Bullied Tim Ribberink's Suicide Note Is a Tragic Wake-Up Call for Parents

Heartbreaking 16

tim ribberinkYears of relentless bullying for being gay have driven yet another young person has to commit suicide: 20-year-old Tim Ribberink, a Dutch college student training to be a history teacher, took his own life last week. And in an attempt to prevent more tragic losses like this one, Tim's heartbroken parents published his suicide note along in a local newspaper along with his death notice. He wrote:

“Dear Mum and Dad, All my life I have been ridiculed, abused, bullied and excluded. You guys are fantastic. I hope you’re not angry. Until we meet again, Tim.”

Tim's parents say they had no idea anything was wrong until the day Tim died. Tim said he was ridiculed, abused, bullied, and excluded all his life. As a parent, that's the part I find most terrifying of all. How does this happen?

Kids, especially teens, are exceptionally good at hiding things from their parents, it's true. But I still like to think that I can tell when something is bothering one of my children -- at least most of the time. And after some digging (sometimes quite a lot of digging), they'll eventually open up to me about the problem.

Still, there have been plenty of occasions when the most elaborate answer I've been able to extract has been that old adolescent standard: "Nothing." Nothing is wrong. Nothing happened at school. Nothing is bothering them. Nothing, nothing, nothing.

How are we, as parents, supposed to know when nothing is something? Tim's parents loved him dearly. It's not like they were too busy to care what was going on in their son's life, as some people are automatically assuming. Sure, that would make it easier for the rest of us: Oh well, his parents didn't know because they didn't care, that could never happen to me. But they did care. And it could happen to any one of us.

Do you ever worry that your teen might be getting bullied and not telling you about it?


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Poiso... PoisonousHoney

Everyone is about to hate me.

There are SO MANY resources out there for homosexual teens and young adults. He a had a loving family, resources at his fingertips (hello Internet!) and his whole life a head of him. What he did was selfish and weak and I don't think my kids would do this because they are more intelligent than that.

zandh... zandhmom2

I don't think you can blame this on him being gay, I think he had other issues.  Holland is very  accepting of the gay lifestyle.

ashes... ashes2ashes831

Poison....that's probably what these parents thought as well that it "couldn't happen to them". And NOT everyone has that option to just jump in to a GLA club. And the internet as your source and friend sound like an EXTREMELY lonely lifestyle shm

Poiso... PoisonousHoney

You're lonely? Stop crying and fix it. Your sad? Change your life! (No I don't mean lifestyle, I mean life). TRY to make new friends. Move somewhere new with new surroundings. Don't sit in pool of your own tears and wallow. I suffer from depression. I get depressed a LOT. I havebattled cutting, I have been through a LOT. But you know what I do? I think about the people I DO have. Branch OUT. Find new surrounds, meet NEW people. There are LOTS of people who are comfortable with homosexuality. So it sounds to me like this kid had a bunch of bad experiences, stopped trying, gave up, and did the worst thing to his parents he possibly could. And I should feel sorry for him BECAUSE???

nonmember avatar Abby

It still amazes me the attitudes out their about mental health. Poison, what part of chemical unbalance don't you get? You're attitude assures (Not that your kids will never do this) but that they'll likely be too damn scared to tell you if they ever feel suicidal.

Kate Cooley

Constantly. As someone who was bullied and had NOWHERE to turn and NO ONE willing to help, this is something I don't let slide with my kid. I constantly tell him that I'm ready to kick ass and take names for the memorial wall if someone's pushing him around.

nhamp... nhampton401

I'm tired of seeing these "I was bullied so I killed myself" articles. It's weak, selfish and pathetic. I don't feel there's ever any reason for suicide. Bring your kids up to have a back bone and stick up for themselves. Fight back. Don't be a bully yourself but FIGHT BACK! Embrace yourself and have confidence. If people see that they will leave you alone.

bless... blessed969798

Wow! Some of you are so heartless. I understand committing suicide is a selfish act. However, you don't have to act like you are better than someone because that is what they did. If you have never had a child who was bullied, you have no idea. Our son was shoved in a locker, had his head put in a toilet and countless other things done to him. We didn't find these things out from him, but from a friend of our daughters. He didn't want to tell because he was afraid it would get worse and that the school wouldn't do anything. He was correct about the latter... We were just told boys would be boys. I was bullied as a child, but nothing compared to how cruel kids are today. And to the person who said they need to fight back...explain to me how a child who as a freshman who is 5'3" suppose to do that against 10 boys over 6'. Yeah, whatever. I blame patents for not raising their kids correctly. Kids bully to make themselves look better. Thank goodness we moved school districts and my son is very happy where he is. Plus I believe you can tell something is wrong with your children. Their personality changes. I am so happy our son is back to his happy loving and caring self.

Sweet... SweetPoison

I really am going to try not to scream at you Poison.

What you describe is not an easy feat. congrats to you though for making it threw. I also am a survivor but I also have watched friends be burried who have not been so lucky to beable to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to as you put it "find new friends" or "move to a new place" yea raeally..i am already depressed and sucididal but how about I move to a completely different place and face the possibility of rejection YET AGAIN. It doesn't work like that way. It's not easy in any sense of the word. When you are depressed and hurt and sad theres very little anyone can do to help you fix what is broken and when you have spent your entire life being abused and told you're crap and are worth nothing at some point you break; you break and some people just can't be fixed once thats done. Its not selfish. It's SELFLESS. They want to save themselves from the pain. Who doesn't?


Sweet... SweetPoison

I have two children and I have almost killed myself 3 times since my oldest was born 5 years ago. I love them more anything in the world but theres just times when I don't think about anything but the pain, where its so dark in my head that I don't think straight. And it takes a hell of alot of strength to pull myself from that and NO ONE can help me do that..People who die from this it's because they just don't have the strength left to fight anymore and THAT is worth feeling sorry over. How depressive the human mind can be. How lonely it can be no matter how many people surround you. How theres things in this world that are beyond our control no matter how much we try to pretend it isn't

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