Madison Holleran was a beautiful and intelligent varsity athlete at the University of Pennsylvania with a bright future ahead of her. But at just 19-years-old, she jumped to her death, ending her life and the world of opportunities that awaited her. She took the fatal plunge, clenching five specific items and a note that explained why she chose to end it all.
Her note read, in part, “I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out, and I thought how it is worse perhaps to be locked in. For you mom…the necklaces…For you, Nana & Papa…GingerSnaps (always reminds me of you)…For you Ingrid…The Happiness Project. And Dad…the Godiva chocolate truffles. I love you all…I’m sorry. I love you.”
Madison had the gifts mentioned in the note with her when she jumped, along with a photo of herself and a copy of Reconstructing Amelia, a story about an overachieving girl who eventually commits suicide, the Daily Mail reported.
Now, a year after her January 2014 suicide that shocked her family and community, Madison’s parents, Jim and Stacy Holleran, are sharing her story in hopes of helping other high school seniors and new college co-eds. Their message is specifically to bring awareness to those struggling with or know of someone struggling with circumstantial depression, who may have never felt down until this transitional phase in life, which was the case for Madison.
Madison had been a happy, high-achieving girl, who always did well in athletics and academics. She didn’t have a boyfriend, substance abuse issues, or a personal or family history of mental illness at the time of her death, which are typical contributing factors in most teen suicides. She had never been depressed until her first semester in college, when she began feeling very down about herself and having suicidal thoughts.
The Hollerans had tried to get their daughter into therapy after she admitted to them she was thinking about killing herself. They were shocked to learn their happy, well-adjusted daughter had taken such an unexpected turn in life. Her mother was unable to schedule an immediate appointment since it was the weekend.
Madison was home with her family over winter break for the holidays, and her parents felt she seemed happier, making them hopeful that she had overcome this dark time. Sadly, she committed suicide just a few weeks later, when she jumped from a tall parking garage. Just hours before she jumped, Jim had sent her a text message, reminding her to ask her new therapist to write her a prescription for antidepressants.
In their grief after her death, Jim explained to other parents though their newly established foundation in their daughter’s memory, The Madison Holleran Foundation, “I don’t think she realized how awful it would be for us to not have her around.” Jim also issued a warning to other parents, “Parents, if you see a huge change in your child and you haven’t discussed suicide with them, open that discussion up,” NorthJersey.com reported.