When Kaitlyn’s father and I used to go see her at her apartment in the town she went to medical school in, every time we would leave to go back home, before we would even get out of the apartment complex driveway, we always looked at each other and we would talk about Kaitlyn. We would always look at the apartment complex and were so thankful that Kaitlyn had such a nice and safe place to live. Her car was paid for. We always, always talked about how good we felt that Kaitlyn was living her dream, she was in the middle of medical school after all, something she had wanted to do since she was a little girl. She was good with managing her money on her own and was living on her student loans like all medical school students do. She had long ago asked us to quit giving her any money. She had nice furniture that she had perfectly matched to everything she had. She had such wonderful taste. She was a great cook. We always talked about how glad we were that this child of ours was living her dream, and living it comfortably and doing well in school. God we were so proud of her and happy that she was so happy.
We were so thrilled that this child of ours never once caused us heartache, grief and trauma. She was never on drugs or got into any kind of trouble.
Now that she is gone by taking her own life, it calls into question the things that we saw and makes us know that what we saw, in part, was not true. The happiness part was not true. And it makes me feel bad.(which is the greatest understatement in the world). All the times we bragged on her, telling her how wonderful she was, I wonder if we should have carried on so. I wonder if by saying that it put even more pressure on her to try to be perfect.
But I always thought that a parent should praise their children for their accomplishments, and she deserved all the praise she could get. I have heard tales of talented children not getting any praise at all from their parents and their parents always concentrated on any child in their family that had troubles because they were so consumed by them and trying to help them, that the children that were never any trouble got no attention at all. That is not good either.
I often thought of how lucky we were with her that she had not been the victim of drug addiction and all the things that our children so easily fall prey to in this world of ours that we expect them to grow up to be normal in. How can anyone be normal in this world? How was I to know that one of the most dangerous things that could ever happen to someone was happening to my child’s mind? That instead of a drug overdose, she would kill herself on purpose? I never cease to be confounded by the difference in what we perceive to be true, not being true at all.
So what is one to do?
Kaitlyn herself would often tell us how lucky she was by mentioning the very things she had going for her like I stated above. But sometimes I wonder now if she was just trying to convince herself that she did not have any right to be depressed because she “had it all.”
I wish she would have told me.