At our last support group meeting I finally told the story of how I found out Kathrine was dead and how I was told.   I have run a support group for almost six months now but, while listening and crying to the stories others have shared, have yet been able to tell my own story… of that day.  So now I will share it with you.

 

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On Friday August 7th, 2015 I got the call at work that our 19-year-old daughter was found dead of a heroin overdose.   I was told to get up to the hospital in the town she lived (one hour away) to identify her body.  Well, I had a couple of obstacles to overcome first.  I had to stop screaming hysterically, that was tough.  I was with work colleagues (no, with friends)  and nobody slapped my face (as we’ve all seen in the movies) but the threat of having the first responders come and possibly lock me up did the job.  I had my family to tell.  I still had a younger child to tell, I had a husband to tell,  that was my job.

Therefore, I had to get home.  Those friends somehow got me and my car home. You know who you are and and will never forget what you did for me that day.

In 2008 I called my father and cousin to tell them my younger brother had died of cancer.  I thought I would never have to go through that agony again.  In August last year, I walked into our house, woke what was remaining of my family, and told my husband and our youngest daughter that Kathrine was dead.  First overdose, 12 weeks into ‘trying’ heroin, and no second chances.  And, we needed to get to the hospital to identify her body.

We got there and I was not allowed to see her then, nor allowed to see her for another four days.  Her body had been deemed a ‘crime scene’ the person who gave her the drugs, still in jail for murder and they told me ‘wait’.  After the autopsy, you can see her.  So, she was identified by the cell phone she had on her person, and I waited.

I went home that night without seeing my child’s body.   Knowing she was gone, but without proof and hoping for a miracle.  Someone else had her cell phone, maybe someone else had a child that is dead… not mine.. Maybe?

Four days later I once again walked into the funeral home and they had picked Kathrine up.  They were kind, they were considerate, and they knew I still had in my heart an outside chance that this wasn’t my child  It was a mix up, confusion.  I was warned what to expect.  It is an autopsy, her head will be covered in towels, and her face will show, her body will be covered.  Just look at her face.  And they opened the door and I walked in and saw, without any doubt, my daughter.  And with her head covered in towels and her body wrapped up, and her jewelry out and no make-up on, she looked about twelve years old.  And I begged for forgiveness for not being able to do what could have saved her.

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And as I told this story eventually in the support group I now manage, the father who lost his child eight weeks ago came to me and said “It’s no great shakes if you see them immediately  either”  He just found his own teenage daughter dead in his own house.

I wish we could do better.

 

8 thoughts on “The Last Day

  1. Caroline, there is so much pain in this message yet I can relate. You always seem so stoic in the meetings but I know you are still dealing with much grief and devastation. I hope we can heal together. I wish you could have met my son and know what a great spirit he was and so giving. I wish too that I had a chance to know Kathrine. Our children are waiting for us and I know we will see them again one day..,
    Moira ❤️

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    1. I believe we are healing together Moira, little by little. Your friendship and dedication to this cause has helped me in no small amount… that I promise you. I also wish you had known my daughter, and I had known your son. For anyone who still doesn’t know about this, please go check out what Moira has done. Fantastic work. Moira spends everyday of her life committed to this cause and I have no doubt, her impact in this field will be enormous. https://www.facebook.com/CAYAcoalition

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  2. Ms. Folker, I’ll never forget the time I spent in your house with your amazing family and with Kathrine. She was easily the best person I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. Please know that you have all my love. Let me know if you need anything.

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  3. Oh my lovely Caroline! No one in this world should go through the nightmare of finding out the child you gave birth to has been so savagely taken from you! Your “Last Day”, written with so much strength and truthfulness, makes me weep for you and all those who have lost loved ones. What you are doing today to help is so selfless and I, for one, cannot stop feeling so very proud to know you! 💖 X

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  4. hey Caro, beautiful written, with such an impact on me. i follow your story offering warmth with every word i read ~ you are brave and you are bold and you know what you have to do, heaven sent to help others 🙂 xxx

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  5. I’m sure this was an extremely emotional thing to do Caroline so well done for not keeping it all bottled up inside. I think everyone who came into contact and cared about Kathrine including me would be feeling that they could have done more to save her but in the end we have to let them have their independence. I keep wondering if it would’ve been any different in the UK, who knows, and here I am about to send my eldest child (your nephew) to the USA and hope to god i have given him enough information to make the right choices in life. Kathrine didn’t always make good decisions in life and always thought she knew better than her mom. You did everything within your power to help and guide her. It won’t always feel this painful although you will always have this sadness with you forever. I hope in time other more positive things will fill your life and you will find laughter again. Xxxxxx

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  6. Dearest Caroline, Thank you for sharing your story about Kathrine. Our hearts and thoughts are with you, Brian and Lauren all the time. I wish we could help you more, and hope when you have time and energy that we can catch up either in US or in Norway. What Julie says is very true. We can hope we give our children enough information and values to cope through life – but at the end they are individuals as our selves, with their own independence and choices. You must never blame yourself for her choices, you have done everything you possibly can and more to protect and guide her. You may not feel that fully now, but as time goes I hope you find rest and peace in that Kathrine knows and has always known that she is loved and guarded – and that so will be until you finally meet again. Much love N

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