1. Tamar Cole
    Tamar Cole November 2, 2021 at 11:40 am | | Reply

    To listen to this podcast is one of the most extraordinary experiences of humanity, of community, of life, of death, of loss, of belonging, of compassion, of mystery, and transcendence. My deepest appreciation and gratitude goes out to Tara Reese and all who spoke on these interviews. And to Erica for having the heart and soul, talent and experience to do this important work so beautifully and honestly.

    1. wren grace
      wren grace November 15, 2021 at 6:31 pm | | Reply

      Thanks for expressing it better than I could!

  2. Deb Kabin
    Deb Kabin November 2, 2021 at 11:58 am | | Reply

    So beautifully done.
    What a kid.
    What a community.
    Bless his family

  3. Deb Hall
    Deb Hall November 2, 2021 at 12:01 pm | | Reply

    Can life be any more special, please let his family know how much we care. Thank you Erica this was very carefully and well done.How can tears not flow with an episode like this. Such bravery from all those who contributed.

  4. Stewart DesMeules
    Stewart DesMeules November 2, 2021 at 12:02 pm | | Reply

    Thank you for this.

  5. Alexis Harte
    Alexis Harte November 2, 2021 at 12:16 pm | | Reply

    This is so beautiful and touching.

    1. Stephanie Parsons
      Stephanie Parsons June 22, 2022 at 10:26 pm | | Reply

      This is a beautiful tribute to this special boy, his Mom and the community. It seems that Finn had the capacity to feel deeply and this world can be overwhelming. He made a difference to people, what a gift. The bell, I love the bell and I wish I grew up in a town with a special bell. What a beautiful story, thank you for sharing ❤️.

  6. Andrew Eldredge
    Andrew Eldredge November 2, 2021 at 1:47 pm | | Reply

    Wow. Nourishing in the worst and best of ways.

  7. Barbara
    Barbara November 2, 2021 at 2:01 pm | | Reply

    This is one for the archives of Hardwick and Greensboro, if not Vermont. It must not be lost. It’s so touching , the individuals , the disparate cultures in adjacent towns that in the end find in their humanity a way to come together to make sense of this senseless end of life. As a Vermonter it makes me proud. Thank you, Erica , for this fine effort.

    1. Kevin Astle
      Kevin Astle April 17, 2022 at 10:58 am | | Reply

      I truly appreciate the care with which this too brief life of a fine young man was presented. Thank you. I find myself deeply saddened while simultaneously powerfully heartened by the loving resilient honest voices within. One of the last things my mother said through a computer voice she typed out having lost her voice to ALS was “forgive everyone “. I would only add to that what this story emphasizes, celebrate everyone. I hope Tara and her family are blessed with the sounds of baseballs and bells for years to come.

  8. Mac Lanphear
    Mac Lanphear November 2, 2021 at 2:06 pm | | Reply

    Thank you, Erica. His story couldn’t be told any better.

  9. Beverly Taft
    Beverly Taft November 2, 2021 at 5:28 pm | | Reply

    So beautiful that you connected all of us with this story. I sobbed along with everyone, and felt their loss, and was amazed at their clarity, and how they found just the right words. I loved the ’83 truck, and the barely audible guys talking about the foxes that got their chickens (? I guess they were chickens). You give us so much, Erica. Thank you. Love to Finn’s family and community and beyond.

  10. Tristan Stowards
    Tristan Stowards November 2, 2021 at 8:50 pm | | Reply

    This story reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut’s advice to the babies “God Damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”
    I cried just from looking at the images, and reading the text, before I even listened to the story. I want express my gratitude to you, Erica, and to all the people who made this show possible.

  11. Rebecca
    Rebecca November 3, 2021 at 1:11 am | | Reply

    Thank you, Tara, Finn’s Dad (heard for a moment), and Erica- I am
    So moved by this story, wondering how I am just hearing Finn’s
    Story now for the first time. I also
    Wonder about the one seemingly provocative, breasted picture- so outside his
    Norm, yet included in these pics.

  12. Melody Wilhoit
    Melody Wilhoit November 3, 2021 at 1:15 am | | Reply

    Beautiful story. I remember walking down those halls of Hazen when I was in school and seeing Finn quite a few times. Even if I wasn’t close to him, at least I got to meet him in person, and now hear his story…his legacy. Thank you Erica, and my condolences to family, friends, and loved ones.

  13. Chris Browne
    Chris Browne November 3, 2021 at 2:19 am | | Reply

    This episode was incredible. Thank you to Finns family and friends for their generous candor, and Erica and her team for producing such an authentic and moving podcast.

  14. Judith Levine
    Judith Levine November 3, 2021 at 10:10 am | | Reply

    Heartbreaking and exquisite. Thank you, Erica. Thank you, Tara. Love to everyone in Hardwick.

  15. Bonnie Kitching
    Bonnie Kitching November 3, 2021 at 4:07 pm | | Reply

    Thank you for this incredibly moving story.
    To Finn’s family…..I am so sorry for your loss.
    He was an amazing young man.

  16. erika h.
    erika h. November 3, 2021 at 5:16 pm | | Reply

    oh erica. what a triumph in audio storytelling.
    you have gracefully and bravely unfolded and edited an astonishing message of community and connection that is always ripe for reminding.
    and for tara- and all those you interviewed– to illuminate even a tiny bit of what made finn extraordinary, while capturing his wish ring true, is a dauntless feat and a gift.

  17. Jari Chevalier
    Jari Chevalier November 3, 2021 at 8:02 pm | | Reply

    Well done, Erica! Thank you for this heartbreaking, beautiful experience. Finn’s mom Tara, thank you for all you shared. So much love.

    After your show ended, I thought of Leonard Cohen’s Ring the Bells and went and listened to it.

  18. Chris
    Chris November 3, 2021 at 8:04 pm | | Reply

    Thank you. What grace, joy and courage Tara had in sharing their family and community story and what skill you showed in honestly and delicately telling it to us. I will think of Finn when I hear bells from now on.

  19. Aimee Junker
    Aimee Junker November 3, 2021 at 8:29 pm | | Reply

    I have no words, Erica.
    Thank you for sharing Finn’s poignant story so beautifully.

  20. Liz Scharf
    Liz Scharf November 3, 2021 at 11:44 pm | | Reply

    Wow. This show left me breathless, Thank you Erica for introducing us to Finn. What a remarkable child. Tara, your boy is beautiful and a legacy.
    My heart goes out to you, his dad, his brother, and all the people he touched in his short precious life. May we all aspire to be the person Finn was. I have no doubt his spirit is with us, and we owe it to him to show kindness to others, patience for those we don’t get along with, gratitude for our family and friends, and respect for our natural world.

  21. robert porter
    robert porter November 4, 2021 at 8:37 am | | Reply

    Wow, that wrecked me.
    So many people said such interesting and touching things about a subject that is so sad and complicated. It really gives you hope somehow.
    While i was listening i kept thinking,partly to distract myself from the story because it is so intense, what a tremendous job you did bringing people, all kinds of different people, together, helping to heal, while most stories in the media today are designed to drive people apart.
    Now Finn lives in the memory of everyone who hears this show.

    1. wren grace
      wren grace November 15, 2021 at 6:36 pm | | Reply

      Yes, well said…he will always be in my heart and his mom Tara.

  22. Ellie Stubbs
    Ellie Stubbs November 4, 2021 at 11:16 am | | Reply

    Erica, Thank you for telling this story beautifully and with sensitivity. Having lost a young colleague to suicide last fall, I feel the heartache of Finn’s family, friends and community. The ‘why’ is never known and the pain of that, and the loss of a treasured person lingers.
    Sending love and strength to Finn’s family.

  23. Wayne Turner
    Wayne Turner November 4, 2021 at 3:56 pm | | Reply

    Amazingly well done. Thank you.

    I just made a long overdue donation, prompted into action (finally) by both this story and the update on Peter Dunning of Hill Farm. I grew up in Springfield until I was 9 (1972) when my family moved to Arizona, but my whole life until then was at DuBeau’s Trailer Park (it was a nice park then) on Brook Road. The park was owned by a farmer up the road (DuBeau, obviously :)), and his field to the east of our park butted up against Mile Hill Farm’s forest. So basically I spent a LOT of time playing in the woods that Peter would come to own just a few years after we moved away. It was FASCINATING in both your work and the documentary to see what over time became of the area right next to where I grew up.

    Here is the location if you want to map it: 43.32035249985192, -72.47659400417791

    Thanks again for all the great work. I look forward to hearing more.

    Wayne Turner
    Phoenix, AZ, but a Vermonter for life

  24. Kelly
    Kelly November 4, 2021 at 4:15 pm | | Reply

    Such a beautiful piece on such an impossibly hard experience…the telling of it was crushingly human and raw. Thank you for your editing and composition of it that unveils so much beauty and grief compassionately. And thank you endlessly to Tara for sharing her love and grief. The love for and life of Finn is rippling across the miles and forever in the ether ❤️

  25. Claire
    Claire November 4, 2021 at 4:29 pm | | Reply

    Such a beautiful life he is still teaching us how to live

  26. Christine Zachai
    Christine Zachai November 4, 2021 at 5:57 pm | | Reply

    We have a suicide problem in Vermont, that has become worse since covid, and I am so grateful to you, Erica, for sharing the exquisite heartbreak of the people who have been left behind just one – one – of these lost Vermonters. As a mom of a teenager, my heart broke listening to Tara so bravely describe Finn’s long hair, to Finn’s friends describing him as the perfect hipneck — and with no answers, no obvious way to prevent the next suicide, almost panicking thinking of our teens.

    This can’t be ok. This can’t be our norm as a state. I don’t know what the answers are, but I have to think that having our hearts collectively broken by understanding that we have lost this beautiful person is a healthy first step.

  27. Susan Clark
    Susan Clark November 4, 2021 at 8:10 pm | | Reply

    Beautiful, painful, poignant, exploding with life and grief and community and transcendence. This is a gift. Thank you, Erica.

  28. Marco
    Marco November 5, 2021 at 1:07 am | | Reply

    Daring to articulate the “unspeakable” is such brave medicine.
    Thanks to you Erica for your part and to them for theirs.

    This came to me and I must share.
    Enjoy the parallels. May it soothe.

    Johnny’s got high expectations. He’s gonna rise
    Everyone knows that Johnny is ready. He’s ready to fly

    Up on the rooftop he turns to the crowd
    No one is waiting, ‘cause no one is there

    Nobody knows why Elvis threw it all away
    Nobody knows what Ruby had to hide
    Nobody knows why some of us get broken hearts
    And some of us find a world that’s clear and bright

    You could be packed up and ready
    Knowing exactly where to go
    How come you miss the connection?
    No use in asking, the answer is nobody knows
    No use in asking, the answer is nobody knows

    Johnny will keep his illusions. What else can he do?
    And you can pretend that it would be different
    if it happened to you

    But up on the rooftop, it’s a whole other world
    And who could see heaven, and not want to stay?

    Nobody knows why Elvis threw it all away
    Nobody knows what Ruby had to hide
    Nobody knows why some of us get broken hearts
    And some of us find a world that’s clear and bright

  29. Thea Storz
    Thea Storz November 5, 2021 at 4:04 pm | | Reply

    Thanks for this episode Erica. I am deeply grateful to Tara for sharing Finn’s glorious being with us.

  30. Mark Bushnell
    Mark Bushnell November 5, 2021 at 9:25 pm | | Reply

    This heartbreaking, yet inspiring story will help shape how I view the world for months or years to come. This is one of those too-rare cases when a profound story somehow lands in the hands of a storyteller who is worthy of being given the honor to tell it.

  31. kristin
    kristin November 5, 2021 at 10:22 pm | | Reply

    beautiful beautiful beautiful,
    beautiful boy.
    finnyboy forever and always.

    may his light continue to shine

  32. Mollee
    Mollee November 5, 2021 at 11:34 pm | | Reply

    Thank you, Erica, for helping to show the world what an unbelievable light Finn Rooney shone on this earth and now beyond it. Your telling of this part of his story is so beautiful and so heartbreaking all at the same time. Sending so much love to Tara and Lyle and Alex and their community from their other community here in Marin County, CA.

  33. Tim W.
    Tim W. November 6, 2021 at 2:38 am | | Reply

    What a beautifully written and narrated podcast. Finn is truly one of a kind, his love of earth, people and animals is unmatched. Thank you Finn we miss you and love you.

  34. Llu Mulvaney-Stanak
    Llu Mulvaney-Stanak November 6, 2021 at 11:12 am | | Reply

    This is the most powerful and beautiful piece of radio/audio I have heard in a long time. I was moved to tears from the humanity of it and the Vermonty-ness of it. Thank you for holding such loving space for all of Finn’s loved ones to share the story of his life and of how they have grown closer as a community. Finn’s mom put it best, “we [really] are alive for one another.” A very resonate reminder for the right now as well. You do Vermont a great honor by collecting our stories the way you do, thank you.

  35. Rick
    Rick November 6, 2021 at 3:16 pm | | Reply

    This is an amazing piece of radio unlike I have heard in a long time. I’ve had students attempt and fail, and attempt and succeed at suicide and so this tribute to the beauty of one such human is deeply touching and affecting to me.

    My audio/twitter friend Erica is an amazing interviewer and is so great at getting people to trust themselves and entrust their stories to her. And then just getting out of the way and letting the story unfold… she’ll add a bird or a cricket, or rain on leaves, or some natural sound, but that’s about all.

    Finn’s mom’s story is one of the most beautiful pieces of narration of a heart breaking I have ever heard. It inhabits the strange territory between utterly personal agony and jubilant reverence for beauty and compassion. I felt blessed by her candor and revelation. What an instantaneously attuned seer and oddly circumscribed ululator. I understand why Finn longed for a bell’s simple declarations. He learned it, in part, from her I’m sure.

    I just gasped and bawled through it all… I’m not sure how this story will chime or clang with yours, but give a listen when you have a moment and look at all of the pictures… this young man was so gorgeous and loved and this story keeps his energy moving forward into the universe… listen and help it move.

  36. Laura M
    Laura M November 7, 2021 at 11:45 am | | Reply

    What a heartbreaking story told with so much compassion and insight. A tragedy that brought out the best of humanity and a community. Finn’s mother, Tara, is amazingly strong to share her story so articulately with so much passion. My heart goes out to Finn’s family. Peace be with Finn and those who loved him.

  37. Jeb Sharp
    Jeb Sharp November 8, 2021 at 7:22 am | | Reply

    It’s all been said above but just wanted to thank you for an incredible story. The kind of story that alters the trajectory of one’s day if not one’s life. I am sure I will listen to it again and again.

  38. Erik
    Erik November 9, 2021 at 12:05 pm | | Reply

    I was curious if you had any models for your story Finn and the Bell? It feels weird to ask a technical question about such an emotionally powerful story, but one reason I thought it was so good was that it’s a profile without ever having the subject in the story. I’ve read stories like this (Sinatra Has a Cold) but haven’t heard it in radio before, though I’ve wanted to try it myself. I’d love to hear if you had any inspiration for it. Thanks Erica.

  39. Chip Mitiguy
    Chip Mitiguy November 9, 2021 at 10:33 pm | | Reply

    I don’t have much patience. It’s unusual for me to stick with things until the end. Dear friends and family, stick with it. It will be worth your while. At the beginning, I started to cry. Not softly weeping, but great heaving sobs. And I didn’t stop until this piece ended, and then afterward for a while. For so many reasons.

  40. maureen
    maureen November 10, 2021 at 9:29 am | | Reply

    This is one of the most moving stories I have ever heard. I no longer live in Hardwick but grew up there and lived in Greensboro as well. Listening I felt an overwhelming sense of pride in the community I hail from and deeply miss the connections people have there. Someday I hope to hear Finn’s bell ring out.

  41. Todd T Milazzo
    Todd T Milazzo November 10, 2021 at 12:12 pm | | Reply

    Amazing episode, Erica. Heart-wrenching, but absolutely world class. Finn would want the bell rung for this. Ty.

  42. Annie
    Annie November 10, 2021 at 2:49 pm | | Reply

    This took me deep inside and all the way outside at the same time…put off listening to it for fear of having all my own losses dredged up and didn’t want to drown in sorrow. This is a remarkable gift and a testament to what love is. Thank you Tara and thank you Erica.

  43. Spike Eskin
    Spike Eskin November 13, 2021 at 8:52 am | | Reply

    One of the best and definitely the most touching podcast episodes I’ve ever listened to. Incredible work. Rest In Peace, Finn.

  44. Debbie Yost
    Debbie Yost November 14, 2021 at 5:58 pm | | Reply

    Such a beautiful and heart wrenching story. So beautifully put together and told with such honesty and love. Amazing.

  45. Ross L.
    Ross L. November 15, 2021 at 7:54 pm | | Reply

    Thank you for telling this story and describing Finn so well. I feel I knew him and I truly feel his loss.

  46. Marina
    Marina November 15, 2021 at 9:11 pm | | Reply

    I’m a very new audio storyteller, at the onset of my career. This is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever listened to. I pressed play, and could do nothing for the next half hour except scroll through the photos of this so beautiful young man.

  47. Vanessa
    Vanessa November 16, 2021 at 7:52 am | | Reply

    What could I possibly say what hasn’t been said. This episode is outstanding…
    I listen to a lot of podcasts and storytelling, and I can honestly say that this is the most touching and beautiful I have ever heard. I puttered around the house while listening, but often found myself standing still, staring blankly, and wishing for a different outcome. I cried and cried for Tara and Lyle, and for Finn’s stunning life and death. This was a heartbreaking roller coaster ride.
    This kind of storytelling is so important! Thank you for bringing it to us Erica. I hope you NEVER have to publish another episode like this again.
    May Finn’s impact and memory ring out like the bell…

  48. Luke
    Luke November 16, 2021 at 7:55 am | | Reply

    Thank you. Thank you. I walked around Tokyo tonight listening to these voices, this podcast. I so value hearing the fricken heart truth of peoples’ lives. Erica, I value what you do.

  49. Tim D
    Tim D November 16, 2021 at 11:48 am | | Reply

    Thank you for recording and preserving the human experience all these years. I’ve been moved by so many of your episodes and this one was no different, beautiful, deeply moving, and terribly sad.

  50. Diane L
    Diane L November 18, 2021 at 6:42 pm | | Reply

    RIP you beautiful young man. You touch so many lives, including mine. Thank you for posting this. My heart is with you.

  51. Ben Hewitt
    Ben Hewitt November 19, 2021 at 5:51 am | | Reply

    you did a really nice job on this, Erica.

  52. Sarah Stewart
    Sarah Stewart November 19, 2021 at 10:58 am | | Reply

    For those of us who’ve been left behind by the suicide of a loved one, this is pure medicine. It took me weeks to listen to this because I was afraid. But the the people’s voices, bats cracking balls, the puppet band, and the river flowing at the fishing spot- so much life. There aren’t really words to describe how beautiful it all is. Thank you.

  53. Kelly
    Kelly November 19, 2021 at 1:40 pm | | Reply

    I’m listening from Scotland. This is a beautiful piece of work. So touching, so real and raw. Thank you, and thank you to all the people who contributed.

  54. Marina
    Marina November 22, 2021 at 11:55 am | | Reply

    Thank you. As someone who grew up in Hardwick and still lives in this community, as a mother, as a person so saddened by Finn’s death. Thank you. And thank you to Tara for sharing so openly – her words ripped through me. She is amazing. What a beautiful and important piece. You are a Vermont treasure, Erica.

  55. Ken B
    Ken B December 2, 2021 at 3:10 pm | | Reply

    Wow, Thank you deeply deeply moving

  56. Ty Robertson
    Ty Robertson December 3, 2021 at 11:42 am | | Reply

    I’m imagining how much this podcast must have taken out of you, Erica. It’s wrenching to listen to and I know you worked on this quite a while. It’s a brilliant piece. Take good care of yourself.

  57. Julie-Marie Bristol
    Julie-Marie Bristol December 4, 2021 at 10:08 am | | Reply

    Exquisitely sad, and yet there is hope and beauty in Finn’s story. He sought connection. His story reminds us to look to each other beyond all of those things that do not, ultimately, matter in the quiet moments. Through this telling of him, Finn has become as the bell he sought to return to his community – a melody sounding in every ear that cares to listen and every heart that recognises our humanness. Erica, you allowed the story almost to tell itself. Finn’s mum’s words lifted, for a time, the darkness of Finn’s death as she held it to the snow-speckled light in her moment of recognition. To all who knew Finn, I hope that your memories and experiences of him at least balance the pain of his loss, if not outweigh it.

    Erica, hope you and H are well and happy.

  58. Anne
    Anne December 5, 2021 at 7:57 am | | Reply

    Thank you Erica there’s just so much brilliance to the story. And you manage to capture it and share it with us. The brilliance of this young being, his family, his life lived in Hardwick, the brilliance of this community.The most poignant part of this story for me was how you captured the brilliance of the ending of his life, not the actual ending but the coalescence of his soul energy just pass that moment of his leaving and Tara’s magnificent experience in feeling that. Exquisitely heartbreaking and heart enlivening all at once. Thank you for this beautiful gift.

  59. Eileen
    Eileen December 5, 2021 at 7:21 pm | | Reply

    Profoundly moving. Still wiping the tears away. What a gift Finn was, what an immense act of bravery Tara showed, what talent and compassion you brought to this work, Erica. Never to be forgotten. Thank you.

  60. Rob
    Rob December 5, 2021 at 7:33 pm | | Reply

    Thank you, Erika, for having the courage to work on this project and the skill to pull it off in a way that is a gift for everyone. And thank you to Tara, for having the courage to face such enormous grief and work to benefit others in doing so. It is incomprehensible sad and still so beautiful. If only we could all realize what Tara realized it that horrible moment, that we are put here, in these bodies, at this time, for each other.

  61. Jessica Lindert
    Jessica Lindert December 6, 2021 at 8:22 am | | Reply

    “It kind of was like me, Finn, and God.” I hardly have words after hearing this story. I feel such love and gratitude to Tara, all of the voices, and Erica for bringing us this story. Many others have said how indelibly touched they feel by being allowed this closeness. I join that community.

  62. Netdahe Stoddard
    Netdahe Stoddard December 6, 2021 at 9:52 am | | Reply

    Thank you for this beautiful piece. Finn modeled strength and love for us in a way that is rare and invaluable. He dreamed the best for us all, worked to harmonize us in our beautiful differences and put his shoulder under anyone wanting to move with him toward the same. I’m better for knowing him and I bring him with me into my work in the world. Thank you Tara.

  63. Rip
    Rip December 6, 2021 at 10:47 am | | Reply

    Thank you for a very sensitive presentation. And this story about a wonderful family and their incredible tragedy.
    I’m so sorry to hear about this loss – I never knew Finn but now I do. And I miss him.

  64. Beth Thompson
    Beth Thompson December 6, 2021 at 10:47 am | | Reply

    This is the most poignant, honest, brave and beautiful piece I have ever listened to. I am touched beyond measure. Thank you for airing it. My motherheart is joined to all of yours.

  65. Nancy Riege
    Nancy Riege December 6, 2021 at 10:48 am | | Reply

    Finn and the Bell ~
    I feel so fortunate listening to this incredible conversation. Bringing community together through such a tragic event. Not just for Hardwick and Greensboro – Finn! You have reached others across the globe. Your desire to bring people together, from different walks of life will never end. You have done it and will continue to because your Mom was so generous with her grief.
    Thank you Erica. Thank you Tara for asking Erica. Thank you Rose for pointing out Erica.
    Thank you everyone.
    Thank you Finn.

  66. Karen Everitt
    Karen Everitt December 6, 2021 at 10:48 am | | Reply

    I’m grateful that I listened…..I wasn’t sure if I could. It was beautiful, gut-wrenching and full of courageous love! My son Symon died by suicide 22 yrs. ago when he was 21. Thank you Tara and Erica and everyone who put their heart out there to make this.

  67. Mary Gundel
    Mary Gundel December 6, 2021 at 10:49 am | | Reply

    This was an extraordinary piece of reporting – not an easy program to hear but I listened to it twice; it was so beautifully and tenderly delivered.
    We are very lucky to have Erica’s regular broadcasts telling the stories of Vermonters for Vermonters and the rest of the country. Please, VPR foster her; she is a Vermont treasure.

  68. Amy Tingle
    Amy Tingle December 6, 2021 at 10:49 am | | Reply

    I’m astounded, again. Since I listened to the episode when it first came out I’ve been wanting to listen once more but felt strange about it somehow, like gawking at the scene of a traffic accident, because it’s so raw. So I was glad today’s event and interview with Jane gave me an “excuse” to do it. I sat in my dark living room in front of the fire with the white lights of our small Christmas tree twinkling, my eyelids at half-mast, a cat in my lap. Cozy, as Finn would probably have called it.
    And I’m profoundly struck, again, by Tara’s willingness to share her grief, by the huge waves of emotion all three women did not try to mask, by Tara’s honesty which is a map she has sketched for us, a portal into some possibility, some way we might connect if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable with each other, to speak the truth with tenderness and trust. I’m overwhelmed with love for her and Erica and Jane and Finn and the world at large, everyone I’ve ever met and everyone I never will. I know what I want to do in honor of Finn—make community a verb not a noun as often as I can for the rest of my time here. Thank you all for sticking with it, for pushing through the discomfort you initially felt about how to bring Finn’s story to us, you did it beautifully and his light is absolutely undiminished.

  69. distracted December 6, 2021 at 12:32 pm |
  70. Finn and the Bell Conversation December 6, 2021 at 1:12 pm |
  71. Alice
    Alice December 6, 2021 at 9:17 pm | | Reply

    Thank you for sharing Finn and his mother’s bountiful love with us. What a gift. My heart goes out to you, Tara. Your loving courage has brought Finn to those of us who never knew him. Looking at the photos, I felt as if I was reunited with an old friend.

  72. Ellen Woodhouse
    Ellen Woodhouse December 7, 2021 at 5:38 am | | Reply

    THANK YOU Tara for sharing. Mother to mother, you are my hero. THANK YOU Erica and everyone who made Finns story possible for me to hear and feel in the depths of my soul. My wish for you Tara, is in those dark moments ahead, that you feel all the LOVE and support in these beautiful messages. Beautiful. Soulful. Honest. Courageous. Just precious.

  73. Liam Lyman-Leas
    Liam Lyman-Leas December 9, 2021 at 11:37 pm | | Reply

    Wow thank you for the podcast Finn and the bell. I’ve been listening to it on this cold night, and am feeling very at home hearing people’s memories, and feelings about my good friend. Also, thank you to everyone who has given it a listen or shown your love in any way to Finn and Finn’s family. The last time I saw Finn and got to hang out for a while was in the summer, he told me about his love for pies, especially with exotic berries, or blueberries, red and black currants if I’m not mistaken. We hung out for a long time. Also, he told me about hunting squirrels with a slingshot and living off the land. I played my guitar for him that day and nobody has ever shown as much support for my playing as much as he did. I was glad I got to know him while I could. I’ll miss his humor, his unconditional love for people, and the comradery he gave me as a chess opponent and on the soccer field.

  74. coleen
    coleen December 10, 2021 at 5:03 pm | | Reply

    It took me two or three tries to get through this one. I’m 49, mother to 4 and never in my life have I heard another mother capture the adoration of her son better. And never have I heard someone speak into words the mystery of when life leaves us and the energy of life and how our souls linger and long for each other. To Finn’s mom, you are Devine, thank you for telling us about him and having the willingness to give words to what devours most of us. Erica Heilman, all I can say is thank you for being willing and get on eye level with life’s raw moments and the good will to share it with us. You remind us what matters…. girl you’re better than going to church!

  75. Brady Dunklee
    Brady Dunklee December 10, 2021 at 7:41 pm | | Reply

    The compassion running through every fiber of this work breaks me open. Early in my grief for losing my partner to suicide, my oldest friend–a writer whose sister had died by suicide a few years before then–brought me a blank notebook. On the front page she had written “This is the medicine I know.”

    This is the medicine. Thank you.

  76. Sam Schindler
    Sam Schindler December 17, 2021 at 4:10 pm | | Reply

    Well, you’ve done it. I don’t think you need to make another show – ever. You’ve made the show of all shows. You can walk away knowing you’ve reached the pinnacle of your career as a podcast producer. (You should obviously make more, but seriously, this one takes the freakin cake.)

  77. Olga G
    Olga G December 20, 2021 at 8:56 pm | | Reply

    Thank you for creating and sharing. Know and love Tara through her Instagram. It was horrible to know about such a great loss, but wonderful thing to share of it the way you did. Maybe someone who’s feeling desperate will think of his decision and choose to live and learn more about his true uniqueness, indispensability for this world and all the love he might not have a clue about. And it’s true gift to know more about Finn himself and those who love him. With sadness and love, from Russia.

  78. Veda B Lyon
    Veda B Lyon December 25, 2021 at 12:53 pm | | Reply

    Many thanks Erica, such a fine piece – humanity, love, joy, the desolation of losing a person- someone clearly loved by so many- Your audio piece brings all of that – humanity, love, joy, desolation- close to the heart and mind-



  79. Natasha
    Natasha December 28, 2021 at 12:06 am | | Reply

    Wow, just wow. Deep in my own journey of grief from unexpected losses, this podcast episode is a true gift. In a way, it feels like the best kind of friend to have while going through a tragedy: one that doesn’t flinch away from the raw and unbearable — while also holding space for some light and levity. This episode also captures the immense beauty that can arise amidst grief in a way that does not discount its heaviness. A huge thank you to everyone who made this episode possible — and especially to everyone that was so generous in their grief. This episode accomplishes so much that simply goes beyond words. Thank you, Erica. What a powerful tribute to a beautiful soul and a beautiful family and community.

  80. Laurie S Darling
    Laurie S Darling December 29, 2021 at 11:42 am | | Reply

    Absolutely gut wrenching but yet hopeful at the same time? I just loved how the northern Vermonters took care of their own. I visited Hardwick in the 1970s with my aunt whose college roommate lived there…They are the salt of the earth people and it was reflected in this piece. I loved hearing the memories from everyone who contributed but particularly feel for Finn’s mom. No one should ever have to go through this. I am hoping I see a spotlight on a snowy night so that I can send a special prayer to the whole community. Well done.

  81. Alison Kelley
    Alison Kelley December 31, 2021 at 1:05 pm | | Reply

    This story rocked me. What a beautiful person this community was so lucky to know. Uncannily, I was listening this while getting to know a new town, and came upon the Rio Vista Compassion Garden. I’d never heard of a compassion garden, but how sad that we need them – yet, beautiful that they are there for us to remember and mourn. My heart goes out to Finn’s family and their fantastic friends and neighbors. Thank you for letting the rest of us get to know Finn, just a little. Thank you for showing me how to be a better community member.

  82. carolyn
    carolyn January 18, 2022 at 6:06 pm | | Reply

    Vermont has a child fatality review team and I learned about this podcast from one of our members today. I waited until the end of the day to listen to it. My own teenagers, home from school, are in the kitchen together as I write this. The pictures of Finn, especially the one of him in his hat on a cold sunny day, tore me in two. Our group often struggles with the staggering sadness of teenage suicides, the unspeakable loss and how to help the community grasp just how often it is occurring in our communities, how common it is for teenagers to have access to firearms and how this horrible thing can happen when they do. Sometimes there are warning signs but often there are not, their brains are still growing and forming and impulsive. They have amazing parents like Finn’s, have good friends, and do well in school. Finn’s death has many things in common with other amazing young people whose lives ended way too soon. I don’t pretend to know how we best address this crisis but I’m glad you are opening the way for people to talk about it. Finn’s parents are very brave and generous to allow his story to be shared. I do so appreciate the way you told it to us, and showed us the great qualities of one person we lost way too soon.

  83. Lacey Hogue
    Lacey Hogue March 11, 2022 at 12:45 pm | | Reply

    Absolutely beautiful. What a soul <3 I know he’s with Tara and Lyle every day as well as that amazing community!

  84. Adam
    Adam April 13, 2022 at 4:20 pm | | Reply

    I’ve been a constant listener for a while now but due to how much I listen to I sometimes have to clear the load and by mistake, I cleared this episode from my feed but after hearing you on 99PI I had to check this out. I wept so hard. This is so incredibly beautifully made. It’s almost like this was meant to be an audio-only piece of journalism too with the poignancy of the bell.

    Thanks Erica. Keep making this beautiful works of audio art.

  85. Jono A
    Jono A April 14, 2022 at 11:14 pm | | Reply

    Thank you so much for this beautiful and gut wrenching story. The impact of this story and his life will travel great distances. ‘Why are we here – but for each other’ – this story and Finn inspired me today.

  86. John Ganun
    John Ganun April 16, 2022 at 6:37 pm | | Reply

    This was wonderfully beautifully painfully heartbreaking and special. Thank you.

  87. Jay Callahan
    Jay Callahan April 17, 2022 at 9:06 am | | Reply

    We don’t listen to the radio and have almost sworn off mass media because of the inescapable mealy-mouthed deceit. Coming across Rumble Strip is like coming out of a cloud of bad smoke into clear air. Thank you (from Windham County) for your clear vision, skill and love, particularly in evidence in this program.


  88. David Whittingham
    David Whittingham April 19, 2022 at 4:45 pm | | Reply

    Thank you so much for Finn and the Bell. It was so heartfelt it really struck a chord with me. We lost our son at the age of 14 when he hanged himself in his bedroom – he left no note and we will never know why. It’s surely the worst thing that can happen to a family and even now, 33 years later, I, my wife and Peter’s younger brother live with the grief. Other people can help, and indeed helped us get through those terrible first few months. The way Finn’s death affected his community was a wonderful portrait of the best of the American way of life – something unfortunately we in Australia don’t always recognise. Thanks again.

  89. Anthony
    Anthony April 23, 2022 at 12:03 pm | | Reply

    Thank you for this x

  90. Janet in Germany
    Janet in Germany April 25, 2022 at 12:02 pm | | Reply

    I am so sad, so devastated, and yet I am glad to have discovered this episode and to have listened. Thank you so much for this beautiful work of art.

  91. Clare
    Clare May 3, 2022 at 5:49 am | | Reply

    I got to this via 99% Invisible (like many folk I suspect) and nearly didn’t listen because it felt like it would be too hard and too painful. So glad that I did and thank you, from the bottom of my heart to you for this. And to everyone who loves Finn who took the time and energy to talk about him and the experience of losing him. I wish, for you all, good things and peace and joy.

  92. David Matoushek
    David Matoushek May 17, 2022 at 10:41 pm | | Reply

    I have heard this particular episode not too long ago for research to hear all the Peabody Award nominees for 2021. After hearing it, I have to say this: I hope you get this award this year. This episode felt emotional to me and it is a story that appeals to me in terms of sympathy. Even if it doesn’t win, at least this nomination will serve as a badge of honor. I can’t wait to hear what you bring to the table next.

  93. Rowshan Nemazee
    Rowshan Nemazee June 11, 2022 at 4:39 pm | | Reply

    An incredible story told with the most beautiful tones of compassion and the colors of a life well-lived, despite its shortness. It speaks to humanity and grief and courage and the best in our willingness to be. God bless you, Finn. You gave more to your community in a few short years that many give in a lifetime. Be at peace. And BRAVA, Erica for keeping this story at that level of dignity which it so deserved.

  94. Jerry DePuit
    Jerry DePuit June 16, 2022 at 9:57 am | | Reply

    Beauty. Compassion. Joy in the ordinary. The simple values that made our country and people great, and to which we long to return. Finn and his community have these and so do you, Erica. Thank you for giving us this moment to reflect and reset.

  95. Jim
    Jim June 17, 2022 at 9:50 am | | Reply

    Many times, when listening to your podcasts, I have been struck by your ability to connect to people and your sensitivity in conversations about difficult topics. You have a gentle understanding of people, great empathy, and a truly unusual ability to convey the depth of human experiences to your audience. Often it has occurred to me that you rival Terry Gross in these qualities. How fitting it is that you both have been chosen for this year’s Peabody Award. Your portrayal of the spirit of the Hardwick community was exceptionally perceptive and supportive.

    Suicide is an especially fraught topic to engage with. It evokes a strong voyeuristic impulse in all of us, listeners and journalists alike. It is a testimony to your skill that you portrayed this young man’s life and the depth of its impact on this community in such a sensitive and compassionate way – his mother knew you would, which is why she approached you to tell his story.

    Thank you.

  96. Arthur Fine
    Arthur Fine June 20, 2022 at 3:12 pm | | Reply

    Thank you, Erica, for introducing us to Finn — his family, friends and community. This is a moving and joyous celebration of Finn’s life. It opens a window for us on the preciousness of life itself, and on how we can care for one another.

  97. Marianne Tolken
    Marianne Tolken June 21, 2022 at 10:52 am | | Reply

    Why, why, why…?
    What a shame, what a loss.

  98. Mark Sullivan
    Mark Sullivan July 7, 2022 at 9:14 am | | Reply

    This was a great piece of art and was honored as such with a Peabody. Now: I think it’s very important to explore in another format why Finn killed himself. Parents of suicide victims and suicidal kids may benefit greatly from such a discussion. So many parents say: there were no clues. But looking back there were many. I hope that exploration is done here with the same mastery that this story was told. There would’ve been no way to talk about “why” in this piece. But there is a place time and manner to do it. So I pray that happens.

  99. Jordan Rowell
    Jordan Rowell July 21, 2022 at 7:57 am | | Reply

    Thank you for sharing this powerful story.

Leave a Reply to Jordan Rowell Click here to cancel reply.

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here


Get the Newsletter

I'll email you when new episodes arrive.

Get the show

Never miss an episode! Subscribe to have the show downloaded to your device:
the iTunes store

Follow me

Extras, chatter, and other observations (and show notices, of course):


  • Lin A commented on Armand’s Garden: Armand is a kindred spirit! We share the same (...)
  • Nina Jaffe commented on Leland is Moving On: People like Leland give me hope for the futur (...)
  • Mary Elder Jacobsen commented on Armand’s Garden: “I’m sharing with you what God shared with me (...)
  • Alison commented on Armand’s Garden: What a wonderful episode. I loved getting to (...)
  • erica commented on Armand’s Garden: Janet, thank you so much for this. and I’ll m (...)