Who was Spencer Smith? Maine teen kills himself after struggling with Covid isolation, parents regret not seeing signs
Jay, the teen's father, regrets that the family 'missed catching the signs that things were getting worse for him' over the last few months
BRUNSWICK, MAINE: Up until a year ago, the now 16-year-old Spencer Smith was just another sophomore student at the Brunswick High School in Maine. Studying, chilling and hanging out with friends - the classic life of a high school student. That was before Covid-19 hit and the country went into a lockdown. It might have been safer, but the isolation of the lockdown was not easy on anyone. When schools opened, they did so virtually hosting classes on Zoom. It was around this time that the loneliness brought on by the safety norms completely took over Spencer's life and cut it short. The teenager died by suicide after struggling with the isolation.
According to reports by WMTV, Spencer had found his online class schedule challenging since it meant he had to stay away from his friends for longer. He chose to stay at home and not attend the one day of in-person classes because he found it really difficult to connect with them. At the same time, his grades were slipping. Once upon a time, he worked two jobs, spent time with family and friends, and played football.
"The social distance ain't working for the kids. I mean, the kids are having it hard," Jay Smith, his father told WMTV.
Today, as in most cases without closure, the family that Spencer left behind blames themselves for his actions. "Spencer had a very kind heart. He was a fun-loving kid, but we didn't see that pain that apparently he was in," Spencer's father said.
What makes the news even more difficult to accept is not the fact that Spencer never shared anything with his family but that he went on with his days as usual. His father Jay added that he had spent the summer gearing up to be a lineman for the football team. But when the school replaced it with flag football, Spencer lost all hope for a better future.
"As soon as he found out it wasn't going to be a regular football season, looking back, we noticed he stopped working out," Jay recalled. "He stopped riding his bike as much to the point he didn't even work out anymore. Instead of working out, he took naps."
Jay regrets that the family "missed catching the signs that things were getting worse for him" over the last few months. Spencer, unfortunately, killed himself on December 4, 2020. "He wasn’t average. He was our son. But that’s not the life he wanted. He wanted more out of life. He wanted everything out of life."
And so, barely a week into their grief, the Smith family has a message for every American family. "I'm not doing this about Spencer. I'm not trying to talk to you about Spencer. I'm talking about all teenagers and the way they feel," he said.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page for his funeral and burial expenses. Jay plans to donate additional money to the Brunswick Dragons football team, which his son loved being a part of.