Why These Grieving Parents Disclosed Their Teenage Son’s Suicide In His Obituary

November 12, 2018
Photo: Robbie Eckert FamilyCourtesy of Jason and Kari Eckert
Robbie Eckert (far right) in a family photo. The 15-year-old died by suicide in October, and his parents chose not to shy away from the fact.

Much of the obituary for 15-year-old Robbie Eckert reads as many others do.

His parents write fondly about Robbie's love for swimming and tennis: "Surrounded by his friends at meets and at matches, he was full of joy." 

But then Eckert's obituary reveals something that was once left unsaid: That Robbie died by suicide.

"Despite his gift of bringing love and joy to others, Robbie was suffering in the darkness, battling privately with incredible pain. He succumbed to the silent illness of depression and took his own life," Kari and Jason Eckert wrote.

The obituary goes on to offer resources to help those who are depressed or considering suicide.

Robbie's parents talked to Colorado Matters about their deliberate decision to be transparent about their son's suicide, and their newfound activism for teen mental illness. A GoFundMe set up to support the Eckerts' nonprofit, Robbie's Hope, had raised more than $85,000 as of Monday, Nov. 12.