From Anne Moss: If someone tells you something about suicide, please take it seriously. Do not keep it “secret.” This is not to shed blame. We all overlook signs of suicide. What I’m asking you to do is to pay attention and be there. Make the call and warn a mom, a friend, a relative.
I met Neico Hayden (pronounced NEEKO) at the James River Out of the Darkness walk in May 2017. I saw him and his family in the parking lot and walked over to them. I had no idea he was a recent suicide survivor until his mother told me his story. Chilling. Hopeful. Thankful. The roller coaster of emotions.
Neico was standing when I spoke with him. He listened to my story about Charles, hugged me and said it was a hug from my son. He was crying and so was I. Then he told me something that amazed me, “I’m so glad to be alive.”
by Robin Hayden
It all began on Sunday, December 18th 2016, the day our lives were forever changed. Neico, being a typical 17-year-old, wanted to experiment with alcohol. I was opposed completely to him doing so with his friends and I felt he would be safer at home where I could keep an eye on him.
I never imagined just how wrong I would be in making that decision
I allowed Neico to drink some wine and he also took a Bahama Mama that I had intended for myself but as I am not a drinker, so I decided to not drink it after all.
I went to bed around 10 pm and Neico was fine– he was laughing and being silly and I assumed all was good.
However about 11:30pm, my boyfriend came home from a music gig and woke me up saying there was a weird sound coming from Neico’s room and his door was locked. As we proceeded to open the door I was not prepared for the horror of what I found. There on the floor was Neico with a gaping wound to his face– my worst nightmare. He had shot himself in the face with a shotgun.
As paramedics and police arrived within minutes, we were told they were bringing him to Chippenham as it was the closest trauma center outside of VCU. Once there, he was given 5 blood transfusions and the trauma surgeon performed immediate surgery to try and stop the bleeding.
Six hours later the neurosurgeon came out to get us and tell us he had survived the surgery and they were prepping him to be airlifted to VCU health in the STICU. He asked if we wanted to see him before. I was not prepared for what I was about to see.
He looked like a giant Q-tip with a hose coming out of his mouth. He was hooked up to several machines. All very frightening.
Once he was at VCU, the Doctors there gave Neico less than 1% survival rate. They told us IF he survived, he would probably never walk, talk, eat or breathe with a trachea.
Preparing for the worst
They said he would have no cognitive abilities and would never make decisions or have a filter–that was all best case scenario. Most likely, we would have to make a decision within the next week or so about his life. His kidneys were failing, his liver was failing and he required three blood pressure medicines to keep him alive and he was on a ventilator.
I asked them have they met my God? They looked at me like I was crazy. I said well I thank you for all you are doing but God has the final say and I don’t believe God is ready for him.
Again they looked at me crazy and said you can believe whatever you like but we are telling you medically how it is.
That night my daughter laid across Neico and cried and pleaded and poured her heart out. We never left his side.
Two days later, he was down to one blood pressure med, about 70% breathing on his own and his liver and kidneys were starting to rebound.
Over the course of the next week, they discovered five aneurysms in his face and his CT scan showed he had suffered a stroke on his left side of the brain.
Again they had no hope, but I did anyway
God did, and his prayer chain was in almost every state and beyond to Scotland, Germany and Japan as friends, new people and so on. Again he proved to be a fighter.
He made it through and one day as I was heading out I said Neico I love you. Can you show me you love me? He lifted his hands and made a heart!
From that day on, he continued to amaze his doctors and woo them with his love of music by playing his guitar and drums and always listening to music. He communicated with his hands and sometimes would write.
He was moved on February 2, 2017 to the North building for rehab. There, he was required to walk 300 feet by the end of February. He did that by day 3.
From there he progressed further and further with talking, walking and eating. He was released on March 2,2017 and he WALKED out of the hospital. Nico continues to amaze everyone with his persistence in getting better. He sits here and does school work, is continent, has regained both short and long-term memory.
He is running at therapy and is fully able to communicate with us. It has been 5 months since that fateful night and we are truly blessed by God’s hands that he has done so well and has survived the unsurvivable.
Neico is scheduled to graduate on June 7, 2017
He will walk the podium. He has no sight but we and his friends will stand tall with him as he is handed his diploma.
He is slated to have reconstructive surgery on his nose and sinus area within the next few weeks. I am praying God guides the surgeon’s hands and continues to allow Neico to get stronger so he can tell his story in hopes of preventing someone else from going through this.
Thank you again for reading.
Videos of Neico before shared by his mom
12 thoughts on “Neico Hayden’s amazing story of surviving a suicide attempt #Neicostrong”
I think this is an incredible story. How is he doing now?
You may not remember me because we only really talked to each other once. This is Chief Kaupish’s little sister, Vivian. I remember the last time I saw you before the accident and think about it often. I was staying after school and in the ROTC room and you were there and you high-fived me before leaving to go home and said ‘good luck’ on my air rifle practice. You may not know this but that really meant a lot to me because I was having a very stressful week and your touch of support really helped me. And to this day, you are still helping me. Then I saw you walking at graduation and I started crying because I didn’t realize how well you were doing. I cheered louder than I ever have before when they called your name and handed you your diploma. You are showing me how strong people can be and it is really inspiring to me in ways I cannot even express. Everyone at ROTC is thinking of you and sending their love, but I wanted to send my own message. So here it is. We all love you so much, Neico, and hope to see more great things from you.
Neico was a friend and my sisters boyfriend and he was hilarious to all of us
Important that he remain your friend now. I am sure he could use the support.
So this really touched my heart. Nieco was a friend of mine in 1st grade at Reams Road Elementary. To here his testimony makes me happy.
Thank you isiah, I read him your message and he wanted me to tell you thank you and that he is praying for you. He is strong and together with gods guidance we will all persevere.
Robin and neico
What a moving story. Thank you for sharing it. Prayers and wishes for Nieco to continue to heal.
Thank you Margaret
My son attempted suicide by overdose on psych meds in Feb. 2016. I believe it was only God’s mercy that allowed my husband to find him, unconscious in his bed, when he went to pick Danny up to take him to an appointment at a local mental health clinic. EMT’s told my husband that if he hadn’t gotten there when he did, Danny would have surely died within 30 minutes. After the police and ambulance left Danny’s home, my husband just stood and looked around, and spotted a piece of paper lying on the breakfast bar. It was ‘poetry’ that Danny had obviously written the night before, when he made the decision to OD and leave this world. The ‘poem’ stated that he knew he was a loser and didn’t deserve to remain here, and an even bigger loser because he was broke, and couldn’t buy a gun to ‘do the job right’. More than year later, my husband still has flashbacks to that day when he found Danny unconscious. I can’t even imagine how it would have affected him if he had found Danny as you found your precious son. May God continue to work in the life of your son…and your life. God bless you all. <3
Thank you so much. I’m so sorry for what you all and your son have gone through. Praying he like neico has realized he is too important and has work still do here and he is not a loser or a failure. He took a turn on the winding road called life and now he can turn the right way. He is worth so much more than he ever thought he was back then I pray he now believes that so you and your husband and family can heal. At first I couldn’t close my eyes without seeing it and I would quickly open them and then I said until I face the realty of it this is how I will be and decided I couldn’t keep going like that so one night I closed my eyes and forced them to stay closed and let it flood me over and over until I no longer feared it. His rebound and survival has allowed me to let that go and place it in gods hands and move forward with his new journey. I won’t lie and say from time to time it doesn’t creep in because it does but again I let it flood and let it go. Some say it’s denial others say ptsd I say I faced it, dealt with it and moved away from it and pray it never effects me.
Thank you again
Robin!! As a Mother who just recently lost my son to suicide I am so very grateful that the Lord said NO! Neico will not die!!! And so relieved and happy that he’s happy to be alive. May the Lord take away the initial horror and shock of first finding him and totally replace it with joy and gratitude. Sincerely Diane Fielder McCormick
First and foremost I am so sorry for the loss of your son. My heart breaks for you, and even though our circumstances are different they are the same and I am here for you to listen,cry with or just sit in silence whatever you need. Thank you for your kind words I believe neico was saved for reasons we may. Ever fully know but that he is meant to spread his word and help others. Thank you again