We Are Not Bulletproof

We need to remember we are not bulletproof

Today started like any other day.  I woke up and thought I would catch up on some of the blogs from my RSS Feeds before my daughter woke up and started her day.  Imagine my surprise when I began reading Brass Tack Thinking written by Amber Naslund.  Her blog which is one of my favorites took me back.

We Are Not Bulletproof

Popular social media personality and online marketing strategist, Trey Pennington committed suicide yesterday.  Although, I have never met Trey personally, we have chatted on social media.  In 2008, he was one of the first Twitter users I tweeted with.  He made my day with his personal and unique style.  This casual and approachable style, influenced me in my own personal voice and strategy on social media.

Although we are transparent in the conversations and statuses we post online, readers don’t often see the full picture of who the user truly is.  Individuals control the message, content shared, and amount of personal information.  Those of us who use social media as a business tool are very selective in the messages, mentions, and posts we submit.  Like me, Trey made a living promoting marketing online as a consultant and a keynote speaker.

No matter how successful or famous we are, we are not bulletproof.  As humans we all face adversity in many different forms like disease, tragedy, and life.  Some we are handed from birth, biological, or others based on choices made in a blink of an eye.

Last October, my cousin made a decision that like Trey has forever changed me and my family’s life by committing suicide.  And even though he has been removed from this earth, I still see him everywhere.

My cousin like Trey carefully thought through his decision.  Just 24 hours before Trey made the decision to end his life, he became an organ donar, a decision which he posted on his Facebook profile.  Even in his final moments, Trey was fighting his disease continuing to think of others.

It’s moments like these we find the strength and comfort in others where we are inclined to share, show and discuss our successes, adversity, and weakness.  Trey, you’ve made an impact on lives through your presence both offline and on.

Because we are not bulletproof.  We’re human beings, and no matter how much money, social media celebrity, or success one has throughout their life, we’re not bulletproof.  We’re facing life choices, decisions, and adversity every single day.

My heart goes out to Trey’s family and friends.  Although I have never met you, you are in my thoughts and heart.  

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell is the founder of Workology, a digital resource that reaches more than a half million HR and workplace leaders each month and host of the Workology Podcast. Jessica lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, daughter, and an assortment of furry family members.

Reader Interactions


  1. Hope Stern says

    Words fail. …..
    I wish we were kinder, gentler in this world because perhaps we can then SEE what others are trying to tell us….I am not sure….

    I am saddened by the loss of a good soul like Trey and also, your cousin.
    I have a strange feeling that many of us know someone in this situation but are not truly aware of it.
    Sobbering morning. I read your blog and Amber’s blog…..it made all the things I am juggling and struggling with a little less important and a little less meaningful.

    My sympathies to the family also


    • Jessica Miller-Merrell says

      Thanks Hope. It does make all the stuff we worry about every day seem so silly. There are so many people that we care about and love that we need to make sure we share that with every single day.

      I appreciate your comment, and I hope that Trey’s family finds comfort in how the social media community is supporting them.


  2. Rebel Johnson says

    So sorry for your loss, and my prayers are with the family of Trey. It is so hard for me to imagine the complete and total loss of all hope that occurs when someone decides to take their own life…yet it happens every day. Something I heard a long time ago from a close friend, you just never know when that person is being rude to you at the check-out, cut you off on the interstate or screamed at you on the phone…just what is going on in their life.

      • Rebel Johnson says

        Jessica I have a close friend that lost her Dad and brother to suicide. It is so swept under the rug. I remember working in a hospital ER years ago. It seemed like every month we would check this one young woman in. Everyone that worked there became desensitized to the shock of seeing her yet again and again. Until one evening she came in too late. It has been 25 years but I remember her name and her face as if it was yesterday. I just could not understand why she could not get the help that she so desperately cried out for. Everyone around her had become oblivious to her cries and thought she was just crying wolf…until it was just too late to bring her back.


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