Today was an emotional day that I want to share with you all.  It is a heartbreaking story that I have to share.  I attended a Celebration of Life Ceremony for the step-daughter of Eric and I’s friend Chelsea.  She was a young women who left this world way to early and under terrible circumstances.  I had only had the pleasure of meeting this young women about 12 years ago when Eric and I first started dating.  She was about 10 years old I believe.  I, along with Kaycee’s family, strongly encourage you to share her story in hopes that it will help someone who is in the same situation. This is the story of Kaycee, as written by her father.


Kaycee was, by all accounts, a drama queen. A whirling, twirling, dancing, prancing chaotic force of unbridled energy drama queen. You always knew when she had been there and it was a good idea to prepare when she was to make an appearance. She made sure that you knew who did what to who, how and why they did it and then followed by what she thought of that person. Of course, the story was often grossly exaggerated and may have even had some truth to it.

She was also a very loving soul. The last thing she wrote was “so much love for my family”, and she had an endless supply to give. She loved her brothers and sisters deeply and was very protective of them. They looked up to Kaycee and were in awe of her energy. She wanted to make her parents proud, and she did. Of course we were worried about her and also scared for her, knowing that she lived life to the fullest. We had so much advice to give, but she wanted no part of it. She had to learn it all herself, in her own fashion. Her grandparents were always there to back her up and she felt safe with them, especially Papa Bill. He had a soft spot in his heart for Kaycee and would do anything for her and she knew it. Needless to say, she spent a great deal of time with him. She loved Robin, my sister, as well. They had many good times together, and lots of pictures to remember them by.

Kaycee was well on her way to having a long, fulfilling life. She had it all, it seemed. She was very intelligent, fun, beautiful and had a great sense of humor. She was in school to become a nurse like her mother and father. She had a job as a waitress and her own apartment. Kaycee was also engaged to Brian. I have to admit, the first time I met Brian I did not care much for him as he was a few years older than Kaycee. He still recalls the first time we met, as he admitted to me the other day, as a not so pleasant experience. No one is ever good enough for your little girl. I have since come to respect him and believe that he was good for her. I know that she loved him very much.

 Then something happened. Vicodin happened. Kaycee started taking the prescription narcotic Vicodin at this time. It is unclear why she started taking this drug but it is clear why she could not stop. Opiates are used to control pain, one of the side effects is a feeling of euphoria and a sense of well being. Her job as a waitress was not going so well. She had a hard time waking up to get to work on time. She was groggy, grouchy and was becoming disinterested in life or anything else that did not involve getting more Vicodin. She had many waitressing jobs at this time as she could not hold one for very long. Pretty soon she had to take the drug, not to feel good, but to keep from feeling bad. She did finally find a job that paid very well and would allow her to sleep most of the day. She became an exotic dancer. This is a very scary job for a young lady, having to take your clothes off in front of a bunch of strange men who are wanting nothing more than to see your body and possibly get their hands on it. Enter Heroin.

This drug is also an opiate but much stronger as it is introduced directly into the bloodstream via needle stick. So much better, is it possible to feel any better than this? Where have you been all my life?  This is a piece of cake now. Heroin, dance, get money, shop, party, buy more heroin, repeat.  Kaycee was on top of the world lookin’ down on creation. Her apartment was lavishly furnished. She had a brand new car, ate at expensive restaurants, had name brand clothes and I was finally getting some proper gifts for Father’s day and my birthday. Although, I was not happy about it because I knew how she got the money. She was doing well financially, but she had lost something. Her self-esteem and self-worth. She admitted to us that she loved the money, but hated what she had to do to get it. She tried to waitress again, but heroin and waitressing did not go together. She tried to go to school again as well. It was painfully obvious that school was not an option. She sold most of her things to pay for her car and the heroin she was now addicted to. She quickly lost her car and the way of life that she once knew. She seemed to be out of options- except for one, suicide.

 It was during this time in her life that she was in and out of Fairbanks, a drug rehab center. The thing is, with addiction, the drugs were such a significant part of her life now that she needed them. Being an adult now, no one could force her to stay in rehab long enough to get the help she needed. She spent time in Hospitals and police stations for suicide attempts. She stayed the required 72 hours in these places and was released back into the world, where the only thing she knew was dancing and drugs. She stayed with many different family members who attempted to take her in and help her only to result in hard feelings and betrayal. She had nothing, no more possessions to sell for drugs. Her zest for life had all but disappeared. A friend of her mothers’ decided to take her in an attempt to help her. This resulted in a felony theft charge after she resorted to stealing everything of value from this lady, all of which went to purchasing more heroin. She went to the only place she felt safe, her Grandpa’s house, down in Bedford.

 I came down to see Kaycee on the 9th of July. I first noticed that her arms went from having some scaring and needle sticks on her ante-cubes to full blown track marks up and down both arms. It was apparent that she did not understand the gravity of the predicament she was facing concerning the charges, much less the progression of her addiction. At this time, we believe that, she was off of heroin for 4 days. She started to get a grasp of what had happened and what was going to happen to her. I told her that I thought prison would be good for her as it might save her life. If she could get away from the drugs long enough and get some real help, she might be able to reclaim her life. I hugged her and told her that I loved her and that we would get through this and that she would get her life back on track. I went home and we all went to bed, except for her. 

She spent the next two hours calling friends and family mostly apologizing for her actions and saying her goodbyes. I was the last person she called. She said that she loved me and missed me and that she would take care of things. I told her that I loved her too and to just get some sleep, that I would talk to her tomorrow. That was the last time that I would speak to my daughter. 

She wrote a letter and loaded a gun. I called back about ten minutes later because something did not feel right. It was too late. My father answered the phone and I knew something was wrong. “What’s wrong”, I asked. “I think Kaycee just shot herself,” he replied. After beating the door down and dragging her into his truck, he drove her to the hospital. I arrived at the hospital soon after, where the Chaplain informed me that she was not going to make it. When I went in to see her it was obvious that the doctors and nurses had done what they could and there was nothing else to be done. Kaycee’s heart was still beating but, she was not able to breathe on her own. Her pupils were fixed and dilated and she had a large hole in the side of her head.  I gave them permission to let her go and me and her grandfather stayed with her until she passed.

Kaycee wanted her story to be told and so it has been. I believe that she wanted it told so that it might help others. On her note she wrote, “Keep my story out there because addiction does kill. Sorry for all the lies. Please try and remember the good Kaycee”. Sweetie, you were always good. You just got lost and couldn’t find your way back. You are deeply loved by many and will be sorely missed. My only wish now is that you are finally at peace.
There is a group of women with us tonight called Eve’s Angels. Their mission is to help women who are in the same situation that Kaycee was. Please, if you or anyone you know are in a situation not unlike Kaycee’s, they are here for you and would love to speak with you. Thank you.



    1. I am sooo very sorry for your enormous loss. Kaycee’s story is spurring me on to keep at my recovery process. God Bless you and your family.

  1. I can relate to this story. I was once where this young lady was. I have 4 months clean/sober and her story is my story other than God would not let me die. there is hope and I’m holding onto the Lord. God is in the Delivering business. Just buried a good friend of mine to this disease.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. I am also a woman in recovery, so I see and hear people’s stories all the time in my meetings. She is at peace now, her struggle is over. I will pray for her.

  3. I am glad Kaycee’s story has reached to other people in recovery. My prayer is that no other families will have to loose another child/loved one to this disease. Make Suicide “not an option”. YOU are SOOO important, valued and loved! I don’t know you ladies in recovery, but I LOVE YOU! I am your cheerleader in recovery, and I know you can do this. One day, one minute at a time, you CAN do this!
    -Chelsea Merriman, Kaycee’s Step Mom.

  4. I feel great empathy for this family. Also, I am a bit envious. I lost my son-in-law last September, when he took his own life. He did not leave a note/did not say a word. Just sneaked his 22 rifle out of the house and shot himself in his vehicle in our driveway. I found him the next morning. So we have no clue as to what he was thinking. Just taking it one day at a time, and doing our best to move on with out him.

    1. Kaycee’s note was very vague. It was almost like she was going to the store. I read it and was very angry with it. She did say tho “tell my story, because addiction kills”. I’m so sorry you didn’t have any closure with a letter. That has to be hard. (((hugs)))

    2. Lynne, I am so sorry to hear about your precious son-in-law. I am Kaycee’s mother (I gave birth to her, but her step-mom, Chelsea, is Kaycee’s mom too, in every way that matters!) Regardless, Kaycee had so much love surrounding her.

      Since Kaycee’s suicide, I have learned that most people who commit suicide do not leave a note. I have also learned that, sometimes, the lack of a note can be a blessing in disguise. Our Kaycee, however, she ALWAYS had to have the LAST word… of course, she would have HAD to have left a note. (If she had followed the path of the bright future she had ahead of her and not fallen into the darkness of drugs, I have no doubt that Kaycee would have made an excellent lawyer, politician, or CEO!)

      However, I have also learned that, even among those who don’t leave a note, many do leave behind some sort of “clues.” Those “clues” may not always be obvious….of course, many do not leave any messages behind.

      Regardless, I think most can agree that those who do commit suicide are in a tremendous amount of pain. They hurt so badly and cannot see any other escape, other than ending their lives. It is like a tunnel vision. Most do not consider the hurt and torment that the ones they leave behind will suffer….in fact, most think that their death will be a relief for their loved ones who worried so much.

      It’s also been said that most people who attempt or complete suicide really do not WANT to die….they just want the pain to stop.

      Stay the course, Lynn. I know, oh too well how traumatic this is. Possibly the most important, undeniable fact that all suicide survivors can carry with them? Our loved ones are no longer in pain.

      Much love to you and your family.

  5. my prayers go out to you and anyone else out there that are going through this and god bless you for sharing this story.

  6. My heart goes out to Kaycee’s family and all the families who are struggling with additions either themselves or their loved ones. Also I totally agree with Suzanna that God is in the Delivering business. Most of us feel so empty and hopeless because we have disconnected from our Creator. It’s very sad to see so many young people taking their own lives. I’m so glad that Eve’s Angels are doing what they can to help the lost.

    God bless all of you and I pray that all the lost can find comfort in Jesus. And I pray that all of us can live the life that He created us all to live. A life of meaning, joy, peace and happiness.


  7. I also lost my son last year. He went in & out of rehab to finally 18 months at Lawtey Correctional in Fla. His story is similar, but alcohol. Yes, he did his share of his drug of choice was cocaine, but that is not what got him. It was the alcohol. and I could see the sytoms, I googled, talked to my dr & talked to him…All the time getting his thumbs up, “moma, Im fine” even had his dad go talk to him. His girls are only 8 & 9 at that time. No, he waited until after super bowl. That is what HE wanted. that Monday he went, but you know what? after all the tests were said and done, to be told No, your son cant have a liver transplant he is an avid drinker. I lost my son at 39…I will never get over it…I try for his kids to be ok… I wanted to share, that alcohol is an addiction too…I hope and pray that if I keep talking maybe I can help one family to not go thru what I had to go thru.
    Thank you,

    1. Carolyn….My heart goes out to you. I am Kaycee’s mom (Chelsea is Kaycee’s “other mom”….”step mom” isn’t an appropriate title for Chelsea, as she was so much more to Kaycee and Chelsea couldn’t have loved Kaycee anymore, had she given birth to her). Addiction is addiction….and, as Kaycee’s last words said, “Addiction DOES kill.”

      We also heard alot of, “I’m just fine!” out of Kaycee….when we all knew that, in fact, she wasn’t “fine.” But when they are adults, we, as parents, are often powerless to order our beloved children to get the help they need.

      Heck, the mental health system in the US is so terrible, I’m not sure that our kids could have gotten what they needed there either.

      When we are faced with these tragic situations, we do what we can with the information we had at the time. None of us should feel guilt….our loved ones made their own decisions, without consulting us. If Kaycee had “consulted” me about her decision to take her own life, I would have given my own life to stop her. And I have no doubt that she knew that….but she didn’t WANT me to stop her.

      Much love to you and yours…..


  8. oh my god i am soo crying i can so relate to some of this this is my daughter i pray everyday for her to hit her bottom but not kill her my prayers are with all the family god bless you and god bless kaycee

    1. Vicky, I am sorry you are struggling with her through this. One word of advice. Keep loving her. Set your boundaries, but always tell her you love her. I had a close friend who also lost her daughter to an overdose. We talked 3 months before Kaycee’s death. I told her how angry I was of Kaycee, and how she had hurt me. She told me, “Chelsea, I understand the hurt she is causing you, but PLEASE let her know you love her, and you can do that with boundaries in place, and love in your words” I did that. I was able to tell her how much I loved her, and she knew it, and told me she loved me before she passed. (((hugs))) to you. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I wish an outcome that you can rejoice about.
      -Chelsea, Kaycee’s step mom (aka) Mom #2

      1. Vicky….I am Kaycee’s mom #1….aka the one who gave birth to her. Kaycee was so fortunate to have a dad and two “moms” who loved and cherished her so much.

        I hope that you are able to navigate these rough waters with your own daughter, and that she lives a long, healthy, prosperous life.

        If you would like to follow Kaycee’s story, we have a page on Facebook called “Remembering Kaycee.” It is an open page. Please pass it on to your own daughter.

        We are all holding your hand, and your precious daughter’s hand as well.

  9. I am at a loss for words. I am in awe of your strength. To be strong enough to write these words to share with others. I have lost one brother and one sister to suicide. Neither were drug or alcohol addicts, My brother was only 24 and had gotten himself in a financial mess, like many young people. I had talked to him about coming to live with me, to give himself time to think and decide the next plan of attack. His solution was suicide. My sister at the age of 37 decided that she could no longer live with Huntington’s Disease; It is a hideous disease that robs you of your motor skills and traps you inside a body that can no longer function though your brain can.. But she had many fully functional days ahead of her when she decided to take her life. Both were full of hopelessness. Perhaps we as a family just wasn’t aware of how much.
    Before you lies many days and nights of grief, but know that with each day you will grow stronger and the grief will subside, every so slowly but it will. I will have you and your family in my prayers.

    1. I am familiar with Huntington’s disease. When I first graduated from nursing school, I worked at a facility that specialized in the care of these poor souls. Although Huntington’s is almost always fatal, I learned that the #1 cause of death for Huntington’s patients is suicide.

      I am so sorry for your losses. I am Kristi, Kaycee’s mom. Chelsea, who also posts here, is Kaycee’s step mom, but I consider her to be Kaycee’s “other mom.”

      We are going through this roller coaster ride of grief and sorrow….navigating and learning as we go forth in our journey. My heart is with you…..

  10. I think this story is so touching and amazing that I have the up most respect for everything u guys are doing. U have an amazing daughter whos story will touch everyones heart and open a lot of eyes. This may be the key to saving others lives. R.I.P. beautiul angle

    1. Thank you for your kind words. We are all working very hard to keep Kaycee’s story “out there,” as she had asked as her final request. We hope that Kaycee’s story can save lives. Again, much love to you for keeping Kaycee in your heart.

      ~Kristi, Kaycee’s mom

  11. I knew kaycee… Inimately, before she started dancing and all that.. We worked at Charleston’s together…. She was an amazingly awesome woman/person. I’m hurt that i couldnt attend her service, but know that i will be praying for her quite often. Your story was amazing, thank you for sharing it

    1. Jay, I am so glad that you had the chance to get to know our amazing daughter before she spiraled into darkness. Please don’t be hurt about not being able to attend her services. Keep her in your thoughts and prayers….share her story with people who may be helped by it. In these ways, Kaycee will be immortal.

  12. For anyone who is interested in following Kaycee’s story, we have a Facebook page called, “Remembering Kaycee.” It is an open page. Please feel free to look through it, read, and share if you would like to.

    Thank you everyone, for your kind words. They mean the world to us, her family and loved ones.

  13. So truly sorry for your loss, she sounded like an amazing women. I am the mother of a addict who struggles everyday. I wish she finds the help she needs before it is to late. I tried clicking on the eves angle link but it will not open. If you have any other suggestions I would really appreciate it. God bless

    1. Sheryl, thank you for taking the time to read and comment on Kaycee’s story. I hope your daughter finds the help she needs. I will pass along your comments to Kaycee’s family.

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