Kaitlin Mahr: Father’s Eulogy

Anne Aaker

Kaitlin Elizabeth MahrKaitlin was joy and pleasure, she was also frustration and aggravation.I guess as all children are. She was intelligent and inquisitive, characteristics we fostered, as many of you experienced. Dance was pure happiness for her. She worked hard at dance, yet had true enjoyment when she danced, you could see it on her face and in her movements. She was, to me, the meaning of beauty in form and function. Her involvement in The Nutcracker changed how we looked at the holidays.

Kaitlin was my “equal” — luckily she had her Mom’s beauty, but she had my sarcastic, inquisitive manner. In middle school she did peer to peer counseling, in college she got involved with V-Day. This was centered on her desire to generate broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls. I think she also liked being provocative, in people’s faces with “I Love Vaginas” bumper stickers and chocolate vaginas to sell as fundraisers!

Kaitlin could hold her own in our rounds of debate and sarcastic jousting; however, she was the only one who could ever tell me to “shut up and be serious.” She was a part of my life and soul.she was my Princess.

Over the past few years, she was a princess in a battle and fight with depression. There were good days and bad days. During high school she was so driven and so studious that she rarely let the depression evolve. She was a straight-A student, [yet] at the awards ceremony her senior year she really didn’t care about the scholarships received — she cherished most the Academic Achieveement Awards, voted on by the teachers.she rocked!

During her first year of college, the battle with depression took an ugly turn, and started to gain ground. She battled gallantly, and during this time wrote the following verse and poem which she put all together in a keepsake for my birthday that year:

“Once upon a time a beautiful baby girl was born to a very lucky man.
She grew into a lovely woman and one day her father sent her away to college.
And she lived
Happily Ever After”

The poem displayed more of her “blue” times:


You were gone
I am gone

Things bought
Things lost

Words said
Words silent

Ideas shared
Ideas hidden

Trips Taken
Trips given
Given for Life
Life Taken


Kaitlin moved into a diagnosis of bipolar, and we continued with good psychiatric help and adjusted medications. This past year seemed to be going better — she had her passion and drive back for school. She enjoyed Lawrence, especially English. She was a perfectionist, and when things did not go perfectly, she went blue — her blue spells were tough on her, and her loved ones.

In the wonderful article written about her in Thursday’s La Crosse Tribune, reporter Terry Rindfleisch mentions how uncommon the obituary was to be straightforward regarding depression. That was Kaitlin over the past year — she had accepted her illness, was working towards control, and was up front and honest with people when she discussed it. I decided to be the same with her obituary. A father should never have to write his child’s obituary.but I owed that to Kaitlin.

In my heart I believe this past Monday, Kaitlin did not wake up planning to have that be her last day with us. She loved holidays, she cherished her family, she had the “Fantastic Four” — her Uncles — who she grew up with as the first child in the extended Mahr family. She loved to sit at get-togethers and talk . and learn . and hear all the stories of five brothers growing up and the trouble they gave Don and Jeneane. She got very upset when holidays could not be spent with the family together.she was looking forward to this weekend with them.

She sent a text message at noon Monday to her close childhood friend Nick at college in Madison, wanting to set a date to get together over the weekend for lunch.

However, something started a dark spiral for Kaitlin later Monday, and she fell victim to an emotional vortex. She started to take more medicine to ease the emotional pain, and she mixed that with alcohol to calm the wounded mind. I want to believe — we need to believe — she miscalculated — she accidently and unknowingly overdosed. She lost her battle with depression.

Please know — all of you — how greatly moved we are as a family with your thoughts and prayers. We know we are not alone — and we pray that Kaitlin is looking down today and realizes how many people she touched with her beauty and grace and intellect.
She was loved..
She IS loved.
She will always be loved.