I wanted to post on my blog the beautiful tribute to my daughter Kaitlyn from my friend Randall that he put on my facebook this morning. I think it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read and it touched my heart greatly. He lost his own wonderful son to suicide just over a year ago.
With your Mona Lisa smile, this is my favorite photo of you. One of the reasons many find the original Mona Lisa so fascinating is because of her mysterious smile. Is she demurely smiling to reflect her contentment or does her ambiguous smile betray just a hint of sadness? That is how your photograph in its somber color tones speaks to me, Kaitlyn.
I’m sorry that I never had the pleasure of meeting you in person, Kaitlyn. I met your mother soon after you departed and, in the year now passed since you have been gone, your mother has become a dear friend and I feel as though I know you well, too. I so admire you for what you accomplished in life. Your parents should be so very proud of you and I know that they are.
I was drawn like a magnet to your mother’s writing because of her incredible capacity for expressing and giving voice to almost all of the same emotions I was feeling following my own 15 year-old son’s death, just six months before you transitioned, Kaitlyn. Additionally, you were so much like my son, Sam — bright, gifted, incredibly intelligent, and such a gentle soul. Just like you, my son was an exceptionally bright child who was also exceptionally good at hiding his depression. I have gone out of my way to try to find people just like my son to try to make sense of the final scene you and Sam wrote for your lives.
I’m not sure that I’ll ever fully understand why my precious and beloved only son chose to leave the stage when he did any more than your precious mother will ever have the answers with which she struggles; but, what I do know, Kaitlyn, is that our lives shall not be in vain. You and Sam were very much loved and, though the pain of losing you both so prematurely is almost incomprehensibly unbearable, I have to believe that, in the fullness of time, I will find some purpose or reason for the pain tearing at my heart. We can only see through the present opaque lens of our current existence. Beyond the limitations of our current perceptions, like looking out into the universe without the benefit of a telescope, there is only so much that we can see. One day, however, I am persuaded that the scales will fall from our eyes and we will understand with perfect clarity, meaning, and understanding why certain painful or challenging things happened to us. One day I hope to understand the meaning of life just as you and Sam do today.
I hope that my son has been as dear of a friend to you, Kaitlyn, as your mother has been to me. So, on this emotional one-year anniversary of your departure to the beyond, Kaitlyn, may I please ask you to hug my precious Sam and tell him how very much his dad loves and misses him. But, just as importantly, by whatever means are available, would you please send every small evidence of reassurance that Rhonda is capable of discerning. Through the opaque lens of our current limited perceptions, please send enough light through to reassure your mother that you are well. God bless you, Kaitlyn, on the one-year anniversary of the completion of your purpose here on earth. May your mother, father, and sister, Stephanie, together with all of your extended family find peace, encouragement, comfort, and support in your temporary absence.