reached though susanslotnick.com
Susan Slotnick
Teacher
February 13, 2021
I think of Spencer often. Always smiling, engaging, thoughtful young man. A protector of friends and family, a sensitive thinker, Spencer continues to be with us who knew him and he is missed•
Charles Murray
Teacher
July 20, 2020
I always loved seeing Spenser dance.
Susan Slotnick
Teacher
July 19, 2020
As the days and weeks pass, the sadness may never truly go away, but the beautiful memories of Spencer will eventually overshadow the ache in your heart and you will learn to smile for all the joyous times you spent with him. He was a beautiful little boy, and I can only imagine the sensitive, bright and beautiful man he was to come.
BARBARA Lee FITZSENRY
Friend
February 13, 2019
Thinking of you all and remembering Spencer .. youre all in my prayers.
Dorothy Mayone
Dorothy Mayone
Friend
July 13, 2018
A photo I took at a Civil War cemetery in Athens, GA. Life and Death.
I found your obituary through an article on exceptional obituaries. And it is that. Your words are meaningful and profound and should be required reading for every soul. This obituary should be printed and hung on every door that exists, particularly doors through which youth travel. My heart breaks for you. Thank you for the gift of this obituary, as well as for the gift of Spencer. Laura Hartley
Laura Hartley
January 16, 2017
I remember him dancing... wishing you all the best for the new year
susan slotnick
January 15, 2017
Thank you for sharing your Spencer with us through your beautiful words. Praying you and your family know peace.
Dana G.
August 11, 2015
Very poignant. Blessings.
steven
July 12, 2015
Dear Cecilia, thank you for your raw honesty and expression. My son has an LD that often frustrates him and has at times pitted him in the throws of depression. I pray for him and all young people that they find healthy outlets and that they will find friends who nurture their vulnerabilities rather than exacerbate them. I commend you on your openness to share during what have to had been a difficult time.
Jil Ross
April 27, 2015
I am very sorry for your loss. I feel that you just wrote my sons story.
Sonya Stanley
March 26, 2015
Hi Celia,

When I saw you recently, you seemed sad and I certainly understand....Just
know my heart is with you and so are many, many others. Spencer will always be in our hearts....You are such a powerful person and I consider it a honor to know you.....Stay strong....

With Love,
Fonda
Fonda Rothblatt
March 26, 2015
Mrs. Seupel ~

It amazing the many lives you have touched. Just wanted to let you know you and Taylor are in my thoughts!
"Miss" Ellen Michaelis
March 25, 2015
Cecilia, I don't know you but I feel that I do because of your sentiments regarding not only your son but the millions of young people in this world that are trying to fit in. I agree with every word that you have written. I hope that I encourage everyone that I come in contact with. I pray for the peace but I love what Spencer stood for and I hated that he did not know how valuable he was. His poor best friend. I hope he will heal through his pain. I hope you will become a speaker to advocate for the Spencer's of this world. We need people with words like yours to help our young adults seek purpose and to know how valuable they are to our living. They have a song out now that when I hear it I cringe. It is entitled, "I Wish that I could be like the cool kids." It goes on to say that because they seem to fit in." How daunting. We all fit in on our own unique way with our own unique gifts. My prayers to you and your family. Love Toni
Toni Christmas
November 18, 2014
I read this because my mum just died, and I am trying to write her obituary. This was what came up when I googled great obituaries, but I wanted you to know that I read it through again and again because of the honesty and beauty of your story, and my own experience with a highly sensitive child/teen/adult who I wonder if she can survive with such a tender heart in the hard world. Thank you for writing your son's story, for putting it out into the world for us to recognize. What a mother. What a son.
Pauline Nelson
October 28, 2014
What a beautiful writing for your son.
For all of us that read it. I am so sorry for your loss.
Peace be with you.
Cheryl-Ann Young
September 2, 2014
Dear Celia,
We are so blessed and fortunate to have you sharing Spencer's obituary with us. It is beautiful and captures so incredibly well the essence of human relationships, why we exist and what we seek and so much of what we can do better. My daughter will head to college next fall and I will ask her to read Spencer's story... may it some day help her to help someone else.
Nicky
August 1, 2014
Mrs. Seupel,

Each day is a blessing from God. Even though you have suffered heartbreaking losses, your wisdom and honesty are truly both courageous and enlightening.

It is my prayer that your son's troubling story will somehow reach out to others and deter them from taking their own lives. Each life is so precious and sacred. I know, just from reading your powerful words, that Spencer filled your heart with joy and love In his young life.

May God continue to be with you as you cope with the losses you have endured. I pray that the memories of happier and more promising times bring comfort and healing to your spirit.

Thank you for sharing such a heartbreaking story of unconditional love and the feverent hope for successfully reaching out to those who need to find strength and hope in their struggles. You are truly a remarkable woman with a mother's courageous and enduring heart.
Jenny S.
July 31, 2014
Katlin Hubert
March 13, 2014
Just in case you need to associate a face to the name.
Celia: There are no words that can express the utmost devastation I felt upon reading not only Spencer's Obit tonight, but HD's. A few years ago I tried to reach out to you and Herb in High Falls and had actually tried to book a weekend thru some site, unfortunately never receiving a response. And then life went on. For some reason this past week I was thinking about all the many important people in my life and, of course, HD came to mind, so tonight I tried again to see if you or HD had a FB account or some other way to connect and found the obits. OMG, my heart goes out to you and Taylor. I am writing this through a vale of tears and so at a loss for words. Their legacies showcased in your brilliant writing touched me profoundly and will forever be ingrained on my heart. I am far away living in Thailand near one of my sons, but if you would ever like to reach out to me, please do so b.fitzsenry@gmail.com or on Facebook under barbara.fitzsenry.9 I so hope you receive this and know you will understand what I am feeling and how sincerely I needed to let you know if I can ever help you and Taylor in any way, I would never hesitate.
August 4, 2013
thank you for your honesty.
Tanya Hart-Garman
May 11, 2013
Dear Ms. Seupel,
I just finished reading your essay published in the NY Times dated 4/10/12. My deepest and heartfelt condolences to you and family on the loss of a cherished son, grandson and brother. I read the beautiful web site that you created in his memory. I am so sorry for your loss; I am at a loss for words. Those whose lives were touched by Spencer were truly blessed to have known him.
Marilyn
April 12, 2013
Dear Ms. Seupel, A post on Onward State published on 4/12/13 brought me to this page. I am incredibly moved by your posting, and wanted to thank you for sharing Spencer's story. I am so , so sorry you lost your son. You are a remarkably strong mother and woman for writing this and sharing Spencer's story with friends, classmates and the online community. I am thinking and praying for your family, as I know that while time may ease the pain, it will never erase it. I hope peace and love are with you and your family today.
Nicole
January 24, 2013
Dear Celia,

Thank you for calling attention to suicide in the USA. My father took his own life over 8 years ago, when I was a freshman in college. My method of dealing has been to just thrust this event from my mind. Recently, I have come to accept that I will never be healthy if I don't turn around and deal with some of this stuff.

My father was a joyful person, and full of love. How his delight in life turned into such a deep depression frightens me very much, especially since these 8 years have brought me no answers.

I do agree that American culture is becoming diluted with sensationalism that amounts to very little of spiritual value. I am reluctant to impose on people who don't see anything wrong with a shallow way of being, but I think I am prepared to work with people who feel similarly. And I hope to work towards being able to open up to others such that I may help them the way you have helped me.

I want to thank you for being so brave and volunteering your experience, and opening up a very personal chapter in your life to help others continue the dialogue around this sensitive phenomenon that afflicts people when they least expect it.

Because of your piece on Spencer, and the website you set up in his memory, I feel just a little bit less defensive in terms of protecting my father's dignity and the memory he left behind.

Thank you.
Melissa
January 24, 2013
Dear Ms. Seupel,

Your piece on your son and mother in the Times somehow appeared in my "recommended" reading today, more than nine months after you published it. This is more than a bit strange, because a beautiful friend of mine who was also a amazing work colleague took his own life a little over a month ago, quite suddenly and unexpectedly. He was 24. Finding your piece must have been some sort of serendipity, because I haven't been able to process his death yet. Perhaps in part because it was so unexpected. It just doesn't like he could be possibly gone. I haven't even managed to cry.

After reading your beautiful piece, which led me to your poignant, heartbreaking site in memory of him, I'm crying now. Thank you.
Robbie
December 9, 2012
I saw your article about losing your son and finding your mother to be a moving tribute to both of them. This led me to search for Spencer's obituary, which I have just read. You described him so well as well as reminding us that our role as adults is to lead and understand our young people, with the goal of supporting and helping them. Thank you for your words. I hope they help you process some of the pain of your very sad loss. Spencer's death is a loss to all of us.
Judy Sadler
December 7, 2012
I came across your blog and found this online obituary on Spencer. The obituary is beautiful, and Spencer sounds like an amazing person. This touched me deeply. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing the spirit of Spencer's love and compassion, and yours as well, through your profound words.
Alexandra
October 25, 2012
Mrs. Seupel,
I am the Jenny who just sent you a message on October 23. Looking it over now, I realize that my brain was moving much faster than my fingers.
Your son's suicide is indeed a heartbreaking and cautionary tale for all of us who are blessed to have children. It is a reminder that we must love our children unconditionally and help them to see and value their inner beauty, their uniqueness.
Your heart is broken, your life will never be the same. Yet, despite this profound grief, your words are powerful and poignant.
I pray that your words will reach out and help those who so desperately need it.
God bless you and your family.
Jenny
October 24, 2012
Mrs. Seupel,
I found Spencer's incredibly poignant and heartbreaking obituary online this evening. Mere words cannot adequately express the profound suffering you and your loved ones must feel about the death of your precious child.
I have children myself, and I fervently hope and pray that they will be able to appreciate and accept what makes them each so wonderfully special.
It is indeed a tragedy when we (as adults) fail to look at others mot with the eyes, but with the heart.
Your incredible honesty about who Spencer was and those devastating last all-too-sudden moments of his life are both startling and shocking.
I can only hope and pray that these final, beautiful words,written as a loving tribute to Spencer, and the comfort and lasting support of family and
friend, will bring you and those left behind.

God be with you and your family: now and in those very difficult days to come.
Jenny
October 21, 2012
I read your New York Times article again tonight, the second time I have stumbled upon it. It is an overwhelmingly heartbreaking, poignant description of dementia and loss. My heart aches for you and your family. I emailed the article for my 23-year-old daughter, in the hope that perhaps, someday, it may be of value to her,or someone she knows. The young so need to know that it gets better, that you can live through this.
Susan Henry
August 8, 2012
I was very touched by Spencer's story, and I am grateful to you for sharing it, and for reaching for something good in the midst of something so horrible.
Ana Austin
July 10, 2012
My son committed suicide several weeks ago, and somehow as I was searching the internet for help with this tragedy, Spencer's obituary came up. I want to extend my sincerest condolences to you and your family, my heart breaks for you. If you are able to contact me, please do so.
May 31, 2012
I've read & reread your obituary. If it achieves a fraction of its potential,then the tragedy will not have been in vain.
Meyer Cohen
May 17, 2012
My deepest condolences to you and your family. In 1968 I lost a friend the same way. In an alcohol daze he got furious and felt helpless and committed suicide.
Words are not enough. My heart goes out to you. Life is so unfair.
Thank you for sharing this tragic situation.

Lotta Asp Andersson
May 14, 2012
I find myself rereading your entry. Tonight, I reread becuase my son was trying to explain how frustrated he gets with others when they don't understand him. I appreciate your sincerity and generosity to share your heart with all of us.
Theresa Borger
April 18, 2012
I am so sorry for your unimaginable loss. Thank you for sharing and reminding us how valuable and priceless our children are.
Lisa Waddell
April 18, 2012
I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my son at 19 to suicide and I believe he got caught up with what alcohol did to him as well. Spencer sounds like he was a wonderful young man as I am sure he was. God Bless you and your family. If there is anything I can do please don't hesitate to connect with me. Please feel free to e-mail me at thejdfoundation@yahoo.com.
Cheryl Morin
April 18, 2012
I did not know your son but I feel your pain and understand what you are going through. On Feb 29 of this year my son was in a car accident and then shot himself. He graduated from Lock Haven University, he was bullied as a teen, and he was self medicating with alcohol. I too feel as though part of me died with Chris and my heart is broken. my deepest sympathy to you and your family. I hope you will find peace and strength.
Dawn Kann
April 17, 2012
Celia,
I am so sorry for your loss. Spencer was a lucky boy to have a mother like you. Your insightful and wise words, both in the New York Times article and the tribute to Spencer are so valuable to everyone, escpecially those of us navigating the same path with our sons. I will send this article to the Junior High in my town for the "drug education teacher". The risks of binge drinking should be talked about more frankly and frequently. Thank you for your writing. Have you thought about writng a blog? My heart is heavy, heavy, heavy for your family.
Martha Lovett
April 16, 2012
i remember his dancing so well and how sad i was to see him stop--- i would like to know what years he was with me so i could find some video of his dancing for you..
susan slotnick
April 15, 2012
thank you so much for the words you wrote about Spencer and his death. My darling Ali died on January 20th this year. I just sent this to our friends and family hoping it will also help them:

There is one thing in particular that Ali's close friends and I have been struggling to reconcile since her death.  Specifically, we all sincerely believe that her death was an accident.  But, to be blunt, how does someone accidentally hang themselves???   Still - we all know that Ali did NOT want to die.  Suicide was, and still is, completely inconsistent  with our experience of her.  She had plans for and was excited about the future.  She had just moved into a beautiful apartment with her childhood best friends.  She had just told Coral she was excited about eating some yummy leftovers for lunch the next day.  She was happy!  How could someone who lit up the room when she walked into it willingly extinguish that light?  

The attached article helped me get at least a partial answer to my question... ALCOHOL... "seductive, deadly alcohol. The drug that brings down the walls and helps us feel close – as long as we're drunk. The drug that circles back and rakes out your heart... The drunken impulse in a moment of despair that can never be taken back."  

That last sentence says it all for me.... THE DRUNKEN IMPULSE OF A MOMENT OF DESPAIR THAT CAN NEVER BE TAKEN BACK.  Of course, the end result is the same - she is gone.  I hope this is helpful to those who were close to Ali.  It does give me a bit of closure and helps me make at least a  little sense out of such a senseless loss.
barbara wakefield
April 15, 2012
My heart goes out to you and your family. I lost my son Scott to suicide in September 2011, who was a freshman at RPI. Reading about your son Spencer brought back so many memories. I am so sorry.
Sandra Fisher
April 14, 2012
God bless all of you. I teach freshman seminar at PSU, and I will be sure to share this article with them. Thank you!
Kate
April 13, 2012
Thank you. A dear friend, who lost her teenage son to suicide, shared this via FB. I teach and work with teens and am posting this to every one of them. Thanks to your bravery and desire to make a difference, Spencer IS helping others and his story, shared by you, is likely saving lives. Much love - Jessica, PA.
April 13, 2012
My daughter and her roommate were in the same honors organic chemistry class last semester with your son. They had nothing but nice things to say about Spencer.

We are all sadden by your loss and are all poorer for his passing.

Thank you for your strength and God bless you with His comfort and peace.
April 13, 2012
I just read "Blackberry". Spencer has given this stranger a great gift. Julia in Maine
April 13, 2012
Spencer sounds like a beautiful person. Unfortunately I have known 3 people this year who decided life was not worth living. The comparison is none to losing a son. But I wish there was something that could be done to help those who suffer with depression of all kinds. My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.
Kolleen
April 13, 2012
I did not know your son, Spencer. I heard about his story through a Facebook post made by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. After reading this, however, I feel as though I know him and feel the need to say that this is the most beautiful memorial I have ever read. I lost my boyfriend to suicide when we were 19... nearly 11 years ago. He was an alcoholic who also battled drug addiction. He always assured me he would never do such a thing. And I always feel like I could have done something more to help him. Just as I will never forget my loss, I will never forget your son, and the many other young people who have chosen to leave us too soon. My heart truly breaks for you, but I hope you can find some solace in knowing how many people his life and story have touched and that he will live forever in your hearts.
Jennifer
April 13, 2012
Bless you.
April 13, 2012
My son, too, has taken his life. He was an alcoholic and could no longer make rational decisions. Constantly I miss him and grieve his loss.
Judy Moore, State College, PA
April 13, 2012
As a mother and an aunt I have witnessed for myself the terrible cost of alcohol and drug abuse among our young people, especially our college students. My heart goes out to you and to Spencer. Your words will certainly help others awaken to the tragedy that is unfolding in our society, the senseless deaths of these beautiful young people. May you find peace and always feel the love and presence of your son.
Mary Bruce Serene
April 13, 2012
I too lost my son to suicide. Though he was older than yours, contributing causes were much the same: low self esteem, a (too) tender heart,
depression & alcohol. Arlene
April 12, 2012
I do not know you but was so touched by your heart-wrenching tribute to your son. I mourn with you.
Miriam C (MD)
Miriam C
April 12, 2012
I don't know you. This incredible tribute and sad commentary on our society is making it's way around Facebook. What you say is 100% true. I have three sons myself, the oldest of whom is 13. I worry about his inner self every day. I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss. As a mother I can only begin to imagine your pain. That you had the strength and fortitude to write something so incredibly powerful and true at such a time is an inspiration. Wishing you, and everyone who loved this incredible boy, peace--where ever you may find it, but particularly in the memories of this wonderful child.
Wendy Padilla
April 11, 2012
Tender thoughts to Spencer's memory and to you, his loved ones.

I'm a stranger to you, from Canada, but after reading Celia's open-hearted words in the New York Times, I appreciate this opportunity to reach out across the ether.

Let me be one to thank you for sharing your family pain, to lift the silence from the tragedy of suicide.

May Spencer continue to touch lives...
with peace,
Shani
Shani Komulainen
April 11, 2012
As a mother, grandmother, and former teacher, I feel your love and sincerity of the appeal in your articles. I empathize with your loss, and greatly appreciate your sharing it, rather than being silent.

Peace, Diane Low, CA
Diane Low
April 11, 2012
I am so sorry for your loss but I thank you for your honesty. We will share your son's story over and over and hope that it saves lives.
MICKELD
April 11, 2012
there's not a day that goes by that you are not thought of my dear friend.
Samantha Simmons
April 11, 2012
Dear Celia,
Thank you for your moving article in the New York Times Science section this Tuesday. I teach the Crisis Intervention course at Cabrini College. I have printed out your powerful obituary and will distribute it to my students tomorrow. May Spenser's life be for a blessing and may his death summon us to act and not stand idly by.
Thank you, Deborah D, Shain, LCSW, BCD
Deborah Shain
April 11, 2012
Celia,
I am so sorry for your loss. There are no words to express your grief. I lost my 30 year old son to suicide 6 years ago. I know just what you are going through. My son was an alcoholic and suffered from depression. I'm still grieving. In "complicated" grief as they say.It's something that you never get over. May God bless you with strength and courage during this horrible time. Love to your family as well. Lynda
Lynda Koplove
April 11, 2012
I lost my son-in-law last month. Thanks for you story. I hope writing helps ease your pain and sheds enough light so others may have a deeper understanding of self worth....Lesley Dowden, Vegas
Lesley Dowden
April 11, 2012
To Spencer's mom. My brother at 24 took his own life. He was also in college at the time and also very drunk. I had spoken to him on his birthday a week before and he was upbeat and seemed fine. He had a disagreement with a friend, went home and in front of his roomate took a gun and shot himself in the head. No second chances there. I still miss him and that was in 1980.My heart goes out to you.
Marsha Harvey
April 11, 2012
I did not know your Spencer, but I feel you pain acutely... thank you for so thoroughly sharing his story, maybe it will be heard and read by the correct people to effect a change!
sha wol
April 11, 2012
So sorry for your loss. May your beautiful tribute serve to save others the pain you are feeling.
Beth
April 11, 2012
Celia, thank you for taking the time to share this in the midst of your pain. I echo your ideas and your hopes which you have expressed so well. Your son could easily be one of my own sons, moving through the strange land of young adulthood, and I wish I could give you a hug. You will be in my thoughts.
Elaine Worcester
April 11, 2012
SILENCE
Touch your soul
GRIEF
Wash your heart with tears
PRAY
Release the burden
BE STILL
know that HE IS GOD

May your family find comfort in Jesus.
Bunmi Oyeyele
April 11, 2012
Celia, I am so very sorry for your tragic loss.
Claudia Nichols
April 11, 2012
Your heart breaking story will save someone's life, somewhere. A good friend's son took his own life by hanging himself. It was a long time ago and she has not forgotten. But, she can now smile, laugh and enjoy life. I'm sorry for your loss.
Mikki Couch
April 11, 2012
Remember him as all mothers see their children: happy dancing as a two year old, without a care in the world. As the mother of a two year old who loves to dance, it makes me cry to think that one day such happiness could turn into sadness so deep that suicide seemed like the only option. Without our children, life is bleak and full of pain.
Emily Barlow
April 10, 2012
Thank you for having the courage to share your loss and pain so that hopefully others will learn and help prevent other lives from ending too soon.
Aloha,
A mother
April 10, 2012
Dear Celia,
Thank you for sharing this. You have heart-breaking story; this could be my own son. In truth, this could be any number of boys I know. EMT, Eagle, med school, internships, college. Such promise. Such a loss. Thank you for the strength to write.
Marissa Robinson
April 10, 2012
My heart is with you; my mother, who was born in Poughkeepsie in 1927, took her own life in a drunken binge in 1975. I was 17. I miss her still. Thank you for sharing Spencer's experience, and your profound insight. It will most certainly bring a higher quality to many people's lives.
Martha Isleib
April 10, 2012
I read this day your account of your son's death. I was touched and send my condolences. Bert Z.
Bert Zackim
April 10, 2012
Dear Celia, my heart goes out to you and your family. I thank you for your courage and honesty and the deep love that shines through your words.
Love, Metta Soligard (England)
April 10, 2012
I am so so sorry for your loss; what an inspiring, and gut wrenching message you give us. Thank-you for reminding me of the challenge that the greater good is to help others and not to always be right. May you find peace at some point.
David Loewen
April 10, 2012
Dear Celia,

What eloquent, heart-breaking words. I hear you, and I will always think of Spencer and you when I see another person in need. Here are some words from the Hidden Words of Baha'u'llah that I hope will bring some comfort:

O SON OF MAN!
Thou art My dominion and My dominion perisheth not; wherefore fearest thou thy perishing? Thou art My light and My light shall never be extinguished; why dost thou dread extinction? Thou art My glory and My glory fadeth not; thou art My robe and My robe shall never be outworn. Abide then in thy love for Me, that thou mayest find Me in the realm of glory.

Much love,
Zoe Losada
Zoe Losada
April 10, 2012
I came to this website because of the story in the NYTimes. I am grateful to this courageous and loving mother for her mindful words to all of us, the people Spencer leaves behind. We are faced with tremendous challenges in the years ahead; privacy is becoming a thing of the past which puts human intimacy at risk. Our laws are becoming ever more draconian and the water is rising. The state of the world is pretty depressing. How will today's children handle that? How will they learn to hear cries for help when so much of their lives take place on a virtual plane? I don't know but I do know that when a woman can voice a call to recognize and value human frailty in the face of such horrendous loss, there is hope for all of us. Thank you Celia. And to your mother.
Minna
April 10, 2012
Celia, my heart is with you. I'm also a CU j-school alum. To write with such honesty and clarity in the midst of heartbreaking chaos is a gift to readers, to yourself as you begin to heal, and, most of all, to Spencer.
Katy
April 10, 2012
This is the saddest story. Today's New York Times has an essay written by Celia Watson Seupel about her beloved son and the effect his loss has had on her own mother struggling with moderate dementia. Pray for this family who is enduring unimaginable grief that is unrelenting and seemingly boundless...
Mary Thomas
April 9, 2012
My heart breaks for you and your family. I know his memory is a blessing. May you find comfort and strength and courage to go on.
Stephanie Kahn
April 9, 2012
Celia, my heart breaks for you. I can't imagine what you're going through. You show such enormous understanding, compassion, and love for Spencer and for all young people who are under such pressure--”I really do believe that your words already have inspired others to step outside themselves, be aware, and do whatever they can to protect the vulnerable lives of the people they love and know.
maura christopher
April 9, 2012
I am so sorry about the loss of your son. I pray for everyone in this horrible tragedy. I can only imagine how his friend must feel. It's sad all around. I will do my part to spread the word.. binge drinking is unhealthy for more than one reason. Maybe other young people will learn from this sad sad sad story. Just know that Spencer's life will not be in vain. A lot of people will learn from this and if god willing, it will save someone else's life.
Tina G.
April 9, 2012
My husband is going through the same exact thing I don't feel like a mother not being able to provide.im here at home takmg care of the house and my babies. He's gone all day till 6pm.we struggle Im scared of life Ive been called weird while just being myself way to many times. I believe it. Miss the only person "my husband" that understands me everyday. He sees what a good hearted helping giving person I am. I cry all the time at ugly. The good hearted always get the bashing when we try our hardest to make it all right in our best wr think as know how.
Ashley Sargent
April 9, 2012
I just saw a post online made by Celia Watson Seupel which touched me. I am exactly 3 days older than Spencer would have been now, which brings it that much closer. I am so sorry for your loss and hope you find enough strength to keep going! RIP Spencer Watson Seupel.
Thom Valks
April 9, 2012
Words can have many effects but I hope these have the deepest affect: your colleagues at Stern NYU embrace you with our love and sympathy.
Irv Schenkler
March 29, 2012
lost my baby sister last aug 5, only 23 yrs, so beautiful and drug&alcohol free,absolutely devastated me,as her big brother I feel your loss and pain! I pray for your family! keep heart strong that he is an angel with my sister
Troy Knight
March 27, 2012
I lost my mom in January.it is the worst pain in the world losing a loved one. I lost a baby 3 years ago and I feel my world is empty and shattered. Sorry for your loss rip Spencer.
Chrystal webster
March 21, 2012
Seupel family:
You have my deepest sympathy. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Liz
March 20, 2012
My prayers go out to you. I know exactly how you feel. My son took his own life at the age of 37 on June 27th of last year. Part of me has died along with him,so I feel for you. I hope you have a strong faith to get you through the pain. From the bottom of my heart I am so sorry.
Diane Piccone
March 20, 2012
to be able to compose this letter shows what a genuinely caring person you are.Spencer must have loved you very much. My heart hurts for you--know you are in my prayers. Roseann Secchia
roseann secchia
March 17, 2012
I never lost a child ,but may god be with you and you're family
pam morgan
March 17, 2012
Peace Be with you and yours today and forever more.
Charlie Murray
March 16, 2012
Your are a very brave family. So so so sorry for your loss. My family went through the same thing last summer. While on vacation, my 15 year old daughter took her life. It was a complete shock, it still is. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Janine White
March 15, 2012
Thank you for sharing your story. As a mother I am so sorry for your loss. I too can relate to the bullying and it's a shame that these things aren't being taught in some homes and because of that some of our children are committing suicide. I pray that your son is at peace and that God gives you the peace and strength to carry on. God bless.
Laura Carr
March 12, 2012
Thank you for sharing this story-I did not know Spencer-But I also lost a son to sucide-my heart breaks for you and your Family-But most of all --Spencer-May he find the peace where he has gone to-that he never could here on earth
May you all find peace within your hearts- and know-some times there are no answers- as to why---or If only I had ???there is just a hole where we have lost a loved one
Bless you all
Sincerly
Maggie
March 12, 2012
Thank you for sharing Spencer's story. Today I will use some parts of this story in counseling my son and daughter in law, who are having great struggles in their strive for perfection and have lost sight of the tenderness of life. Spencer, through this story is still affecting others' lives. I, too have lost a child, and I am grieving with you, but know that Spencer will always be hovering over your shoulder and you will know that he is with you in many ways...still sharing his love. Linda
Linda Gray
March 11, 2012
Your tribute reminds me to reach out and be kind to all.
Sometimes it's small things that can make a difference. My prayers go out to you and your family. Ecarson, Kerhonkson, NY
March 7, 2012
I am truly sorry for your loss RIP Spencer
Ginny Gilleo
March 5, 2012
I'm so very sorry for the loss pf Spencer. We live in a culture where too few kids are feeling special in the world. I wish we could protect them all from these heartbreaking endings. Your in my thoughts and prayers
Connie McCaffrey
March 5, 2012
I am truly sorry for your loss. I to can relate to that. I myself did the drugs and alcohol thing. I'm one of those kids. God touched me one night at a bar drunk and high from
alot of different kinds of popping pills had it not been for that i'm sure that i would have done the same. God bless you and your family.
melody bezonia
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