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Letter to Kim (Suicide is not the Answer)

To my client as well and my friend, Kim Dieska,

I never criticized you Kim. And you know I could have. After your house fire, you signed that stupid contract with that restoration contractor that gave ALL of your insurance proceeds to him and left you nothing. Many people make that mistake signing agreements with contractors after their fire and when they are under duress. But you also got yourself in trouble with the I.R.S., violating your own rules as a certified financial planer with a good education. I never criticized that either.

When your insurance claim went down hill, you came to me. I went outside that awful contractor’s agreement to get you money from your insurer. Thank God that your contractor hadn’t duped you into signing a release which would prevent me from getting you more money. We found coverage for things in your policy that had fallen through the cracks or for what the contractor did not know existed.

It is outrageous that the contractor you retained would get you to pay a fee to prepare an inventory when Brown – O’Haver would do that as part of our services, for half the price. My wife, Rae Beth and my assistant, Kelly worked hard on your personal property claim and there are two checks in the office for you right now. I know these checks are not enough to pay off that credit card debt you accumulated trying to keep your life together after your fire and I lament what would have happened if only I could have been involved in your claim earlier. I could have helped so much.

Our relationship was much than one of public adjuster helping an insured with an insurance claim. When the contractor did not pay one of his sub contractors and they came after you, I wrote a dozen letters to the insurer with a theory as to why they should pay even after the contractor took your policy limits. Your insurance company eventually coughed up more money and I was joyful but you were not because there was still a balance the contractor wanted paid.

I lined up an attorney to sue your insurer because your insurance company had given the power of adjustment to your contractor. I lined up a second contractor to prepare a checklist of what your contractor did not finish so as to help your attorney make your case. Unfortunately your case won’t go forward now. It can’t.

I know, trauma from your fire never goes away completely. It aligns itself to other trauma in your life. I tried to help in those areas, too. While working on your claim, I helped you with someone to assist you with your taxes. I lined up a mechanic to fix your car and eventually offered you an older car that I own for you to drive.

You told me that I was the best friend you had. You praised me because, unlike others you said, I never tried to take advantage of you. We spent hours on the phone and you told me secrets that a person would only share with a trusted friend. We talked about my orchard. We talked about your ex-marriage. We talked about Christmas. We talked about your health and how you were losing weight and the reasons why. Some of the secrets you shared with me were very personal and touched my heart. I felt a kinship with you. But there were troubling things you told me as well like giving me the power to your liquidate your estate which prompted me to contact mental health authorities. Two of my daughters helped you with this. In all, I honored our friendship and respected you.

Its been three days since your brother’s widow called me to tell me that you had taken your own life. I am still upset. I have had difficulty sleeping. Its true I never criticized you and yet, maybe criticizing you now will make the pain go away. Instead of criticizing you I have been criticizing myself. Could I have been a better friend? Could I have done more? What does it feel like to want to die? I saw value in your life, why couldn’t I share that value with you? How am I going to finish your claim without you?

Your suicide made your pain go away but what about me? Why did you do this? I wish everyone who has made suicide an option would consider how devastated those left behind feel.

I miss you, Kim. May God be with you. May you find the peace that you were searching for. May you find people in heaven you can trust. May you be comforted. May you realize how you have touched others.

Dave Young,
Your Public Adjuster and Friend

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