On April 29, 2013, our son and brother, Nick Pacha, died by suicide at the University of Minnesota, just a few weeks before the end of freshman year. You can read more about Nick’s story in our book, Saving Ourselves from Suicide—Before and After: How to Ask for Help, Recognize Warning Signs, and Navigate Grief, by Linda Pacha (now also on audio). Look to this website for all purchasing options. All proceeds from book sales go to Nick’s Network of Hope, our 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity to help others.
Young adults frequently struggle with many issues in today’s world. Suicides often cannot be associated with any one given event or condition, as was the case with Nick. Although his tragic death caused us tremendous grief, we share his story and our hindsight to help others who are having difficulties with life challenges or who are struggling with grief. This website and all the work we do honors Nick because helping others was the hallmark of his life.
Our son and brother was a kind, pure-hearted, charitable soul with a strong guiding light. He never hurt or placed a burden on anyone, sometimes to a fault. He would rather apologize for things that weren’t his fault than ever cast aspersions on another. Nick always looked for the good in people, even when some were unkind to him—all the way to the end.
Socializing with peers was important to Nick, as it is for most teenagers and young adults. However, he was an old soul who found it easier to communicate and interact with adults than kids his age. No matter how hard he tried, he was never able to form the bonds with his peers that most young people take for granted. Having a best friend was the one thing Nick wanted most in life. He felt alone, isolated, and rejected, without any hope that things would ever get any better. He was bullied throughout his life. As a family, this was so difficult to witness. We are convinced he would still be here if he would have experienced more kindness from others.
If you are also experiencing bullying or feelings of loneliness, rejection, isolation, or hopelessness, know that you are not alone. Lean on your family and friends for support. Many around you care. If you do not receive the help you need the first time, don’t give up. Reach out to someone else, like a teacher, coach, or co-worker. Remember to seek professional help when necessary. Our website has some excellent information and resources as a starting point.
For those who sense that others around you are struggling, remember that one text, phone call, or act of human kindness can go a long way. You may have to reach past your comfort zone to let someone know you care. The question is not, what if I reach out, and I am wrong? The question is, what if I don’t reach out, and I am right?
Many peers at Nick’s Memorial Service gave heartfelt testimonies to his loving character and told how he positively impacted their lives. This would have pleasantly surprised Nick. Know that these people represent all the people in YOUR life who care about YOU right now. They represent the people in each one of our lives who care about us. They are there, even if we don’t realize it. We are all loved and cared about in this world much more than we perceive.
May peace and love always guide you. Remember, there is always hope. You are very important and loved more than you know.