On December 21st, 2001, one of the brightest smiles and biggest laughs entered the world in the form of Patrick “Patty” Turner. Son to John and Kim, and youngest brother to Emily, James and Brandel, Patrick’s charismatic, loving and compassionate personality quickly found its place amongst the Turners.
As an infant, the Turners and their close family friends remember Patrick as the baby who would giggle at nearly anything. Patrick’s legendary laugh and smile developed quickly, and his older siblings loved to play with their newest younger brother. As the youngest, Patrick wanted to be just like Emily, James and Brandel. He spent his mornings watching his siblings getting ready for elementary school, and he spent his afternoons tagging along to whatever practice John was coaching for one of the other kids.
Patrick quickly followed in his siblings footsteps. He played several youth sports for nearly a decade, and then moved on to high school baseball and football at Corona del Mar HS. Patrick was a true competitor and loved to win, but what he loved most about high school was the guys and the coaches that he had the chance to play with and learn from. Some of his last words were spent praising the coaches who mentored him.
Patrick loved all things outdoors, whether it was playing golf on a Friday afternoon with his family, catching a bullpen with Brandel at the fields, going to the beach on an afternoon with his buddies, or snowboarding near the family house in Idaho. Patrick was up for anything, and there was rarely a time when the word 'no' came out of his mouth.
Christmas of 2017 was an extra special one for the Turners as it marked the last time that all six would be together. The holidays are one of the only times that all of the kids were home at the same time, and the family made the most of it with many rounds of golf, beach trips to the Wedge, Patty’s birthday, family Christmas traditions, and a ski trip to Idaho.
Four weeks later, on January 27th, 2018, Patrick died by suicide at the age of 16. Patrick was suffering in silence with a battle that he could no longer bear. He never showed any signs of depression, anxiety or struggle of any kind. We all hate to think that had we known, we could have done something to help Patty. However, this tragedy has taught us all something: we need to check in on those we love.
Sadness and despair can’t begin to describe the feelings that we all have felt since Patty died, however we do find some sort of comfort with the letters that Patrick left, and perpetuating the changes that he wished for. Through the words in his letters, it was easy to see that Patrick noticed things that many people don’t. In order to truly articulate what Patrick was feeling, here is a small portion of his last words to the greater community,
"So much pressure is put on kids to do good, and a lot of kids make mistakes. One slip up makes a kid feel like the smallest person in the world. All anyone talks about is how great they are or how great their kid is. It’s all about how great I am. It’s never about the other kid. The kid who maybe does not play a sport, have a 4.0+ GPA, but displays great character...Nobody can understand what people might be going through. Be nice to everyone, and most importantly be inclusive. If there is a kid out there who is alone it never hurts to sit with them or ask them how they’re doing."
The 16 years that we had with Patty will never be enough, however we are so grateful for the time that we got to spend with him. Please join us in helping to honor Patrick by partaking in random acts of kindness in your community.
“If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest of days and in the darkest nights…always, always…” -Major Sullivan Ballou