Fargo mom hopes sharing story of young son’s suicide saves other families from heartbreak

Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 6:04 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The mother of an 11-year-old boy is still grieving and searching for answers, but she’s sharing her story tonight in hopes of helping others who struggle with their mental health, especially kids.

Nolan Wilson, a fifth grader at Clara Barton Elementary, who was known to have a big and goofy heart, died by suicide last Thursday, Jan. 26.

Nolan loved to tell corny jokes, wrestle with his siblings and play video games; normal things for a kid his age. Nolan was a kid his family says was “so full of life.”

“I was very lucky to be his mom. He wasn’t just my son. He was my best friend, too,” Shushanna Perez Noriega, Nolan’s mother said.

The oldest of four, Nolan took the role of big brother seriously.

“I like to think of my children as their own little clique or group, and he was the glue. He was the glue,” Shushanna smiled.

It was only recently that Shushanna learned the glue to her little family was hiding immense pain behind his goofiness and big smile. Without warning or anything that sparked worry, she says she came home to a different reality last week after leaving to pick up dinner for the family.

“I will never have answers as to what changed his mind so irrationally to throw out all of the things he was looking forward to,” she said.

While her family is still picking up the pieces, Shushanna says she wanted to share Nolan’s story in hopes of saving just one life. She says she doesn’t want another parent to feel the heartbreak she’s going through.

“This is the last thing we expected,” she said.

Shushanna encourages families to reassure your child how loved and supported they are, and urges you to open the lines of communication with your child to make sure they feel heard.

“They’re needing us and we’re missing it just because they put a smile on. We pass it off as they’re fine,” Shushanna said.

And her message to the kids putting on a brave face: “Know that it’s ok to talk. If not your parent, talk to somebody. You don’t have to be strong.”

Nolan’s celebration of life will be held on, what would have been his 12th birthday, February 10 at RiverHaven Events Center in Moorhead from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. His family says the service is open to the public.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family with Nolan’s burial costs. You can find the link by clicking here.