On December 4, 2009, Debbie’s 16-year-old daughter, Kaylene, lost control of her car on black ice and hit a tree, and she was pronounced dead at the scene. Six years later, her family says that instead of holding each other closer in their grief, they have been falling further apart.
“Having to bury a child is the worst thing you can even imagine,” says Debbie. “My world ended that day. I didn’t want to live anymore. I lost my baby girl six years ago, and I feel like for the rest of my life, I’m going to be stuck in this bubble of grief and not know how to get out.”
Debbie’s daughter, Shaunase, and son, Justin, claim their mom not only refuses to move past the tragedy, but that her grief has turned into anger, and she blames them for their sister’s death.
“My sister, Kaylene’s, death has had a huge effect on my relationship with my mother,” says Shaunase. “My mom has said if I hadn’t left and had my own family, maybe I could have saved her.”
Justin adds, “My mom has flat out told me that she wishes it was Shaunase who had died and not Kaylene, because Kaylene was a perfect child.”
Debbie denies that she blames her children for Kaylene’s death, and says Shaunase and Justin don’t understand her grief. She claims they’ve been cruel and insensitive and don’t allow her to spend time with her grandchildren. “I’m so disappointed with my daughter, Shaunase,” she says. “It’s just that she and Justin want their old mom back, and I can never be that person anymore.”
A few months ago, Shaunase and Debbie got into a huge argument while driving, and Shaunase claims her mother backed up the car and tried to run over her. “Not only did she do it once, but she did it over and over again,” she says. “My mom would have been perfectly content killing me that day. My mom screamed that she was going to take me out of this world.”
“The police showed up, and they wanted to charge me with domestic assault,” says Debbie who vehemently denies her daughter’s claim that she tried to run her over. “I was so angry. I blocked her form my phone, I blocked her from my Facebook.”
Desperate to help her family, Shaunase wrote to Dr. Phil saying, “Our once inseparable family is at war. I have tried every measure I know possible, read every book, article, etc. to try and put our family back together, but nothing works … I’m begging, please help us before someone else dies and it’s too late."
Debbie tells Dr. Phil, “I’m still hurting, and I’m always going to hurt. I’m trying to get well.”
“You said you’re in pain and maybe even worse pain that at the time,” Dr. Phil says to Debbie. “You must feel a tremendous amount of guilt if you’re feeling worse than you did then. Something is causing you to be really, really stuck. Do you feel guilty about her death?”
Dr. Phil has an important message for any parent who has lost a child. And, he offers this family advice for moving forward. Watch more here.