'USA Today' reporter opened up about how her mom’s suicide changed everything.
For years, Laura Trujillo struggled to come to terms with her mother’s suicide.
The former USA Today reporter found closure after a personal mission to figure out why her mother killed herself, a journey that took her to the very spot in the Grand Canyon where her mother’s body was found one day in April 2012.
In a deeply moving piece published on USA Today, Laura chronicled how she found healing.
Laura, mother of four, had blamed herself for her mother’s death.
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“Three days before, I had written an email to my mother. It was a letter I had written and deleted and written again. It talked about things that I’d hidden for years, things I was finally trying to make her see,” she wrote.
She was raped for years as a teenager by her own stepfather, she revealed. It left her deeply traumatized, but she didn’t tell her mother about it for decades years.
“After a few appointments with my psychologist, I told my mom one evening in the front yard when she had stopped by my house. That day she didn’t say she didn’t believe me, but she didn’t seem surprised. She didn’t reach over to hug me, didn’t ask how, didn’t say she was sorry. She went home to him,” Laura wrote.
“I struggled to understand how she didn’t seem to want to know more, didn’t seem angry with him, didn’t seem to do anything about it. I was angry and sad in a way neither of us knew how to handle.”
The day her mother committed suicide by jumping from the edge of the Grand Canyon, Laura missed a call from her.
“The morning she jumped, she tried to reach me. I saw ‘Mom’ pop up on my phone shortly after 10 a.m. I was sitting at my desk on the 19th floor of the Cincinnati Enquirer building at a new job as the managing editor I hadn’t quite settled into yet, just one photo of my children on my desk.
“I quickly texted: ‘I love you mom. Crazy busy work day. Hard to break away to talk. But know I love you.’”
Her feelings of guilt and self-blame led Laura to attempt suicide. One day she told her family she was going to Grand Canyon, but didn’t tell them she was planning to take her own life the same way her mother did.
But a note from her son saved her.
“I read Theo’s note, handwritten in a thin magenta Sharpie on a 3-by-5 index card: ‘I know U love me and I love U Theo.’ I could not do this. I saw my mom in Lucy, in her profile, in her eyes, the way she stood. I went home,” she wrote.
Laura went on with her counselling sessions with her psychologist and took anti-depressants. She found relief over time and also the courage to write a piece about her healing journey.
On a late summer night this year, Laura returned to the canyon with her daughter. They watched the stars illuminate the moonless sky.
Stories happen because of good editors, a fact that sometimes is hard to say out loud : ) I had a team, including @KelleyBFrench @nicole_carroll @kellymcb @annieisi and a few ghost editors 💜 Each one made it better. https://t.co/JUUAgrMzz8— laura trujillo (@lauraftrujillo) November 28, 2018
“Just as the canyon is so unknowable that geologists and scientists can study it, but will never know exactly how it began, the same is true about my mom. I’m figuring out how to be OK with that,” she wrote.
If you are at risk of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for support. 800-273-8255