Morning Glories, Peaches and My Kaitlyn’s Spirit

Some of you might remember last October when I told of the one single purple morning glory that we saw in the brush/wooded area in our back yard that was surrounded by nothing but dead brush. It was right there all beautiful and perfect and purple. What was so special about this is that I had never in the 26 years we have lived at this house seen any morning glories anywhere near our house, including that area. Also there were no more morning glories around it at all. In no other part of the brush or wooded area around our house, nowhere. It was all by itself in the middle of deadness. I took this as a sign from Kaitlyn. For one, she loved purple. For another reason she wrote a poem about morning glories (that was a metaphor for something else). I took it as a sign from her.

Well this year that very same brush is filled with purple morning glories and never has been before. But the brush is still alive because it is August. And this morning Allyn and I noticed morning glories in the top of our one remaining peach tree in our back yard. But they are blue and small. We’ve never had morning glories in our peach tree before. It is one of our remaining 3 peach trees that is half dead and I am so surprised when it continues to put out peaches each year. Fresh peaches was one of Kaitlyn’s most favorite fruits to eat. That tree just continues to hang on putting out her peaches…..and now it has morning glories. (I’m not worried about the morning glories killing the tree….I expect that tree to completely die at any time).

I don’t see Kaitlyn in the distant tree line across my house anymore looking beautiful, dressed in a black dress ready to go to the opera, or symphony or play as I always did each time I went outside, which is often. She’s no longer there, watching me, worrying about me…I know she was. (Don’t worry about my sanity, I know it was not really her), but that vision is gone now. I no longer have visitation dreams from her. I have had 5 beautiful visitation dreams from her that started a few months after she died and the last one being in February. I feel like she has gone on to where she had to go, but she has remained and always be in my heart and soul and memory. And somehow she sends those thousands of dragonflies to my yard every single day… my front door, at my back door, they fly around me everywhere I go….to my doctor appointment in the parking lot the other day, to my appointment to try to get the volunteer job last week…..they flew all in the back parking lot as I watched them from behind the big window there. She knew I loved dragonflies and bought a porcelain tea kettle with dragonflies on it for me before she died.. And she has sent the morning glories…..knowing how she wrote about them and what she meant by what she wrote….the morning glory was a metaphor for her and her life.

I will always remember her and love her and savor the signs that I get.

In my last dream about her she got onto a tram with other young people to go somewhere….and I think that place was heaven.

The soul never dies. I’ll see you again Kaitlyn

Falling Into Being

You, you with the clovers in your hair, your braided sun beams.

Flowers and winged things. How you’ll never know the species of them, but you know them by their colors–their tiny reflected sunlights. You call them cousins by their hues:

this one is robin red, this one is lily white. You touch them with your bluebird eyes.

What is the final truth, then? Is it that they live, that there’s beauty in existing as you are?

Before the sun had risen, you cupped your hands around your mouth and whispered to the spiraled bud of a morning glory: why will you bloom?

No answer until the morning, and then it unfurled its petals; its greeting to the day, to a lifetime.

You sat and watched this little being bloom with the magnificence of purpose. It was beautiful in its silence, in its pride.

You gave it the honor of breathing softly, of acknowledging its vulnerability. You knew it was weaker, less protected as a softly petaled bloom than as a bud.

You saluted its courage.

And when it died in the dusk of fading lights and fading colors, you stood in reverence as you do at the funeral of a man who lived well. Shed a tear but smiled in acceptance of a gift you never intended to receive.

And by morning, you had discerned the colors of yourself. You had fallen into being.”

By Kaitlyn Elkins


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In Remembrance of Kaitlyn Elkins by Wake Forest School of Medicine

Every long once in a while, I like to put this link up that Wake Forest School of Medicine made on their online newsletter in memory of Kaitlyn. It continuously runs on that newsletter. They created a fund for their Wellness Center to give more resources and help for those students there that experience depression and make it easier for them to access these resources without fear of bad consequences to their education and career. They are trying and taking steps and have actually hired another psychologist for that sole purpose.

I myself, will give to this cause every year so hopefully what happened to Kaitlyn will never happen to another medical student at Wake Med. If any of you have a few dollars to give (does not have to be much, or as much as you want) it would be wonderful to me and the rest of our family if you would honor Kaitlyn by a donation if you can.

If not, simply click on this link and read the dedication to Kaitlyn and look at some of her art and poetry and a few lines from classmates (which to me are rather sad and made me know how lonely my daughter may have been).

I hope medical schools continue to make things better for their medical students, to make better the horribly isolating and stressful environment that they live in which causes much depression. Not that Kaitlyn ever mentioned anything about that, it is still true as I’ve heard from many med students and doctors that it is true…

I’ve heard from some physicians that they would not wish being a doctor in this day and age on their worst enemy as being a doctor is nothing like it once was. They once had respect, did not have to be at the mercy of insurance companies and ridiculous malpractice premiums, get sued at the drop of a hat, and try to cram in as many patients as humanly possible, not because that is what they want, but because that is what they have to do to even make money. And the list goes on and on and on.

If I had known what being a physician means in this day and age, I would have gotten down on my hands and knees and begged Kaitlyn not to go into such a field instead of the few talks I gave her about “well you know med school is horribly hard, residency is a torture chamber and being a doctor consumes your life.” I would have done more than that…I would have begged her to do something else. Whether that would have made a difference or not, I don’t know because Kaitlyn was very strong willed. We won’t have any good doctors in America one day the way things are going. Then what will we do?

wake forest

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My Epiphany

I’ve had a very complicated day where I have felt hopeful, scared, mad, sad, excited all in one rollercoaster ride.

It started out early this morning with my one hour drive to see my psychologist to start my first session of EMDR. I heard it was very hard at first because she makes me live through in my mind and tell her what I saw and how I felt about the worst thing that keeps running around in my head like a movie that won’t cut off. There’s many horrible things, but I had to choose the most traumatic so she can kind of de-program those horrible thoughts into something manageable. I didn’t really worry about this as I write a lot of things that just thinking about them upset me, but writing about them relieves some of the pressure. It was harder than I thought. More about that later.

So as I drive this one hour drive, as I always do I do a lot of thinking and my plans to go back to work and all. Then my mind moved to the thought of just how angry I have been with God ever since Kaitlyn died. I know some of you will cringe at that, but it’s the truth. I think God would understand. I’ve been angry with him because my prayers did not come true to help keep my children safe and let them make good decisions. I wondered after Kaitlyn died, what’s the point in praying? It must make no difference. I’ve also been angry that he did not send his angels to put that thought into Kaitlyn’s head in her time of despair that life might just be worth fighting for. I know some that have been saved from the brink of suicide by “some quiet but strong voice” or feeling. Why did this not happen with Kaitlyn? People keep telling me that God can’t interfere with free will. But my daughter was ill and did not have rational thinking at the time….she did this of her free will, but she was sick. Why couldn’t he interfere with that? And don’t get me started on how I feel about all the injustices and horrible things that happen in this world and the evil that some people do. I won’t even go into that, but that has nothing to do with this point I’m trying to make.

I’ve been angry with God for a long time now. But on the drive to my appointment I had this thought occur to me; I’m being angry at the one being that I hope with all my heart that Kaitlyn is with. I hope she is in His presence surrounded by peace, happiness and love. How can I be angry at him when with him is where I so want her to be?

Then I began to think about what people have always said about forgiveness. Even if someone has done something horrible to someone you love or to you, the only way for you to feel any better is to forgive that person because if you don’t, you won’t be hurting them, but hurting yourself. All that anger just festers up inside of you until it turns you into something you don’t want to be. And the more I thought about it the more I thought what is the use in being mad at God? If I continue to be angry with him, I will turn into a very bitter and angry woman for the rest of my life and I don’t want that.

I have always cringed at the platitudes (well that’s what I always thought they were) that well-meaning people would tell me like, “It was God’s will” or “we will all know his plan one day” and those kinds of things. But the truth of it is, I don’t know his plans, none of us do and I have to think that in the grand scheme of things that somehow everything will fit and make sense. Not on this earth, but the existence we have when we die. I hope to God that there must have been some plan in mind for my Kaitlyn and that now she is, like she said in a visitation dream, “exactly where I’m supposed to be.” I have to cling to this. That’s not to mean to sound like I think suicide should be a reason to get to a happier place. Suicide is the result of a very depressed mind and not some grand plan or wonderful escape. But I’m going to have to trust in God now to take care of my Kaitlyn until I am able to see her again. I refuse to think that she no longer exists somewhere. Our soul never dies.

I’m not sure I might not think something entirely different tomorrow, but for today, my heart is softening in my feelings about God. I don’t know the answers to everything no matter how hard I try to ponder them out. So I will just have to let those questions go or they will drive me crazy.

I’ve not accepted her death. I’m so very sad to have lost her and especially that she suffered the way she did in silence. But the only comfort I have is that I will see her again. I have to cling to that.

So during my session with my psychologist and talking about the visions that I have that so disturb me (I would tell you what they are but that might trigger someone or something), I could barely talk about it for crying so hard. It was excruciatingly painful. So painful that for me, a person who has written volumes about my daughter and talk about her freely, this thing that I had to explain I could barely get out of my mouth and I cried so hard. I don’t like to cry in front of people. Not because I’m ashamed or think it a weakness, I just feel uncomfortable crying in front of people. But in the long run she will work with me to make those horrible visions be more tolerable. So I will continue.

After having such an epiphany on the way to the psychologist about God, I was feeling pretty good. After my appointment with the psychiatrist I was pretty traumatized, weak and exhausted. I cried half the way home as I drove. Then I heard the song that I so love and that has always given me such hope since it came out after Kaitlyn died.

I will see you again Kaitlyn. This is just for you.

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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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