Kevin Neil Rider
October 2 1985- June 3, 2000
Kevin was a beautiful child – our fourth and last. He was a curious little boy, eager to explore his world and find out how things worked. He had a devilish sense of humor who loved a good joke and became quite an adept storyteller, because he found that his stories could cause a room to erupt with laughter.
He had a sensitive soul and was mindful of those who, for whatever reason, felt they didn’t belong. Maybe this empathy came because at times he himself felt he didn’t belong…
At the age of twelve, he began withdrawing from activities he had always enjoyed – scouting and hanging out with his friends. He was spending more time alone in his room after school. I suspected he might be struggling with depression.
A visit to our family doctor confirmed this, and Kevin was prescribed Prozac. When he complained that the pills made him feel weird, the doctor’s answer was to double the dosage because Kevin was big for his age, and guidelines were not clear on the proper dose for children.
Though Kevin quit arguing about taking the pills, he never did buy into the idea that the pills would fix whatever was ‘wrong with him’, and at the age of fourteen he announced that he could handle life on his own. He had been advised that he couldn’t just stop taking the pills, but instead had to come off of them slowly by gradually reducing his dose.
He didn’t live long enough to be free of them. We found his lifeless body lying under a cherry tree in the orchard next to our home, only a week after graduating from the eighth grade. The coroner reported he had died from a “self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head”.