Coping With Grief, Mother of Former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst with High-Functional Depression: "she was robbed of my life"


When former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst walked to her mother’s house, it was like an announcement.

“All the other kids came in very quietly through the front door and banged on the kitchen to say hello. She opened the door and said, “Hi, Mom,” her mother, April Simpkins, told CBS Morning.

Her lively and bubbly personality instantly brightened the lives of those in Christ’s life.

But the light dimmed after his 30-year-old suicide death in January. Her mother said she had struggled with depression for several years, despite the happy appearance Chris had sent her into the world.

“Depression doesn’t always seem like someone is sad or burdened. For Cheslie, she’s learned to live together,” Simpkins said.

Krystal was a former Division I player, a lawyer, won the Miss USA pageant in May 2019, and worked as a correspondent for the entertainment program ‘Extra’.

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ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 8: (Editorial use only) Miss USA Cheslie Kryst arrives on the stage of the Miss Universe 2019 pageant held at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia on December 8, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

Despite being beautiful and successful, Simpkins said her daughter had previously suffered from high-functioning depression who had attempted suicide in her early twenties.

Simpkins said he would always work for Kryst no matter what Kryst needs.

“I lived in two worlds. I loved her very much, but the other world knew that she was struggling with depression. And she and I had very intimate conversations about what she needed of me for support. ,” she said. . “So I gave her what she needed from me. And Cheslie took everything she needed from her. Hugs, smiles, kind words. She got what she needed.”

The two were more than a mother and a daughter, but they were best friends. Because Kryst’s death left a huge hole in Simpkins’ life, she began attending grief counseling, which she recommends to people suffering from loss.

“Losing someone suddenly feels like it’s been taken away from my life. I don’t know how to be sad like that. I’ve never been like that before. So I don’t know what it looks like. And I know what I’m feeling and what I’m doing is normal and healthy. Talk to someone to see,” she said.

Simpkins has many memories with her daughter, but what she’s holding on to was a recent Turks and Caicos trip the two took together.

“We built a sand castle and walked the beach. We had breakfast and went shopping. That is one of the best memories of her,” she recalled.

Although Kryst’s death has not brightened the lives of those less affected by her, Simpkins hopes that Kryst’s legacy will continue through acts of kindness.

“She left a legacy of kindness, advocacy to help and support others and it was in those acts that I saw her. So I just asked a lot of people this way. This is how you know Cheslie has had enough of an impact on someone. That they are doing something to honor her.” Simpkins said.


If you or someone you know is struggling, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 for help. Call 1-800-273-8255. For more resources Please click here.



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