John Kleine 3/5/1986 – 4/30/2007
Most people who knew John never knew that he had struggled with depression since his adolescence. Professionals told us that the hormonal imbalances of adolescence had probably triggered the chemical imbalances in his brain, and as he grew up it should get better. Fortunately, there have been great strides made in developing medications that can battle the depression with very few side effects. And so John had some very good years through the use of antidepressants.
John showed only his good side to the world. He loved to entertain people with his quick wit, impressions, and jokes. He loved to hang out with friends. And John especially loved sports. He played them, he watched them on TV, and he read about them in Sports Illustrated. He organized a CYO basketball team at Bishop Miege, and they played all four years. John worked really hard at playing high school football, and was extremely proud of being a starter his senior year. His varsity letter jacket still hangs in his closet.
But John also hated the idea of having a weakness that required the use of medication. And so after his freshman year at KU his doctor took him off the medication, and he did pretty well for a while. But ultimately, the depression returned, and his strong will was not enough to battle it. He refused to stay on medication, and in his despair he ended his life.
John is with God now, and is at peace. And we try to find some small comfort in knowing that. We will always miss him. It is our fervent prayer that the stigma that society attaches to mental illness will someday disappear, being replaced by compassion and understanding. Science and medicine will continue to study the workings of the brain, and will continue to develop new and better treatments. And when mental illness is considered to be a medical condition like any other disease, those who suffer from it will be able to receive treatment and help without shame.
We truly thank all of you for the overwhelming outpouring of love, prayers and support that we have received.
Bill & Maggie Kleine
Monday, May 07, 2007
Two days after learning of her son's suicide my sister-in-law put the following thoughts to paper. It was her wish that this be shared with as many people as possible.