Dear Kaitlyn: I’m Going Back to Work Now

Dear Kaitlyn,

I know I said back in November I was going back part time to my RN job, but for reasons I’m not sure about, it never materialized. Perhaps that was the best because maybe I was not ready then.

But I have found out today from my former employer that I can start my old job back part time, 3 days a week starting 8-25-14. And this is a for sure thing.

I have sat around this house writing and also descending into some great abyss, turning into someone I don’t even know because my heart is so broken. I’m depressed, I’ve gained weight, and life is a dark place no matter who tells me they love me…..because I have been devastated Kaitlyn. I will always be devastated. Also in these 16 months I felt sure that I would die. Sometimes I actually prayed for it, one of the few prayers I have prayed since you took your life because I simply don’t know how to live without your beautiful presence in my life; without being able to see you fulfil the dreams you had all your life. I thought one day that I would simply not wake up, or have a heart attack or stroke, or die from reasons the medical personnel could never figure out, which would in fact, be of a broken heart. But tests can’t determine that.

Losing you has made me not want to live. It has me having little interest in anything, and it has made me irritable and those that love me are helpless to know what to do for me. But they continue to try anyway.

But I’ve started thinking Kaitlyn. I don’t know in what form your spirit resides or where, but wherever it is in the cosmos that your spirit has gone and you can still see me here on earth and are aware of what you left behind, it fills me with great sorrow to know how regretful and hurt you would feel by being the cause of my no longer wanting to live. You would not want me sitting around here all the time hearing your voice in my mind and reliving your entire life continuously and wondering what it was that I missed to let me know you were in trouble with your state of mind. You would not want to see me slowly losing my mind over the loss of you. You would not want to know that you have ruined my life because you took your life. But the fact is, I’m changed, I always will be because I have lost someone that was in my soul and continues to be. But I still love you. I still miss you and I always will. I am not angry at you for the disease of depression making you think you were beyond help.

So in order for you not to have to see my life disintegrate totally, I owe it to you and the rest of my family members to see if I can still go on somehow with my life. To tell you the truth, I don’t want to Kaitlyn. It’s so hard to even imagine that I can do anything normally ever again and it’s quite frightening and horrible thinking I will be in this world without you in it….working and trying to get along. But I will do it anyway Kaitlyn. I will do it for you, I will do it for my family and just maybe one day I will be doing it for myself as well.

I know you know that because I am getting out and trying that it in no way means I’m “moving on” or “getting over your loss” or have accepted your loss. It does not mean that my heart does not grieve for you every minute of the day. It just means I’m stuck here living without you Kaitlyn and I can’t do a darned thing about it but get out there and look like I’m living again. But I will try my best.

There is no way that you can possibly know the extent of what you brought to my life with your sweetness, caring ways and all the many, many special things that were so unique to you. But I did an awful lot of trying to tell you just how much I loved you. I told you all the time…… All the time how special you were.

I don’t like this world you have left me in Kaitlyn. I had a hard enough time with this world before you left, but losing you has made it so much harder a hundred fold.

But I do know one thing without a doubt, that though I suffer so horribly without you, I cherish every single moment I had with you on this earth for 23 years. You brought to my life so much love, beauty and love of life that I will cherish those days until I breathe my last breath and meet you again my sweet, sweet girl.

So I take this step out into the world Kaitlyn. I continue to go see a psychologist weekly to try to deprogram those horrible things I see in my mind continously. I still plan on doing some volunteer work. I will go through this life and do my best but my life will forever be gray without your brightness in it. I will always, always think of you and know how very fortunate that I had the honor to be your mother if only for 23 years.

You will see your Momma try Kaitlyn because that’s what I think you would want. I don’t want you to see me this way. I don’t want you feeling that you were the cause of whatever would become of me if I don’t try. You hurt enough in your soul Kaitlyn, I will not have you feel guilty for anything that happens to me.

I love you Kaitlyn. Oh my gosh how I miss you. I’m so glad that you were sent to me to love. I just wish I could have done more.

I will love you forever and you will be in my thoughts until my last breath.

And I just want to thank you…….

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Your Voice

Your words, your voice reverberates all through these walls. These walls that have you all over them; baby picture here, little girl picture there. Pieces of art just around everywhere. I hear your voice on your bookshelf and in my room, fragments of conversations in time. “Mom I love how you decorated your room…..” “Do you want to read my second Harry Potter book?” I hear them all the time, pieces of conversation that are never finished but hang in the air like an unfinished thought, lays on my couch like an unfinished book.

And I hear you, I hear your voice as it sounded all those times…a little girl, a young woman, telling me things, making my heart melt like steel in a hot blazing furnace which formed the shape of you….and wrapped around my heart.

Your voice, it bounces off the frame you made of popsicle sticks…. I see the stain of each popsicle where it once held that sweet delight you loved so much….all made into a frame just for me….with your picture in it……”Momma, I made this just for you……” And it sits there still, just where I put it then and you look at me…and I still hear your voice…bouncing off the sticks.

I hear your voice like the ghost of the past calling out to me, words and sentences that fall off before they reach the end…..and I hear its echo in each room I go….”Momma I love you so, I love you VERY so.”


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What Robin Williams Meant to Us

As news reports on Facebook, twitter, blogs, TV shows and the news are now in the millions by now, I still want to add my thoughts to my own blog about the very tragic death of Robin Williams and what he meant to mine and my girls’ lives.

I was just heartsick to learn of his suicide yesterday (which was also on the 16 month day of my Kaitlyn’s suicide). I first became aware of Robin Williams in his role of Mork on “Mork and Mindy.” I was around 18 years old when that came out. Then he went on to do numerous movies for the big screen. He fully became ingrained into our systems when my two daughters Stephanie and Kaitlyn were children. Oh there was the Disney animation of “Aladdin” with him playing the genie which was nothing less than genius. There was “Mrs. Doubtfire” which I’m sure that my girls must hold the world record of the number of times it was watched by anyone. Many of his lines are still forever in my mind…..”It was a run by fruiting!!” When Kaitlyn became a teenager we all became aware of his more serious roles such as our favorites, “Good Will Hunting” “What Dreams May Come” “Dead Poets Society” and “Patch Adams” just to name a few. He could play a serious role every bit as well as a funny role.

And his humor was unlike any I’ve ever seen before. He was like a funny train that just could not stop. But he did stop.

When Kaitlyn died his movies even took on even more significance as they did before. With “Good Will Hunting” he was the psychologist trying to help this young genius who was rebellious and did not want to reach his potential because of his past. In “Dead Poets Society” he was a teacher and it was about poetry and how much meaning and importance it has in one’s life. Kaitlyn loved poetry. In “What Dreams May Come” he played a man who lost his two children in an auto accident, then HE gets killed leaving his wife alone and depressed. She ultimately took her life and he left to “save her….” Kaitlyn loved this movie. I think she loved the romance of it, how someone could love someone so much to take such measures to save the one they loved. I don’t think she focused on the suicide, which this movie portrayed as anything but something that should be done. I never really liked the movie all that well as I told Kaitlyn I just thought it was too weird. But she loved it. It was the DVD that was left in her DVD player when I brought it home from her apartment after she died.

So, Robin Williams meant a lot to me and to my girls for many, many reasons. I know some people criticize that everyone is now acting like we actually knew him personally, that we didn’t truly know him and have no right to act as if we do. But there is nothing wrong with admiring someone so much that we mourn their loss, whether we knew them personally or not.

I have always known that Robin Williams suffered from mental illness but I always thought it was bipolar disorder. No one is mentioning now that he had this. Maybe I was misinformed. But we do know for sure he suffered from depression, and strangely not many seemed to know that even though he never hid that fact and talked about it numerous times.

There is only one positive that has come out of his death, and I hesitate to say there is anything positive about it at all. I had much rather it had not happened to him, to my daughter, or to anyone else. But I have found now that depression and bipolar disorder are now being talked about VERY freely since this happened to him. And what’s more, there is CORRECT information being given out there about depression and what it really is; a disease, a serious one that can kill you, NOT a weakness. Also that suicide can strike anyone that has these illnesses no matter who you are, how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how intelligent and gifted you are, no matter how bright your future, no matter your race, gender or social status. It can happen to ANYONE.

And no, it’s not that Robin Williams was more important than anyone else that has taken their own life, but perhaps his fame will help spread the truth about depression and more people will feel freer to seek help. I think he would like that.

I am saddened by his loss. There will never be another like him.

And Robin (if I may be so bold as to call you by your first name), please say hi to my daughter Kaitlyn for me.

Just a very few of my favorite scenes from some of his movies:

Below: Mrs. Doubtfire

Next two below…love the skeleton scenes in Patch Adams:

Below: Dead Poets Society

Below: Good Will Hunting

And finally, though there is so much more….there’s “Aladdin.” This is fantastic.

Rest in Peace Robin Williams.

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The other day I had a friend tell me that the problem I was having is that I have not accepted Kaitlyn’s death. I have my other child, my husband, my home and all that love me and I simply must accept what happened to Kaitlyn in order be there for them, live for them, and simply just to carry on, or something to that effect.

This comment to me was a comment of one of the many responses to something I wrote on my Facebook. I was desperate that night, I needed someone to tell me anything to make me feel better. I got many responses that made me feel better, but his made me pause. I know with all my heart that what he said was meant to help me. He’s a friend of mine. I realize what it was he was trying to tell me, but I could not get that word “acceptance” out of my mind and I have thought about it ever since.

So I looked up the word “acceptance” on an online dictionary. But I can’t find any of the definitions that look like there’s anything that has to do with what has happened and how I feel or where it is I should be in my life and Kaitlyn’s death. Here they are….well I will go with the word “accept.” In parenthesis after the definition I will give my thoughts.

Here’s the World Dictionary definition:

World English Dictionary
Accept (əkˈsɛpt)
— vb (sometimes foll by of)
1. To take or receive something offered (my daughters suicide was not offered to me or given to me beforehand for my approval, so this does not apply).
2. To give an affirmative reply to: to accept an invitation (I accepted no invitation).
3. To take on the responsibilities, duties, etc., of: he accepted office (that surely does not apply)
4. To tolerate or accommodate oneself to (this is perhaps what I should be trying to obtain).
5. To consider as true or believe in (a philosophy, theory, etc.): I cannot accept your argument (no, that’s not it either)
6. (may take a clause as object) to be willing to grant or believe: you must accept that he lied (to believe? Yes I definitely believe my daughter is dead).
7. To receive with approval or admit, as into a community, group, etc. (no, surely didn’t approve my daughter’s suicide)
8.commerce to agree to pay (a bill, draft, shipping document, etc.), esp. by signing (no, not it)
9. To receive as adequate, satisfactory, or valid (certainly not)
10. To receive, take, or hold (something applied, inserted, etc.) (I’ve already had to receive and take hold of what happened)
11. archaic to take or receive an offer, invitation, etc. (no)

[C14: from Latin acceptāre, from ad- to + capere to take]

To me, I don’t think the word acceptance is quite the word for what it is I need to attain. I accepted Kaitlyn’s death as true the moment that the police officer said “Your daughter is deceased.” Though it was horrible, the most unfathomable thing possible, and my heart and mind railed against it being true, I accepted what he said as truth though I did not want to. I was never in denial. I had a problem with how she could have possibly done such a thing, but I knew it when he told me.

I’ve accepted her suicide with everything I’ve had to do since she left this earth; by selecting a casket for her burial, the clothes she was to be buried in, by cleaning out her apartment, going through her things, keeping or giving away her things, by painstakingly picking out a head stone for her grave that would do her justice, by every excruciating moment that I have somehow managed to live through since she has been gone (though I really didn’t think I would live long after it because surely I would die of heartache or some horrible event to by body because my mind could not tolerate it….but alas, here I still am).

I’ve accepted her death with every young woman I see, every baby, child, adolescent I see, by all the commercials by women MDs I see on TV, by every piece of art that she drew, to every piece of poetry and writing that has been left for my eyes to fall upon, I have accepted it. With every wedding I hear about knowing she will never be a bride, to every baby I see on TV or in person knowing she will never have her own, I accept it. I have accepted that when 2015 is here, it will have been the year she would have graduated medical school….but she won’t….they will walk without her.

I accept her death when I’m in the floor crying with her clothes wrapped in my arms pretending it is her even though I know she is dead. I have no illusions of that fact.

I’ve accepted her death in these ways and countless others too many to mention ever since the moment the words came out of that police officer’s mouth. So it’s not acceptance that I need to find.

I am sometimes reminded of people that have lost children but by gosh they had to grab themselves by the bootstraps and carry on for their family members. This implies that I need to get on with business and live for them. I love them. I love them as much as I do Kaitlyn and I want to live for them but when your heart is broken and your life is not life without that person (which it would not be without any of my family) it’s hard to make the fact that you need to do it, make your mind and body actually do it.

It’s been almost 16 months. With each passing day she moves farther and farther away from me and it hurts. And with time, I feel the push of some people that enough is enough of this, you need to act like you love your family and get on with it. I am now trying to be proactive. I’ve started walking every other day and being careful what I eat so I can lose the ton I’ve gained since Kaitlyn’s death. I have applied for numerous jobs and have failed to get them. Funny, when I applied for nursing jobs in years past I got them 99 percent of the time. Now I can find nothing. Seeing that I am struggling with complicated grief and the reel of Kaitlyn’s life and her good memories that are attached to so much pain playing continuously in my mind is driving me insane, I decided to seek another psychologist (the two I tried after Kaitlyn’s death did nothing to help me) to work with my brain to get those horrible painful things disassociated with Kaitlyn’s wonderful memory. Since I can’t find a job, I’m thinking of volunteering for a worthy cause nearby. There is no way I can tell you how I’ve had to force myself to do these things. Not because I’m lazy but because my mind and heart just can’t bear having to live without Kaitlyn. But I do it and hope that some day my heart will be in agreement to what I’m trying to force myself to do now.

So by gosh I’m trying. But still I have so many moments (well actually it’s continuously) of being in the sheer depths of this living hell that I hate. And I feel so horrible that my child had to suffer in silence for so many years from the deep depression she was in because she did not deserve it. These thoughts overwhelm me and bring me to my knees.

So I don’t really like being told that what my problem is, is that I’ve not learned to accept her death. I have no choice but to accept it. It’s real, so real. So real in fact that sometimes I wish I could live in a fantasy world where I don’t have to know my daughter is dead. But then I would not remember her either and I’d rather suffer than not have her memory at all.

But the thing it is, what I DO need to attain is a way to COPE. Yes, cope would be the proper word. So maybe someone can tell me “your problem is you have not learned to cope.” That would be more accurate and it would not even give me pause to think because I know it is true. I have not learned to cope with my daughter’s death….at all.

Here’s the definition of coping. I won’t even comment in parenthesis because I know it’s what I’m unable to do yet.

1 [kohp]
verb (used without object), coped, cop•ing.
1. to struggle or deal, especially on fairly even terms or with some degree of success (usually followed by with): I will try to cope with his rudeness.

2. To face and deal with responsibilities, problems, or difficulties, especially successfully or in a calm or adequate manner: After his breakdown he couldn’t cope any longer.


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The Wisteria

Wisteria blooms in great abundance in the woods that border our yard in April. They are beautiful and purple. Kaitlyn and I always loved Wisteria. It blooms in April here in NC. In a short time however, only a week or two, the blooms are gone. Kaitlyn died in April when everything we have in our yard was blooming including the Wisteria. She loved it so much she wanted some pictures taken before she went to prom one year standing in front of them. She was 17 or 18 in this picture.

Here it is the very end of July and during my morning walk around my yard this morning I see a very few clumps of the beautiful blooming Wisteria exactly where she had her pictures taken. Only about 5 clumps, whereas in April my trees are full of the blooms.

I’m sure some Wisteria in this state get confused and have a few clumps that bloom during the end of July, but I’ve never seen this in the 26 years I have been living at this house and watching the Wisteria all these years.

Unusual, maybe. Something I’ve never seen, definitely. I like to think Kaitlyn had something to do with it. Hello Kaitlyn.


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What a Wonderful Man

This proves that you don’t have to have a degree in counseling or psychiatry to be able to help someone that is suicidal (until they can get to a professional) if you see they are on the verge and you are there to help. This only works sometimes if you see it about to happen or know that is what they are thinking. You are helpless if you don’t know anything and therefore cannot help them

What an inspiration this man is. Thank you Dr. Wible for showing me this video.

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I have finally resumed my watching of the old series “Lost” since Kaitlyn died. I know everyone knew about and has watched this series back in 2004 (I think) when it came out, but I never did. I wrongly thought that it was a reality show and I avoided it like the plague. I feel the same way about reality TV as I do rap music. But that is my personal view and I know that I’m really in the minority on that.

Anyway, the very last week I was to see Kaitlyn alive she came home for Easter and on that weekend when we were looking on Netflix for something good to watch she said, “Momma, Lost is a really good series I think you would like it.” Once she told me it was not another reality show I thought I would try it and we both set about watching it from episode one, season one. She had watched it years ago. About 20 episodes later I declared what I felt from the first episode that it was the best series I had ever watched. It kept you on the edge of your seat wondering what would happen next. I never watched another series that made me feel like that and I was enthralled.

We happily binge watched this series until episode 20 something or other then she took the weeklong visit to see her boyfriend. The next Sunday she came back home and she needed to rest up for her drive back to her apartment which was three and a half hours away. But before she went she said she wanted to watch some more “Lost” as I had waited to watch another episode with her. So we did.

The last day I ever saw Kaitlyn alive we watched two episodes of “Lost.” Then she got her cat and her bag, got in her car after hugging us goodbye and my telling her that we would go see her in May, the next month. I hugged her little body and of course, as I always did, smelled her hair.

After Kaitlyn died, and the funeral was over and all the people went home I tried to resume the series because it was the last thing we shared together. I could not watch it because every time I did I fell asleep. As a matter of fact, I fell asleep on a lot of things then including my preacher’s visit. I was medicated by my doctor for anxiety and I had never taken that particular medicine before and once I got still, I always fell asleep taking me blissfully away until I woke up the next time to remember my baby was dead.

So, two days ago, I decided to watch the series from where we left off. The thrill of this episode for me is still in full force and I feel close to Kaitlyn when I watch it. I am now on Season 3 so please don’t tell me how the rest goes….please!

But in watching this show, I see it a bit differently than I did with Kaitlyn. I feel now that my world is just like the world of the people on that God forsaken island that they cannot get off of. My life and its changes parallel with episode one in the crashing of that plane on that island. A horribly traumatic event. My trying to navigate this new world without Kaitlyn in it and how she left it is like the people trying to figure out what this island is all about. It’s mysterious, dangerous and deadly. And every single time they go about trying to figure out these mysteries, the more they are confused about the things they find out. It’s an endless cycle of search, bewilderment, scratching and fighting to stay alive in a place they cannot figure out and can never, ever seem to leave.

They are on this island that no one knows about and no matter how far they go on any boat that they may acquire, they still wind up back there.

This is my life now. I’m on some Godforsaken land that I cannot find a way off of. I can’t figure out my surroundings and the more I learn, the less I understand. It’s deadly, dangerous and bewildering. But I do not feel the thrill of this new life of mine as I do with the series. It’s one thing to watch it, it’s quite another to live it for real.

This is my life now. It’s just like this series. I am “Lost.” And I don’t think I will ever leave here.

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Black Box

Last night was the 2 hour season finale of one of my favorite shows “Black Box.” The star of this show is Dr. Catherine Black, a famous neurologist that has bipolar disorder that none of her colleagues knows about and only a very few her family members know about. Her mother also had bipolar disorder and took her own life when Catherine was 16. Since that time her own bipolar disorder developed and she has many secrets. She is brilliant, a perfectionist, driven and very good at her job. But no one she works with knows about her illness because…guess what? She knows it will hurt her career.

She is on medication and has been seeing the same psychiatrist since she was 16 and most of the time functions very well. But once in a while she goes off of her medications and she goes into a manic state. Sometimes she thinks when she is off her meds and manic that she does her best work. She does think up brilliant things during that time but she is also very destructive to herself and sometimes becomes suicidal.

The show, to me, is riveting. She works with cases of people that have some problems with their brain and manifests all kinds of unusual problems. She is very caring and understanding to her patients because she knows how they feel. It’s not only her situation that is interesting, but the diseases she works with.

Why do I torture myself with this show, you may ask? I have never watched another episode of House (one of Kaitlyn’s favorite shows) or Gray’s Anatomy. I simply can’t watch these shows anymore. I haven’t even tried, I don’t want to. But I watch Black Box because it shows a brilliant doctor that is doing the best she can in her profession along with dealing with her illness. This series does not glamorize mental illness (can that even be done?) but it does make one contemplate the mysteries of the brain, how people can be so brilliant but yet so ill all at the same time. That is something I now have a particular interest in because of what happened to my daughter. I don’t know whether Kaitlyn was bipolar or not. If she was she miraculously kept all that from me and I never saw any manic episodes in her. For that matter, I never saw any depression in her either. She said in her note that she was depressed. Both bipolar disorder and depression can be potentially deadly diseases due to the high incidence of suicide and suicide ideation.

Since Kaitlyn’s suicide I have been in communication with many mothers of brilliant, goal oriented, highly functional children that have taken their own lives. They have left this world in a variety of ways and I won’t say here the ways, but they were every way you can imagine or have ever heard of. What is it inside of their brain that makes them so very promising and brilliant but also makes them want to die? I know mental illness is not just occurring in the brilliant, it can happen to anyone no matter their intelligence, status, upbringing, race, gender, etc. But does the same thing that creates such intelligence in people also excite the part of the brain that causes them to want to end their life; causes them to be so deeply depressed? I will be so glad when we understand the brain better. Then there will be hope for people with mental illness. More hope than what we have now.

Some reviewers online think this series is poo.

This is from NAMI:

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I’m Going to See a Psychologist

I have finally decided I should see a psychologist. Not a psychiatrist, not a counselor, not a family nurse practitioner or a physician assistant (though I have great respect for all of them), but a psychologist.

A brief history of my depression for those that don’t know. I had my first bout of depression in 1999 when I was 39 years old and I had been working in a stressful (for me) nursing job for 4 years. I sought mental health care with the whole shebang. I was put on medication. I changed to a lower stress nursing job. I got better in a few months and stopped my medication on my own (I do NOT recommend anyone doing that as it usually has bad results, but for some reason it did not for me that time).

I was mentally well for 10 years, happily working in my less stressful nursing job. Then I had the wild idea that my nursing skills were going by the wayside and I wanted to do “real” nursing as a hospital floor nurse on a medical/surgical floor. I wanted to use my skills there and I wanted to make more money. (I made over twice what I made in my lower stress nursing job……I will tell you…money is NOT everything and you will NOT do almost anything as long as you make lots of money).

3 years of intense, high stress, over 12 hour shifts, night shift, day shift rotations and I was completely shot. I had to go on medical leave. I should have never gone to that job. While on medical leave I sought mental health help. Also while on medical leave I found another lower stress nursing job and quit my hospital job. That was in 2009.

I have had problems with depression ever since and have gone through multiple psychiatrists, counselors and medications and it took hard work and multiple changes to get feeling better, but one day I did feel better. From 2012 until 4-12-13 I did much better and stayed on the same medication from then on and didn’t even have to take but one medication for depression.

Then Kaitlyn killed herself. While I was struggling with my depression, she was fighting a horrible silent battle with her own depression that no one knew about. I could not even conceive of the fact that she could ever be depressed and well….you know the rest of the story.

After she died I continued with my same medication, my same psychiatrist and told him I didn’t want to change medicines because no pill can ease the loss I feel so deeply. I did start counseling, but I have a suspicion that the counselor did not have experience with those that have lost loved ones to suicide. Though nice, I got no real help for how I felt. So I quit going. Then I saw another counselor that was a preacher and I had more knowledge of suicide than he did. So I quit going.

Since that time I have sought out NO more mental health professionals and even quit my psychiatrist because I was managed so well on my meds all I needed was med monitoring and a regular MD can do that.

My therapy was my writing. That was the only therapy for me. No one could talk to me. Not my momma, who I love dearly, not my sisters, not my husband, not anyone. Sometimes I can open up and talk and cry, but for the most part I’m a mixture of dead inside and pain inside. I can get a good deal of relief when I’m with my daughter Stephanie. But she has her own sorrow to deal with in all this and I can’t see her all the time.

I’m unable to find a job other than nursing now. Who knows what the reason. Maybe everyone now thinks I would not be reliable because of all I’ve been through. When in fact I have been reliable all my life.

So in desperation, I went online and found a psychologist that has experience in losing someone to suicide that is an hour away from me and is covered on my insurance. I found her site last night and she had her email address on there. I emailed her a brief description of what has happened and how I feel and she called me this morning. She would have seen me today if it had been an emergency (no one has ever told me that…..they would always just say go to the ER if it was really bad and I had to wait for an apt for 3 weeks or so).

I told her it was not an emergency and that I could wait for the next apt time. So I will see her bright and early next Monday.

She won’t bring my Kaitlyn back. She won’t be able to extinguish the great sorrow and despair I have over losing her. But maybe…..JUST maybe….she will help me WANT to live again and therefore help me FIND a way to live again. That is a tall order for anyone, but I will try my best. Wish me luck.

If not that, then I just don’t know. Let’s just hope it all works out.

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If You Have One Best Friend in Your life……..

I was a child of the 60s, born right at the beginning in 1960. I was born in southeastern North Carolina, about as southern as you can get.

The 60s were a turbulent time in our nation with all the racial tension and civil rights. I never knew life in the 60s without coming home and seeing the Vietnam War on TV in my living room. In the middle of the decade I saw the horrible conditions that were put on the black race and then saw the transition of turmoil as things begin to change. I saw the young people of the early 60s, who still had poodle skirts and bobby socks and rockin’ to Elvis Presley transition into the hippie age with drugs, psychedelic music and totally different dress. I watched as women, who have always, at least in my area, had no choice but to be subservient to their husbands no matter what their husbands did (which was usually anything they wanted) transition into the women’s movement which ultimately opened a whole new world for women. They didn’t have to stay in a relationship that was bad anymore. They could find a job and make it on their own if they wanted. (This is a double edged sword to me as eventually women had to be supermom, superwoman, and super worker all in one and that is hard). I barely remember the funeral of President Kennedy, but I remember it as the horses brought his casket down that road on TV. I remember my mother crying. I remember when Bobby Kennedy and then Martin Luther King were assassinated. My awareness became keener at the end of that decade when the race to the moon was on and ultimately we got there. That experience would affect my view of the world and our universe from then on to this day.

But for me, the early part of my childhood and a bit beyond, these things did not worry me because I did not recognize their significance at that time. I was in my own world, the world of a child.

When I was 5 years old, I discovered to my delight a couple moved just about .25 of a mile down the road from me they had a daughter that was 4 years old. Her name was Myra. From the moment we met we became best friends and one of the happiest times of my life began.

(below: Left to right, my sister Sherry, me and Myra)

me and myra

Myra was a tomboy. I don’t remember whether I was one before I met her, but I was definitely one after I met her. She had two older brothers so I guess she had to be tough.

Oh the fun we used to have! My father farmed tobacco and strawberries until I was 9 and he sold the farm, but before he sold it, the many acres that he had and beyond were our wonderland.

Those were the days that mothers did not worry about their children being abducted if they stepped foot out of doors alone, or worry about pedophiles or anything else. After school I played outside until it was supper time and in the summer I did not come home except for meals and night time.

What a magical world we lived in. My father had a pack house and two barns with a shelter that connected them and that would be a great place to play. We would dig holes and try to get to China. We would build elaborate stick houses out of tobacco sticks. We would play on the drags (a wooden trailer that cropped (picked) tobacco would be transferred from the field to the barn in). We would take the control box out of the charred remains of a tobacco barn that burned with tobacco in it (these barns burned very often). We would clean them off and since they looked so very much like a treasure chest, we would buy gold spray paint and paint them to really make them look like a treasure chest, put things in it and bury them. To this day there is no telling how many are still buried there or what they have in them.

pic of

stick house

We would take off down the road on our bicycles. We both had Stingray bicycles that had high rise handle bars and a banana seat. Mine was a color of orange that had different shades of orange in it and hers was a lighter colored version of the exact same bike. We would ride and ride all day for miles. The only place we were not allowed to go is the “main road” which was a very busy road, Hwy 701. My momma would have killed me to ride on that.

(below is not the color of our bikes but was the best I could find on the internet)


We would build tree houses. We would climb trees. We would play in the freshly plowed fields and get so happily dirty. We wore cut off shorts that the more you wore them, the more unraveled the ends would become. We had skinned knees.

We would go to the creek on my daddy’s property and try to catch minnows. We would go to her daddy’s store that he owned and buy drinks that were actually in real bottles (drinks never tasted the same after they quit putting them in real bottles many years later). We would take 25 cents and buy candy that was a penny a piece and it would seem to fill up a whole small brown paper bag. We would take this bag and go deep into the woods at a clearing and proceed to eat the whole bag of candy.


We would meet halfway between my house and her house and then we would go somewhere and plan our adventures for the day. It was so exciting. We would go to the hardware store near her house and buy nails and find any kind of board we could around different places and make things with the boards. Once we tried to make a little car but it didn’t turn out so good, but it was fun dreaming of it.

We would work picking strawberries in my daddy’s strawberry field to make a little money. Once we picked a quart of berries, the person that came around and picked up the full one you had just filled would give you a “check” which looked a little like a movie ticked used to. Once the day’s picking was over, you would turn in your checks and you would be paid a certain amount for each check. I think we ate more strawberries than we put in the containers.


We would look in the ditches next to the roads for briar berries which was such a treat. We’d look in the woods for wild plum trees. We would buy a Pepsi and put a pack of roasted peanuts in them. We would buy cans of Vienna Sausages and see how fast we could eat them we loved them so much.

We would walk barefoot from the time school let out in the summer until school started back again. Sometimes we would cut our feet on glass. More often than not, at least once a day, we would step on a sandspur and they would be imbedded so deeply in our feet it was a scary prospect to pull them out ourselves. We were fortunate when my sister Gail was home from college because she was the only one that could pull them out for us with the minimal amount of pain.

We would pick sour weeds that grew wild and chew on them. We would stop during our travels on our bicycle and eat people’s pears and plums (sometimes with permission).

We would talk about what we would do when we grew up. Would we get married and have children? What would they be like?

When we got a little older I had to start school (I had to start first since I was older and I missed her when I did) Once in a while once she did start school, we would get in a fight on the school bus with each other. It would be a fist, fingernail (only she used fingernails because I chewed mine off all the time) and hair pulling event. This was a time when school bus drivers merely looked at you and continued driving and no law enforcement was ever called. Not even the principal was told. By next day we were sitting together talking like nothing had happened. Once I chased her all the way from my house to her house because she had called me a name, a name we would call each other often and was some silly thing, but that day I decided to chase her. I chased her all the way to her room but once there I didn’t know what to do. All was well by the end of the day.

Getting a little older, maybe 10 and 11, she started riding (driving) her brothers’ motorcycles and I would hop on the back and we would ride the multiple long trails on the side of the roads. We did this probably until one of us was old enough to get their license.

She was my best friend in the whole world and while the world around us was in turmoil, we made our own world full of fantasy and adventure. It was a wonderful world. I could always be myself around her.

Eventually, once we reached our mid teenaged years, we drifted apart as our interests begin to change. She in her world, me in my own weird little world. Though never close again, we have remained friends all these years. Not friends that take the time to call each other or write each other, or even message each other on Facebook or ever get together. But when we do happen to see each other again during all these years, it’s as if we both go back in time and we fill our conversations with “Remember when we did………” The tenderness in my heart for her and the memory of her being my best friend for many years has never left me.

In all the rest of the years of my life, though I have had friends, I never had the kind of friendship I had with her. The unconditional friendship of a person I had so much in common with. In my life I have never been able to find that again. Not much digging holes or climbing trees when you get older you know. And though I don’t do those things anymore, I yearn for the time when I totally connected with another person, another female that was near my age. A relationship that could never be duplicated.

Thank you Myra, for giving me something that is rare if we find it once in our lives. I will always remember those days.

Sometimes even now I can see us playing around the pack house with all the workers working and the radio playing “Sugar Pie Honeybunch” and my mind goes back…… the fields, the holes, the creek, the trees, the woods and then I am there.

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