Celebrating life stories...



Memorial created 02-11-2006 by
Kay Clancy
Steven J Clancy
January 9 1978 - August 8 2005

This memorial is a tribute to my son Steven who is deeply missed and loved. He was born in Willmar, Minnesota on Jan 9th 1978 to my husband Ron and I, and passed away Aug 8th 2005. Steve has two brothers. He was the middle child who looked up to his older brother Joey, and took special care of his younger brother Jeff. Steven also has a half brother Ron Jr.and sister Kari. Steve was a very sensitive, caring person. He loved animals, he was so kind to them and had such a special way with our cats. He will be in our hearts forever.


Steve graduated from Willmar High School on June 1st 1996 with highest honors. He was the recipient of a Presidential scholarship to his first two years of college here in Willmar. He majored in psychology in college and earned a bachelors degree in that field from the University of Minnesota Morris in Morris Minnesota. He had intended on getting his masters degree, so he transfered to Unniversity of North Dakota for one year, but never completed that degree. He transferred to St Cloud State University to work on a degree in English, but he got burnt out on school, so he decided to quit school and get a job. Steve had worked for Walmart for 3 years at the time of his death. A few months before his death, he had talked about going back to school, but was undecided as to what course to take.


Steve had a love for music. He played piano, violin, and baritone. He won many awards in music in high school. Steve also participated in summer concerts with the Community band. He continued playing in the concert band while attending University of Minnesota in Morris. He loved tennis also. His favorite player was Jennifer Caprioti. He played in a recreational tennis league during the summer. He would coax his father into playing many times. He even got me to try to learn one day. I remembered how he laughed that day as I attempted to learn the game. Steve didn't laugh outloud much, so it was so wonderful to hear that, even if it was due to my inability to play tennis!


This is Steve on his 3rd birthday. He had such big brown eyes that were full of questions all the time. He was so innocent and happy at this age. Steve loved to play with the little super hero toys. It always amazed me how good of an imagination he had at this age. He could entertain himself for hours in the boys bedroom! Steve was so inquisitive and anxious to learn. He wanted to go to school so bad when his older brother Joey started kindergarten! He could hardly wait until it was his turn! Steve loved to read, and from the time he started to learn he had a book in his hands. Even in his last years of life it was so common to see him with a book in his hands.


Steve wanted to take piano lessons. Our church music director agreed to give him lessons, which was quite an honor because he didn't ususally give lessons to beginners but Steve being in band and orchestra already knew a lot about music. We didn't have a piano when he first started, so the church let him practice on one of their pianos. Steve quit orchestra in the 7th grade, but continued with band and piano lessons, but quite those in 9th grade. Little did we know the real reason for him quiting the things he loved was the beginning of his depression. Looking back I wish I had more knowledge of depression and the real reasons for him quiting the things that he loved so much. If only I had known, maybe he would still be with us today.


"On Self Blame and Suicide"

There are times of intense sorrow when it is almost impossible not to find some way of blaming yourself. People magnify trivial incidents in order to accomplish self blame. Often there need for an answer to "why" in nearly insurmountable. Perhaps there is a sense of "if it's" my fault there is a reason he or she died. The need for that reason can be near frenzy for some. Self blame is magnified a thousandfold when a special person has died of suicide. Very often that self blame is cruel as well as unjust. If your loved one died of suicide frequently you will find yourself reaching for some way in which you could be held responsible. You may be berating yourself with questions like these: Did I not do enough Did I not give enough Was I simply not enough Were my last words the final breaking point To help balance some of this self blame, help yourself by using some new language. There is a tendency to say "committed suicide". The sense that someone acted out there anger and pain in the most aggressive and hurtful way is our image of suicide. There is also the sense that someone got the last word without allowing you to make the situation better or to explain it from your point of view. All to often loving survivors feel inadequate and helpless and view the suicide as an act of viciousness from which they had no protection. When you decide to help yourself it may be helpful to begin with a new vocabulary for suicide. Begin to think "he died of suicide". In this context, suicide becomes a death like cancer or heart failure, for in reality there are simply some people who cannot live despite the finest ministering we may offer. If you are able to make this transition in your mind you may find that you will become kinder to yourself and less punitive. As you ease up on yourself you may allow some logic to enter your thinking and without hat logic may come some peace. Remember it may all begin with this new terminology. This perception of suicide originated with Monsignor John Trese, who works extensively with survivors suffering a loved ones death by suicide. He says that after hearing a multitude of stories involving those who took their own lives his view, which has always been traditional, was altered. His new concept is that suicides are not necessarily indictments; they are not proof of mistreatment by those who surrounded the one who died. He believes firmly that some people just simply cannot live, Things are just to painful. Not long ago a young woman attending a high pressure university in the Mid West died by suicide. She was found in her room by her room-mates. A year afterward they are still wondering, they are still in shock "What could we have done that we didn't? She didn't leave a note. She didn't tell us anything except that she was doing badly in one of her classes. How could we have known?" The answer, of course, is that they could not have known unless she chose to share her inner pain with them. This was not the case. Instead, she went quietly about her business, going deeper and deeper inward, and ultimately she ended her life. How helpful it would be if her room-mates could look at her death not form their vantage point but from hers. Not from the standpoint that somehow they were unable to help her but rather that she was unable to live. Since suicide is not an acceptable way of dying in our society we all to frequently try to find some self blame and often self blame is unjust. If you are a survivor of a suicide perhaps to know that the person just simply could not live will ease some of your hurt. Author Harriet Schiff from Living Through Mourning


This is the only professional family picture we have, it was taken for our church book when Steve was still in high school. I wish we had taken more family photographs, but I guess I never thought I would be going through something like this. How many of us ever think we will be burying one of our children. It is the worst pain there is for a parent. No one that has not been through it can understand. You feel as a parent you should be able to fix everything for your kids. When they are little, all it takes is a bandaid or a hug and kiss to make them feel better. Depression is the most misunderstand illness. So many people just don't get it. Depression is an illness just like cancer or heart disease. It can be easily hidden though, so that makes it so hard to know how ill a person really is until it is too late.


If you feel suicidal or know someone who does, please seek help. Don't break your families hearts. There is help for you. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem http://suicideandmentalhealthassociationinternational.org/


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