Garrett’s Story

A Letter From Garrett’s Mother, Carole Richie:

On June 21, 2008, I lost my son. He committed suicide because he was on the anti-depressant, PAXIL.

Garrett gave me 23 years of pure unconditional love filling my life with so much joy. His beautiful smile melted my heart, his eyes radiated pure happiness. His love of life was overwhelming. He touched everyone he was ever around. His love for me and those around him was infectious. Garrett had his life planned out, knew what he wanted and always worked hard to achieve his goals. He knew when he was going to retire, who he was going to marry and had just bought his first home. Garrett was the most positive person around. He inspired and encouraged others to enjoy life. WHY?

Garrett had been prescribed PAXIL for anxiety. PAXIL is a prescription medication used to treat anxiety and/or depression. This drug stole Garrett’s love for life. I was unaware that he was on the medication, but I found the prescription bottle while he was missing. I began to research Paxil:

  • Suicide, suicide, suicide
  • Twice as more likely to commit suicide in age group between 18-24 years.
  • Higher risk in young men, 2 out of every 100 attempt to commit suicide.

Scares the hell out of you, doesn’t it? Why do PA’s, Dr.’s and the FDA want to kill our young? I cannot save Garrett, but I hope Garrett’s death can save others. Please, if you or anyone you know and love is on anti-depressants; do the research and consult a doctor to make sure it is the best treatment. These medications need to be monitored very closely. There are alternative ways of coping, but quitting or sudden changes in medications can be dangerous. Please take the time to educate yourself. Prevent another senseless tragedy from happening. Go to and learn more about the medications that are killing our children.

Garrett would not want to see another family go through this. It was a terrible accident that could have been prevented. I know Garrett will live on through those he touched with his smile, his humor and his compassion. Garrett had so much more life to live.

It hurts so much. I miss his smile and him saying, “I love you Mom.” I will never be able to hold him again. My life will never be complete again. The best way I can fill the void is to try to prevent this from happening to another special person.

Carole Richie

Garrett’s Eulogy

Garrett’s life was a beautiful song with many verses. Although each verse may be slightly different, they all have a deep and rich tone. As with any song, the words are only part of the harmony, my words are only a small part of Garrett’s song.

The first verse is about a son, a son that brought pure love and joy to his parents lives everyday.

Garrett was a true momma’s boy and even slept at her side until he was about 12 years old. Dad would carry Garrett back to his room after he had fallen asleep, but no more than an hour later he would come back, dragging his sleeping bag behind him to lay on moms side of the bed. Garrett and mom had such a special relationship, one that I have never seen anywhere else. He highly respected mom and was extremely protective. They talked almost daily, there was never a conversation within our family that didn’t end with Garrett saying a heart felt “I love you.” Garrett wasn’t shy to show his affection towards mom publicly. Mom says he warmed her heart and soul daily and just being in his presence was uplifting. His infectious smile melts her heart and he was her angel on earth.

Dad knew from the time Garrett was born he was special. Dad admired Garrett for who he was, for the goals he achieved and they truly were best friends. Dad was always amazed when people he didn’t know and even people he had known his whole life would come up to pass on compliments and praise for the outstanding individual Garrett had become. But dad did catch Garrett in a fib when he was just a little guy. Garrett had a problem with picking flies out of the window and eating them. One day, dad came into the house and notice that Garrett was standing very surprised with his hands behind his back, and next to the window. Dad asked him if he had been eating flies which Garrett quickly replied no. But what Garrett didn’t realize was he had a leftover fly wing hanging from his lip. At least he was getting some extra protein.

Dad never had a hero in his life until Garrett came along. The person Garrett was and what he stood for will forever make him a hero in dads heart.
Mom and Dad can’t imagine what life is going to be like without their son, but Garrett would say, “this is no place for a weak sister, lets move on with life” and so they will, with a hole in their hearts and gratitude for the 24 wonderful years they were blessed with Garrett.

Garrett’s next verse is about a brother. A brother, who was affectionately known as creep in the first part of our relationship and told my boyfriends embarrassing things about me. But in the next level of our relationship, Garrett became one of my very best friends. He gave me advice and comfort for things only him and I could go through together. There was 6 years between us but sometimes we thought and had feelings like we were twins, we could always have fun together like we were too. On occasion I still had to act like the big sis. I came home from school one day after Garrett had already been dropped off from riding the bus, when I walked in the door I could smell smoke and became a little worried about what the little creep was up to. When I came into the living room, I saw that Garrett had neatly covered the coffee table with newspaper and had lit a candle where he had a mini marshmallow on a shish kabob skewer and was proudly making s’mores. He just looked up at me with his award winning smile as I told him there was a reason why s’mores were reserved for campfires, but I always thought that was a pretty creative after school snack.

I loved hearing “hey sista” on the other end of the phone and I was always in a better mood if not rolling with laughter by the end of the conversation.
A bond like ours cannot be broken by tragedy, loss, or time. Garrett may have been the little brother, but I looked up to him immensely and I am so proud to be his sister.
Family was a very important verse in Garrett’s life. He was known to call an uncle out of the blue just to say hi or take his weekend to drive across the state for a cousin’s graduation. He was more than happy to spend an evening setting up grandpa’s tv, Dad’s surround sound or driving grandma to Laramie, it was the perfect way to catch up on her life at the senior center. Family always came first.

The longest verse in Garrett’s song is about being a friend, a loyal friend to both young and old. Compassion and respect toward others was one of Garrett’s greatest qualities, and friends knew they could tell him their most intimate thoughts and feelings without being judged, blamed or gossiped about. Not only could friends tell Garrett anything, but they could also count on a comforting and meaningful response. Garrett was always available for friends and went the extra mile for those in need. He had a special gift of making others feel better about themselves. Garrett and his roommate Jason were once telling childhood stories about the silly things they did to keep themselves occupied in Boulder during the summers. Jason told Garrett he used to swim in the irrigation ditches pretending to be a crocodile. Of course Garrett never made fun of Jason because. Garrett told him he used to do the same thing but he pretended to be a beaver.

Garrett has so many friends with beautiful stories about how he made a difference or impacted their lives. Please continue to share these stories so others can understand Garrett’s compassion and loyalty and hopefully learn how to be a true friend.

Athlectism is a resounding verse in Garrett’s song, something he inherited from both mom and dad. He could play any sport well the very first time he tried it. His drive and determination made him a true competitor in any arena. If it was doing back flips in the yard, 360’s on a wake board, or racing the 100 meter dash, Garrett was going to strive to be the best.

I had the honor of coaching Garrett his junior year in track. I was in awe every time I watched him run, he was so graceful and fluid while he was smoking the competition.
On the first day of practice, Garrett puked after the workout I gave the team. He never once complained even after we got home that night. I thought for sure he was going to chew me out but all he did was work even harder the next night. He never took advantage of me being the coach, in fact, I think he worked even harder for me because he believed in what I was doing and he respected my decisions. That was how Garrett treated anyone he worked for.

The most recent verse is about a boyfriend who had finally found true love and the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. I knew Garrett was getting serious when I heard he was in Vegas, wearing the plaid shorts Ryan had picked out for him and was walking her fluffy dog. Just picture that for a moment, yup he was in love. Garrett talked so highly of Ryan’s family and felt very at home with them.

There are still many verses that I haven’t mentioned and they are not any less important than the ones that I have mentioned but we all know that I could go on forever. Just looking out at all of your faces is a testament to all the lives that Garrett touched. He was a beautiful boy with a beautiful smile and eyes that twinkled, that face will remain in our hearts for a life time. Thank you Garrett for making beautiful music in our lives. We love you and will miss you. Welcome home Garrett and play on.