Why I Won’t Be in the Walk This Year

Last year, after it had been 6 months since Kaitlyn’s death, my family members, friends and I walked in the Out of the Darkness Walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in Myrtle Beach, SC. Our team raised more money than any other team that was participating in the walk in Myrtle Beach. The AFSP is such a good organization and they do so much for suicide prevention, help for those that have lost loved ones to suicide, education and so much more.

I will continue to make a donation to AFSP every year. But I have decided what I probably knew the day I walked, that I won’t be participating in that walk again this year.

It’s not that I don’t believe in and support this organization so very much because I do. But the truth is, I can’t bear to do it again this year. Last year after it was over, it took such a toll on me mentally and physically that it took me days to get over it. No, it was not strenuous at all, but the sheer overwhelming grief I felt during it was debilitating to me. There was another program that I went to awhile after this and it had the same effect on me.

I’m a different kind of person in a way I suppose. I can write about Kaitlyn, write a book about Kaitlyn, have a blog about her, post pictures on Facebook and on my blog about her, I can make video slides and put them to music with pictures of her. These things that I do some people that have lost a child to suicide could never, ever do. But for me, though it hurts so much, it is somehow therapeutic for me to do these things. But if I ever do anything in public that has to do with Kaitlyn’s death I just can’t bear it. It’s like I just learned of her death and the cold, hard reality of her death hits me like a ton of bricks. I also can’t go out and do anything with people in her honor such as going out to eat when it’s her birthday. If my physical body is somewhere where I have to deal with her death it almost kills me. I can’t do book signings, I can’t do verbal interviews because I don’t think I could ever make it through them.

I don’t in any way mean to say that the Out of the Darkness Walk is too hard for people to do. It’s just too hard for me right now.

Some people think that the thing I am able to do such as writing about her, means that I’m strong. If you only knew how very much the opposite was true. I’m not strong at all. There’s so much I cannot do when it comes to Kaitlyn.

Today I went to her grave to check on the new summer flowers that I had put in the vase at her headstone a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to make sure they had not blown out of the vase or anything and they had not. I cleaned off her stone and vase with water from a spray bottle and wiped it off with a cloth that I keep in my car. Many people find comfort at their loved one’s gravesite. Most people feel a great need to go there often. They talk to their loved one out loud there. Again, I am different because it’s all I can do to go there. I don’t feel her presence there. I’m not comforted there. I find it difficult to say anything to her there. But I go to make sure everything looks ok. It almost kills me to go. I can’t bear the thought of my baby’s body lying in that grave; the body that I once hugged and loved a billion times in her life. I can’t bear the thought of her spirit in that body not still walking this earth. It’s one of the most unendurable things that I do.

After Kaitlyn was buried, they had left the grass intact with the top soil and when they covered the grave they were able to keep that grass intact and it covered her grave. The grass never died. So many graves out there just have dirt covering them with no grass. But not Kaitlyn’s. They did a good job with that. It is done so well that you can’t even tell the earth was ever moved under it.

But today when I went as I walked toward the grave, the grass that was covering it was a lighter color than the rest of the grass causing me to see the exact rectangular shape of her grave. The moment I saw that I stopped in my tracks and it took my breath away. It drove home the reality that her body is down there. It’s the same feeling I have when I do anything about suicide in her name in public. It makes me have to deal with the personal, in my face, in my heart reality of her death and I just cannot deal with it. I can’t take it. It’s just too much to bear.

I guess I somehow think that the more I write about her, the less dead she will be. I’m keeping her alive here in my words. It’s the only way I can deal with it at all. The weight of the sadness I feel by her death is excruciating. And I am not strong…not strong at all.

That’s why I’m not walking this year.

me and kaitlyn

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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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10 Responses to Why I Won’t Be in the Walk This Year

  1. No one should expect you to take part if you find it too painful. I understand your need to keep her alive with your blog, but the public functions, no, I understand that too.
    I have great difficulty going to my mom and dad’s graves. I would much rather look at my photos of them, or talk with family about them.

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  2. Neal says:

    I would do what I can to support you if you went on the walk. And I try to support you however I can otherwise, even if you aren’t going on the walk, which I hope you feel.

    I’ve only been to Kaitlyn’s grave twice, but I noticed the rectangle both times too, and I wanted to share that with you or someone, and I’ve never found the right time. The first time was very recently after her burial, and I think I might have come to see you afterward. I noticed the rectangle and patch of grass on top, and I think I had a similar reaction to the one you described.

    I also remember that when I got to the cemetery, I was overcome with emotion because the only other time I was there, I was at the burial ceremony. I saw the rectangle because I think I was crying so hard I crawled the last 30 feet to her grave. I noticed it from my hands and knees.

    I think about the rectangle a lot, because to me it’s a stark reminder of how little time has passed.

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  3. gatito2 says:

    Oh Neal. I’m so sorry. I had never noticed the rectangle before today. Why had I never seen it before? Maybe I was blind to it the way I was blind to everything else, or my eyes would not let me see it.

    I know you would support us not matter what we choose to do or not do, you always have. Thank you so much. I just can’t stand the brutal reality that that walk made me have to face. I just can’t bear it. I will continue to donate to AFSP every year and the wellness fund at Wake Med. I think that is the best I can do.

    I’m having a really hard time Neal.

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  4. gatito2 says:

    I’m glad that my reasons make sense to someone. I feared it would not. I feel like by not going I am selfish. But I just can’t stand it. It’s too much for me emotionally. I cried so hard at the Walk it was horrible. I will support suicide prevention by giving and other ways for now.

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  5. I feel the same way about attending compassionate friends meetings, but couldn’t articulate WHY. But I get it!

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  6. gatito2 says:

    I guess there are some things we all can and cannot do when it involves this horrible mess we are going through. But when I say “horrible mess we are going through” I feel selfish. It’s Kaitlyn that went through the horrible mess and we all are her unintentional wounded left lying on some battle field.

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  7. Katherine says:

    I did the walk several months after Donald died, before the state medical examiner concluded that his death was suicide. Actually, we still have reasons to believe it was not. But, I did it. The first year was okay. So, I formed a team again last year. I had a horrible experience sending me to my bed for several days. I’m not going to walk again this year. I would like to volunteer, but I’m not ready.
    I do not go to Donald’s grave very often. He is buried near my father, so when I go, I check both grave sites even though my mother goes out there about once a week. I don’t know how she does it. I do not feel my son there. I don’t feel my father there. The bodies were placed in that ground but they are not there. I feel my son near me in various places but the cemetery is not one if those places.
    About your reaction to the rectangle, I understand. I made the mistake of going to my son’s grave about 2 weeks after he died. I fell to the ground crying and screaming when I saw that raw earth. It was a very bad experience. I would not go back until they put grass on his grave.

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  8. gatito2 says:

    Katherine, you know so much about how I feel because you are experiencing it yourself. Thank you for your reply. This is horrbile. (I wonder how many times I’ve written and said the word “horrible” in the last 15 months?

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  9. Katherine says:

    I wish neither of us were experiencing this. The word horrible has taken up a prominent spot in my vocabulary also.

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  10. Sj says:

    I recently lost my best friend and soul sister. I completely understand everything you said. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone. I will be walking this Oct. But I dont wnt anyone in our community to know how she passed. I am the tem captain and it feels like I should be doing this but leaving her anonymity. Not many knew her cause of death. I am conflicted because I dont want to look ashamed of how she passed, but honor her too. So many things to be considered. Her family mainly.

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