With every grieving parent I meet, I ask if there is something I can do to honor their child. I ask that question because I know how difficult it is to lose a child and for people to continue living their lives when it seems near impossible to move forward with their own. I recently met a woman who lost a child to suicide. Rhonda’s daughter, Kaitlyn, was well on her way to becoming a doctor in medical school when she took her life. I shared a fundraiser sponsored by Rhonda’s family with my own network on Facebook and began reading a blog dedicated to Kaitlyn every time I saw a post in my feed.
Earlier this month, Rhonda recalled dining at McDonalds with her daughter and how Kaitlyn professed that the slightly burnt french fries were the best and you were lucky if you received them. From that moment on, the Mother-Daughter duo relished in their secret that was only known to a few select people. As I read her story, I decided I would use that experience and memory to honor Kaitlyn.
It wasn’t but a week or so later that I passed by McDonalds and decided I would stop and order dinner. As I sat in the drive-through line; I thought about Kaitlyn and how her family has chosen to remember her by working diligently to bring awareness to suicide, about her long blonde hair and beautiful smile missed by all who knew her well, how she was working hard to make life better by becoming a doctor, and how difficult it must be for people to accept that her life was over. As my thoughts drifted, I smiled as I placed an order for french fries – something I never eat. When the window operator handed me my bag, I opened it up and saw a special treat awaiting me.
I dined on the burnt end french fries that night. I couldn’t help but feel so thankful to have not only read about Kaitlyn’s love of something unique and different, I was able to experience that moment myself.