Les Patterson’s Monday Morning Boost: Remembered as a rescuer

  • Last week I posed a complicated question for your consideration…

    How will someone who dies by suicide be remembered?

    I am touched by the numerous responses I’ve received, especially from those of you who have lost a loved one to the darkness of suicide. Your thoughts have given me strength as I’ve struggled with the massive turmoil that has engulfed my soul. Thank you for your love, prayers, and thoughts, and for listening. In sharing I have found a measure of hope and peace.

    I found a common theme in your responses – “One act doesn’t define a person’s entire life.” Several of you emphasized this is “still true” even with that one act which becomes their final act.

    A friend of mine summed it up this way.

    “When people die they usually are remembered for the good things they have done and positive impact they have made. I feel this is the same way when suicide has been the cause. When suicide is the cause usually there is some sort of depression or mental issue that was leading factor that helps explain for the reasoning of the suicide. Even though their time was cut short they are terribly missed and remembered for the good they have done.”

    From a mother who lost a son in Iraq.

    “The act of suicide is a single act in a person’s life. We all know that lots of moments brought them to this moment, but for the most part there are so many positives about the person, in this case your brother. I believe we should choose to remember all the good, all the funny, all the positive moments in our loved ones life. That is the focus. Yes, we should reach out to others who may be struggling, and be upfront on how it has affected our lives. But always remember all the positive and good in the person who left us. That will always be the better way.”

    From one of Shane’s friends.

    “I think the final act is not forgotten but the person is not remembered solely on that last note. The questions always remain even when some things come clear after the person is gone. Shane will be remembered for his selflessness, his humor, his ability to care for and not judge those around him and his desire to do good for others. He never stopped trying, even in his final act he tried to do things that would make it easier for you and your family to get things taken care of. He will be remembered for his heart and ability to love and appreciate everyone. He loved me unconditionally, without expectation and appreciated everything we did for and with him and expressed that appreciation often. He is big in stature but more important, big in giving love! That’s some of how he will be remembered.”

    I too believe in remembering a person for the totality of their life.


    Shane was ten years younger than me. One of my earliest memories with Shane is helping him learn how to say his prayers. Later on when he was 11 he was my best man when Elisa and I were married. He was a big kid who became a big man, standing nearly 6½ feet tall. He had a big heart. To me, he was a wonderful brother. He was also a son, a friend, and a “heck of an uncle.”

    Shane will be remembered for this part of his life.

    As I wrote earlier, “Shane had a passion for fixing things and making things work better. He was a jack of many trades, would try just about any job to make a living, and like to dicker and barter, generally hoping the other guy got the better side of the deal. He loved working with tools and excelled as a mechanic, especially diesel mechanics. He enjoyed his time on the road helping truckers and travelers continue their journey. Shane also learned upholstery repair, and his favorite hobby was designing environmentally sustainable buildings constructed out of used shipping containers.”

    Many will remember Shane for this part of his life.

    We kept a pretty close connection through the years but when I started raising my own family and I didn’t realize the many challenges Shane was experiencing. Struggles with mental illness, sexual identity, and drug addiction led to a failed marriage, loss of his daughter, and several years in and out of prison.

    These will also be things Shane will be remembered for.


    Shane’s primary job as a mechanic was rescuing stranded travelers and truckers who broke down on I-70 in central Utah. He’d fix their vehicles and get them back on the road. Shane searched out those who were down on their luck and would often repair their vehicles for free.

    In prison Shane reached out to others who were struggling and helped to lift them up. One friend from prison shared how Shane walked with him through many dark times. A prison guard told me how he never had to worry about him and could trust Shane with his back turned.

    A close friend of Shane’s shared this very poignant account of how Shane rescued him from the darkness of suicide.

    “Years ago I was at a low point in my life. I was rock bottom! I was suicidal with severe anxiety and depression. I couldn't eat, sleep, and so on. I had been hanging around with Shane for many years before this. But at that time it was all about fun and games... sort of speak. He knew right away that something wasn’t right with me and he took me under his wing. When I couldn’t eat he would literally Force food down my throat. When I couldn't sleep he found ways to calm me down until I could fall asleep... Even during all those times that he could not even keep his eyes open at any given time because of his crazy mechanic schedule. He Always found time for me! We would go for long rides in his car and just talk and talk and talk. It was comforting talking to Shane. He always calmed me down... which was a Huge Boost for me at that time! His help Never stopped and Never will! In Shane’s own special way and with his Huge Heart he kept me going... at a time I didn’t want to. He really did keep me alive and going! I love you Shane and I will Miss you So Very Much!!!”

    How will someone who dies by suicide be remembered?

    I choose to remember Shane as a rescuer who helped many continue their journey.

    Have a great Monday. Thanks for letting me share.

    Les Patterson

    p.s. Take 13 minutes today to remember, Talking About It Matters.

    Les Patterson loves to share stories and the “Monday Morning Boost” is his way of sharing a story or two with family, friends, and clients. Les believes every person, business and organization has a story worth sharing. Since 1997 he has enjoyed finding compelling ways to share those stories through writing and producing radio commercials at the Cache Valley Media Group. Discover how he can help tell your story at www.CacheValleyMediaGroup.com. Feedback and comments are welcome at les@cvradio.com. ©2016, Les Patterson. All Rights Reserved. To UNSUBSCRIBE, reply to this email with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line and your email will be removed.