Chico mom: I want to help other parents after my son took his own life

Aug 31, 2014 11:51 PM by Cecile Juliette

Misty Allen is surrounded by family and friends at her Chico home. She's calm and composed, though still somewhat in a state-of-shock, and she has moments where she breaks down. "I knew one day it would happen. I knew the morning I got up and opened the laundry room door. I knew that something was wrong." Allen, 36, had feared her son Zackary would eventually take his life, as he'd been threatening to do since he was five years old. But she'd always held out hope he would get better. She says, "I have the doctor calling, saying Zackary has a doctor's appointment next week. I have Pleasant Valley calling. He was supposed to start school this last Thursday. {shrugs} It's not real. He's going to come home."

Wednesday morning, her worst fears were realized when went to his room and found him unresponsive. She says he'd taken his own life in a fit of emotion. While she knew it was possible, she also had thought he was doing well. She says, "He was happy, the kid was happy. If you were to meet him, you would never know."

Allen says Zack began showing signs of severe depression and suicidal thoughts at an early age. She says, "He would put belts around his neck. He would take cans and threaten to take the metal circle part out and cut himself." She took him to see psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, and anyone else she thought who could help. He'd been on many different medications, and while some helped, none were able to cure his demons.

Six months earlier, Zack had attempted to take his life, but Allen found him in the bathtub in time, and was able to save him. She had made him promise that he wouldn't try it again, which he did. She says, "He promised he would never make me find him like that." Now, sitting in his room among his pictures, games, and favorite things gives her comfort. As she reads the note he left under his bed, she believes he never meant to go through with it. She says he expected her to find him before he passed away, as she had so many times before. Says Allen, "I think he wrote the letter, he didn't want to back out of the letter he wrote, knowing my son, and the promise he made me, he wouldn't do that." But his life was gone in an instant, and Allen says she feels incredible guilt. She says, "Mom always caught him. Mom always came in here with him, and laid with him. And I know he knew mom was going to save him, and mom didn't save him."

Allen hopes that by sharing her struggles with Zack, she can help other North State parents recognize the warning signs. She says Zach had become obsessed with the recent death of comedian Robin Williams, and questioned her about it. She says, "He was fixated on the Robin Williams thing. He couldn't believe someone so happy would do that to himself. I think the Robin Williams thing has helped a lot of people, but it's also given a lot of people the easy way out, to think that its OK. And it's not OK...If someone is telling you they're going to do something, listen. Because they're going to do it."

Zackary will be laid to rest Saturday, September 6, at the Orland Mormon Church at noon. If you'd like to help his family cover costs for his funeral, a donation account has been set up at, called "Help Provide a Proper Burial for Zack Fry."

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, the number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is (800) 273-8255.


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