Silent Epidemic: Outspoken Obituary

Silent Epidemic: Outspoken Obituary

Amanda Collier

Obituary Written by Mindi Hoggan

We read the obituaries. We get a sense of what the cause of death might be, yet there's a hush hush about it. The "it" being suicide, a leading cause of death in the U.S. Mindi Hoggan didn't want her 28-year-old daughter's death to be secret like the pain that caused it. Instead, she wanted to change the narrative about suicide and bring awareness and help to thousands who struggle.

Chaylie Holmgren's Obituary by her mother Mindi Hoggan

Chaylie, with her unforgettable megawatt smile and infectious laugh, could light the darkest of rooms. She was adored by everyone who met her. She was vivacious, loyal, spunky and strong-willed, kind and tenacious with a loving and gracious spirit. She loved family gatherings, playing games, making people laugh. She was creative and a trend setter, always the fashionista, yet her effortless beauty shined from within. Chaylie lived with passion, integrity, courage, compassion and fierce independence. The epitome of a mama-bear, she was one of the most dedicated, selfless, hardworking and accomplished young mothers whose ultimate desire was to give her three beautiful children the life they deserve, for they were precious to her. There wasn’t a soul on Earth she didn’t have a smile to offer or an interest in knowing. Everyone was a friend.

A cherished and devoted mother, daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin and friend who was loved deeply. She was stunning, in every form and facet. Chay left an immeasurable impression on every soul she touched. She was simply happy, genuine, forgiving, full of joy and light and she spread all she had to those around her. Little did any of us know, she didn’t save enough light for herself.

No one knew the darkness she faced when alone or the impossible standards a perfectionist sets for oneself. Vehemently private, Chaylie didn’t discuss her demons within. We did not hear of or see her insurmountable and all-consuming pain. This realization that someone could so successfully hide in broad daylight, as a pillar of strength, portray such perfection and project as much joy as Chaylie did, has left all who knew her shaken to the core.

It is impossible to prepare for the harsh reality of losing a loved one, especially a parent or child, at far too young of an age. To lose Chaylie in this manner is unfathomable. It is a finality difficult to accept. It has left behind a desperate longing to understand the rationale and insanity behind mental illness no one knew to be present. To realize the devastating effects of perfectionism, which is not about high standards-- it’s about unrealistic ones . Her death has marred us in significant, painful and permanent ways. Suicide is a complicated end and compounds with an array of feelings and stigma.

One person taking their own life every 40 seconds is an epidemic of massive proportion, leaving no family untouched. The ensuing recovery for families must find a balance between the crushing punches of abandonment, betrayal, rage, doubt, shame, shock, blame, fear, sorrow, loss, guilt, regret and confusion and the light-filled promises of presence, love and joy through our memories and the legacy left behind. It has left us utterly breathless.

The desperation, pain and despair Chaylie must have endured, to feel it best to leave her most beloved children and her family is unimaginable...heartbreaking. Somehow, Chaylie believed we could live without her. As much as that confidence is resented, we will draw strength from her faith in us to carry on. We will carry Chaylie’s legacy with us – her determination, intelligence, strength and warmth, as well as her fears, her flaws, her untimely death.

We will carry her in her wholeness. We will see her in the faces and mannerisms of her beautiful children as they grow. We will heal, we will persevere, we will laugh, we will cry, we will thrive, but life will never be the same without our precious Chaylie. She is sorely missed. We are a family who lives with joy and disappointment, sadness and love, trials and triumphs, laughter and tears; we remember, we tell stories, we pray, we hope, and most of all..we love.

We take comfort in knowing we will be together again one day and that our precious girl has found her way to the comforting and healing arms of our Savior.

This silent epidemic is catastrophic. If talking about it, exposing it, shouting it from the rooftops, will help even one person find a way to talk about their pain, a difference can and must be made. To help others understand, we must reach out to family members, friends and strangers. Show kindness, an openness to talk and, more importantly, to listen, to see, to hear without judgement. If only to save one family from the pain and anguish of losing a loved one through bringing awareness to this tragic and senseless loss of life, then our beloved Chaylie’s death will not be in vain. See the signs, save a life, we cannot afford to lose another light.

Stay For Chay

Mindi started to a Facebook group, Stay For Chay, to continue raising awareness of mental illness and suicide prevention.
Visit her page here