You know, I often sit and wonder about many things. It’s my nature. But since the suicide of my youngest daughter Kaitlyn, I ponder so many more things even more in depth. A persistent thought has often run just beneath the radar of my putting it in words. A feeling. A realization.
Most of us as parents want what is best for our children and we do all kinds of things to make sure they have the best chance at being happy in this world. For my husband and I, when our children came along, we chose to quit going out and partying like there was no tomorrow. Our values and our desires changed from being totally selfish, to wanting what is best for our children. For us, that meant being home with them and doing things as a family. Of course we would go out occasionally on our own, but for the most part, we were a family together.
We have always been a loving family and hugs and “I love you” was a very frequent daily, mostly several times a day thing. I always believed in showing my children how much I loved them, and so did their father.
We encouraged their academic pursuits, we listened to their hopes and dreams, and we were there for them always. Our home was very stable. Not saying my husband I didn’t argue sometimes, but we would not be normal if we didn’t. But there was no drinking, cursing, hitting, physical or mental abuse, no drug use in our home.
We made sure they had regular medical care and went to the dentist twice a year and they both had braces at which time they went several times a year.
I always felt if I was not good at anything else, I was a good mother because I loved them with all my heart and soul.
Fast forward to the day that I found out my youngest 23 year old daughter took her own life and I had no clue of her suffering that she had experienced mentally all her life. A house full of normalcy had a child in it that was miserable and I didn’t even know it. I thought she was happier and more well-adjusted than any of us.
In my mind, I know no matter how you are brought up, mental illness can rear its head even if you had a storybook childhood. I know this in my mind, but my heart finds it so very hard to comprehend.
If I was such a good mother, why did I not see this? Why was everything that we tried to do not enough to help her feel loved and secure? She always told us we were the best parents in the world, and in her note to us told us the same thing and to never think there was something that we could have done to change things. But how can I help to wonder?
Once I had my children, their wellbeing became the focus of my life. When their wellbeing is not good, then your wellbeing is not good. When one of them is dead by their own hand you are almost destroyed.
So I wonder that no matter what we do as parents, some things just cannot be helped. I guess we just continue to do the best we can for them and hope and pray that they will survive this world. Sometimes it just does not happen. I am left with guilt and heartbreak. We tried so hard to be good parents to our children. But when it comes down to it, even so, if depression occurs, nothing can penetrate it once it gets so far.
I feel so horrible.