The Power of Reframing

Dear Dr. Darcy:

My daughter was killed in an accident 7 months ago and my depression seems to have no bottom. She was hit by a drunk driver and she was only 19 years old.  She was such a wonderful young woman with so much promise.  She had just finished her first year of college where she was on a full scholarship.  She cared about others so deeply and had such a drive to make a difference in the world.  I can’t begin to tell you how deeply this loss has affected me.  I feel hopeless and have seriously been contemplating suicide.  I have a younger daughter and if it weren’t for her, I’d do it.  The pain is unbearable.  I keep going back to that one day and asking myself why she didn’t get in her car 30 seconds later or earlier.  I keep replaying all the ways the Universe conspired to take my baby from me and it’s killing me. I don’t even know what I’m hoping you’ll say.


There is nothing I can say that will lessen this loss of yours.  What happened to you is unimaginable.  A loss of this magnitude underscores the fragility of life and makes us question our faith, to say the least.  I understand that you believe your pain is her legacy to you, although I don’t think she would agree.  And I do believe that her work in this world was done.

I am struck by the idea that your wonderful, beautiful daughter lived on this planet for roughly 6935 days, and you are choosing to focus on the last day of her life.  You’ve honed in on one horrific day – and you’re overshadowing the other 6934 days, almost disregarding them.  I think it makes sense to ask yourself why you would indulge in pondering the what ifs of that last day, when doing so won’t change the outcome and will only serve to weaken your ability to move forward and to parent your other daughter.  With that said, I don’t know how any of us could walk your journey with total consciousness; to be present to the lessons you are learning with awareness and intention.

At some point, you’ll refocus and reframe what happened to her. Perhaps you’ll take up your daughter’s love of life and her life mission of making a difference in the world.  Maybe you’ll allow what happened to her to fuel hope and possibility in you as you throw yourself into meaningful work. When you make this shift, you won’t be moving on. You won’t be distancing yourself from your daughter, as I’m sure you fear at some level.  You’ll be evolving.  And it’s ok to evolve.

Writer’s Stats: Female, Heterosexual.