23

I flew in to Seattle this past Friday the 18th to spend the weekend with my son, x-husband, and loved ones. It was Mary’s 23rd birthday. The first birthday that we would spend without her, and while it was deeply painful it was also very comforting. Comforting and peaceful to be with Michael, Bob, Shellie, Vicki, Daryl, and the twins Taylor and Bre. I love them so very much. I don’t think any of them know just how much I needed them, or perhaps they do because they needed me just as much. It did my soul good to be there with them. I was also happy to see all of the others that showed up at Bob’s house for the birthday gathering (and so sorry that I missed seeing a few of you). I love you all, always and forever.

I miss you so much, Mary. Mommy’s heart aches deeply for you every single day.

I Hate You

Lindsey Leupold I hate you, I hate your brother Matthew, and I hate your son Dallas for killing my daughter. I never thought that I could hate this deeply and this passionately… may you see what you’ve done on every night that you close your eyes. May the guilt of what you did to her eat away at your mind and may you never have a moment of peace. May everyone you know turn against you, and may you never harm another child. So mote it be.

Monsters Are Real

Too often I have to stop and ask myself why I have this need to reach out to a total complete stranger to share my pain with them. As soon as you tell them that your child was recently murdered, they get this blank look on their faces, and in your own head you’re asking yourself why you ever opened your mouth. I don’t know why this need exists. This need to tell people that monsters are real, and that they took my child from me. I just know that it’s there (this all consuming need) and ever present. I wish death was not such an uncomfortable thing to talk about. It’s like this presence that hovers around you and follows you everywhere. You just feel like grabbing anyone who will listen, shaking them and screaming in their face that she’s gone and she isn’t coming back.

I am forever grateful for my husband and those around me who love me. I am especially grateful for those who magically appeared from the woodwork when Mary died, those who I had not seen or heard from since childhood. I know I’ve been distant, and for that I’m sorry (I owe a few of you a phone call). And while I may smile, post a joke or two, or hit Like once in awhile, I am still broken. The joy that I found in a lot of things, those things just don’t seem that fun anymore so I find other things to occupy my time and keep my mind off of things. Know that I love you. Know that while I may not talk to you that it’s not personal. Thank you to those who are sticking by me in my silence. I’m still here, in pieces, but I’m here. Thank you.

Mary And Me

This is a personal note from me to all of my friends and my family. Nothing here is copy/pasted from somewhere else, the following is all in my own words and from the deepest recesses of my heart. Some of what I’m going to say is harsh but I feel that it needs to be said. If you love me then continue to read.

On this journey of loss that I’ve been forced to walk I have discovered one thing. That grief from the loss of a child is by far the worst type of grief that the human heart and soul can experience. I’ve experienced the loss of two boyfriends in my lifetime, the loss of a grandparent, the loss of both of my biological parents, the loss of both my former mother and father in-law, and the loss of my former sister in-law. Believe me when I tell you that nothing compares to the loss of a child. The grief from the loss of a child is like no other.

Even though some have their hearts in the right place, I’ve been told to “let go”. I was forced to let go when she was brutally wrenched from this world. What other kind of letting go is there? A parent never lets go of their child, regardless of weather or not they’re alive. I keep her with me all the time.

Don’t tell me to move on. A parent never moves on from their child. Moving on implies that I forget her. It implies that I move on from my memories of her. It implies that I move on from the hopes and the dreams that I had for her. I’m not going to move on. Deal with it.

Don’t tell me that she is in a better place. The best place for a child is in this world with their parents. Saying that she is in a better place implies that she shouldn’t of been here.

Do not tell me that everything happens for a reason. Especially to my face. Nuff said.

Don’t tell me that time heals all wounds, or that it’s going to take time. The gaping wound from child loss never heals. Ever. In my desperate need to know that I am not crazy and that I am not losing my mind, I have read the words from other parents of murdered children and the pain they are going through. For some it’s been more than 5 years and they still cry every day. For some it’s been more than 10 years and they still cry every day. For some, much longer than that… and they still cry every day. I am not alone. There are others carrying this pain. It’s a pain that never fully or completely goes away. We don’t want to carry this pain. We don’t choose it. It is not some badge that we feel the need to carry with pride. It just is.

When you tell me to move on, or to let go, that time heals all wounds, that everything happens for a reason, or that my child is in a better place you make me feel ashamed of my grief. You make me feel alone, you make me feel ignored, you make me feel guilty of having the feelings and emotions that I do. You make me feel worse than I already do… as if that were even possible. You make me feel uncomfortable.

My days are full of thoughts about my little girl. I cry every day. Sometimes I cry all day. I can be reading about something funny online and I can laugh loudly and heartily, and the next moment I will just cry. I can watch a funny movie and laugh the entire two hours, but my grief is still there. It still haunts my every thought. The way she was taken from me haunts my dreams, and sometimes my waking thoughts. I can see in my mind her last breath, I can see her fighting him and I can physically feel her fear. The colorful and vivid visions in my mind of him doing what he did to her torments me. I can’t seem to escape those thoughts. My former husband, and still one of my best friends, described it perfectly. It’s that tired feeling in your body after you’ve been swimming all day out in the sun. On top of this grief, this is what it physically feels like when we get out of bed. It feels like that all day. It feels like that every day.

Do not be afraid to talk about Mary with me. I WANT to talk about her. Do not tiptoe around how she died, and do not tiptoe around discussing it with me. Do not be afraid to ask me questions about the case. I will tell you if I know the answers. Do not tiptoe around how Mary could be at times. I am not the type of parent that believes their child is or was perfect. A parent loves their children unconditionally, regardless of weather not they could be little snots at times.

I think one of the things that hurts me the most is that out of all of the blood relatives that I have on my Facebook friends list (and there’s quite a few) only 4 of you reached out to me. Shame on all of you who did not reach out. Family is family. Shame on you.

I use to be one who did not like funerals because they made me feel uncomfortable. Death made me feel uncomfortable. I never handled it very well and I never knew what to say. Let me tell you right now that I will never again pass on an invitation to a funeral. With all of the uncomfortable feelings associated with a funeral and the death of a loved one, I now feel guilty that I ever refused to go to ones I’ve been invited to in the past. I now realize how selfish I was. I now realize that it was never about me. When you are asked to go to a funeral, go to support the grieving families. Go because it’s not about you. It’s about them. Go because you still love the living. Go because the living need all of the support they can get. You are in their lives because they want you to be. Want to be in theirs, regardless of how uncomfortable it may make you feel. Go because they need to see in your eyes from across the room that you are there for the long haul, through the good and the bad. I understand that there is a difference between dodging a funeral because you are uncomfortable versus not being able to go due to work or other things that you simply cannot get out of.

Stop asking me if I am OK. I’m not OK, and I will never be OK again. My life is different now. I am different now. The old me is gone, and this is the new me.

Accept this new me. Accept that I am not the person you once knew. Accept that I am grieving. Accept that I can be in the same room with you and appear to be OK. Accept that holidays are going to be the worst for me, and accept that I may or may not wish to attend holiday festivities. Accept that I will want to keep Doug with me on those days when I feel like I can barely breath. Accept that it’s not about you. Accept that I am truly and unequivocally not OK. Accept that when a child is brutally murdered that the parents do not go through a typical grief process. Accept that this grief process has no time limit, and accept the fact that you cannot place a time limit on it. Accept that you cannot change how a parent of a murdered child feels. Accept that I will not conform to how you think I should handle my grief. Accept that I am broken. Accept that you cannot fix it. Accept that you cannot fix me. Accept that there is no debate about it.

I will continue to post on various social media outlets about the murder of my child. I will continue to talk about her. I need to talk about her. I need to talk about what happened. I need to express my feelings and my anger. I want to say that I am sorry that this may make you feel uncomfortable to read these things, but I’m not sorry.