Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed and joined
the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds -
and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of -
wheeled and soared and swung high
in the sunlit silence.
Hovering there I've chased
the shouting wind along
and flung my eager craft
through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights
with easy grace,
where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
and, while with silent,
lifting mind I've trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
put out my hand
and touched the face of God.
Words are so inadequate to capture the spirit, the essence, the humor, the creativity, the love, the sparkling personality of Caitlin Jane Thompson who on November 20th "touched the face of God."
To know Caitlin is to never forget her. Her memory sparkles. As her father, Michael, wrote, "She was a special little light that could make a smile appear even during tough days." The love between father and daughter was so strong, so beautiful, even death has no victory, no power to sever those bonds. Michael and Caitlin were two quirky peas in a quirky, happy pod.
Caitlin was born on May 24th, 1999, the youngest of three children. She had the soul of an artist, she noticed everything, analyzed everything, remembered everything, talked about everything. She stood up for the underdog and the marginalized and was a kind sister, daughter and step-daughter. She was forgiving, never wanted to bother anyone and hated drama. She loved to draw, sing, learn, write, design, do make-up, create and play the trumpet. She was good at everything she did! But most of all, she just wanted to be loved.
It was my pleasure to meet Caitlin for the first time in 2012, three weeks after her father and I wed, and we instantly clicked. We had such fun together - coloring each other's hair, doing our make-up, shopping, playing games, cooking and eating together. Caitlin took joy in the small pleasures in life...a concert, a new pair of sunglasses, chocolate milk. But most of all, Caitlin wanted to be tucked in each night with a goodnight kiss. She would dive into bed at 7 p.m. on a sunny Summer evening just to be tucked in, kissed on the cheek and told, "Don't let the bed bugs bite."
Music was her joy, her passion and her escape. She didn't just know some of the details of her favorite songs and artists...she knew every single lyric, song, album, inspiration and all the details of the singers' lives.
Caitlin was an incredibly talented make-up artist. Her face...or any available and willing face...was her canvas. There was no style she couldn't duplicate and no color she hadn't colored her hair, from green to pink, from black to blonde. You never knew what color her hair would be the next time she came for visitation!
But she wasn't just talented with make-up and brushes, she was also excellent with a pencil. She had the eye of an artist although sketching eyes was tricky. That's why, she said, she usually had her model's hair flop over one eye. She could sketch one eye perfectly but getting the other eye to match was a challenge.
That was Caitlin. Quirky. She had a perspective, a way of thinking that made everyone around her smile. On seeing J. C. Penney's new branding, a blank square green box, she observed, "Well that doesn't do anything for me." The eye of an artist and a designer.
When the family curse of mental illness began to evidence itself, exacerbated by horrific mental, emotional and physical bullying both at home and at school, Caitlin found solace in the music of others as well as her own compositions. She was fearless to raise her voice in song. In 2016 the Tomah Journal wrote, "Caitlin Thompson brought the crowd at the Monroe County Fair to its feet."
Music was her escape but perhaps it may have been part of her downfall as well. For the past few years, Caitlin had been deeply into the emo music culture of misery and depression. How much it mirrored her own depression vs how much emo kept her mired in misery we will never know. To us, it seems a mind control death cult that should be removed from society.
Michael exhausted himself and the Wisconsin Family Court system in vain effort after vain effort to protect his children. He was called "unrealistic" and threatened with Contempt of Court if he brought the abuse to their attention again. Child Protective Services was called on numerous occasions and never failed to fail the children. Over and over, he/we told the children they were more than welcome to live with us but they were too mind controlled, too traumatized, too terrified to say a word in response. Perhaps if we'd been allowed...
At home with her custodial parent, Caitlin's lines of communication with her father were cut at every turn. His letters to her were returned unopened without her knowledge. Instead of being told the truth, "Dad sent you a letter but we refused it on your behalf and sent it back to him," she was told the most wicked of lies while in hospital recovering from an overdose. In Caitlin's words she was told: "Dad sent a letter saying he didn't want to see any of his kids until he was dead."
Unable or unwilling to love in a normal way, they jealously refused to let anyone else love Caitlin either. Not her father and certainly not me, her step-mother. This is Parental Alienation. Parental Alienation kills. IT MUST BE STOPPED. ("Caitlin's Law." We like the sound of that! Her needless suffering may be redeemed through Caitlin's Law criminalizing Parental Alienation.)
Trapped in a house that reeked of evil, sleeping in a tiny Harry Potteresque attic with burning heat, frosty cold, black mold and bat guano, forbidden from expressing her pain, in 2016 Caitlin wrote of an epiphany she had in the fourth grade: "I realized my family hated me. My sister would say it, my mom would agree and all my brother did was hit me." This is the life of every scapegoated child. Even after her passing, they're "honoring" her by playing the victim themselves to assuage their consciences, writing a slap-dash slipshod obituary and posting unflattering "poop emoji" pictures of the deceased. The fact that Caitlin survived all of this for twenty-one years makes her one of the strongest individuals I have ever had the honor of knowing.
"If one of Caitlin's many suicide attempts ever succeeds," I told Michael years ago when they began, "it will not be suicide. It will in part be a decades-long murder via suicide."
On the evening of Friday, November 20th, 2020, eleven years after her epiphany and after years of acute suffering, depression, numbness from the depression, more numbness from the medications and yet struggling valiantly for her mental health and to achieve independence from living in group homes, Caitlin Jane Thompson ate her favorite meal of fried fish, made a perfect plan and was translated from her terrestrial sorrow to Heavenly joy.
God rescued her. "Come, Little One," He said, "you've suffered enough. You're too good for this world. Come home, Caitlin, come home."
She escaped this vale of tears and touched the face of God, leaving behind her father in an agony of sorrow yet in perfect faith that his Catey-bug is finally at peace, safe at last in the loving arms of Jesus and her Heavenly Father. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Rev. 21:4)
Caitlin was beautiful, inside and out. She was loved. And as the family's circuit breakers keep tripping since she left us, we know she's telling us that she's happy, she's safe and she still has that marvelously quirky sense of humor!
Caitlin, it was an honor and a privilege to be your step-mother for eight years. You're a special person who lit up my life and I always smile and chuckle when I think of you. I only wish I could've helped you more. I'll take good care of "Father Thompson," as you always called him, until it's time for him to join you on that celestial shore. As C. S. Lewis wrote in The Last Battle, for Caitlin, "The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning."
On the night she passed, Michael wrote: "Fly high, my sweet daughter, my angel, Jesus will guide you in Heaven...we will stay strong and keep [your] memory alive in our hearts."
Blessed be her memory.