That Friday

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.

medical school pic

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About gatito2

My name is Rhonda. I'm a registered nurse, for the last 20 years, that has not been able to work since the day I learned of my daughter's death by suicide 4-12-13. (She actually died 4-11-13 and her body was not found until the 12th) Me and my husband have been married for 32 years and he's a wonderful man. We grieve in different ways. He works, I write. This is my journey through this horrible land of losing a child..
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26 Responses to That Friday

  1. luciddream85 says:

    Having a daughter myself (though she is only nine) I can’t imagine waking up every day knowing that she is not with me. I don’t know how you are getting through this and being as strong as you are. I know you have your other daughter to live for and I know she is suffering, too. I know you said you won’t mention how she passed away, but I know that it is something you will never forget, either. You are in my prayers as you get through this month and go into the next.

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  2. catecumen says:

    There are some days that can never be forgotten, no matter how much time passes.

    Kaitlyn had planned everything so well, but there were things she could not see, either – whether it was someone not checking e-mail, or how deep and crippling the pain that she left behind, a pain she was unable to foresee because she was so blinded by her own.

    I am so sorry, for all of this.

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  3. mewhoami says:

    As much as we think we know people, I believe that in each of us, there is a hidden part below the surface. There are some things that we let no one see, no matter how close we are to them. Even you, as much as you share, you don’t share everything. What happened is not your fault, and you’re not alone.

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  4. gatito2 says:

    Thank you. But I don’t remember when I wrote that I would not say how she passed away. Forgive me, because my memory fails me sometimes now. I know I have not mentioned it on my blog much simply because I did not want to give suicidal people ideas and tell the method that I had never, ever heard of in my life. But as it turns out, I now find that it is getting pretty common to take your life this way.

    I think I have mentioned it once or twice on my blog somewhere and since it’s not as unknown as I thought, I don’t mind telling it. My daughter took her own life by suffocation from helium. She bought or rented a helium tank that you blow up balloons with at a party supply store, bought a roasting bag and things to secure it and she filled the bag with helium and she suffocated that way. The medical examiner said it has been being done more often for 10 years now. I think it came from some book “The Final Exit.” She said that it was almost like carbon monoxide poisoning where it takes the oxygen out of your blood and you die. I’ve looked up the method very briefly a time or two just to get an idea, but I can’t bear to read much about it. I see her in my mind with that bag on her head and it tears me to pieces. But parents have seen much worse in person I know. I don’t know how they can stand that either.

    I don’t mind answering anything concerning Kaitlyn’s death. You may ask anything you like. I like to be open with it to get this horrible thing out in the open so we can put a stop to losing our young people by suicide.

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  5. gatito2 says:

    Needless to say, I don’t care much for helium balloons anymore. Lots of people do balloon releases in memory of their loved ones, but I can’t do that.

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  6. gatito2 says:

    Thank you and I do know she could not have foreseen the devastation she left behind. But I do believe she knew something of it because she said to please forgive her and that she knew it would hurt us but that she hoped we could be happy again. She said she could not bear to do it years before because she could not bear the thought of hurting us so much, but she could not go on any longer. She may have known it would destroy us, but she was just too sad to see any other way out. And that is part of the disease. But I don’t blame her, I blame the disease.

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  7. gatito2 says:

    Thank you. I do believe that you are right. But your mind knowing and your heart knowing are two different things. Still, it helps to hear it.

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  8. I think perhaps you didn’t connect to Kaitlyn in the way you would have liked because she wasn’t open to it. She had her barriers up, protecting you from her sadness. It definitely wasn’t something wrong with you as a mother. Hugs.

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  9. mewhoami says:

    You’re absolutely right. The heart feels, regardless of what the mind knows.

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  10. gatito2 says:

    I think you are right. Thank you.

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  11. Karen says:

    I too lost my son to suicide 9th November 2013 he was not found until 11th he was 22. Carbon monoxide poising he knew exactly what to do as he worked with cars he had planned it all well. I read your blog and can relate so much. I too am a nurse in England and was at work when I received the call from the police to ‘ go home’ . I will never forget the events of this day ever that feeling of deep dread was just horrendous. We didn’t know he was suffering from depression he told us in his letter which explained that he had ‘hid it’. Like you I find it difficult to believe I’m a nurse – I help people but – I couldn’t help my own son what kind of mother must I be? I question so many things now. I still cannot accept that he has gone he was such a lovely person with everything to live for. My heart is broken but just taking it as it comes. It’s such a lonely painful path and I do sometimes wonder how I will live on with this awful situation. I have a wonderful husband and an older daughter so they keep me going. Your blog is so honest and it helps to know I am not alone – take care and keep strong.
    Karen x

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  12. gatito2 says:

    Are you sure you are not me? We, unfortunately, have SO very much in common that it seems like you are living in the exact way that I am. If you can call it living. I’m so sorry for the loss of your son as well. I too felt horrible being a nurse and not knowing my own daughter was ever depressed in her life much less suicidal and I paid so much attention to her. I adored her.

    Thank you for reading my blog. It helps to get these feelings out…..to a degree anyway.

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  13. You know I have said before how it helps to get it out, to write it, scream it whatever it takes to relieve the pressurized pain if only for a nano- moment in time.
    My greatest fear is to get another call…this time for my youngest daughter, I have not heard from her in three years, she is bipolar borderline schizophrenic. I truly believe in my heart the day she attended the memorial service for her sister put her so far under that she decided her pain was to great for any of us to see so she disappeared with her son who is now seven. I do not know if they are alive…I only pray.

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  14. gatito2 says:

    I am so sorry that you have not heard from your daughter in so long. In many ways the not knowing is the worst. I hope with all my heart that she will contact you soon and seek the help that she so needs.

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  15. There are no words that can fully describe how much pain there is for you and your family. I am so sorry.

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  16. gatito2 says:

    Thank you.

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  17. Ah, yes, the day that everything changed. I remember it so well. Life was, comparatively speaking, so predictable, so comfortable, so…normal. And then, in an instant, everything changed. Like you, Rhonda, “I did not know my [son] was so sad, I did not know the depth of [his] pain or that [he] even had pain. I only saw what [he] wanted me to see.” In fact, he afforded me only a very limited glimpse into his inner turmoil. Still, like you and all similarly bereaved parents, we fault and berate ourselves for failing to see that which was either deliberately or even unintentionally hidden from our view. We hold ourselves to the impossibly unrealistic standard of either not being able to prevent the unpreventable or failing to see the signs of impending tragedy when the signs, themselves, were either concealed, hidden from view, or indiscernible. We blame ourselves for not being able to control that over which we essentially had little or no control. Rather than blaming ourselves, we must be very forgiving of ourselves. Be gentle with yourself, Rhonda.

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  18. gatito2 says:

    Thank you Randall. It is just so HARD to do.

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  19. Neal says:

    I spent the today thinking about that day. I think about it often and remembering when I found out makes me shiver. It was a terrible day. And I’m sorry it’s on your mind today.

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  20. gatito2 says:

    Neal, I think about that day every single day of my life since then.

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  21. jmgoyder says:

    Thanks to you I have finally revealed to my own mother my own severe depression. She had absolutely no idea and I am 55. Bless you Rhonda.

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  22. gatito2 says:

    Oh Julie, that is wonderful!!! People that are very close to you at least need to know so they can try to help you. I’m glad I had something to do with that….it makes my ramblings worthwhile.

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  23. jmgoyder says:

    I cannot thank you enough!

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  24. brokenmother says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. My son passed away in December and I am glad I have your story to help me cope. This is the roughest road I have ever had to travel.
    `

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  25. gatito2 says:

    I’m so sorry about the loss of your son. I won’t lie to you, it IS the roughest road you will ever travel and I don’t know when the road becomes less rocky. I am so sorry.

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