#LIFESaver Families

#LIFESaver Families Profile: Gregory Hugh Montgomery Jr. "UG"

What is your loved one’s full name: 
Gregory Hugh Montgomery Jr. “UG”

What was their date of birth & their age at the time of their passing?
October 29, 1964; 55 years-old

Tell us about your loved one: What five adjectives best describe the positive they brought to this world, that now shines on in how they impacted you and all those they touched?
Greg was relentless, kind, passionate and authentic. He overcame so much in his life and was the first one to help others. He was brave and used his platform as an NFL player to raise awareness of the importance of mental wellness and normalizing the mental health conversation.  His brain malfunctioned. He never would have chosen this.

To the extent that you feel comfortable, please tell us what you believe were the circumstances/contributing factors around your loved one’s passing.
We had just lost our mom to cancer and then the covid shutdown happened which took away all of his coping mechanisms. He couldn’t workout, he couldn’t coach (work). Grief and isolation was a one two punch.

What did you as a family wish you knew more about this topic in the year’s leading up to your loss?
Many years ago, Greg told me suicide had crossed his mind. He spoke of it as something he had dismissed and even said, “Don’t worry Sis, I would never do that.” I left that conversation relieved. That’s just the thing. Once it has been on the table we must not assume it will not return and that rationality will win out. Thinking suicide is a choice is assuming you are dealing with someone with rational thought. In my experience, if Greg was of sound mind at the time…it wouldn’t have happened. I wish I would have asked him if he had those thoughts again.  Asking if someone is having suicidal ideation does not encourage them to have those thoughts. It actually gives the person a chance to discuss their thoughts, let them know you are there for them, and ultimately may get them the help needed.  

Why did your family decide to go public about your loss, and why are you choosing to be so selfless in putting their/your story out there for others?

Greg was passionate about using his platform as an athlete to normalize the mental health conversation and was selfless with sharing his story. We feel we have to honor him by continuing his work and want to spare as many as possible the trauma of losing a loved one to suicide and have the opportunity of seeing loved ones live full lives.  

What are the perceptions about suicide you would like your loved one’s story to help change?

I would like the phrase killed themselves or committed suicide to be replaced with died by suicide. 

Links and/or descriptions to any resources you would like to drive people to:

Website: ultimategrowthfoundation.org
Instagram: @ghm_foundation_4ug
Instagram: @m_tothethird

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