For the Love of Katlyn
It’s Valentine’s Day 2016, just over 14 months since my daughter Katlyn, the love of my life, left this world of her own choice. She was only 25 years old. It is still nearly impossible for me to comprehend that such a beautiful and innocent young soul would commit suicide. Katlyn was the most loving person, and also the most loved person, I have ever known. And I had no idea how this could have happened or how I could go on without her.
This week my first book, For the Love of Katlyn - Principles and Practices for a Better Life, will publish in her honor. It is my gift of love to Katlyn, and so it seems fitting to offer the book to others on Valentine’s Day. It’s hard for me to believe that I actually finished this book, as after Katlyn left I could barely get through each day. But I soon found there was nothing else I could do but write in order to release my suffering and try to help others avoid such a terrible fate.
I started the book back in 2010 as a story about my search for love and happiness through a difficult divorce and the resulting family turmoil. In hope of finding answers, I had searched the teachings of ancient religion, philosophy, and modern science looking for keys to living a better life. My research revealed a set of universal principles and practices centered on love and kindness, acceptance, understanding, gratitude, and humility. This was to be the subject of my book.
But after Katlyn took her own life, I realized that I needed to look deeper. Such tragedies among our youth are far too common and there does not appear to be much progress toward a solution. Katlyn had suffered since adolescence with feelings of unworthiness and a fear that she could never get what she needed in life. She also took on the burdens of everyone she cared about. My search for understanding after Katlyn’s death has taught me many important lessons. While I always loved Katlyn the best I knew how, she suffered in ways I only now understand.
The real tragedy is that I didn’t reach this deeper understanding sooner so as to avoid losing her. In honor of Katlyn’s beautiful life then, and to help other young adults like Katlyn and other parents like me, this book offers the difficult lessons and understandings I gained through Katlyn’s loss. While unconditional love is the most important thing we can offer our children, truth and understanding turns out to be equally critical. And even though some truths are hard to face, we cannot hope to have a better life and create a better world until we understand our own suffering, see the truth as it really is, and find our way to the healing we need and deserve.
So please consider this book as a gift of love, truth, and understanding from Katlyn and me to help you overcome feelings of anxiety and create a better life. The two things that Katlyn wanted most in life were to find her way to healing and happiness, and then to help others find theirs.
Even if you are unable to read the book at this time, I hope you can take a minute to visit the website (www.fortheloveofkatlyn.com) and learn more about Katlyn from the pictures, videos, and tributes you’ll find there. But please be careful. She will likely get under your skin. It’s hard not to fall in love with her. You may not be able to stop thinking about her. Then you may find that you become more caring and fearless, and even act outrageously silly when you feel like it, just because of her. Katlyn schooled us all with her uninhibited passion for living. And if you become infected with this, you can join those of us who were blessed to know and love her by sharing the gift of Katlyn’s love and passion for life with others.
This book ultimately turns out to be a love story about Katlyn and me, one that seemingly ends in tragedy, but is then rediscovered through a connection between our two worlds. Although I still miss Katlyn’s physical presence immensely, she is with me now in spirit in ways that my words could never adequately express. In this way, Katlyn remains in my life each day and with this book, we are living out our dream to help others together.