Personal Stories

Corona Virus Diaries – May 21, 2020

Globally we passed 5 million confirmed Corona cases overnight. In the U.S. we will chalk up 100,000 official deaths by the end of the month. I’m very thankful to live in the rural area we live in with only 44 confirmed cases so far. That will probably change in the next few weeks.

This area is a resort town. In the winter it has numerous popular ski areas, but it’s in the summer that the population builds in. We go from about 20,000 year-round residents to 60,000 people in the area on any given day. Last night we went out to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant with an outdoor patio. Several restaurants are now open with outdoor seating, but I’ll wait a couple of weeks to see what happens with the confirmed Corona cases before we go back again.

As if the quarantine depression and anxiety wasn’t bad enough, I’m coming up on a bad time of year for me. It will be 7 years ago on June 20 that my oldest daughter committed suicide. I’m very aware of the date this year. Last year was the best year I had mentally since that happened. This year it feels like it did on the first anniversary. My coping skills have been largely helped by traveling with friends. My “adventures” and “escapes” really buoy me. Last year I’d just come off a fantastic vacation to the U.K. – my first time there. I was supposed to be on a plane to return for 10 days tomorrow and visit London, Edinburgh, and Liverpool. Needless to say, that isn’t happening. Two cruises I had booked this year have also been cancelled.

My daughter had addiction issues. We knew about them but we didn’t realize how bad they were. She was arrested twice in Florida where she was attending college before I brought her home. I thought being with her family would be a better environment for her. For a while it seemed like it was. The summer before she died, I began noticing things. she would come up with an excuse as to why she needed to borrow money, and it was always $300. There was a fee at school, her car needed a repair, money was taken from her wallet etc. Keep in mind, she was working full-time at the same hotel I worked at. She was also maintaining a 3.62 GPA in school to become a nurse while she was working full-time. I kept thinking if she really had a big problem, she would be calling out of work or failing in school. I never gave her any money. She was living at home and we’d bought her car, so there was no reason her next paycheck couldn’t just go towards whatever she needed. Looking back, I think she was getting it from my parents though.

My mother got sick that fall. She’d had breast cancer 8 years before and it looked like she beat it but it came back. My mother and Melinda were very close. Melinda moved in with her to help take care of her (we only lived next door so it wasn’t that far away). I think the final nail in the coffin was losing my mother in February. After that I was pretty certain she had a problem, but every time I asked her she denied it.

There was no denying it any more in June due to a few things that happened, and I confronted her one evening. The police were brought in and it looked like another arrest on her record which would have led to her being expelled from school despite the GPA due to the field she was pursuing. I wanted her to get help. I beat myself up all the time now for every choice I made. I shouldn’t have brought the police into it. I should have given her an ultimatum about treatment. I should have made it a point to see her the night the police talked to her, but she purposely stayed out until everyone went to sleep.

I found her body early the next afternoon in the bathroom at my parents’ home. She had hung herself with the cord from her hair straightener.

That is what I think about going into June as the date approaches. All the things I could have done differently so I wouldn’t have to write this now. I miss her so much and feel like the life she could have had is right there within reach. I look at her friends moving on with their lives and having children and I mourn that she never got to that point. She was so smart and so pretty – she had so much more going for herself than I did at that age.

I can’t escape it all this year. It’s going to be a rough one.

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