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To Daughters Who Have Lost Their Mothers to Suicide

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

Whenever a celebrity or public figure dies by suicide, my heart aches for them and their family. Although this letter was written following Kate Spade’s death, it is dedicated to anyone who has lost a parent to suicide.

Dear Daughter,

I hate that you have joined this terrible club. We are the club that no one has ever wanted to join, that many will never understand and many more will choose to ignore. We are the daughters of mothers who have died by suicide.

I want to wrap my arms around you. I want to hold you the way I wish my own mother could have held me when I learned the news of her death. I’m thinking about you and remembering my crumpled up body on the cold, concrete floor of my apartment. I’m praying that you are surrounded by kind and loving people.

There are no easy answers in our club. There are no “right words” to say. I have no promises to make of better days, although I hope you find them and believe you can. I’m grateful I’ve found them. I don’t know much of anything about what you’re going through because our circumstances are different.

Here’s what I do know. I will never forget when a woman who I had known my entire life walked up to me and handed me a letter a few days after my mom’s suicide. In the letter, she revealed that her own mother had died by suicide. Suddenly I was able to see the possibility of a life. Her letter grabbed my heart and said, “This way, there’s a light over here, there are more of us, come with me.”

There is tremendous power in the knowledge of others. We are here. We have walked a path alongside the one you are just beginning. We are reaching our arms out to you and wishing we could comfort you. We wish we could surround you and protect you from the insensitive comments, from the stigma and the pain. Our hearts will hurt alongside yours as we miss our moms during moments big and small. We know the feeling of wanting to pick up the phone and the empty pang that follows. We wish we could throw out every person who will ask you why, as if you should know, as if you could ever know, as if there was any reason that could ever fill that question.

We are with you, screaming our own questions of “why” and learning to hold the space created in their absence. We are with you.

I’ve met a lot of really cool women in my life. Very brave, kind, intelligent and compassionate women have been the ones in our club. They have held a light for me when I couldn’t see my own. They are the women I think of when I feel overwhelmed by being a motherless mother. They are the women who inspire me when I feel isolated by our unique type of loss. I hope you will find us and we can provide the same gifts to you.

This is a club no one wants to join. But here we are and, daughter, we are here. We’ll keep the light on for you.

Follow this journey on My Hope After.

This story originally appeared on

Unsplash via Becca Tapert

Originally published: November 15, 2018
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