April Simpkins always knew how special her daughter was, even at a very young age.
“There was always something incredible about Cheslie,” Simpkins said. “Her intelligence was there from birth and honestly, a lot of her achievements didn’t really surprise our family. She always sought to do better – to learn more.”
Three months after her daughter’s tragic death, Simpkins sat down with the women of Red Table Talk, to discuss the events that preceded Cheslie Kryst’s suicide, her family’s grieving process, as well as the long-lasting effects of depression.
During the interview, Simpkins also shared Kryst’s final text message, with her daughter writing that depression followed her “through every accomplishment, success, family gathering, and friendly dinner,” and that she “cried everyday as if she was in mourning.”
Just a few days before her 30th birthday, Kryst penned a powerful article in Allure Magazine, where she wrote about her struggles in the two years following her Miss USA win, and the stigma behind a woman turning 30, and the pressure that sometimes comes with it.
Later in the episode, Cheslie’s stepfather David Simpkins reminisced about the wonderful experience he was able to share with Kryst, and how her presence alone impacted his life. Still coping with the loss, he was still trying to find a healthy balance in his emotions.
“Its hard balancing the grief and the gratitude,” Simpkins said. “I think I’m more on the grief side of the seesaw right now, but I am so grateful that I got to be part of her life and that she got to be a part of mine.”
In what was a very emotional moment, Kryst’s stepfather hoped that as time passed, he wouldn’t forget about his lovely daughter. Jada Pinkett Smith left the Simpkins couple with a heartfelt message.
“The memories may not stay burned in your mind, but the thing that never leaves is the love.” Smith said. “I had to learn through a lot of my own grief counseling that I don’t have to hold on to grief to remember the people that I love. I’ve learned in releasing grief that I’ve actually been able to be much closer to those that I’ve lost.”
The episode of Red Table Talk featuring April Simpkins airs today at 12pm EST on Facebook Watch.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.