This is the first update since posting Would He Be Alive Today If He Had Not Met Her?Please click the link if you have not read the original post.

Since I have not yet chosen to release certain names, I will be referring to Max’s ex-girlfriend, as “Hope”.  As you read this update, I ask that you keep an open mind. This is the path that, I, being an empath myself, has felt compelled to take. Everyone may not agree with me, but please ask yourself…

“If my child was gone forever and I could not bring him back…and the person he thought he loved, whom I FEEL took him from me; was admitting to her wrong doing, and sincerely wanting help…would I help her so that she won’t harm anyone else, and could possibly help others; or would I want to temporarily punish her for the pain that I will live with every day for the rest of my life; knowing she could hurt someone again in the future?”

From my perspective and with the intense amount of empathy that I possess, there is no such question. I simply can’t turn away a young girl who seems to sincerely want my help; and I honestly believe did not ultimately want Max to die. Any punishment within the legal system will be a slap on the hand because we do not have clearly implemented laws relating to cyber terrorism, electronic impersonation and digital deception. It will also not remove the threat of her causing the same harm to someone else in the future. I will never be able to forget what she has done, but if I am going to stay on this journey, forgiveness is the only option. Together, we might not only be able to help and protect the innocent; but also help people suffering from mental illness to help themselves… thereby removing the threat altogether. I can at least give her one chance. Here is what has happened since my last post…

The Voicemail…

On Friday, April 28th at 8:17pm, Hope left me a voicemail saying that she had read my post, realized her wrong doings and really wants to try to work through this together. When I received this voicemail I was overwhelmed with emotions. On one hand I was grateful, hopeful and felt somewhat validated for my efforts. On the other hand, I was afraid of being manipulated, mislead, and even more surprising , was the sinking feeling in my gut that my own empathy had now placed me in a role to help the one person who I held responsible for my son’s death. My sister was in town visiting and wisely asked that I please not respond that night and to sit with it and contemplate first.

The Text Messages…

The following day, Saturday April 29th, Hope sent me text messages asking if we could please meet up to talk. I decided I needed to respond and sent the following text:

“Thank you for reaching out. I will try to get back to you Monday by the end of the day. As you know, I would like to believe that you are getting help by going to a mental health facility but will not be easily convinced. If you are 100% honest with me, we might be able to work together. This is at least a start. In the meantime, please send any proof of what steps you are taking to get help (not just trauma/loss/grief help), but help that will assure you understand what has occurred and the skills to never repeat them at the expense of anyone else. I am already and will forever suffer enough; and if you think you can’t be honest with me, then please don’t cause me more pain by not being truthful. I will do my best to reach out Monday.”

The Meeting…

Monday, May 1, 2017 at 9:06am I texted Hope asking if she wanted to meet. The meeting lasted 2.5 hours and albeit one of the hardest meetings of my life, I walked away grateful for the answers and confirmation to the questions that were keeping me up at night.

My fingers tremble as I type this and my heart aches, but I am grateful to have been given a peek into some truths about the last four months of Max’s life. Hope confirmed everything I had read in she and Max’s texts and most importantly, that it was SHE, and NOT HER MOM (as Max was led to believe), texting him in his final hours. At 11:50pm on January 19, 2017, after several hours of texting, Hope tells Max to forget she exists and he desperately tells her he is going to kill himself because the only way he can forget she exists is to DIE.  She tires of the conversation and tells Max that she has to work at 7am (not true), needs to get some rest, and never responds (as Hope) again. Max reaches out to Hope one more time at 12:51am and says he is not okay…

“Not in the slightest bit and I just wanted to let you know that I had a lot of fun with you when you were still head over heels for me. Bye “Hope”. Live through me. Go out there and kill it for me.”

At 12:57am Hope, now pretending to be her mother, responds to Max chastising him for telling her daughter that he is going to kill himself but also suggests, several times, that help is on it’s way. At 2:21am after constant texting, and Max repeatedly saying goodbye and that he will leave them alone for good; “Hope’s Mom” selfishly and insensitively asks Max…

“How do I get (Hope) to sleep? I’ve tried everything!! She works at 7am. She slept 4 hours last night. Her weight is down 10 pounds. She is so skinny right now.”

At 2:31am on January 20, 2017, “Hope’s Mom’s” final words were… “Hang in there“. Max searched online for how to do so and his approximate time of death was 3:40am (central time).

Remorse and Acknowledgement…

As Hope and I cried, she insisted that she doesn’t know why she treated
Max so horribly or does what she does. She seemed truly confused by her actions and told me over and over again what an “Angel” and “Gift” Max was and how sorry she is. She explained that although she has threatened often, yet is too afraid to ever commit suicide, she feels hopeless and unworthy and doesn’t know how to go on living, now realizing the pain she has caused and causes.

In discussing mental illness, she confirmed some of her history, as well as questions I had relating to medication manipulation; yet it was obvious that she is afraid of the stigmatism that comes with the label of mental illness and any subsequent diagnosis. This fear has kept her from accepting what she is suffering from and, in turn, seeking the proper help. I assured her that most of us probably suffer from some mental difference, she shouldn’t be afraid, and that true in-patient treatment will give her the tools to be able to live a long, honest life, without the fear that she might hurt someone again. We agreed that taking her own life was not an option and Max deserves better. The best thing she can do is to be strong, get help and begin living an honest life. Even though she said she feels like she should have died and not Max…I repeated several times that NO ONE SHOULD HAVE DIED.

Hope assured me that she wants professional help so she can’t hurt anyone again and will dedicate her life to helping others through acknowledging what she did to Max. Now knowing the truth, I wondered if I would have the ability to follow through with my original intent to help Hope. Am I honoring Max and his life by continuing to do what eventually caused him to take his own life which was/is…to believe in her? Although my empathetic side wished I had the strength to hold her hand through this process, I knew I couldn’t while feeling the pain I was/am in. I emphasized that she needs to do this with the help of her family and friends. As Max’s Dad sobbed over learning the definitive confirmation of what truly occurred to our innocent and loving son, I was praying that I could hide somewhere and have anyone else take the reins.

Hope Seeking Help…

Hope sent me information on a Program she had signed up for, interviewed with and was being admitted to on Friday, May 5th, 2017, pending insurance coverage. I feared she was focused on a program which would only help with the trauma of losing Max as opposed to the trauma she has caused due to mental illness and addiction.

Come Friday, May 5th, my faith began to waiver after Hope sent me a picture of a handwritten note from her mom telling her who to call at each Rehab Center and what to ask; which did not relate to mental illness. Hope was confused and asking for my help and I suggested she refer to her psychiatrist. I explained that she needed a program that specialized in the behavioral aspects that cause pathological lying, self sabotage, addiction, anxiety, attention seeking, depression, suicidal ideation and lack of empathy. I asked her to remind her mom that if Hope hadn’t been able to make the right decisions in the past, she really can’t now, and she needed her Mom to hold her hand through this. I explained that for me to get too involved was simply too painful. I wasn’t the best person to help her since I was treading water hourly myself.

By Friday night, Hope was begging me to talk to the Rehab Centers she was considering because she wanted them to know all of the things I thought she needed to focus on getting help for; and wanted to be certain I approved of the program.  After a lot of soul searching, I convinced myself that if my goal was to get her help, then I was all in, and could at least talk to these places and make sure they knew what they were truly dealing with. After talking to the first center and sharing my emotional story, I realized that they were not aware of what truly occurred between Hope and Max; and were now questioning why I was willing to help her. I could not bear the thought of another call like that one, so I told Hope that I was concerned she was not being honest and transparent about Max and why she is seeking help.  I said I would not talk to anyone else unless they had read my initial post on this website first. I didn’t blame her because it was unreasonable to ask someone who struggles with the truth to tell the truth.

Within half an hour I received a call from the other rehab center Hope was considering.   The Admissions Coordinator assured me she had read the post with Hope on the phone.  Although it is not in her capacity to diagnose Hope, she confirmed that their Center was one of the very few that had a lot of experience with my concern regarding Borderline Personality Disorder as well as other mood/mental illness, and offered dual diagnosis programs for mood, addiction and trauma. She assured me that they would assess Hope upon arrival and make sure that she was directed into the appropriate program focusing on her mental health, as opposed to just the trauma from losing Max.  Additionally, she explained that Hope had put me on her release giving me access to her medical records, updates and team while at their center. After my conversation with the Admissions Coordinator, Hope texted me super excited that they had fast tracked her acceptance to the Center and she would be going on Monday, May 8th.

Come Monday afternoon, packed and ready to go, Hope sent me copies of texts saying that there was a problem with her medical records and it would be a couple more days. She was upset, confused, and her anxiety was obviously getting to her.  She again asked for my help.  The people around me, who care for my well-being, were quite skeptical and certain that I was being manipulated in the same way as Max and was about to be her next victim.  I understood their concern, but something in my heart, gut and instincts told me to keep going and I would never regret at least trying to see this through.

Helping Hope…

I agreed to meet Hope at a coffee shop that evening.  We met at 5:30pm and upon leaving at 9:45pm, I knew that I would do whatever it took to get Hope into the program she needed. After hours of hearing her repeat the exact attention seeking words and stories I had read in texts to Max, she began begging ME for a reason that SHE should live! I found myself now being the one who was not going to let happen to her what she let happen to Max. Ideation or not, I was going to save her.  I was going to tell her whatever she needed to hear, hug her and not leave until she was in the hands of a parent or a professional. It was under these circumstances that I finally met and spoke with Hope’s father. He expressed his sincere pain for the loss of Max and assured me that he would travel with Hope and make sure she was successfully admitted into the program we had agreed upon.

While driving home it became clear to me what had been going through Max’s mind and why he wouldn’t give up on Hope. He was feeling her pain, owning her pain, and could not bear the thought of it having anything to do with him or that he didn’t try everything to take her pain away… Empathetic Depression.  Unlike Max, I was shielded with the knowledge of Hope’s illness, actions and attention seeking ideation of suicide, and could therefore remind myself of what I wished I could have told Max.

“Max/Erica, this has NOTHING to do with you. If not you, it would be somebody else. Hope is not aware of what she is doing or the pain she is causing you, and until she gets professional help, she won’t be able to stop. You have done nothing wrong, and need to be proud of how strong you have been and how hard you have tried to help her. However, it’s not your journey…it’s hers.”

On Wednesday, May 9th, 2017 Hope got on an airplane with her father and on May 10th she successfully checked into the Rehabilitation Center she asked me to help her chose. Hope has bravely proven to me that the impossible is possible through her transparency, strength and desire to change her ways.  She is there and checked in and SHE did it.  That, in itself, is a small miracle.  Many of you may still fear that I am a naive dreamer and shouldn’t get my hopes up, but at least I’ll know that I went to great lengths to give Hope this ONE chance.  She has the potential to turn this around and make something positive from an otherwise unbearable loss…but it’s up to her.  Together we can not only help others by educating and exposing what happened between Max and Hope; but we can also help people who suffer from mental illness help themselves, thereby removing the the threat altogether.   If nothing else, let’s do it for Max.


  1. Bless your heart Erica…you do what you need to do to find any kind of peace for your self and your family…you are loved and supported in your efforts! Stay strong in your instinct, and find strength in prayer 🙏🏼
    Much love to you ❤️


  2. You’re such an amazing human….I feel
    sad but elated! May heart aches for all of you and I truly hope and pray you’re able to find peace through this tragic experience. Thank you for sharing so openly!! (((HUGS)))

  3. Not many people would do what you are doing. Not even sure I would. Proud of you call Estelle or I anytime you want to talk, cry, laugh or even hop on a plane to Vermont. Love you

  4. I don’t know how you have the strength Erica. I don’t think it’s naïveté I think it’s extraordinary strength. I want to help you get this story out because it has to be told. It has to be. The bullying, the cruelty, the deception that exists today in our society has to be addressed. And it has to be addressed boldly and fearlessly. So many people are afraid of being judged and hence remain silent. However the true power lies in speaking truthful words without fear of judgement. If enough of us stand side-by-side and tell Max’s story others will join. And slowly there will be acceptance of help and finally change.❤️ You are a warrior

  5. Wow Erica…. I’m absolutely stunned. It takes a LOT of bravery to go where you went and ARE going. Forgiving, and HELPING someone who caused your heart to break and bleed…. I believe you were definitely chosen for this journey… you are part of a bigger “plan”.
    Love and strength to an incredible woman…. you are an example of the BEAUTIFUL part of being human ❤️

  6. Wrenching. I don’t have the level of empathy you do. I admire that greatly. My daughters are really everything I have and can’t imagine not having them here and being left with the memories.

  7. i always knew you were special but had no idea just how special you were. you are being true to you, and to max, and to hope. my prayer is that someday the 2 of you will move mountains, in max’s name. BTW i had a tenant in my guest house once, much like this. i thought a single woman who owned an ad agency was moving in. the next thing i know theres a crying baby in the unit. she pretended it wasnt hers, she was baby sitting! baby never left. i did research and found her family. she was stripping and had a fake name, fake everything, and told me wild stories all untrue. she was only about 22. had been missing over a year, parents thought she was dead. they came and got her. it was so crazy…and she sucked me right in with all the lies…none of them ever needed…they didnt achieve any goal. just nutty

  8. Erica, you are an extraordinary person. What you are going through is unimaginable –and your efforts to help this young woman is exceptional. We love and support you all the way. <3

  9. Bless you Erica for having such strength to go through all of this. Max would be proud, I’m sure.
    Thank you for sharing this important story with the world and may it stop a repeat action in the future.

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