'I Never Faked My Love For You': A Mother Opens Up After Her Suicide Attempt Linda Kwong tells her daughter Emily about the day she tried to kill herself. "In that moment that I took those pills," Linda says, "I wasn't thinking of you and that's hard to accept."

'I Never Faked My Love For You': A Mother Opens Up After Her Suicide Attempt

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/641203306/641474568" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It is Friday, which means it is time for StoryCorps. And today - a difficult conversation between a mother and daughter. In the spring of 2012, Emily Kwong was a college senior studying in New York, and just before finals, she received a disturbing phone call from her father. Her mother, Linda, who had been suffering from depression, had attempted suicide. At StoryCorps, Linda and Emily talk for the first time about what happened that day.

LINDA KWONG: I got up, and I was taking my morning medication, and I just didn't stop, and I took 180 pills. I didn't write a note. I just put the bottles back in the medicine cabinet and went to bed. Your sister found me, and they took me to the hospital. The psychiatrist came in, and he said, Linda, I have no idea how you're alive.

EMILY KWONG: I was so shocked 'cause I had known you my whole life as the most secure person.

L. KWONG: Yeah, I actually faked a lot. I never faked my love for you, but I was suicidal since I was 14, so I was a good faker.

E. KWONG: Well, that's what was so puzzling about it. I described our family as a table, and you were the most important leg, so you disappearing just knocked the whole thing over.

L. KWONG: Yeah. When I was in the hospital, the hospital's tradition is they would play a little lullaby every time a baby's born, no matter what time of day or night. So on the psychiatric floor, we heard it. And I thought about when you were born, and they handed you to me, and I remember your eyes just locked on mine. And I just felt, wow, this is my daughter. But in that moment that I took those pills, I wasn't thinking of you, and that's hard to accept.

E. KWONG: I began to question so much about myself. And I thought if I spent too much time with you, I would become like you.

L. KWONG: I remember you saying to me, Mom, I couldn't even look at you for months. And it was terrifying, but I understood it. A child's job is to be a child, not to take care of their mother emotionally.

E. KWONG: I mean, I know it's not over yet, but seeing you come back from this, I couldn't be more proud of you.

L. KWONG: I can't believe that you can use the word proud, but it makes me feel like that bond between us will always be there. And that means the world to me.

(SOUNDBITE OF WEINLAND SONG, "SUNKEN EYES")

Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.