Jul 20, 2005

Heart Failure of a Different Kind

My best friend's husband's sister, Carly, and my daughter, Katy, are the same age (25). My friend and I coached a competitive dance team for 13 years (a part time job for both of us, to go along with our full-time jobs) and the girls grew up together and were star performers on our team.

When the girls were about 8 years old, Carly found her father lying on her living room floor due to a fatal heart attack. I took Katy to the funeral to be with Carly and then we went back to their house afterwards. It was a sad occasion, especially because Carly's father was so young.

But even during that kind of sadness, life goes on for resilient 8 year olds. I will never forget watching out their picture window, which looked onto the backyard. Katy and Carly jumped gleefully on her trampoline, while the mourners inside brought casseroles and their deepest sympathies.

Carly didn't know it, but that day her world was spinning completely out of control. And it hasn't been back on track since. Carly's mother never recovered from the loss of her husband and the wonderful life they'd made. Her Mom lost her job, their family business, and somewhere along the way, her will to live.

This Saturday I'll be taking Katy to another funeral.

Carly found her mother's body in the same spot in the living room where she found her Dad. But this time it wasn't because of heart failure...or maybe it was. The suicide note beside her said she loved her family, but didn't want to be a burden to them anymore. She was lonely and wanted to go to heaven to be with her husband.


opal said...

omg... what does one say in a moment such as this. Perhaps it is not for us to understand. I have a dear friend who experienced suicide. And the only comment I can make is that good friends, a tight family and faith somehow got them through. I hope this holds true for your friend.

Ruthie said...

I just don't understand how people can do something like that to their family. I don't know if I'm being judgemental, but I don't understand it. It's terrible, and she must have been terribly unhappy, but poor Carly. How does she go on after something so devastating?

Duke_of_Earle said...

Oh, Karyn! Poor Carly, indeed. I can understand her mother's inability to cope with her loss (of her husband)... sort of. But for her depression to so blind her to the needs and emotions of her daughter is beyond sad. She became so focussed on her own sense of loss that she lost any semblence of the bigger picture.

At least, that's what it looks like from the outside. But, thank God, I've never walked the proverbial mile in her moccasins. I've never (yet) experienced the loss of my life-partner. So I guess I shouldn't judge or comment.

But my heart does go out to Carly. I hope she has the strength (and/or gets the help it takes) to get past this without too many scars. Be there for her! I know you will.

Bill said...

That post took the wind out of my sails for sure... My heart goes out to Carly... I sincerely hope there's a some sort of way a support mechanism can be brought to her aid... she's going to need some help and counsel for sure.

Just too sad for words.

Anonymous said...

Perspective seems lost when one commits suicide. I hope that doesn't sound callus.

My regrets and condolences to this young girl who must go through a second tragedy, this one clearly avoidable.