“Oh she’s home again, my baby’s home again,” I thought as I sat in my recliner in my den. She sat right in front of me in the other recliner in the den. That seat was usually her father’s, but when she would come home, it would be hers and he would relinquish it to her. My daughter Kaitlyn, my youngest one, sitting there with her now short blonde hair, that beautiful fair skin and those eyes that hid the secrets of the universe within them, her petite body with her delicate features, her small pretty hands. She was home. She was home from medical school which did not happen very often due to her intense studying and distance from home.
I sit and I think about the wonderful child I was blessed to have 23 years ago, how good and sweet she had always been, the intelligence she had and how happy she was that she was in the middle of achieving her lifelong goal. Oh how I love her so.
As we talked about movies, and school and just things in general, she soon became silent and her demeanor became serious. She sat there and continued to be silent acting as if she wanted to tell me something, but was not sure.
Then she turned to me, her beautiful, dancing eyes, now serious with concern, her forehead all furrowed up as it always has done when she was worried about something.
She said, “Momma, I have to tell you something. I am so very sad. I’ve been sad for years but could not bear to tell you. I have so much to be grateful for and I know it, but I am so very sad and it’s getting worse. Sometimes Momma,” she hesitated, “I don’t want to live anymore.”
I sat in stunned silence at this revelation. My daughter had always seemed so happy, and yes she did have so much to live for. I asked her if she had been having trouble in medical school, boyfriend problems, personal problems, had something bad happened to her and everything I could think of that could possibly make her sad.
She said, “No Momma, I’m just so very sad and I don’t know why.”
I know what this kind of sadness is. I’ve experienced it before, I experience it to this day but have somehow survived. It is depression, severe depression and I realized my daughter was suicidal.
I said, “Kaitlyn, you need help. You’re depressed and you need to get treatment. It’s the most important thing right now. I will take you to get help and if need be we can talk to the dean at the medical school if you need to take time off. We will help you every way we can.”
Still looking serious, but I could see a look of relief in her eyes. This girl of mine that never admitted she felt bad in any way, found it so very hard to tell me she was depressed. It took every single ounce of her being to tell me this. I knew this. I knew how my daughter was and I knew she felt it was a weakness. I said, “Kaitlyn, you have not failed in any way by the way you feel. You know what depression is, it’s a disease that requires treatment, nothing to be ashamed of.”
She said “Yes, I know Momma.”
Yes…..I know Momma…….
I look at her recliner in front of me that is now empty. No beautiful, blonde headed, petite, sweet, wonderful girl sitting there with the eyes that could see into the universe, just an empty seat.
I look around the den and living room from where I sit and see all the items that once inhabited her apartment in the city she attended medical school, they are now in my house.
I look again at the recliner in front of me, the empty recliner, a place where that conversation never, ever took place.