Kaitlyn, this is my first Mother’s day without you. It’s been a month since you left, but it seems like two days ago and the hurt is still deep, raw and bleeding. If you were still here, you would probably not have been able to come home due to being in the middle of orientation and it took so long to get home, but you would have called, maybe sent me an Amazon gift card for my Kindle that I always loved. You knew I would spend it immediately on some of the books I had been dying to get. I’ve not read the first word from my kindle since you left, and I read it at least twice a day before. It is left in the middle of a ghost story I was reading. I would know on this day though, that you were thinking of me.
You always told me I was the best mother in the world, you sweet thing. I was not the domesticated, cookie baking, sewing, and all that kind of mother, but if being a good mother means loving your child more than life itself, and wanting the best for them, I was a good mother.
But Kaitlyn, I feel that I let you down as a mother. I was so busy thinking you were wonder child, then wonder girl, wonder teenager, then wonder woman, that I was too blind to see that there was even a possibility that below all that was a deep pervasive sadness. We never pressured you to succeed, but you always wanted to please us and knew that we were incredibly proud of your achievements. In your eyes, I feel that if you had admitted your deep sadness, that you would have thought that we would see that as weakness, a failure on your part. But Kaitlyn, we would not have, but how were you to know?
One time though, you did come to me when you were a little girl and said that everyone expected you to be the best at everything and that bothered you. I told you then that you don’t ever have to try to be the best, just always do your best and that would always be good enough. You accepted that, seemingly well, and never acted as if that sort of thing bothered you again. So I thought all was well. I even asked you about that conversation many times over the years and you said it had always made you feel better. But it didn’t, did it?
When you were not even one year old yet, once we were sitting in the lobby waiting for your sister Stephanie to finish up her dancing class. A friend of mine came up to me and said, “Rhonda, did you know that one of her eyes turns in?” I looked at you and I didn’t see it. Then as I paid more attention to you, I realized it did. We took you to an ophthalmologist and you had to start wearing glasses then so your eye would not turn in. You wore these until you were old enough to wear contacts. So see Kaitlyn, I never recognized if there was anything wrong with you, even then.
Having depression myself, and your witnessing my depression from the time you were 9 years old off and on all these years, I should have known there may be some predisposition for one of my children having it themselves. But no, not you. To me, you had the world by the tail and you were going to succeed on your terms and you were not the overly sensitive person I was that let the world get her down in all of its sadness. Not you. You were so strong, so smart, so incredibly talented and wise; never did I dream that you could be this sad. I was too busy seeing you as perfect, and what pressure that must have put on you. I say I never put pressure on you to succeed, but I did and I didn’t even know it by just expecting it from you, and for that Kaitlyn, I am deeply sorry. I failed you. I have immense guilt. I will never forgive myself for that.
You were my baby, my youngest, and the last one to leave the nest. It’s hardest when your last one flies away from the nest. I remember when we took you to Campbell to move you into your dorm on your first day of college. We got you settled; I fought back the tears knowing how lonely I would be without the daughter I was so close to. You would not be home every night and I would no longer know what you were doing all the time. But though I felt this, I always knew and wanted you to fly away and continue to be the great person you were destined to be and I never dreamed of holding you back.
I remember we settled you in, and you walked us back to the car before we left, and we hugged you a million times in the dorm and a million times at the car. When our goodbyes were said, we watched you turn around to make the long walk up the grassy hill back to your dorm. I watched you the whole way, hoping that you would turn back one more time, just one more glance. But you never, not once turned back. You never ever turned back once you were going forward Kaitlyn. And even the last deed you did in your life, you never turned back. I wish you would have.
I love you Kaitlyn, your Momma.