My reality

Well, here I am, a little over 3 months since Kaitlyn died. It’s raining cats and dogs outside, which is what it did yesterday. That’s ok, it goes along with my mood. It seems that bright, sunny days are an insult to me, and insult to the fact that Kaitlyn is gone. How can the sun ever shine since she’s gone? How dare it. How dare anything go on as usual, but it does. Life is going on all around me. People talk about their lives, their happiness, their sadness, milestones of their lives, and some talk about stupid mess. Life goes on. I also have to do things that are part of normal things I have to do, such as go to the doctor, buy a few groceries, but it’s not done normally. It’s done with the worry that I burst out crying at any moment, without warning, without trigger. Then there’s things I have to do that aren’t normal, that aren’t like someone’s regular routine, but things that have to be done. Like yesterday, I had to go to the place where they have Kaitlyn’s tombstone and give them the picture of her that I want on it because the stone has come in (they didn’t make it there). They wanted a big 8 x 10 so it would show up clear when they resized it and the only one like I have of that size and the most recent, is the one that is on her marker at the gravesite, which is the same one that was put on her visitation pamphlet. It’s a beautiful picture of her, though it’s not the most recent. The most recent would show her with her short hair and I really have nothing in the size that they would want. So I used the one I had, which is really how I remember her most, because she had long hair all her life up until the last year of her life.

I took the picture inside of its picture frame to protect it from the rain. Just like Kaitlyn wanted to protect us from her depression by not telling us about it. Only my protection of her picture did protect it from its demise, her protection only made her demise assured.

As I stood there as the lady took the picture and put it on her scanner, she scanned Kaitlyn’s image onto her computer. I saw the image as it came up and I thought about all the happiness contained within that picture. How innocent it was to me, how innocent she looked. Or was it only me that saw the happiness and not her? I wonder if the depression she talked about in her suicide note was present when she was taking this picture. According to her, it was always there, and must have been during this time. I thought about how she hid her depression from us and how very evident it was to me how well she hid it by that picture. She smiled as though she had the world in her hands and was assured by her intelligence and drive, that a wonderful future lay out before her. But that future would be cut very, very short from the result of something inside of her that I knew nothing about.

The lady scanned the picture and I took it and put it back into its frame to protect it from the rain that continued as I went out the door. I headed out into the world that was dark, grey and raining, and dreamlike, just as dreamlike as the dream I woke up from that morning. It was a dream with Kaitlyn in it, but it was one of those dreams that did not make sense at all, just like my reality makes no sense at all. What time I am not consumed with grief, I spend it in some dreamlike numbness that somehow protects me so I won’t go into a depression I will never come back from, because the grief I experience is all consuming, all dark. I sometimes wonder if these brief moments of respite are signs that I am healing somewhat, but they’re not. They are just my mind’s way of giving it rest and preparation for the next onslaught of realizing just what I have lost. I’ve lost part of my future, my husband has lost his youngest child, my oldest and only remaining daughter lost her sister, my parents and my mother in law have lost their grandchild. And Kaitlyn, most importantly of all, lost her whole rest of her life, a life that was so full of promise, a life for which I was all wrapped up in, for her future and what she wanted, was what I wanted. There will be no medical school graduation, no residency, no medical practice, son-in-law by her, no grandchildren from her, but most of all, there will be no her in the future. The only thing I have left are memories of her. Memories of one of the most amazing people I have ever known.

So I go on about this world either lost in a sea of grief, or in the dreamlike state like the dreams I have. The dreams are merging with reality, because my dreams are as unbelievable as the reality in which I live.


About gatito2

My name is Rhonda. I'm a registered nurse, for the last 20 years, that has not been able to work since the day I learned of my daughter's death by suicide 4-12-13. (She actually died 4-11-13 and her body was not found until the 12th) Me and my husband have been married for 32 years and he's a wonderful man. We grieve in different ways. He works, I write. This is my journey through this horrible land of losing a child..
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34 Responses to My reality

  1. Charlene Wagner says:

    I so know what you are going through. I lost a daughter when she was seventeen. I have been right where you are. It will never be the same without her and she died in 1990. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.


  2. gatito2 says:

    Thank you so much and I’m so sorry about the loss of your daughter. The pain continues forever I’m sure.


  3. starrystez says:

    I’m so sorry, it must be agony for you. I’ve never been in this situation but I know what my version of depression is like. It’s terrible for family left behind after a suicide not knowing why. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.


  4. gatito2 says:

    Thank you so much for your comments and prayers.


  5. Neal says:

    I burst out crying without triggers lately too. That didn’t start happening until this month. I can be thinking about Kaitlyn, or not. It usually happens when I’m alone. I feel close to her when I run and I ran 11 miles today. Yesterday, when I ran, the dragonflies were out. In the moments I wasn’t thinking about Kaitlyn, they reminded me of Kaitlyn. It was raining today, so I only saw one dragonfly.

    I wish I could say something that would ease your burden. But, all I can say is I care, and she was the most amazing person I have ever known too.


  6. cathy says:

    I’m so very sorry for your loss , she’s beautiful. Our son died in a auto accident on 4/18/2013 , on our 32 wedding anniversary. I know your pain and I’m so sorry.


  7. I have read your blog in total. My heart breaks for you. I have had suicidal thoughts before, and have acted on them. I feel so sad because I have had a relationship with my mom similar to yours with your daughter and now see the other side. I know this won’t help, but I wish I could help but there is no help for this kind of pain. I pray for you and hope you will find a day that won’t be so painful.


  8. Rhonda, I found your blog as I was doing research for my own blog, which I have decided to put up for my patients. I work in an area with a severe doctor shortage, and want an additional way to reach out to people in need.
    Rhonda, my heart breaks for you. I graduated from medical school in 2006, and am familiar with the pressure medical students and physicians still feel to be strong, hide their problems, especially those that are emotional or mental.
    My medical school class benefitted from the tragedy of the class right in front of mine, which had two suicides. Because of those two students, our class received suicide prevention interventions starting at orientation and continuing throughout medical school. Our class became very close, as a result, and we continue to check in on each other on a regular basis. 16 of us became psychiatrists, a large number for one class. Another remarkable thing that came from the intervention is that a record number of us chose to participate in the NHSC, and make a commitment to provide care to a critically underserved area for four years following residency.
    Part of those interventions involved volunteers who had themselves lost a child to suicide who was either a medical student or physician.
    One thing I have learned as a psychiatrist who treats suicidal people is that often parents are the only people the suicidal person feels happy around. So, they do not feel that sadness around their parents. They are not just trying to hide feelings, they may not actually feel them during the moments their parents are around. During those moments, they do truly feel happy. Unfortunately, we can’t take our parents with us everywhere we go.
    I hope and pray that you will find comfort. My parent survivors that are my patients have shown me that it is possible to heal, and have inspired me with their courage.


  9. jstringer64 says:

    We lost our beautiful 18 year old son on 4-14-13.. Our hearts are with you because we are going through the same broken hearts. Trying to understand “why”… And every minute of everyday there is a profound silence, and longing that we can not get through.


  10. Debs says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your beautiful Kaitlyn. The pain of losing your child…especially this way…never goes away. It’s been 6 years, 9 months, 1 week and 1 day since my son chose to leave. Life will never be the same again for either of us Rhonda, but it won’t always be this hard.
    Our hearts and minds could not stay in the deep, dark grief of the early days.
    The pain is always there but it eases and you sort of get used to it, as awful as that sounds. It takes a lot of talking through and need for support. I admire you doing this blog. This will help, not only you…but others out there who are sadly sharing our journey.
    After the years of talking over my son’s death with counsellors, Doctor and {more importantly} others who are travelling the same journey…I can honestly say that there are flashes of light and laughter in my life. I never thought that I would ever smile again…but I do. My son is always in my heart and he loves, laughs and lives on…right along with me.
    Thank you so much for your blog. My heart goes out to you Rhonda.
    God bless ♥ xx


  11. katriter says:

    I read your post daily. I send you love and prayers. The love between a mother & daughter is like nothing else. Hope today is a little better.


  12. Tanya Pereyra says:

    I lost my 14 year old daughter in January to suicide. She was my only child. Unfortunately I feel your pain ❤


  13. mummydodo says:

    So sorry I know these feelings too well. We lost our son April 9th 2012 I will never understand and will miss him till the day I die.
    Sending my thoughts


  14. mummydodo says:

    So sorry for your loss. I know how you are feeling. We lost our son April 9th 2012 and will never understand. My life is broken and I will miss him till the day I die. Sending you my thoughts xxxx


  15. gatito2 says:

    Thank you, and I am so sorry for the loss of your son. I will never understand either.


  16. gatito2 says:

    I am so sorry. No matter how we lose them, the loss is excruciating.


  17. gatito2 says:

    Oh I am so sorry for your loss as well! This is a horrible road we have been forced to walk. I wish you peace….somehow.


  18. gatito2 says:

    I am so glad that my blog has let you see the devastation that is left for the loved ones that are left after a suicide of someone they love so very much. When someone does this, they are so far down that they don’t realize the extent of it. So please, get help, let someone know, if you are feeling depressed and/or suicidal. I know how it feels too….and I got help for it. I just wish my daughter had. I wish you well.


  19. gatito2 says:

    Thank you so much for your reply and I hope you found my blog helpful. I applaud the medical school you went to to put in place suicide prevention as part of orientation and awareness. I’m not sure many medical schools do this. I do know, that once my daughter died, they immediately looked for ways to improve the resources for those that are depressed, suicidal, etc. A fund in my daughter’s name was set up in their wellness department that will be ongoing to help people with depression, stress, suicide prevention etc that will be ongoing. I am so glad for that. My daughter to me and all who knew her showed no signs of depression. She hid it well like she did everything else well. I’m not sure if med school made it worse or not, but I feel it may have due to the extreme stress that you all have to go through, though it did seem like she thrived on the workload. But what seems is not always so, so I’ve come to sadly realize. We all need to stand up and fight this stigma about mental health problems because I also believe she told no one due to the stigma attached to it. Thank you for your comments and if you need anything from me at all regarding any of my experiences, please don’t hesitate to ask.


  20. gatito2 says:

    I’m very sorry about the loss of your son. Our children died very near the same time. There is no end to this grief and I will mourn til the end of my days. What a horrible loss we have to endure.


  21. gatito2 says:

    Neal, I know what you mean. My grief only worsens with each passing day, though there are the very brief moments of a type of numbness I spoke of once in a while. Though I’m her mother and my pain is intense, it in no way means that you don’t suffer so very much. You two were best friends. Best friends rarely come along and when one is gone like this it has to be immense suffering. So I feel for you as well because I know you loved her as only very good friends can. I know you miss her. Always remember the dragonflies. I saw several today as I was ordering food that was not good for me…..a hamburger and fries.


  22. gatito2 says:

    Cathy, I’m so sorry!! We’ve also been married 32 years and Kaitlyn died just a few weeks before it. So much for happy anniversaries anymore. My husband took me out to eat and I suffered every minute of it as I choked back the tears. I’m so sorry for your loss.


  23. gatito2 says:

    Thank you. You’re right, the love between a mother and daughter is like nothing else, and the intensity of the grief of losing them is unbearable. Thank you for reading my blog.


  24. Ellen Ross says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. A dear friend of mine lost her daughter to suicide on April 12, 2012. They say that the pain does fade a little with time, but it never, ever leaves.


  25. gatito2 says:

    Thank you Ellen. That was close as my Kaitlyn died 4-11-13. I’m sure I will suffer the rest of my life with this unimaginable loss.


  26. gatito2 says:

    I’m sorry for your son’s loss as well. We will never, ever get over this pain I know. How could we?


  27. daize says:

    I feel your pain. I lost my Daize on 6/22/11. She was my only child. Daize was 16 years old when she took her life. It’s been a little over 2 years now and not a day goes by that I don’t cry, scream out “WHY?” or miss her. . The pain will never go away, but it does get a little eaiser. Daize was my best friend and her spirit will be with us everyday….
    I attend a wonderful group in the Valley name Survivors of Suicide (S.O.S.) The group helps me cope with Daize’s death and be with others that are there for the same reason. My cousin started The Daize Project on FaceBook to reach out to those in need and that we are not alone. Another great source that helps me is spitural reading and daily affirmaitons. My favorite Aurthor is Louise Hay. Her affermaitions and books are wonderful and very helpfull. My favorite is ” How to Heal Your Life.” I highly recommend this book. Have faith and I promise it will get easier. You and your family are in my prayers. Christina


  28. gatito2 says:

    Thank you for your comments. I’m so sorry for the loss of your daughter. My daughter was my world and I just see a miserable life before me without her in it even though I have so many people I love and that love me. But this loss is horrendous in its intensity.


  29. Ashley Van Galder says:

    Christina, you still amaze me EVERY day! ❤ you! ~Ashley


  30. drwexlerpsych says:

    Rhonda, I went and read your entire blog. I’m grateful that you have found the strength to write, and I will keep following because I do find it very helpful. Thank you so much. And thank you for your kind offer.
    Medicine is my second career, and I’m pretty sure my age is one of the reasons my medical school accepted me that particular year. I already had two children when I started medical school, so I had already accomplished something really great. As such, I did not feel the same pressures my younger colleagues felt to put on a good front at all times. When I failed my pharmacology exam, I told everybody, I cried openly about it and then moved on. Medical school was never going to be the number one thing in my life, as it was for many of my classmates. I think that is what makes medical school so stressful, and with the changes in healthcare, it has only gotten worse. I detect a great deal of doctor bashing in the media, and I want to ask people: why do you want to punish a group of people who gave up their 20’s to take care of people?! These young people give up so, so much, and I question the wisdom of exacting such a price.
    One of my teenage daughters lost a friend to suicide last month, a young man who was exquisitely adorable. Like your daughter, he never showed any signs of depression. He was always making people smile. It has broken my heart, I cry about it every day. I have moments at work when I just barely keep going. He wasn’t my family member, so I don’t qualify for bereavement leave. Plus, I work in an underserved area, which makes taking time off especially challenging. so, for that reason, also, your blog is a comfort to me.
    Happy birthday. We have the same birthday week.


  31. gatito2 says:

    Thank you so much for reading my blog. And you had a lot of reading to do if you read it all because since Kaitlyn has died, my writing has poured out of me and there is no end in sight. I loved her with all my heart and soul and I would have died a million deaths to have saved her. Yes she was my daughter and all mothers think their children are wonderful, but as I always told her, even if she was not my daughter, I would have loved her and admired her greatly. She was such a wonderful person in so many ways and I hope she is never forgoten.

    She never complained about med school being stressful, hard but not too hard to endure. But she also told me she was happy and was lucky for all she had and then she went and killed herself so what did I truly know? I always warned her of how hard med school would be and I worried so much about that. I have no idea if med school made things worse for her due to the stress, or it was something else entirely becsause she never shared that with me. Oh how I wish she had. I do think med school and residency is such a stressful experience I have no idea how anyone survives it and I wonder why it has to be that way.

    Thank you again for reading my blog. I loved my daughter so much, I just can’t say enough about her and my deep sadness that I lost her. I wish you happiness in your life. Please keep in touch.


  32. gatito2 says:

    Thank you so much for your comment. I find that I do smile once in awhile now, but somehow feel guilty that Kaitlyn is not here to smile with me. When someone is going through this, as you know, we sometimes feel guilty for any semblance of normalcy. But I’m sure Kaitlyn would not want this for me. But I didn’t want her gone either so it’s a reality I have to deal with and somehow get through.


  33. paul says:

    I totally understand your pain. I am so sorry that any of us has to go thru this. I lost my 22 year old daughter, Jennifer on March 22, 2013. She was in college and had so many dreams. I don’t know what happened and I am so confused about why she took her life other than the fact that her boyfriend of 3 years broke up with her. She showed no signs of depression. She also was my whole world.


  34. gatito2 says:

    Oh I am so sorry! You lost your daughter not long before I lost mine. It always leaves loved ones with so many questions that can never be answered. If you ever need to communicate privately to tell me about your wonderful daughter, email me @


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