About

This blog is about my long, horrible journey of trying to recover from my daughter Kaitlyn Elkins’ suicide on 4-11-13. She was 23, a 3rd year medical student who was doing well in school, had friends, and had everything in the world to live for. She never in her life displayed that she was depressed whatsoever, so this was a devastating shock. She stated in her suicide note to us that she had been sad all her life and she could no longer bear the weight of it, even if she had a seemingly bright future. This from my child who acted happy all her life. She said she loved us, we were the best parents in the world, and that it was just her. She stated this was the only thing to do that made sense to her. My husband and I are devastated, but he has gone back to work and keeps busy. All I do is lay around here and cry and write and think of my bright shining star, who I was very close to, is now gone. A promising life ahead, years of hard work to achieve her goals…..all gone. My kindred spirit and heart, gone. I don’t know if I’ll ever have any semblance of healing, but I write. I write to get it out, I write for her.

Be warned that my writing is full of emotion and is raw. I hold very little back. I only hold back some things that would make people worry about my wellbeing because I’m so sad. Otherwise, you will know what horror it is to lose a child, especially to suicide. To those that find me and know how it feels, you have found someone you can relate to. For those that find me and are depressed and suicidal, you have found someone you can talk to. To others that have experienced none of this, I welcome you too and I welcome all comments here or by my email. Some may wonder how I can write at all, but it is really my only salvation and the only way I know how to survive at all.

My name is Rhonda Elkins and we live in a small town in southeastern North Carolina. My email is welding81@intrstar.net if you ever want to email me instead of comment here. I would love to communicate. I’m a Registered Nurse and have been for 20 years. I have not worked another day since the day I learned my daughter died.

UPDATE: It is 3-2014 and I have just finished the book I’ve written about Kaitlyn, depression and suicide. Here is the link where it can be purchased. I wrote this book to help me in my grieving, keep Kaitlyn’s memory alive, and to hopefully help others out there that suffer in silence:

http://www.amazon.com/My-Bright-Shining-Star-Brilliance-ebook/dp/B00JBMLXTA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396274277&sr=8-1&keywords=My+bright+shining+star

Here is also my facebook page about my book.
https://www.facebook.com/kaitlynstar

Kaitlyn

112 Responses to About

  1. Carrie Lange says:

    OH! I can’t find the proper words to express how sorry I am that you lost your beautiful daughter. 😥 And it is so recently, that I can’t imagine how sharp the wounds are for you and your husband.

    In time, you will have some semblance of healing, but it will never be complete. The wounds will heal into scars that will still ache. And sometimes, when the weather is really bad, those scars can flare up like fire. But, you WILL move out of this darkest and most despairing time of your grief. Expect a full year for the worst of it, and even into the second year.

    Some people may try to rush you through your grief – don’t listen to them. You will have to heal in your own time, and the grieving process is never completely over.

    I urge you to seek out a support group. Both you, and your husband. Men and women grieve in different ways. Sometimes, it seems like the men don’t care as much, but they do. They have a harder time showing it outwardly. My highest suggestion is a Survivor of Suicide group. And a general grief support group. I’m sure there are probably some in your area. As much as the people in your life care about you, they will never truly understand, or be able to fully help and support you.

    Hugs to you and your husband! 🙂

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  2. Denise says:

    My husband (we are separated, and not because my son died) did the same – he worked, I didn’t get off the couch. I couldn’t. All I could do was cry. Months and months and months. I have a friend who’s a grief counselor who told me to follow any creative impulse I had. I started knitting, because it didn’t require me to move off the couch. I couldn’t write for over a year. My heart is breaking for you; for whatever it’s worth, I’m thinking of you, I’m here to listen. I know I can’t make it better, but I send you love and blessings. There is nothing, nothing, nothing worse. And there is nothing nothing nothing you have to do; only what you can, when you can.

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  3. Denise says:

    And she’s beautiful, by the way; so very beautiful.

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  4. gatito2 says:

    Thank you, yes, she was, inside and out.

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  5. gatito2 says:

    Thank you very much. This is still excruciating horrible. I don’t know how one lives through this pain.

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  6. i am so so sorry, i too have lost a child. you are never alone. don’t let grief define you even though it will be part of who you are. continue to keep her spirit alive through you.

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  7. gatito2 says:

    Thank you.

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  8. Ashley Van Galder says:

    You said that you don’t know how one lives with this pain… The answer is simple. The pain will slowly start to lessen over time because it would be physically IMPOSSIBLE for us to live with such immense pain. I know that you are still so new in your grief but it DOES get better. It takes time, a lot of time but it will. I’m 3 years out from my loss and I still think about him many times a day. I’ve thrown myself into suicide awareness and prevention. I have a group/team that travels around AZ going to events and trying to talk to people about suicide. I also facilitate a support group for suicide survivors. I strongly suggest looking into a support group once you feel like you can. It took me a year before I could go, others show up 2 weeks after. There’s nothing quite as comforting as being in a room of people that understand what you’re going through and AREN’T judging you. You will never ‘get over’ losing your daughter but you will be able to ‘get through’ losing your daughter. I hope you keep writing, because it’s beautiful and hopefully it will help you. Please feel free to get in touch with me if you’d like.
    Ashley

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  9. gatito2 says:

    Thank you Ashley. I have started to go to a support group of people that have lost children by any means, but every time I somehow manage not to get there. One was I didn’t feel up to it. The other was a storm, the other was I forgot about it til it was too late. So I don’t know if I’ll ever get there. I would love to help others and help to stop the stigma of mental illness and suicide prevention, but some days I’m gung ho to do it, the next day I feel like crawling in a hole and dying. So I don’t know what my future holds. I only know I’m very, very sad that beautiful being in my life that was taken so far before her time.

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  10. canadese says:

    I have just read through many of your posts, and I am touched by your words and horrified by what you are enduring. I have struggled with depression for much of my life, and I constantly remind myself that no matter how low I sometimes feel, suicide is not an option, since I know what it feels like to lose someone in this way and can’t bear the thought of putting my parents, family, and friends through that pain. Your reflections on your daughter’s death has affirmed that for me. Thank you.

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  11. gatito2 says:

    I am so glad my posts have helped you. No one should have to suffer the pain that is left behind when someone takes their life. I know my daughter did not want to hurt us, but she could fight it no longer. If my posts helps one bit in keeping someone from taking their life, then it’s worth it.

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  12. canadese says:

    I have no doubt that your daughter did not want to hurt you—from your writing, it sounds like she was a lovely, loving, intelligent human being. Please keep writing, and take care!!

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  13. gatito2 says:

    Thank you, she was.

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  14. Topaz says:

    She was a very beautiful young woman. My thoughts are with you.

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  15. Topaz says:

    By the way, do you have a Twitter account? I love it because I can converse with people in real time via little messages. It’s a way for me to reach out to friends and loved ones when I’m feeling down. If you don’t have an account, it might be something to look into. My Twitter handle is: @The_Psych_Word.

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  16. gatito2 says:

    No, I’ve never done twitter but have always wondered about it. I’m really big into facebook though. If you facebook, please friend me. It’s under Rhonda Selllers Elkins (and I live in Clarkton, NC)

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  17. Topaz says:

    Hi Rhonda,

    Actually, I had one of my weird episodes and got rid of my social media accounts. The only Facebook account I have now is a “fan” page for my blog. (I really hate to say this…..) but if you “like” my page, then we can be connected on Facebook that way. But I really would like to be in contact with you. If you prefer, I can start a new FB page as an individual. Please let me know. Praying for you.

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  18. gatito2 says:

    Thank you, maybe I’ll try twitter.

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  19. Topaz says:

    OK! Actually, you gave me a good idea. I’ll start a “blogger” profile on Facebook. So many times I want to interact more with readers and people I meet on WordPress, that it might be fun.

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  20. gatito2 says:

    Sounds great!

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  21. gatito2 says:

    Thank you Topaz. She was beautiful inside and out.

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  22. I am so sorry for you loss, she sounds like an amazing young lady. From reading certain blog posts I now know what mess I could have left behind if I had went through with it.
    Please, keep in touch with me.

    Alex.

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  23. gatito2 says:

    Yes, a mess is what is always left behind, good memories of a wonderful person, but memories that are tarnished with grief.

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  24. Rhonda, I have no words to express the sorrow I feel through your posts. I will not and cannot try to say that I know or understand what you are feeling or going through. Grief is tricky and as unique as the individual experiencing it. I have felt grief of my own and lost many people throughout my thus far short life and it is by far the most difficult and overwhelming of all emotions. Your daughter sounds like a shining star, accomplished and brilliant. I am a 24 year old single mother and I suffer from Bipolar among other things, I have struggled with these things for most of my life and spent much of my life feeling very alone, though I know that I am in fact not alone at all. Your blog is powerful and you have such a heartfelt voice I think you will help many people who suffer from depression, bipolar and other mental illnesses. You bring an awareness to the feelings of those around, not just my overload of feelings, but in my suicide attempts what my mother and other family members could have been feeling. I am thankful for everyday I am alive because each day is a tiny battle conquered for me. Thank you so much for sharing your honest feelings and thoughts through this devastating journey with me and all of us out there who need it. You are a truly strong and courageous woman.
    – Naomi

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  25. gatito2 says:

    Thank you Naomi, your comments have touched my heart. I am so sorry you struggle and you sound like you’re giving it a good fight. I write to tell the story of my wonderful daughter, to spill out the grieving of my heart because it’s the best way I know how to cope, to help fight the stigma of mental illness, and to let people know what suicide leaves behind. Many times, as in my daughter’s case, she knew she would hurt us tremendously, as she stated in her note. She said she would have died years ago, but could not bear the thought of hurting us. And then she asked us to forgive her that she could no longer go on. She hoped that we could find happiness again. So she knew it would hurt us, but she did not mean to hurt us, she just wanted out of her mental torture. When it’s so bad, your need to be out of pain overrides your desire not to hurt your loved ones. But maybe if people hear it enough, how badly it does hurt those left behind, how devastating and life altering it is, maybe they will be able to give that more thought in their darkest hour and not do what they are intending to do to end their life. I don’t know how strong or courageous I am, though I thank you for saying so. I just need to get this out and I do so want to help others and if I can just help one person, it would be worth it. No one deserves to die by suicide, and no one should have to grieve one. Depression and bipolar are very serious. I have depression myself, so I know, but I got treatment and am still here to tell the tale. I just never knew my daughter had it. Not in a million years. Thank you for reading my blog. I wish you happiness in your life and keep on fighting. Rhonda

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  26. redheadcase says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. And I am sorry that words do so little to help.
    I wanted to let you know that I read your article, “Rhonda Elkins – A message in daughter’s suicide” @ http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130428/ARTICLES/130429613?p=2&tc=pg and found it to sum up every reason why I write about my personal journey with depression. I want to help people understand that we never know what is happening in someone else’s mind and that, in many cases, we have opportunities to be the difference in the choices a person makes. Young children especially, IMO, need to know that they can say, “I feel sad” without retribution or invalidation, and I am glad that there are others like you saying the same. Maybe, if we can reach children when they are younger and empower them with the words and courage to ask for help, we can ease lifetimes of pain that may lead to devastating choices.
    Thank you for writing about your experience and being so honest. Conversation about suicide is the only way to prevent it and your work is a wonderful tribute to your daughter.

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  27. gatito2 says:

    Thank you so much. I’d like to feel that I am helping myself and others. Your comments could not have come at a better time when I am doubting that I should be putting so much of myself out there for the public to see as some may find it disturbing. But suicide is disturbing. It needs to be discussed and as you say young people, from an early age, need to know that it’s ok to let someone know they are feeling sad. Often times, depression is the last thing someone wants anyone to know they’re feeling. I’m glad you read my article. It was written very soon after my daughter died and I did it as a tribute to her and to help educate people. Thank you again for your comments.

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  28. redheadcase says:

    You are very welcome!

    In my own personal experience with mental illness (including depression), I have come to realize that I had no where to turn when I was younger because no one knew how to talk about mental health issues or how to feel reasonable comfortable even trying. If people like us, from different perspectives, talk about what we deal with, we help others feel comfortable opening up about their experiences and so forth and so on…a sort of paying it forward initiative. =) And we never know when that one sentence may be the spark that helps someone find the right words to get help.

    And just to be clear and considerate, none of my comments are any judgments about anyone having, or not having resources for help that they should have had. I am not “should-ing” anyone. Suicide is not a “should have” subject, if you ask me. My comments are just general observations for everyone in hope for a better future. Hope that makes sense.

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  29. tracysday says:

    I am so sorry for your loss and know from personal experience that there are no words that will help your healing. I lost someone very close to me to suicide almost 16 years ago and I still grieve for that wonderful soul that world has missed out on. I hope that you find support through your blog and other outlets.

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  30. gatito2 says:

    Thank you so much.

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  31. pappy53 says:

    I’ve just read today’s post (“Reflection on Myself”)…

    Write on. That’s all I can offer. But you should know that your words, being so public, are echos of of my own pain and others. There is no grief like our own… Thank you for sharing so honestly. I know that in the flow of it all, I’m not alone. My son died by suicide 77 weeks ago. You are not alone. I read your many posts with love…

    It is a wonderful tribute to your precious daughter. I’m so sorry for both our losses. And so happy to get to know more about Kaitlyn. Be gentle with yourself and as well as you can be.

    With respect.

    Like

  32. gatito2 says:

    Thank you for your very kind words and I am so sorry about the loss of your son. It does help me to write if only to keep me from exploding from it being pent up inside. Now if it would only cure my broken heart….but nothing can do that. Thank you so much for reading my blog.

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  33. So glad you’re writing ;0)

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  34. Christine O. says:

    I just read your ‘About’ section and some of the things you mention are the exact same as what my mother has also said. They had no idea I was depressed, let alone suicidal. I was “high functioning” and had always been an overachiever.

    I always worked very hard to prove to everyone (and myself) that I deserved to be here. I have always also felt that living was painful. I never have liked myself, in spite of any accomplishment or achievement. I dismissed praise and compliments (I still do) but yet felt this overwhelming need to do well or I was even harder on myself. I can relate to your daughter. Even after my attempt, in the hospital the psychiatrist asked me, “Why are you here?! You don’t seem at all in need of my help.” He instead wanted to talk about the marathons I had done and my college (the same he had attended) experiences. I was even able to fool him. I was at absolute rock bottom and put the happy face and cheerleader attitude right back on again.

    I was able to open up to my therapist and some close friends, and now here. This is who I really am and being able to drop the ‘healthy, together’ act has made a big difference. Now I feel like if I were to be at that point again where the pain was so great I couldn’t imagine living one more day, I could reach out and get help. I never would have admitted that before.

    I am so sorry you lost your lovely girl. I wish she had the same opportunity I had. I wish you had the chance my mother did, to understand that your daughter was in pain and then to realize this pain was NOT your fault. To get to hear her tell you that you could not have prevented the suicide attempt no matter what you might have tried. I have explained to my guilt ridden mom time and time again after she says that she should have noticed my pain that I would have just denied it. I would have just pushed her away and avoided her and undertook one more task that I could show her I did to prove that I was okay. Another marathon…another degree…another raise at work…to prove to everyone that I deserved to be here and I was ok. Even though I wasn’t. That was what I did.

    I wish you well and hope you are able to use your pain in the future in a way that can help you, and maybe others. Just your being here has helped, as I see in the comments above. Thank you for sharing your story so selflessly and for accepting people like me. I have no doubt your little girl looks down from heaven on you and knows you will be ok. She isn’t hurting anymore. ❤

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  35. gatito2 says:

    Oh my gosh, you sound JUST like my daughter!!! I have talked to a few people who have said that the were depressed and hid it so very well. Also, the only person in her life that she confided in that she was depressed was the boyfriend she had a the time of her death. They had only dated 4 months and she told him that she had been depressed all her life and had been suicidal in the past, but not then. She told him that we knew, which was not true. I think she told him that so it wouldn’t raise any red flags and cause him to tell us. He thought she was supported and in reality she was not because no one else knew. I have emailed this man so many times since her death to get some insight and is how I found out he knew of her depression. He also told me some very insightful things. He said that he thought that overachieving was her only way to feel good enough and even that was not enough and any emotional support given to her never reached her inside and that is why she kept achieving. My goodness, you sound like my daughter so very much. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your telling me this. This gives me even more insight into my very complex, wonderful daughter. I do believe with all my heart, if I had come right out with the exact words “are you depressed?” She would have denied it. I did ask her all the time if she was happy and she always said yes. Thank you so much, I feel like you have given me a gift. I am so glad that you got help. So very glad. My only wish is that I wish my daughter had. I don’t think she wanted to admit to having something wrong with her at all. I wish so much that if you have any more to say, please do either here or my email address welding81@intrstar.net (note the different spelling of intrstar). Thank you and I wish you continued well being and happiness. Rhonda

    Like

  36. Christine O. says:

    I would love to answer any questions you might have, too. If I can. The only thing that forced me to admit I had something wrong was my survived attempt. Even after that, I wanted to make everyone feel like that it was out if my system and better. The therapist told my parents to not forget how serious this is no matter how well I might seem. That I was a master of seeming to be well. I (and your daughter) were intelligent and savvy enough to project emotional health but I know I was even fooling myself. I read your blog today and it was if you were describing me. I never got in trouble either. I was also my parent’s dream child. I was so afraid of disappointing them. I shared your blog on my Facebook page hoping more people will get what you are saying. Such an important message to send and I feel like my message isn’t as strong because I survived.

    Like

  37. gatito2 says:

    Thank you so much for replying back to me. I am so glad you survived your attempt. My daughter did everything in her power to ensure that she would not survive and that no one would have any warning that she made need help. She even had to be successful at that unfortunately. I’m glad you shared my blog on your facebook. Share it anywhere you can. People need to know about this. Not saying every wonderful, intelligent, golden child is depressed, but that their parents need to be aware that they could be and to ask and ask and be very alert. But for an intelligent person, you only see what they want you to see. I will continue to be in touch with you if you don’t mind. I feel you have some answers in you that I always wanted to ask my daughter but I can’t because she’s dead. You, your mother, your loved ones and the world are so lucky that you are still with us. Please keep fighting this terrible thing.

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  38. Pingback: Healing with Courage | The POWER & The GLORY

  39. edgarone2 says:

    Hi Rhonda,
    I don’t know how to bear tragedy and sadness like what you experience.
    I will ask the Lord, Jesus, and Holy Spirit for light and guidance.
    Share with him your sorrow.
    Sincerely,
    Edgar

    Like

  40. gatito2 says:

    Thank you. To be quite honest I don’t know how I lived through the first minute of hearing about her suicide. My life was altered forever.

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  41. edgarone2 says:

    Hi Rhonda,
    I will pray for you.
    God loves you.
    Edgar

    Like

  42. Ray's Mom says:

    You alone know the depth of your pain and sorrow, but as another mother who has lost a child I say only that I understand… time does not heal the pain, just makes it bearable. God bless you dear one. I will follow your posts of your lovely daughter. Ray’s Mom

    Like

  43. gatito2 says:

    Thank you Ray’s Mom. I’m sorry you’ve had to endure this loss too.

    Like

  44. Brenda says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now. I’ve also lost a young adult child. Have you seen this essay in the NYT? http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/22/booming/ducking-grief.html?

    Like

  45. gatito2 says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your child. No, I have not seen that article but I will go check it out now.

    Like

  46. sophiebuck says:

    Hey, I nominated you for a Liebster Award! If you want to take part in that, check out my post here: http://sophiebuck.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/liebster-award/ Your blog is great!

    Like

  47. Dee says:

    Hi Rhonda! I’m so very sorry Kaitlyn is gone! She should be here with you her dad and sister! I’m really so sorry! You should write your book! You can always change parts of it later if you need to. And you can change your mind to publish or not publish it later when you’re done. You are hurting as you should be and you are in another world far away from what you knew before 4/12/13. Far from what you loved having! You’re so horribly sad but your memories are fresh now. You keep Kaitlyn alive by talking about her! And that’s a beautiful thing! There are a lot of mean people out there and always will be. Some just don’t understand how painful it is to lose a child. Do not take their mean thoughtless remarks personally! There were nice caring people who gave constructive replies which offers thoughtful suggestions. I’ve read everything you wrote about Kaitlyn! Thank you for sharing her with all of us! I’m glad to know her but of course I wish she was here alive with you! Only another devastated parent can understand the devastation you live. I am one of those parents. My beautiful Kelly has been gone just over 32 months. I break down every day since that horrible day. With time passing I just become more sad. Some how she got ahead of me! She’s suppose to be here and I should be gone before her. I can’t get it in my head she is gone! It’s not alright! It’s not acceptable! I will keep reading your blog and I will continue to know Kaitlyn! She is a beautiful person to know! Thank you and take care!

    Like

  48. gatito2 says:

    Thank you so very much for your kind replies. I just noticed I had not responded to your comments but thought I had. I’m so sorry about the loss of your daughter. It’s a terrible thing to lose a child by any means. I will continue to write about her, my mind and my heart give me no choice.

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  49. bgoffe2013 says:

    Greetings, Just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for an award. To see more about it got to: http://bryangoffe.com/2013/11/03/most-influential-blogger-award/

    Like

  50. gatito2 says:

    Thank you. I’m not really interested in any awards. But I thank you nonetheless and I’m honored that you included me in your list of nominations.

    Like

  51. dawnhosking says:

    I feel so very emotional after reading about your beautiful daughter. Oh my goodness, I cannot begin to imagine what you go through or feel each day, I really feel for you.

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  52. gatito2 says:

    I would never have dreamed I could go through this and still live, yet I do. I don’t know how. I really don’t. Thank you.

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  53. dawnhosking says:

    You are a strong lady, I too was a nurse.

    Like

  54. Dee says:

    Hi Rhonda!
    After reading everything about Kaitlyn I couldn’t believe that she really wanted to go! I I still can’t! Why this beautiful person who seems to have it all made such a decision! It’s hard to get inside our own minds let alone someone else’s! Apparently she could not get rid of the feeling! Maybe she didn’t bother you with it because she had at one time believed and hoped it would go away and maybe it was too hard to explain! Maybe it was tolerable all this time until that day! Maybe the gloom grew really strong very quickly out of her hands now and now became intolerable! She couldn’t help whatever wasn’t right! Something was off balance! Maybe she felt deep down that there was no way anyone or anything could fix it and it was just too much to explain or for anyone to understand! Of course I don’t know why this happened! I guess I am for you trying to help find answers to the question why! Although I am beyond depressed due to losing my daughter Kelly I do now know what it feels like now to lose all hope and know no one and nothing can help me! I’m sure the brain can take a dive and run low on what it needs putting a person in helpless trouble where they can’t even understand what’s happening! I am truly sorry Kaitlyn is gone! I wish I could take your pain away as I know it all to well myself! I also know the only way your pain would leave would be to have Kaitlyn back!
    Take care!

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  55. gatito2 says:

    Are you not a nurse any longer?

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  56. gatito2 says:

    Thank you. I have wondered those very same things you mentioned millions of times in my mind. It’s just so hard to believe, but in all my questions, the bottom line is that she was severely depressed and she never got help so it killed her. Still knowing that helps nothing really. I still can’t believe it. Thank you for being so kind and understanding.

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  57. dawnhosking says:

    No, I developed chronic illness after contracting a norovirus in the hospital where I was working.

    Like

  58. Dee says:

    Dear Rhonda,
    Where do I begin with all this pain! I have wrote to you before and I am one person who I believe I have an understanding of your gray world. I of course can never feel exactly what another feels but I think I can come close. I am breaking down right now so I’m not sure what exactly will come out of my full but empty mind as I try to put this into words that might not make any sense at all.
    My boyfriend and I have just discovered Hyperbole and a half at the bookstore. He bought the book and we both enjoy it. I have just read her blog on depression from your site. Allie is a very bright and talented person and has explained depression fantastically! I hope everyone reads it! Amazing!
    Her other writings makes me think of the person I was and can’t seem to find anymore.
    The depression!…no one gets it! Huh! I have actually told two people I think I have to admit I am extremely depressed over my daughters death and I got some silence from one and never another word about it and the other just said I know then talked about something else. At my work I was told about six months ago that basically I can’t show sadness at work. I told my boss I don’t speak to anyone about my daughter or how I am doing I’m just quiet. She said well being quiet can be a problem. I come to work everyday pretending the best I can. I said I will pretend harder. She said okay!
    I would NEVER tell my boss I have such great sadness I can barely stand it. I WILL NEVER tell anyone again that I am depressed! I can see why some people do not say a word about their depression.
    You once said in one of your writings that people will get tired of hearing about it, the sadness. You are correct! Every time I’ve tried to speak the other person has either changed the subject or compared their bad day to mine. Only one person has let me speak of my daughter. In the first week of my daughter being gone a very close relative said “well we all lose loved ones!” and actually went on to compare the death of their beloved dog to the death of my daughter. The same relative said of my daughters death “well she was old enough!, but then are we ever old enough?” My first week back to work only one month after my daughters death I was buying a sandwich for lunch and an employee said “you’re eating?” She never even said anything to me about my daughter dying! Another saw a picture of my daughter on the computer and said to another employee “how is she ever going to get over it if she keeps looking at her pictures?” That employee couldn’t wait to tell me what the person said then got mad because it upset me. After 3 months I told a this same employee I’d go ahead and work her shift so she could go to her doctors appt. and she said “oh yeah your better now!” This is just a few of what I’ve heard in the last 33 months. I know people do not understand but it still hurts and some are just plain rude! I quit talking long ago!
    The gray world.
    Most people do not want to hear about sadness. Say it, be done and never speak of it again. I could never tell my boss I am unbearably sad and depressed because to her it is a negative. It is the truth that I am overwhelming sad about my daughter. It is real! Most people say think positive! Always find the positive in everything. Sorry there is no positive in a parent losing a child to death. I agree to be as positive as one can but I believe people should not deny that negative exists in this world. Negative and positive go together. Accept it! I”d think people would be happier to know the truth. Negative and positive exists! Why must we deny it! Death, sadness, depression, illness are not negatives they are real. They exist! To deny any of these things is to deny existence. Thus the stigmas! Depression. Oh the whispers. What’s wrong with her? Oh that family must have problems! Oh he can’t possibly be anything he is depressed. Her mental is not right! He’s not normal!
    Ah yes normal! Find me normal! We are all slightly abnormal that’s what makes us have personalities and differences.
    In this gray world everything looks the same! The joy of spring time and summer gone! Kelly’s birthday is in the spring! The lilac bush always bloomed and the backyard smelled beautiful and Kelly and I would get ready to plant flowers and her garden which she loved. It would become her secret garden. A special place like the movie she loved! Kelly was special! Even as a little girl she took care of everyone. She loved everyone and everyone loved Kelly! She grew into a beautiful charming person who stayed the same loving person throughout! Gone at the age of 25 with everything going great and falling into place. Her and her husband just moved into their dream home. She was a farmer now and proud of it! She was waiting for her chickens to lay eggs for easter and she would probably find them in the oddest places. She would have to cover the peach tree so it didn’t get damaged by frost. She had 40 trees to plant and I was coming over and I would help plant them. Her sister, her dad, her husband her life…everything falling into place and then she was gone in just 3 days.
    The gray world stays! Everyday just seems to flow into the next with no meaning of time. Just hurry up and get to the end. Spring summer winter it’s all the same anymore! No joy in the seasons just loneliness great sadness and emptiness. Isolation! It is a long lonely road to walk when one loses a child and we will walk it to the end!
    I’ve told my boyfriend and daughter all about Kaitlyn and her life! I was about to show him Kaitlyns picture the other day but I knew I was about to break down because she is gone! Another day!
    That’s all I can get out for now! Maybe it’s too much! If so I apologize! Take what you can from it!
    Take care!
    Dee

    Like

  59. gatito2 says:

    Dee, thank you. It sounds like people have and still are being terrible to you. You’re right, many people don’t want to hear about anything sad. For me, I don’t have to worry about that much because I’m not working anywhere since Kailtyn died and I’m not around that many people. I assure you I would hear stupid things said to me too. I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with all that you have. It’s bad enough to lose a child, but for people around you to be heartless too is so terrible. I can’t believe how mean some people can be. I’ve had so much support online by so many people but I have had a few that said mean things but I don’t even think they were human. 🙂 Thank you for your comments. Stay in touch.

    Like

  60. Your posts have convinced me to stay alive instead of giving up. Thank you so very much. I just nominated you for an award. http://annarosemeeds.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/duet-awards/

    Like

  61. Matt Fried says:

    I’m 35 now. I was 21 when I attempted suicide. Similarly, I hid my depression from my own family for ten years. I was lucky.

    I can tell you with 100% certainty that work you are doing right now matters, it’s just not nursing.

    If I had read your blog back then, it really might have stopped me from trying. I look forward to reading it now.

    But more importantly, there are others out there now who are reading it, and who may never comment, but to whom it does make a difference.

    Like

  62. gatito2 says:

    You don’t know how good it makes me feel to know that what I write might make a difference. Thank you so much and I’m so glad that you made it.

    Like

  63. LFFL says:

    So sorry to hear about something so devastating. She was so pretty. I wish you and your husband all the best in making it through.

    Like

  64. gatito2 says:

    Thank you. We need all the wishes, hopes and prayers to get through this because it’s the hardest thing ever.

    Like

  65. Sarah says:

    As deep and profound as I am sure your loss is, I’m not sure that anything I could say would do you any good. I have experienced none of this, but I do live with mental illness and I have thought often about suicide when I have not been well. I just wanted to tell you that there is a devastating and tragic but very real beauty to your writing, I can tell how much you loved your daughter, and what you are doing, by sharing, by being strong (however weak you may feel) and by showing others you are not alone, is extremely, immeasurably brave. This whole blog is a reminder to me of the damage I would do if I were to lose control and take my own life. You inspire me to hold on to life. Thank you so much for sharing such a personal journey.

    S

    Like

  66. gatito2 says:

    Thank you. That was one of the kindest comments anyone has ever written to me. I did love her more than my mere words could ever express and I feel there is nothing left of me. But if I have helped you and some others realize what suicide leaves behind and it gives you second thoughts, then what I post is worth it. Thank you so much.

    Like

  67. Sarah says:

    Truly, what you post is worth so much. I’ve been at that place where you can’t see another way out. I have attempted to take my own life before, when I was nineteen, (I am 25 now) and the thoughts that go through your mind, it is as though there is no other way. No other option. Nothing else exists. That’s what mental illness does to you. It blinds you from truth, from hope, from seeing that life can go on. What you share on this blog brings those things back to people like me who, in a bad situation, otherwise wouldn’t be able to see them. Blessings to you and your family I hope for healing and happiness for all of you.

    Like

  68. gatito2 says:

    Thank you so much.

    Like

  69. Melissa says:

    I have read several of your posts. It gives me hope to see that you are hanging in there. It has only been 6 weeks since my son took his life. I feel hollow. It helps me to know I am not the only broken mother on the planet. I am so sorry we share such a terrible thing. I will pray for you daily as I pray for myself.

    Like

  70. gatito2 says:

    Thank you Melissa. It’s still very, very hard. No, you are not alone.

    Like

  71. Katherine says:

    We only see what they want us to see. That struck home with me. If my son was depressed, he hid it from everyone. He was definitely smart enough to do that. There is not one single person who would have believed he would die by suicide. They all continue to question why? They all say he would not, of all people that they knew. But, he took his own life, according to the ME. No note, no problems that have been discovered, nothing to indicate a bright, happy young man so excited about his future would die by his own hand that day. So, all of us are left to wonder why? What happened? No one can say. Your information about highly intelligent, talented young people suffering from hidden depression has been an eye opener for me. Hugs to you on this horrible road we walk.

    Like

  72. Kristen says:

    I am so sorry for your incredible loss. I too, am coping with the loss of my son to suicide, of which I witnessed on April 12, 2011. Almost three years, and the pain has become part of my life. To say it “lessens”, I feel, would be an injustice to our love for our children. I believe it’s more that we get used to it, as it becomes a part of the new person you are. It does, however, become less overwhelming and debilitating, as life does go on and we must return to it. And I FULLY understand you not writing your complete raw emotions as to keep from scaring others about your well-being because I’ve HAD those very same feelings. Your daughter is beautiful and sure she has finally found some peace from the sounds of her letter. Remember her and all the good memories, and know she’d want you to go on and be happy at some point. I believe my son has become my guardian angel, for many reasons before AND after his death. And it’s because if that, that I go on and be as happy as I can. I believe if I don’t, I am upsetting him and disrupting HIS peace. Things WILL get better, as the grief does change. Many prayers and much love.

    Like

  73. gatito2 says:

    I know it must be horrible that he did not leave a note. At least we had a note, a two page note. However it still left me with questions. You never know all the answers. I thought that was a very good and informative article as well. Wish I had read something like that years ago.

    Like

  74. gatito2 says:

    Oh no, you witnessed your son’s suicide?! I am so sorry. I didn’t witness the death of my daughter but I still play it over in my mind just as if I had. I don’t want that vision, but the vision comes nonetheless. I can’t imagine really having seen it. I am comforted that she has now found peace but I can’t help but wish that she was still here, getting help, and at peace. But wishing does nothing.

    Thank you so much for your comforting words and I wish you peace as well.

    Like

  75. mewhoami says:

    I cannot even begin to imagine your pain. It’s sad how close some of us have come during our lives to making the same choice as your daughter did. It’s writing like yours, that causes people to fully realize and understand the consequences of that choice.

    This is a wonderful what you are doing here. Not only is it extremely therapeutic for you, but there are so many lives that you could touch and even some that you may save.

    Like

  76. gatito2 says:

    Thank you. In many people’s darkest moments when they are wanting to end their lives, their pain is so great they may not realize the extent of the devastation that their loss will create. Not only just after, but for everyone they left behind’s lifetime. I hope what I write makes a difference. I don’t want anyone to have to go through this. I want no other lives to be lost to this terrible disease. I hope I can make some kind of difference.

    Like

  77. mewhoami says:

    Oh I have no doubt that you are making a difference. 🙂

    Like

  78. Rhonda I am so sad reading your post, your loss of a beautiful daughter touched me half way across this world. I lost my brother to depression a few years ago. Now that I am a mother I can only image your pain. Writing about it is healthy, I look back at my diaries of those dark days and still miss my brother every day. The hardest thing is the grief that consumes you, but after some time you will push through that and start your journey of helping others as I can see by your posts you are doing it already. Your daughter is with you and you have so much to give this life.

    Like

  79. gatito2 says:

    Thank you so much for your kindness. I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. I have one other daughter and she suffers so much from losing her little sister.

    This is the hardest thing to go through that I could ever imagine. I loved Kaitlyn with all my heart and soul…..and I still do. She was the last person on earth I would think of taking her own life. It’s just so hard. I have a life of missing her ahead and it will be so difficult. Thank you for reading.

    Like

  80. Uncle Spike says:

    Now I always like to welcome any new followers. At first I wondered if it would be inappropriate or insensitive, given the nature of your blog and all that has happened; but then I got to thinking about this overnight (woke up at 3am pondering this), and I thought “Why not, why should Rhonda be treated any ‘differently?”. When I’ve been the one grieving, the biggest pet hate was to be treated as some freak, different from the world due to circumstance – after all, we hadn’t done anything wrong…. so on that note, here is my welcome to you Rhonda.

    So Ms Rhonda is now a Spikey, that growing clan of folk known to be followers of Uncle Spike.
    Thank you… I really appreciate that as I for one, know how many interesting and entertaining blogs are out there.

    My aim is to deliver an eclectic offering of posts, from my ‘point n shoot’ attempts at photography, to the sharing of my travel adventures since the 70′s, as well as day to day happenings on the farm. Oh, plus a few observations on life as I see it. Of course, if you have any suggestions for me, I’d love to hear from you, serious; email me.

    In return, I promise not to be overbearing with perhaps 2-3 posts a day tops. But if you are at a loose end one day, maybe you’ll find some escape trawling through some of my older stuff too. I have added plenty of categories to help in said digging process.

    UNCLE SPIKE

    Like

  81. gatito2 says:

    Thank you so much and I feel honored that you woke up at 3 a.m. and pondered this matter. 🙂 You’re right, it makes me feel good to have this fine welcome no matter how heart wrenching my blog is. Humor is the only thing that saves me sometimes though I don’t put it on my own blog, I still appreciate seeking it out as a release sometimes….so I appreciate it. I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog.

    Like

  82. Uncle Spike says:

    I firmly believe our departed loved ones would not want us to dwell in eternal sadness, so yes, an escape dimension is essential to our future sanity!

    I still have dark days when certain memroy triggers kick in, but blogs like http://jtm72.wordpress.com/ always, without exception, make me smile. James is a grandfather himself, and a guy with a seemingly endless supply of genuinely funny stuff to dish up.

    As for my blog, welcome to the escape zone…

    Like

  83. gatito2 says:

    Thank you, I will check the site out. I’m always looking out for comical relief. That being said, it reminded me of another blog (on blogspot) that I love for her unique sense of humor. She has also written a book recently which I bought. The way I found her was on her two pieces she did about depression called “Adventures in Depression” and “Depression Part 2.” That’s how I found her, reading about depression. Those 2 pieces of writing explain how depression is better than anything I’ve ever read. (I also suffer from depression so I know). Then when I was done with that I went on to read her other pieces that are hilarious that have nothing to do with depression. Her name is Allie Brosh. Check it out, and especially read the ones on depression….if you get time. She was in the middle of writing her book, got seriously depressed and was out of commission for over a year. When she came back she added those two pieces about depression to her book.

    The blog is called “Hyperbole and a Half.” I’ll direct the URL to the depression writings, but then you can go to the first page. My other favorite ones are about the dogs, and about the cake and about the party. 🙂 You’ll see. If you’re not familiar with her just know…..commenting is fruitless. Obviously she is so busy and the site so huge with the bazillion of viewers and commenters she can’t reply to many. Also, those drawings….look like a 2 year old would do them, are on purpose. 🙂 I just love the whole thing. http://www.hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2013-05-09T08:55:00-06:00&max-results=10&start=1&by-date=false

    She does not add new material very often anymore though.

    Like

  84. My heart goes out to you and know that people from all over the world like me send you healing hugs. Your sorrow has effected me deeply, just know you are NOT alone and I can tell by all the wonderful comments you are being supported. Your daughter would be proud of you and yes I can imagine how your other daughter is feeling. Tell her I am thinking of her too and to try and remember all the good times, we had so many. I try to live a full life now for my brother as well. xx

    Like

  85. gatito2 says:

    Thank you so much.

    Like

  86. pennylaneseriously says:

    Hi Rhonda,
    I will tell you a secret I have not told anyone on here (my blog is anonymous): I live in North Carolina… about right, smack in the middle. My husband grew up in eastern North Carolina. Over the past two years he has had to mourn the suicide deaths of three of his closet friends. We cope every day… my husband often wonders why, out of so many friends, he does not suffer like they did.
    We have been talking about getting involved in some sort of suicide awareness events or goings-on here in our state, particularly in eastern NC where it has been so prevalent in our experience. I would love to help promote your story when your book comes out.
    I think people, including (especially) the families of suicide victims, need to know they are not alone. Every experience is so unique… all of them hurt, terribly. I can not imagine a greater pain than losing a child.
    Thank you for sharing your story. I know it is difficult, but hopefully it will help others who need it. I am so sorry for your loss. She is an absolutely beautiful girl.
    -PLS

    Like

  87. gatito2 says:

    Thank you so much. I did not know it was so much more in NC. I just thought it was an epidemic everywhere. But I would not doubt it.

    I would be VERY happy for you to help promote my story when my book comes out. I need all the help I can get in getting it out there because I’m having to self-promote since I did not go with a mainstream publisher that does things like that for you. I went with a print on demand company which is what so many people do now a days. Thank you SO very much. I would welcome your help.

    Thank you for your kind words and thank you for your help in suicide prevention.

    Like

  88. Rhonda, I am so very sorry for your loss. My 27 year old daughter passed away suddenly on 8-4-13. Eight days before her birthday. She was living at home at the time and our offices where a few blocks apart. She was a mini-me. It is so difficult to go one without her and I miss her so much. My heart is broken in a million pieces. I cry every day. The pain is unimaginable. My deepest sympathy. I honestly know how much it hurts.

    Like

  89. gatito2 says:

    I am so very sorry about the loss of your daughter. It is truly the worst pain imaginable. For that matter, I could not conceived that this much pain exited. I know about the millions of pieces that your heart has broken into, so has mine and it will never be put together again because there is a huge piece missing. I am so sorry.

    Like

  90. Anonymous says:

    I know your hope in telling Kaitlyn’s story is to help at least one person, and I want you to know I am that person. I have lived on what I have always called a roller coaster of emotions since I was 14, and deep down I’ve always known what it was, though I’ve never wanted to admit it. I have struggled painfully and silently for so many years. I was too scared to tell anyone how I felt even though I knew I was balancing on the edge. I just couldn’t bear the thought of not looking like I had it all together or looking like a failure. By a sheer stroke of luck, I stumbled upon your blog last weekend. I spent the day scouring over your posts and crying with you (or so it seemed). I spent the following days going back and forth on how I should tell someone….it seemed like I could really get help after all this time. Your blog gave me hope. It was hard but I somehow managed to utter those horrible words to someone. I am no where near being ok, but I am on the road to getting there. Thank you so much for sharing Kaitlyn’s story.

    Like

  91. gatito2 says:

    Oh that is so wonderful!! I imagine Kaitlyn felt the way you felt, that she just could not tell anyone, did not want anyone to know there was anything wrong.

    You don’t know how good it makes me feel that I have contributed in some way for you to make the decision to get help. I wish Kaitlyn would have read something that made her feel she could and should tell someone. But she didn’t and now I feel the great need to tell Kaitlyn’s story in order to help people get help, to know it’s ok to get help and that if someone does not get help, something horrible may happen.

    Thank you so much for writing this to me. You have no idea how good it makes me feel that you are getting help. Please take care and keep me in touch with how you are doing if you will.

    Like

  92. I feel like there are so many things I want to say but I don’t have the right words. You probably hear that a lot. I am not a mother yet, but am very close to mine, and I cannot image what you are going through. I have struggled with depression my whole life and occasionally still have suicidal ideations, though I am in a much better place now. Congratulations on your book, I am glad you have found some relief in writing. Best wishes…

    Like

  93. gatito2 says:

    Thank you so much for reaching out to me. No need to worry about saying the right words, just the fact that you care enough to comment is more comfort than you know. I hope you are getting help for your depression for you know my Kaitlyn did not.

    Like

  94. Pingback: "My Bright Shining Star" by Rhonda Elkins - Fried's Blog

  95. Thank you so much for visiting Stacy’s Flutterings Rhonda. I visited your blog today, and I find your story heart wrenching to say the least. It is also inspiring. You are helping so many others know that they are not alone, and also that sometimes our loved ones don’t share what they are thinking in regard to mental illness. That is such an important message. I’m so glad you are writing about your experiences and especially about Kaitlyn. I have nominated you for a Leibster Award. You can find out more about your nomination and thus the award by clicking here: http://stacysflutterings.wordpress.com. I hope more readers find your blog! All the best, Stacy

    Like

  96. gatito2 says:

    Thank you so much Stacy for your kind words. I hope my words do help people. Kaitlyn was a very special person, she still is….somewhere out there. I want her message to be heard.

    Thank you for the nomination for the Leibster award but I’m not really interested in awards for blogging. Please know I’m still appreciative of the thought though.

    Like

  97. Pingback: You Love Me, You Really Love Me! | Contortum Designs

  98. Good morning! I wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the Shine On award! If you participate in awards you can find my post about nominating you at http://contortumdesigns.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/you-love-me-you-really-love-me/
    which states what you need to do. If you don’t participate in awards, just know that I truly enjoy your writing and am glad you are part of my WordPress community 🙂

    Like

  99. gatito2 says:

    Thank you, I so appreciate the nomination. But I’m too lazy to fill out all the answers to the questions that I have answer, but I am honored all the same. 🙂

    Like

  100. Kerry says:

    Hi Rhonda. Thank you for sharing your story. Your daughter seemed like a beautiful person inside and out. The “why” of suicide can be maddening and crippling to the family left behind. My Mom committed suicide 2 months ago after several failed attempts. Her first attempt was shocking to me as well. I wasn’t aware of the severity of her depression and it took me a long time just to get over the shock of her attempt. It blindsided me.
    I started a blog in her honor to help me cope with her loss (https://68waystorememberyou.wordpress.com). It has been very cathartic to focus on positive things to do in her honor. I wish you the best and will say a prayer for your beautiful Kaitlyn!

    Like

  101. Dina says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve just clicked that ‘follow’ button and am looking forward to reading more… I can relate to your comments about feeling the need to hold back… because that level of sadness isn’t pretty… I hope find a way to express that.

    Like

  102. gatito2 says:

    Thank you so much Kerry for your kind words. I am so very sorry for the loss of your mother. And it has not been but a short time ago. What they leave behind is horrible, but I feel so bad that she had to endure the depression that caused her suicide. I will check out your blog.

    Like

  103. gatito2 says:

    Thank you Dina and thank you so much for following my blog.

    Like

  104. Amy says:

    I just start reading your book and feel the emotion and loss that you poured into it. I had a close call with my daughter, who survived her suicide attempt, and I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to get that call and find out it was too late. Our daughters seem to have shared many of the same traits as loving, intelligent, giving souls, always striving to do better.
    I am so sorry that you lost your precious Kaitlyn so early in life. Thank you for honoring her memory so beautifully.

    Like

  105. Anonymous says:

    I thank you deeply for sharing your story. I am currently a 3rd year medical student and your story paints a very good picture of the true cost of suicide and how deeply it affects the family members left behind. I have worked my entire life to get to the point that I am in now, and I go through thoughts of suicide on a daily basis. From the outside looking in, it may seem as if we have it all together, but medical school can be a very isolating experience.

    Like

  106. B. says:

    Rhonda is now with her Kaitlyn — she died at the end of August, 2014.

    Liked by 1 person

  107. pappy53 says:

    Dear Rhonda and B (and the family),

    While I now know why it has been so silent here, I have to tell you how much you, Rhonda, meant to me on this plane and on this blog (still here) where we are left to wonder at all the unanswers. I hope you and your precious Kaitlyn will forgive us for not knowing more and being able to help with your pain.

    You were a light house of shared grief for me as I stumbled through my dark days ever since my son’s death by suicide. I send strong hugs and love to you, your husband and your extended family and friends who now also suffer new pounding waves. It is so hard to learn how to breathe underwater. But here we are, again.

    And to Anonymous from the 17th… keep struggling. Keep trying to find ways to relieve the pain, please stay… here on this plane and let us all help! Keep fighting.

    With deep sorrow and much love,

    Andy Weiss

    Like

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