There is no easy way to share tragic news, so we will start with the truth. Charlie Kelley died by suicide on Wednesday, November 18, 2020.
Words truly cannot express the devastating pain that we are feeling right now. Charlie has left a chasm in our hearts, our souls, our very existence, and we are writing to you with our hearts wide open and our raw emotions laid bare.
We believe that there is no blame or shame in this tragedy. We believe, and have been encouraged by the professionals, that this news should be communicated honestly and openly. We hope that by sharing our story and pain, others will not have to suffer through what we are experiencing.
Charlie spent most of their far-too short time on this Earth skipping merrily through life, spreading joy wherever they went, for whomever they met. They were wise beyond their years, deeply caring and passionate. As a super-empath, the weight of the world became too much for Charlie to bear; an impulsive decision made in the excruciating pain of mental illness took Charlie from all of us.
Depending on how long it has been since our paths last crossed, you may or may not know that Charlie had come out—proudly—as gender non-binary and used they/them pronouns. Shifting names and pronouns can be challenging; however, we ask that you please make your best effort to honor Charlie’s identity, and to validate others who are navigating their own gender journeys. Transgender youth are at greater risk of suicide. By acknowledging the inherent dignity and validity of trans identity, we can continue working to create a more welcoming society that does not perpetuate transphobia and bigotry, ultimately preventing more suicides.
We have created this CaringBridge (https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/charliekelley2
) site to share information and to ask for help along the way. To start, we know that Charlie’s community runs deep and wide. As you think of others in our shared circles of community, please share this site with them. We hope you will use this space to share pictures, stories, and memories of Charlie; these will undoubtedly make us cry, but will be such an important part of our healing process. Although, we deeply want and appreciate your messages of love and support, please know that we may not have the emotional energy to respond for some time.
When it is again safe to gather together, we will invite you to share in a Celebration of Charlie’s Life.
Our preference would be to keep this off social media; however, we know that it is a dominant communication tool of our times. If you share on social media, please use those platforms to spread love and light; not stigma, shame, blame, or hatred. We want Charlie’s legacy to continue being one that spreads love and healing.
Towards that intention, we made the decision to offer Charlie’s organs so that this unbelievably devastating tragedy might spread the precious gift of life to other families. Five of Charlie’s organs have been matched to donor recipients; most significantly, Charlie’s giant heart will continue to shine through another human vessel.
We are sharing this unfortunate news with you very close to Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has always been our favorite holiday—a time for gathering with family and friends to share in gratitude and celebration of the beauty in life. And Charlie would tell us, it is also a holiday fraught with settler-colonialism. As a dialectical thinker, Charlie could hold both of these truths at once. As you come together for your own COVID-altered celebrations, we would be grateful if you and yours could take a moment to send your love and prayers (in whatever form those take for you) to Charlie and our family.
With much love, humility, and heavy hearts,
Sybil, Craig, and Maura;
· Dougy Center: https://www.dougy.org/
· Multnomah Crisis Line: 503-988-4888
· Teen2teen: 877-968-8491 (or text: 839-863)
· Resolve through Sharing: www.ResolveThroughSharing.org (http://www.resolvethroughsharing.org/
· Suicide Bereavement Support: https://www.sbsnw.org/
· Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Resource Center (SMYRC): http://www.smyrc.org/