I remember the three and a half hour drive to your apartment Kaitlyn. Thankfully my brother in law drove us or I don’t know how we would have gotten there. I sat back there in the back seat with your daddy in a daze. Every now and then I would cry, but I was in a state of shock. I watched the houses, fields; trees and landmarks go by like I use to see them when we went to see you. The feeling of happiness and anticipation of seeing you was not there. In its stead was a feeling of horror, disbelief, despair, grief, and total disengagement from my body.
At that time, I didn’t know why you took your own life. I had no idea. The policeman said you left notes; I hoped I would find out all my answers then. But at the time I knew nothing. What happened to you? Who hurt you so badly that you felt you had to die? What happened in your world to make you take your life? Something horrible had to have happened. My God, everything was so RIGHT in your life!
I also didn’t really understand the method of your death. The policeman told me you put a bag on your head and put some kind of chemical in there that caused your death. What kind of chemical? I’d never heard of such a thing. It makes no sense.
As our travel went on, two of the deans called to say they would meet us at your apartment, both sounding horror stricken with disbelief.
The entire ride there I thought of how difficult it would be to go to the hospital to identify your body. I didn’t want to see you dead. No way, no how. I couldn’t bear it. But I felt as your mother I had to do it. My brother in law offered to do it, my husband begged me not to do it, but I insisted saying that I must. But the thought of it turned my insides out.
When we arrived to your apartment and met with the police, the apartment manager, and the two deans of your school, the policeman told me I didn’t have to ID your body and I only had to call the medical examiner so she could talk to me. She explained how you died by helium telling me that it’s easily found how to do it on the internet and has been increasing in the last 10 years.
So I didn’t have to go see your body. I didn’t have to go to the hospital at all. I feel guilty in saying I was relieved, but I do think I would have died if I had seen you then. I had thought that maybe they would send me your clothes you had on. I didn’t think of anything like that then or we would have requested them. I’m sure that before you died you dressed in the new undergarments that were so beautiful that you bought on our last visit to Victoria’s Secret days before you died. You must have had them on, for I never found them. I also never found most of your new clothes you bought that day. So I assume you were wearing them, looking your best for your last moments of life. Oh how I wished I would have asked for them. I would have buried you in them.
I read your 2 page suicide note telling us that you had been depressed all your life and hid it from us to protect us from it. You could not explain why you did not get help. And you could take being sad no longer and this is what made sense to you. You said so many other things; you loved us very much and you were sorry. So nothing traumatic happened to you. No one hurt you. Nothing happened to make you do this except years and years of relentless depression that wore you down so much over the years you could take it no more. No one ever knew.
The ride home was filled with calling the friends of who you left letters for as this was your request. You left 4 or 5 letters for your last closest friends, us and your sister, complete with addresses and phone numbers. I called them all on the way home. The rest of the trip was filled with reality hitting me so hard I could barely stand it, crying and Allyn asking me if I wanted him to take me to the ER. No. What could they do?
That was on a Friday. The first day I was to see you Kaitlyn, was at the funeral home a few hours before your visitation on Sunday. I didn’t want to see you Kaitlyn. The thought of seeing you laying there lifeless was horrible. When I walked up to your casket with you in it, I almost passed out and they got me a chair. I looked at you, but it wasn’t you. You were not there. I could not bear staying long so we soon left.
When we came back for visitation Kaitlyn, I stood at your casket. Many mothers touch their loved ones, and kiss them and talk to them, I could not do this. I could not even touch you. I just could not touch your lifeless body that only a few days ago had so much life in it. Once I accidentally touched your hand and it was cold and hard and it sent chills of despair through my body that I cannot explain. This was not your warm, soft skin that I so often touched and hugged.
Your sister Stephanie drug up a chair right next to you and sat right there during the entire visitation talking to everyone that came to view you and never left your side. I don’t know how she did this, but she could not leave you. And I could not be with you. I just couldn’t do it.
When it was all over and everyone was leaving I stopped by your casket to look at your body once more. I looked at you seeing all of our wonderful, loving past, all your potential, all your future dreams. I have your past but your future here will never be. I kissed the top of your hair like I always did when you were alive. It did not smell like you. It smelled like someone else’s hairspray. Your hair did not feel like yours. But this did not really surprise me because who you were and are was no longer there. You had long gone. You were not there at all. I told you goodbye and that I loved you, but you were not there to hear it.
To me, that last time I saw you at visitation was not the last time I saw you. The last time I saw you was when you left our house about a week earlier to go back to your apartment, when you looked at me with those beautiful, sweet eyes, and held me close and I felt your warm, soft body that smelled so good. That is the last time I saw you. That is when you were you.
I’m sorry I could not hug and touch and talk to you at visitation Kaitlyn like so many people can do. I don’t know how they do it. I love you so much I could not bear to see you in death, to feel your body that you were no longer in. If I had I would have surely died then and there. And when I visit your grave Kaitlyn, I don’t feel close to you there either because I feel you less there than anywhere. I just got you a beautiful stone Kaitlyn in memory and honor of you that was worthy of you. But I never find you there, ever.