“Hey Steven, Kat added me on FB awhile back. On her FB wall, someone put “R.I.P. Kat. Is that true?? Just curious”
Finding out news of a friend’s death over Facebook is terrible. Finding out through someone I don’t know that she died from suicide is even more terrible.
Katherine and I became friends during college. We met through the Chinese music ensemble where we played the Pipa (a traditional Chinese lute). Her bubbly personality won me over as I am more reserved and tend to gravitate towards those who are opposite. Not long after the start of our friendship, Katherine introduced me to the rave scene. I credit this introduction as the beginning of a wonderful turning point in my life. Before discovering the rave scene, I’ve always followed a straight, narrow and conservative path in life. The rave scene which Kat introduced to me opened a whole new wonderful world, one full of beauty, happiness and joy; little did I know this world is also a double-edged sword. As joyous and beautiful the rave scene can be, there is also a dark side which consumed Katherine. Just like light needs dark to exist, the rave scene is a contradictory world of joy and also of sadness.
Today, a friend of mine posted the link to a recent suicide note written by a well known programmer and Princeton student, Bill Zeller who took his own life just a few days ago. It’s a tragic but important read I believe and you can find it here:
. In his long suicide note, Zeller constantly writes of this ever-present “darkness” that was slowly consuming his life. I wonder if Katherine also felt this same force throughout her entire life. Zeller also wrote that he turned to drugs and alcohol to “escape the darkness.” I can’t help but wonder if this is what Katherine was trying to do. Not long after getting her undergraduate degree, Katherine became addicted to meth and I believe this was when her world started to crumble. At the height of her addiction, paranoid delusions started attacking her. She asked me to come to her apartment one day because she was afraid and believed that her neighbor was spying on her and bugged her phone. She was in dental school at the time and because of her addiction, she had to quit because her grades were suffering. She was able to curb her addiction for a period of time but I think (although I can’t say this with 100% certainty) her addiction kept returning until the end of her life. Her personal relationships with her friends including me slowly eroded away. My last email contact with her happened over a year ago and the last comment she wrote on my Facebook happened last spring. A few weeks ago I learned of the “R.I.P Kat” message on her page and I immediately contacted the person who wrote this even though we don’t know each other. He responded and said that he heard through his father of Katherine’s passing. Although he doesn’t know for sure, he suspected it was suicide. Immediately I relayed this message to Katherine’s best friend. Just like with much of her friends, Katherine had lost touch with her best friend and I had to be the bearer of bad news to her. At first she didn’t want to believe the news as it was just hearsay at that point but just last week she was able to confirm through Kat’s cousin that she did indeed commit suicide last summer.
I don’t think I will ever understand why Katherine ended her life. Being of Taiwanese descent with a bit of Russian, beauty did not elude her and her big smile just added to her impressive appearance. She also had a bright future ahead of her having been admitted to UCLA dental school. Even though she had much to look forward to, somehow she was always searching for something but was never able to attain what it is that she wanted. I’m not sure she really knew what it is that she wanted and maybe this is the “darkness” that haunted her much like the one Bill Zeller wrestled with throughout his life. Maybe drugs provided solace for her from this encroaching darkness. I wish I had known just how troubled she really was and I wish that there were words I could tell her to get her out of this darkness. Kat, wherever you are I hope you have found your true solace. I will always remember you as that girl with whom I’ve shared one of life’s most beautiful moments. That moment when we were sitting down on the ground, eyes closed, cradled in each other’s arms, listening to the constant pulsating bass coming from the dance floor, feeling the cool touch of the night air on our faces, breathing all of it in and believing that with the coming of the rising sun, everything in the world is in balance, all our troubles will fade and that everything is going to be OK. This is how I will always remember you and I can only hope that this is the state that you are in right now. With your passing, I am grieving your loss but also the loss of those beautiful yet sad, sad days….