A Letter To My Younger Self

In Kaitlyn’s things that I brought home from her apartment was an old hardback book that had empty lines where you can write. Kind of like a diary type book. She started the entries in 2007 when she was 17 years old. It is filled with many love poems, many poems about life, other people’s lives, her feelings, prose, stories and the like. She wrote in this book until 8-13-08 which makes me assume she quit when she went off to college. It was only half full. She never wrote in this book again. In her things I never found anything else she wrote, no more poetry or prose anywhere to be found. However I am sure she probably typed anything else she wanted onto a word document. I don’t know. I do know she wrote poetry while she was in undergrad because I found some of it online on a blog of hers and on some things her college had online.

I don’t know why she kept this so long. I don’t know why it was in the midst of her more recent belongings, but I’m glad to have it. Kaitlyn was a very deep and introspective person. She was always optimistic and enthusiastic for the future.

I would never, ever print something that would embarrass her, or write any of her love poems on here, (which were all very good), but there is one thing I want to put here that she wrote and it was the very first entry of hers in this book. This will be the only thing in this book I will give to the public. Kaitlyn lived the things she wrote about in this entry. She lived life to the fullest and she appreciated so much in life. She had great ideals and hope for the future. I wanted everyone to know how full of life and wisdom she was even at the age of 17 and she lived the life she wrote about. The sad thing is, on the day of 4-11-13, depression had made her forget about every single thing she wrote here. But she lived this life for just as long as she could, until it was taken away by the depression that killed her.

But here is the real Kaitlyn that lived.

A Letter to my Younger Self by Kaitlyn Elkins 8-24-07

First this: love and love often. Love like yesterday never happened and today is all you have, all you’ll ever have. Love like it’s the only thing that matters because you’ll soon find that it truly is. Say I love you, but show it more than that. Let your love be strong, and let it be for all: The underserving, the unworthy. Let it be willing to be unrequited, but let it be willing to be returned as well. Let yourself be loved, even when you don’t deserve it. Open yourself up to the power of love: how it can make the ugly beautiful, the weak strong, the fearful courageous. Make your life a love song, real and unromantic.

Learn to pursue. Pursue people, relationships, knowledge, wisdom, and truth but most of all truth. Saturate yourself with what is true when you find it and fight fiercely to keep it close, build your life on its foundations. Know that you will have to fight to keep what is precious to you, be willing to. Don’t be passive, don’t be complacent, don’t be content where you are. Know that you could be better; know that uphill battles are the only ones worth winning.

Give of yourself. Don’t be selfish, don’t seal up your heart. Know that you are a treasure, that you are precious and beautiful. Know that every single person you meet is just as valuable. Try to realize how important people are and conclude that you will never fully know. Invest in people, in relationships. Challenge your friends and be challenged by them. Grow with people, alongside them. Keep your promises. Sacrifice yourself; your comfort, your fear, your laziness, your apathy for those who need you. Learn to need as well. Be willing to lean on a friend, be willing to trust. Bare your soul. Let others be changed by you, and change for them also. Cherish everyone.

Discover who you are. Learn why you are here, discover what your purpose is, find out where it is you should be going. Cherish the journey, but always face your destination. Don’t betray yourself, follow your heart and never stop searching. Be willing to take chances, to risk. Know that living your life means you won’t always be safe. Don’t long for what is comfortable or easy, but for what is true and good and pure. Know that you will probably get hurt along the way. Know that the victors carry heavy scars. But know that you will find what your heart cries out to.

Know that you are imperfect, that you will make mistakes. Don’t put yourself on a pedestal, or in a hole in the ground. Discover that you are missing something, that you need something outside yourself. Begin to know that you’re not in this alone nor could you survive it alone. Learn to forgive yourself and others; constantly. Never give up on yourself or on others. Don’t veil yourself, the mistakes you’ve made, the flawed person you are. Don’t put on pretense, don’t be ashamed of yourself. Know that you are human, but learn from your failures and become stronger because of them.

Express yourself. Dance, sing, laugh and cry and smile when you are moved to. Do not live under fear. Do not do what is appropriate, do not conform, do not fit a stereotype; be true to yourself. Be passionate; keep your flame burning brightly. Appreciate others who do the same.

Learn to hope. Know that where you will end up is better than where you started. Have confidence that you will get there, that you will get there not entirely by your own hands. Have faith that promises made to you will be fulfilled. Learn to trust. Be willing to go through the valley before you can reach the mountain top. Know that you won’t get there alone, that you’ll be able to share your joy with others. Be patient, hold out for things you cannot see, but you know are there waiting. Know that you will get where you’re going.

Kaitlynhs

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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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15 Responses to A Letter To My Younger Self

  1. jesslevith says:

    very sweet indeed.

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  2. Tony says:

    Wow, so much wisdom in those lines. Would you mind if I share her entry with my nursing students?

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  3. gatito2 says:

    No, I don’t mind at all.

    Like

  4. Tony says:

    Thanks. 🙂 Kaitlyn’s words are so beautiful and touching.It is wonderful to see her life not being judged by any one single day, and more specifically on the day that it ended. So many people judge those who die by suicide because of that final act- and that in of itself is a tragedy. I loved loved how you introduced the piece:But here is the real Kaitlyn that lived. Such power (and truth) in those words.

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  5. I think it’s very brave what you’re doing. Showing the world how you are dealing with being a survivor is a powerful message. Many depressives do not comprehend the pain and suffering we cause after our suicides. Not for lack of empathy but for inability to see ourselves as worthwhile individuals. And sometimes it takes a shock to get us to see what is really going on. But that isn’t always enough. My friend killed himself two years ago. A very good friend. And that hasn’t stopped me from almost killing myself in April.

    That’s why I started my blog: Depression and Me: Owning Depression. Because so many of us don’t want to talk about it. Refuse to talk about it. Don’t see a reason to talk about it. So thank you for sharing something so personal and private to the world and letting us see your strength. It takes courage and I will redirect ever person I’ve ever talked to about suicide here. Just so they can see what it does to the survivors.

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  6. gatito2 says:

    Thank you. I hope the tragedy that has happened in our lives at least helps others see what happens to a family after their child (or any loved one) takes their own lives. I think Kaitlyn would want this. Though for some reason she told no one and never sought help for herself, I think she would want me to send the message to people to reach out and get help. I wish she could have. I don’t know why she didn’t though I can guess many reasons. Thank you for sharing my blog with anyone that has problems with depression, bipolar, or any of the mood disorders, for those have the highest risk for suicide or anyone that is sad and don’t know why or sad and do know why, just anyone. Or anyone that has lost someone to suicide. I wish you peace and happiness. Thank you for your comments.

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  7. The point of my blog was support and to show depressives there is support out there. How hypocritical of me would it be if I didn’t show support to those who have lost those they love due to untreated depression? No. We all need to band together. Then maybe we can make it so the suicide numbers drop. Even by only one.

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  8. gatito2 says:

    Thank you Tony. That is exactly why I typed word for word out of her diary what she had wrote when she was 17. She actually lived her life by these words right on up to the day she died. She never displayed a life full or torment and suffering. The things she did I know she enjoyed. She was brilliant, good at everything she did, she loved, she tried new things all the time, she was an artist, a writer, a poet, she excelled in everything she ever did in her life. That is why we were so shocked when she took her life. We did not know she was hiding horrible depression. But she was so strong, she fought it for so long. I just wished she would have reached out and got help. But she lived, and she lived well. Though she had depression, she lived the most wonderful life, and yes, she lived every word she wrote. She meant what she wrote. This is how she lived. Though she died, her words were sincere and true and should serve as a guidepost for all. Thank you for wanting to share her words.

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  9. gatito2 says:

    You are right Ashley.

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  10. Tony says:

    It is an honor to share those words. I think everyone should have the opportunity to read them and I am going to do whatever I can to make it so!

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  11. Topaz says:

    Kaitlyn’s writing is so lovely. What an inspiring letter.

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  12. gatito2 says:

    Thank you, yes she was.

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