• Tue, Jul 8 2008

Lessons Derived From A Tragedy

I struggled with whether to post this glimpse of Scott Terrill’s life. I would hate for his family to think that I’m sensationalizing this whole ordeal and the pain that this family is going through, as a result. However, my heart feels the need to shed light on this subject as an example of what the feeling of hopelessness can lead to and the portrayal of people on reality television shows. Please take this post for what it truly is, a chance to educate people and bring hope out of an extremely tragic situation. My heart hurts for Scott and his family and I think that there are two very important lessons to be learned here…but at a horrible price. The following is an excerpt from Bluegrassmoms.com:

GEORGETOWN — A Georgetown man struggled for years, battling a painful spine injury and fighting to obtain Social Security benefits. He even reached out to a television reality show, hoping to be a better dad to his two sons.

Friday night, his struggle ended in a Georgetown cemetery. Scott Terrill died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest after a 90-minute standoff with police.

Terrill carried ”a lot of emotional baggage from the past,“ said Dwayne Russell, pastor of Safe Harbor Baptist Fellowship in Georgetown, who will officiate at his funeral.

Despite those trials, Terrill was a dedicated father, Russell said. His appearance on a Supernanny episode that first aired in January showed his ”desire to be a better dad.“

Terrill, 37, suffered from reflex sympathetic dystrophy since an accident about five years ago, said his mother, Margaret Ng.

The disorder causes sufferers to feel continuous, intense pain out of proportion to the severity of the injury, which gets worse rather than better over time. There is no cure.

Terrill had tried getting a job to work from home, but he could only sit up only a certain amount of hours of the day, Ng said.

”It might not have looked like it on the TV, but he could not get up for more than a couple hours a day because of the RSD,“ she said.

The Supernanny episode featuring Terrill first aired on Jan. 23. Terrill said he had struggled to set boundaries for his sons, Lane and Tate, who were 11 and 5 at the time, because of his own harsh childhood.

In an attempt to avoid repeating the past, Terrill went to the other extreme, where he could not set discipline in his home.

Terrill later became the mascot for the show’s ”Foxy Dad of the Year“ competition.

Ng said Terrill went camping with his sons and was also involved with his eldest son’s soccer and his children’s schooling.

”He was a loving father with a big heart,“ Ng said.

On Friday, Terrill called Georgetown police about 6:50 p.m., Capt. Scott Starns said Monday. He told police he was thinking of killing himself and had a gun.

Terrill asked to speak to Police Chief Greg Reeves, and told him he was at his father’s grave at the Georgetown Cemetery.

Officers went to the cemetery, blocking off the scene and evacuating some of the houses nearby.

As he talked to officers, Terrill had a .38-caliber handgun pressed to his chest the whole time, Starns said.

”About an hour and a half into this whole scenario, they thought progress was being made, and he just abruptly squeezed the trigger,“ Starns said.

Scott County Coroner John Goble pronounced Terrill dead at Georgetown Community Hospital about 9 p.m.

Terrill grew up in Georgetown and attended Lexington Catholic High School, where he played basketball. He obtained his GED and went to one year of college at Morehead State University, Ng said.

In 2002 he ran in the Republican primary for a state House seat against Charlie Hoffman, but lost.

At Safe Harbor Baptist Fellowship, Russell said he had not seen or spoken to Terrill in six or seven months. But he said Terrill, a likeable guy who had been active in the church, had remained in contact with other church members.

Terrill’s death has greatly affected his congregation, Russell said. Many watched Terrill grow up, and church members have helped take care of his children.

”People who are struggling with those emotional struggles, they need to get connected with other people,“ he said. ”Not one of us as human beings could handle the stresses and struggles of life by ourselves.“

A graveside service will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Georgetown Cemetery. Visitation will be 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Tucker, Yocum & Wilson Funeral Home.There are two things that Scott’s story teaches us. One, is that the personal struggles (that we all face) can become overwhelming if we do not seek out support. We live in a society that makes connecting with others, easier than it has ever been. There are support groups, internet chat groups, moms groups, shows like Supernanny and many other resources for gaining emotional support. We never have to be alone, if we choose to allow others into our lives and actively seek them out. If you have suicidal thoughts, or even feel an overwhelming sense of hopelessness/loneliness, please reach out to someone. There are services that are dedicated to just that purpose, like 1-800-SUICIDE. Remember, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

The second, less important lesson is this: What you see on a reality television show is never enough to assume that you know a person. Forty-three mniutes just isn’t enough time to paint a complete picture of anybody’s life. I read things about Scott that I had no idea he was dealing with. I’m sure you felt the same as you read the above excerpt. ABC had to show only the parenting aspect of Scott’s life, because of time constraints. Scott obviously dealt with so much more than what we were allowed to see. I can certainly attest to the fact that our lives are far more complicated than what you saw on March 5th’s episode of Supernanny. People assumed so many things about us, just as I’m sure they did about Scott. It is human nature to draw assumptions, I know. However, maybe this will teach us to be more compassionate when judging people based on a first impression, brief encounter, or even a television episode. Watch the Terrill episode again, this time with the knowledge that you’ve gained through this tragedy. I’m willing to bet that you will come away with a very different idea about Scott and his struggle to be a better father. I know that I sure will.

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  • http://dogslife40@yahoo.com shelley

    I do not know the full story on this tragedy but I am sure if he was dealing with social security,that put him over the edge.They do it to many disabled americans.He obviously will not need their pitamance of a check now.