The mother of former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst was on plane rushing to be with her daughter when police confirmed the 30-year-old had died by suicide. April Simpkins spoke of her daughter's death and that January day on Wednesday on Red Table Talk, the Facebook Watch show helmed by Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris. Simpkins said her daughter had attempted suicide before and that she first noticed her daughter was struggling in her early 20s, "just before that first attempt. ... And it was after that first attempt that she and I grew very close. I wanted her to feel comfortable calling me. 'If ever you’re in crisis, call me,'" she said, per NBC News.
But she said she didn't know the severity of her daughter's depression, and had been encouraged by the "right steps" Kryst was taking, among them getting enough sleep and seeking counseling. As for her recollections of Jan. 30, Simpkins said, "Cheslie knows I go to workout on Sunday mornings, and as I walked out I saw there was a text message from her," which Simpkins shared in part. It began, "First I'm sorry, by the time you get this I won't be alive anymore, and it makes me even more sad to write this, because I know it will hurt you the most."
Simpkins said she "near blacked out" at that point, because the text had been sent an hour prior. She and her husband notified the police and got on a plane, and she says she expected it would be like her daughter's prior suicide attempt: "Let's get up there, meet her at the hospital, let’s see what we can do." But "we got on the plane, which is now taxiing, when the police confirmed that she was no longer with us."
It took her a long time to be able to read the message in full, which reiterated time and again how Kryst viewed Simpkins as her best friend and the best mother she could have asked for. The text read in part, "I love you mom and you are my best friend and the person I've lived for for years. I wish I could stay with you but I cannot bear the crushing weight of persistent sadness, hopelessness, and loneliness any longer. I've never told you these feelings because I never wanted you to worry and because I hoped they would eventually change, but I know they never will. They follow me through every accomplishment, success, family gathering, friendly dinner, I cry almost every day now like I'm in mourning." (Read more Cheslie Kryst stories.)