I still remember the day that I was informed of my daughter Kaitlyn’s suicide so vividly. She died on 4-11-13 but was not found until 4-12-13 because the email she had sent the apartment manager to be delivered at 6 a.m. on 4-11-13 was not seen by him until 4-12-13. Despite my daughter’s carefully planned strategy to let them know hours after she had died by an account that would deliver your email in the future, it still did not work and it was not known until 4-12-13 because the apartment manager just did not look at his email that day.
So I remember 4-12-13 vividly. It was a Friday. I had just seen Kaitlyn the weekend before as she had come home for Easter and then went back to Winston-Salem, NC, back to medical school where she was to start her orientation of 3rd year medical school clinical rotations.
Friday, I had just finished up my hour lunch, a lunch where I usually spend my time reading books on my Kindle. I remember the book. It was called “The Thirteenth Tale” as I really love a good, mysterious ghost story at times. This was the second day of reading it as, ironically, I purchased it on my Kindle 4-11-13, and I was wondering whether I wanted to continue on with it. For some reason it was going in a direction I was not comfortable with. Before I finished my lunch hour, I was considering whether or not to buy the new Margaret Thatcher book that had just come out because Margaret Thatcher had just died 4-8-13 and I was very interested in her. But she was so controversial. I think most of England hated her, so I was contemplating buying it but I never did because the upcoming events in my life obliterated any thought of Margaret Thatcher or “The Thirteenth Tale.”
I was so excited it was Friday. I love Fridays for the obvious reasons; two days of no work and on Friday nights I always stop and get something really good to eat for my husband and I for that night. What I didn’t know at the time was that my supper would consist of 4 or 5 rubbery French fries which were probably not rubbery at all, it’s just that my body could barely make saliva to help with my eating. I only ate them to keep from fainting on my way back from Kaitlyn’s apartment that night. I also never dreamed of the things I would be doing that particular weekend, things no mother should ever have to do.
Earlier that morning as I sat at my desk writing my nursing notes, I looked to my board on the wall to my right as I always did and read for the 1000th time the newspaper clipping I had there of Kaitlyn being accepted into medical school. My daughter’s dreams being realized, there’s no greater feeling for a mother than that of their children being happy and going headfirst into their lifelong dreams. That was my Kaitlyn that was my Kaitlyn that was peering out to me from that newspaper clipping.
Then I got that call from the Winston-Salem police officer.
As I sit here almost 11 months later the shock of what has come to pass has not abated in the slightest. “The Thirteenth Tale” is still on the exact page I left it that day on my Kindle, Margaret Thatcher has never been thought of again. My husband retrieved my plant, my pictures on the wall board including the medical school announcement and I’ve never set foot in that office again.
Over the course of these several months I have had to think thoughts that no parent should ever have to think, questions they should never have to ask and a future that has a big question mark on its horizon. But one of the biggest things is how do you live when you have so much love for someone and they are no longer here to receive it?
Every time some things are mentioned on TV that I know would interest Kaitlyn I think for a brief second how much she would be interested in it and then I’m stopped short with the realization that she won’t be interested in it because she is no longer here. These types of things go on and on and on.
So on 4-11-13 I was busily trying to purchase “The Thirteenth Tale” and started reading it. I was debating on Margaret Thatcher, I was looking forward to the weekend coming up, I was so happy that I had just seen Kaitlyn the weekend before and all that time…..all that time….my daughter was lying on her bed…..no longer alive. I was oblivious. I had no idea. How could I have not felt something as closely connected to my daughter as I thought I was? My own mother, if I so much as think a horrid thought she knows about it telepathically somehow and calls me on the phone, or magically appears. Her prayers said sitting in the car before she came to see me at the ER when I had a severe panic attack 2 years before Kaitlyn died were answered and I’ve never had another one. My panic stopped, my heart rate of 130 came down and I felt a peace only moments before my mother walked in the door, before I even had the first dose of an antianxiety medication. She said she had just prayed for me. Animals fall in love with my mother and she only has to will them to do something and they do it. She even had my cat “going to bed” at bedtime which he has never done and he did it happily. My momma, a very special and wise woman. Why could I have not felt my daughter’s distress? I know, this does not make me a bad mother, just a regular one that loved her daughter with her entire being……but I could not read her mind. She could complete my sentences, but I could not complete hers because though I admired her wonderful mind, I could not reach it fully. I did not know my daughter was so sad, I did not know the depth of her pain or that she even had pain. I only saw what she wanted me to see.
These things are hard to live with. The fact is, I was very connected to Kaitlyn in many ways, but to her pain I was not.
That Friday. It will follow me around for the rest of my life and remind me of how very much I did not know. The day I found out I lost my Kaitlyn, a day I never thought possible.