A downpour gives way to drizzle and a double rainbow Sunday as hundreds gather at the Auburn Suburban Baseball & Softball complex on Stevens Mill Road to honor the memory of Elliott Hill, the Edward Little High School student who died by suicide last Wednesday. He was 16. Joe Charpentier/Sun Journal

AUBURN — Hundreds of people gathered Sunday at the Auburn Suburban Baseball & Softball complex for a candlelight vigil to remember Edward Little High School student Elliott Hill, who died by suicide last Wednesday.

A collage of photographs of Elliott Hill is displayed Sunday at a vigil for the Edward Little High School student who died by suicide last Wednesday. He was 16. Joe Charpentier/Sun Journal

Family members, friends and neighbors at the vigil described Hill in many ways: star athlete, grease monkey and automobile enthusiast, musician, outdoorsman, old soul and true friend. He was 16.

Hill was one of Edward Little High School’s star soccer and baseball players. In winter, he would play unified basketball with friends with special needs. He played drums in a band called Amplifiers and participated in school bands since he was in fifth grade.

After hearing some of Hill’s favorite tunes, played by the local band Goff Hill Rundown, his bandmates, Dexter Morin and Kai Thistle, played the song “Monsters,” by James Blunt, to honor their friend.

“I’ve been friends with Elliott my entire life,” Morin said. “I know for a fact the last thing I said to him was, ‘I love you.'”

About two dozen people — some close to Hill, others on the periphery of his life — told stories of how he had helped them.

Advertisement

A smile from Hill, infectious and bright, or a simple “Hello” or “Are you OK?” could make all the difference in a person’s day,  friends told those who had gathered Sunday to remember him.

Kai Thistle, left, and Dexter Morin, who were in a band with Elliott Hill, perform James Blunt’s “Monsters” on Sunday as hundreds gather at the Auburn Suburban Baseball & Softball complex on Stevens Mill Road to remember Hill, the Edward Little High School student who died by suicide last Wednesday. He was 16. Joe Charpentier/Sun Journal

Elliott Hill’s younger brother, Joshua, said he would miss spending time with his brother, including riding around in his truck “no matter how fast it was or whether I felt like I was going to die or not.”

“He was always a good time,” Joshua Hill said.

Met with laughter from the crowd, the boy continued: “I’ll never forget this one time when we were coming home and he had a rough day and I was trying to cheer him up. I said, ‘You want to go to Dairy Joy?’ He told me, ‘That might be the only good idea I’ve heard this entire day.’

“I’ll miss him throwing me into a radiator, too. There’s nothing I won’t miss about him. That’s all I have to say.”

Elliott Hill’s father, Rodney, said no matter the interaction people had with his son, including through baseball, soccer, basketball or music, he “always celebrated you and appreciated you because of your qualities.”

Advertisement

Rodney Hill said his son’s many interests and passions created pressure that many teens feel through athletics, in the classroom, in their social circles and at home.

“Maybe this pressure can be so incredibly heavy that you find a dark place in your mind where you feel there is no way out, or that the way out isn’t worth finding,” Rodney Hill said. “And maybe in this dark place, you desperately want help. Or maybe in this dark place, you don’t think about help; rather, you think about ending it all.

Heather Hill performs Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” on Sunday in memory of Hill’s son, Elliott, as hundreds gather at the Auburn Suburban Baseball & Softball complex on Stevens Mill Road to remember the Edward Little High School student who died by suicide last Wednesday. He was 16. Joe Charpentier/Sun Journal

“If you ever find a place that resembles that, you remember us and remember this, if you can: Please tell someone who loves you. If you can, please tell someone who you love. And if you can’t tell any of those people, call or text 988 and tell a complete stranger, who is available and waiting for you to text and hoping you will call them. Call me. I’ll help you. Elliott, we love you forever.”

Before performing Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” Elliott Hill’s mother, Heather, offered thanks for all the memories and kind words.

“It helps to see all of you here and doing well. He, I’m sure, would have loved this,” she said. “Just, please, I can’t say enough. If you need somebody, reach out. Don’t stay in darkness, don’t stay alone. Talk. Don’t hold things back.

“I don’t know what he was going through, I never will, but I just want you all to take care of one another. Be kind to each other and use his examples. He was always kind to everyone and a friend to everyone. Everyone, make sure you have somebody — if you’re not feeling right — to talk to.”

The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available by calling or texting 988 if you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide. Organizations focused on mental health crises include the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255; the Crisis Text Line, which can be reached by texting “HOME” to 741741; and The Trevor Project, which focuses on LGBTQ Youth and can be reached by telephone at 1-866-488-7386 or by texting START to 678678.

Hundreds gather Sunday at the Auburn Suburban Baseball & Softball complex on Stevens Mill Road to remember Elliott Hill, the Edward Little High School student who died by suicide last Wednesday. He was 16. Joe Charpentier/Sun Journal

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.