A Letter To My Younger Self

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This will probably be the last entry I will put here.  I don’t think most folks are interested in getting sad over the reality of suicide and perhaps this is just a place to put fiction, poems, etc.  I think this is the most important piece I will enter because I want people to know what kind of person was lost from suicide 4-11-13. 

These are some of the kinds of people we are losing to the horrible disease of depression.  Here is my entry, but it’s mostly my daughter’s beautiful words and thoughts on life.  She was an amazing person.  Amazing people are not immune to depression.  I introduce my daughter, Kaitlyn Nicole Elkins.  Thank you for letting me post my few entries.

Kaitlyn Elkins

In Kaitlyn’s things that I brought home from her apartment was an old hardback book that had empty lines where you can write.  Kind of like a diary type book.  She started the entries in 2007 when she was 17 years old.  It is filled with many love poems, many poems about life, other people’s lives, her feelings, prose, stories and the like.

She wrote in this book until 8-13-08 which makes me assume she quit when she went off to college.  It was only half full.  She never wrote in this book again.  In her things I never found anything else she wrote, no more poetry or prose anywhere to be found.  However I am sure she probably typed anything else she wanted onto a word document.  I don’t know.  I do know she wrote poetry while she was in undergrad because I found some of it online on a blog of hers and on some things her college had online.

I don’t know why she kept this so long.  I don’t know why it was in the midst of her more recent belongings, but I’m glad to have it.  Kaitlyn was a very deep and introspective person.  She was always optimistic and enthusiastic for the future.

I would never, ever print something that would embarrass her, or write any of her love poems on here, (which were all very good), but there is one thing I want to put here that she wrote and it was the very first entry of hers in this book. This will be the only thing in this book I will give to the public.   Kaitlyn lived the things she wrote about in this entry.  She lived life to the fullest and she appreciated so much in life.  She had great ideals and hope for the future.  I wanted everyone to know how full of life and wisdom she was even at the age of 17 and she lived the life she wrote about.  The sad thing is, on the day of 4-11-13, depression had made her forget about every single thing she wrote here.  But she lived this life for just as long as she could, until it was taken away by the depression that killed her.

But here is the real Kaitlyn that lived.

A Letter to my Younger Self by Kaitlyn Elkins 8-24-07
First this: love and love often. Love like yesterday never happened and today is all you have, all you’ll ever have.  Love like it’s the only thing that matters because you’ll soon find that it truly is. Say I love you, but show it more than that.  Let your love be strong, and let it be for all:  The underserving, the unworthy.  Let it be willing to be unrequited, but let it be willing to be returned as well.  Let yourself be loved, even when you don’t deserve it.  Open yourself up to the power of love: how it can make the ugly beautiful, the weak strong, the fearful courageous.  Make your life a love song, real and unromantic.

Learn to pursue. Pursue people, relationships, knowledge, wisdom, and truth but most of all truth.  Saturate yourself with what is true when you find it and fight fiercely to keep it close, build your life on its foundations.  Know that you will have to fight to keep what is precious to you, be willing to.  Don’t be passive, don’t be complacent, don’t be content where you are.  Know that you could be better; know that uphill battles are the only ones worth winning.

Give of yourself. Don’t be selfish, don’t seal up your heart.  Know that you are a treasure, that you are precious and beautiful.  Know that every single person you meet is just as valuable.  Try to realize how important people are and conclude that you will never fully know.  Invest in people, in relationships.  Challenge your friends and be challenged by them.  Grow with people, alongside them.  Keep your promises. Sacrifice yourself; your comfort, your fear, your laziness, your apathy for those who need you.  Learn to need as well.  Be willing to lean on a friend, be willing to trust.  Bare your soul.  Let others be changed by you, and change for them also.  Cherish everyone.

Discover who you are. Learn why you are here, discover what your purpose is, find out where it is you should be going.  Cherish the journey, but always face your destination.  Don’t betray yourself, follow your heart and never stop searching.  Be willing to take chances, to risk.  Know that living your life means you won’t always be safe. Don’t long for what is comfortable or easy, but for what is true and good and pure.  Know that you will probably get hurt along the way.  Know that the victors carry heavy scars.  But know that you will find what your heart cries out to.

Know that you are imperfect, that you will make mistakes. Don’t put yourself on a pedestal, or in a hole in the ground.  Discover that you are missing something, that you need something outside yourself.  Begin to know that you’re not in this alone nor could you survive it alone.  Learn to forgive yourself and others; constantly.  Never give up on yourself or on others.  Don’t veil yourself, the mistakes you’ve made, the flawed person you are. Don’t put on pretense, don’t be ashamed of yourself.  Know that you are human, but learn from your failures and become stronger because of them.

Express yourself. Dance, sing, laugh and cry and smile when you are moved to.  Do not live under fear.  Do not do what is appropriate, do not conform, do not fit a stereotype; be true to yourself.  Be passionate; keep your flame burning brightly. Appreciate others who do the same.

Learn to hope. Know that where you will end up is better than where you started.  Have confidence that you will get there, that you will get there not entirely by your own hands.  Have faith that promises made to you will be fulfilled. Learn to trust.  Be willing to go through the valley before you can reach the mountain top.  Know that you won’t get there alone, that you’ll be able to share your joy with others.  Be patient, hold out for things you cannot see, but you know are there waiting.  Know that you will get where you’re going.

9 Comments
  1. Jack Eason says

    What a tragic waste of a beautiful human being. Reading this, all I can say is that the world is a sadder place for her passing. Rest in peace Kaitlyn…

  2. Paula Boer says

    Words of wisdom indeed. Thank you, so much, for sharing that with us. I will print it out and keep it as a reminder to live life to the full. Kaitlyn’s legacy is strong.

  3. Rhonda Sellers Elkins says

    Thank you Jack. The world was better with her in it.

  4. Rhonda Sellers Elkins says

    Thank you Paula. I’m happy that you are printing it. She lived to be 23, she was a third year medical student, and she lived her life too the fullest. If she had only told someone about her depression, it may have not ended like it did.

  5. Robert Politz says

    It has been said many times that “everything happens for a reason” but I am at a loss to see the reason why a young, caring beautiful individual like Kaitlyn would be so torn inside as to do such a thing.

    May she rest in peace. And may you, Rhonda, find some solace in knowing that while she was here, this word was a better place.

  6. Rhonda Sellers Elkins says

    Thank you Robert. Depression is a horrible thing. Especially untreated depression. The world dimmed when she died and my world fell apart. Thank you so much for your kind words.

  7. Craig Murray says

    There was great wisdom in her words, words silenced far too quickly

  8. Rhonda Sellers Elkins says

    You are right on both counts Craig.

  9. Shattered Dreams says

    The world lost 2 good people. Only a year and a half later after her daughter’s suicide, Rhonda took her life in the exact same manner as her daughter did. Very, very sad.

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