This is a sad post. You might consider taking a pass on this one.
I just discovered last night that a blogger I follow, Rhonda Elkins, has passed away.
I am deeply, deeply saddened. I had been wondering why she hadn’t posted in so long. Checking in again yesterday, I noticed a large number of comments on her last post. So began the realization that Rhonda was gone.
Her story is tragic.
She started her blog as a means to grieve the suicide of her 23 year-old daughter, Kaitlyn, in April of 2013. Kaitlyn was a brilliant, young woman in medical school. She suffered a lifetime of depression, unbeknownst to her family. While enduring the unimaginable loss of her daughter, Rhonda managed to write a book. It is a story of love and heartbreak, and shines a light on suicide, especially the isolated suffering of the gifted. Here is an excerpt from Rhonda’s blog, written just two days before she died:
Posted on August 26, 2014
Here I am once again, to seemingly come on my blog and brag about my book. But I can honestly say, that though it may seem like I’m bragging, I am not. The reason I ever write about my book or post my reviews is because it drives home the fact that what happened to my daughter has happened to so many medical students, residents, doctors and young people in any station in life. And unfortunately, there are many more depressed students out there scared to get help and we must do something about it. And by doing this hopefully more can be done about this problem. I feel good that it is getting good reviews and though it is no longer in the top 10 of its category, it is still in the top rated section in its category…
Rhonda’s voice was crystal clear. Enduring a lifelong struggle with depression herself, she shared the most heart-wrenching. personal and lonely times of grief, as well as her deep love for her surviving daughter, Stephanie and her husband, Allyn. I am absolutely stunned to learn that Rhonda too, took her own life. Her voice is missing from the dialogue of how to understand this tragic loss of life. I just can’t believe it.
Tonight I was meditating on the first chakra, the root chakra of safety and security. The centering thought, “My life energy protects and secures me,” (chopracentermeditation.com) caused me to dissolve in a puddle of tears. Why didn’t Rhonda’s life energy protect and secure her? Why?
The pain and suffering of her beloved family is profound. I am humbled in the face of this tragedy. I can only surmise that Rhonda’s pain and suffering was so great and unrelenting that she was unable to conceive of a life with any hope. Knowing her through her writings, I just can’t reconcile her suicide with her intimate understanding of the devastation her death would cause those she loved more than life itself.
Here is a link to Rhonda’s blog, “My Bright Shining Star”:
And here is a link to her book:
I am so sorry Rhonda is gone.
I hope she is at last able to rest in peace.
Even though I’m reading this almost a year after you posted it, I want to thank you for taking the time to write this, and for being the person you are to have written it so beautifully.
Suicide is a painful and volatile subject. I don’t think that those who choose this path necessarily forget about their loved ones, or stop caring. I think that instead, the disease and delusion of ego clouds their thinking so that they aren’t really thinking, at all, i.e., “Why *me*?” and “Why *mine*?”
I had a lot of free and lonely time to think about this during my darkest nights of the soul. It’s a delicate balance, for sure.
Thank you for your comment, Vivien. As always, your thoughts cause me to think deeper and reflect. I have been cleaning out my attic of late and spent a good portion of the day yesterday sorting through artifacts I kept of the suicide of a dear friend of mine over twenty years ago. How poignant that your words were delivered to me on this very day. With appreciation always for your perspective.