Cheslie Kryst April Simpkins tWitch

Mother Of Cheslie Kryst Opens Up About Losing Child To Suicide Following Death Of tWitch

The mother of Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst is opening up about her daughter’s death following the news that 40-year-old Stephen “tWitch” Boss passed away from suicide on Dec. 13. Kryst died by suicide in January at the age of 30.

April Simpkins spoke to Today about the pain of losing a child who is also a public figure to suicide. In addition to winning the title of Miss USA in 2019, Kryst was also an attorney, model and correspondent for Extra. Simpkins said that the news of tWitch’s death reminded her of losing her own child.

“His passing … put me on the outside looking in,” said Simpkins. “I saw a news flash on my computer and that’s how I learned of his passing — and I imagine for some, that’s how they learned of Cheslie’s passing — and I immediately went into disbelief and wanting to understand what had happened, and then it just triggered those same feelings for me, and my heart ached for him.”

“It’s easy to make this assumption that they were this person 24/7 when they were not. One of the things that was very difficult for me to deal with was not just that Cheslie passed, but … dealing with your grief while simultaneously having so many people who did not know her personally … want to speak on her.

Simpkins confirmed her daughter’s suicide on social media and said that Kryst had high-functioning depression, which she hid from everyone.

“Today, what our family and friends privately knew was the cause of death of my sweet baby girl, Cheslie, was officially confirmed,” she wrote.

“While it may be hard to believe, it’s true. Cheslie led both a public and a private life. In her private life, she was dealing with high-functioning depression which she hid from everyone – including me, her closest confidant – until very shortly before her death.”

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Simpkins also said she avoids certain words and phrases to help her cope with her grief. She also allows herself to share memories of her daughter the way she really was on social media. Simpkins shared the last picture the two took together before Kryst passed away on Instagram.

“I forced myself not to start any sentences with the words, ‘I wish,’ because that felt like salt on a wound. I did not start sentences with, ‘If only I had,’ or, ‘Why didn’t I do that?'” she said. “Instead, I forced myself to start sentences with phrases like, ‘I feel grateful that,’ or, ‘I’m thankful for.’ It helps to calm some of the sting of that grief in that moment.”

Simpkins also shared that her daughter had a suicide attempt before her death. She noted that how she responded extended her daughter’s life. The grieving mother added that listening and not dismissing people when they say they are not okay can have a huge impact.

“When someone says to us, ‘I’m having a rough time dealing with blank,’ and we’ve come back with words like “You’ll be OK. Sleep it off. You’ve got this. You’re so strong. You can handle it. You need a vacation,’ those are ways that we’re dismissing someone saying I’m not OK. People are telling us. We’re not listening with the right set of ears.”