Friday, November 21, 2008

A Year Later

Jessica's last words to me were "I'm going to Jordan's." My last words to here were "Bye. Have fun, be young, drink Pepsi." She rolled her eyes, flashed me the peace sign. And she was gone.

Later Thanksgiving night, Maddy and I were watching Chicago in my bedroom. Kelli was upstairs, thumping around in Jessica's room to blow-dry and straighten her hair for the pictures the next day. Maddy was sending Kelli text message her on my phone, giggling at the responses. Kelli came downstairs, watched the Cell Block Tango scene, then said she was going to bed. I told her good night, and that her hair looked pretty.

I woke up early Friday morning to the sounds of Jessica and Kelli banging around in Jessica's room, which was above mine. I heard the two of them clatter down the stairs to go meet their dad for the family pictures. I didn't get up to say goodbye, I figured I'd talk to them when they got home.

I got up a little while later, and took my car to get my tire fixed. I came home, and turned on the TV. What Not to Wear was having a marathon, so I got sucked into that. I started getting out the Christmas decorations so we could start decorating when they got home that afternoon.

At 2:00 I started to wonder where they were. Jessica had to work at 3, so I expected them anytime. I figured they'd stopped by the mall for some after-Thanksgiving shopping.

At 2:30 I called her phone and left her a message. We'd had a bit of a tiff earlier in the week and I figured she was avoiding me, as a typical teenager would do.

At 3:30 I called Tan Rio but she wasn't there. They hadn't heard from her. I called her again, and left a message saying "call me please, I'm getting worried."

I called her dad and left him a message asking when they'd left.

At 4:00 I called again and told her to call me back, damn it.

At 4:45 Jordan called Kelli's phone. I ran upstairs to answer it, and he hadn't heard from them either. I told him to keep trying and once he got her to call me back.

At 5:15 the dogs started barking, and I went to the window expecting to see her car. I saw the police cars, the troopers with their serious faces, and the men in the green coroner's jackets.

The trooper asked if I owned a white Mazda 6 with license plate 147.... I interrupted, saying yes, I do, I don't know the plate number, what has happened?

He handed me Jessica's wallet, still intact, as if they'd just pulled it from her purse. He said there had been an accident.

He asked me who would have been in the car with her. I pointed to their pictures on my antique sewing machine and said "her sister, Kelli."

The look on his face told me they weren't coming back. Either of them.

I remember them asking if there was anyone they could call for me.

I remember telling Maddy that her sisters were dead.

I remember calling Mike, and him saying "I'm on my" and the phone disconnecting before he could say "way."

I remember calling my dad, and telling him. How his voice broke as he asked "both of them?"

I remember calling Lynn, telling her husband Brian, and her in the background screaming "NO! NO! NO!"

I remember feeling disconnected from myself, as if I was watching a movie.

I remember offering the troopers something to drink, and asking them to sit down. They were all very tall and I was feeling towered over.

I remember calling Jordan and telling him to come over. I hugged him and told him and held him as he cried.

I remember people coming over as the news spread. I remember getting sick of hearing the phone ring.

I remember the details of that day quite vividly. The days after are sometimes blurry, sometimes crystal clear.

I remember their laughs, their voices, the smell of their shampoo and perfume. I remember them as babies, as toddlers, graduating kindergarten, losing their teeth, growing up into beautiful young women. I remember bandaging scraped knees, putting the boo-boo bunny on bruises, nursing them through colic, upset tummies, earaches and broken hearts.

I look at their pictures every day and smile back, because I can't help it. They had such fabulous faces. Their pictures are on my desk at work, on my walls at home, on the shelves by the computer desk, in my room.

I miss them every day. My heart is healing, slowly. Time will help it heal, but I'll never be whole again.


Anonymous said...

My God, Kim. I am amazed by your strength. Even with this post, I can't possibly begin to understand what this has all been like for you. And to tell you the truth, I hope I never do.

You're an amazing woman and I think the world of you. Hugs and prayers for you and Maddy and everyone else that had the privilege of knowing Jessica and Kelli.

Anonymous said...


rebecca said...

I'm sending you many hugs and I know that Jessica and Kelli are, too. xoxo

Alaina said...

Wow. That was such an intense post I am not sure how you got through it. I just starting browsing your blog after Build-A-Bear and after some time, realized what happened.

I will be thinking of you all today.

Mutha Mae said...

Lots of love to you and Maddy.

Anonymous said...

We'll keep you in our thoughts today!

Frogdancer said...

I sat here for ages with the comments box open, not knowing what to say. The one thing I kept thinking was " Thank God Maddy wasn't required for the family photos as well...."

MamaB said...


Your doing a hellva job not falling to pieces, babbling in a corner; I am in awe of your strength. Much love, peace, prayer and heartfelt wishes to you and Maddie as you go through this diffcult weekend.

Marrdy said...

Oh Kim, my heart just aches for you. But I too am amazed by your strength. You have moved me to tears once again. God bless you and Maddy and your family! Love you!!

Anonymous said...

You're amazingly strong, and your words and life are a real tribute to your girls.

Susan said...

Hi Kim, I love your blog and follow it. My dad died on September 26, 1970. I was 15. I remember every detail like you to this day, 38 years later. Don't let it color your life. I'm in awe of your strength.

Stacy said...

Kim, I am just a lurker. I'm not even sure how I found your blog, but I check it everyday. I want to send you an email. Is there a way I can get you email address? Thanks.

Jeannette E. Spaghetti said...

I love you, Kim. It was nice to see you today.

Tracy said...

I have read your blog for several months now but haven't commented. I have a daughter about Jessica's age and can't imagine the pain you have been through. I admire your strength and am inspired by your ability to be so open and to share your deepest feelings with all that read your blog, even though reliving those moments have to be so incredibly painful. I shared this post with my husband and daughter and reminded them how precious each day truly is. We were all moved to tears with your words.....thanks for sharing with us. I will pray for continued healing and peace for you and your family.

Jen said...

Tracy (above) put it well. I'm also a reader who has never commented. You're an inspiration to all. I only wish I knew you personally so I could lend you all the support I could in person on a day- to-day basis. I'd like to point every whiner who thinks they are "depressed" because their nail chipped or their Wii broke to this blog to show them how someone faces true tragedy head on with class, grace and infinite strength.

My Life My Life My Life said...


Kim said...

@Stacy - you can email me at lakegal180 at yahoo dot com.

Dana said...

So much love and many prayers.

MaLeah said...

I thought of you and Maddy a lot on the 23rd. My heart just breaks for the both of you. I wish I would have been lucky enough to know Jessica and Kelli. They seem like such great girls and their smiles just light up the pages of your blog.

SarahHub said...

Oh, I know there are no words. You're in my prayers.

Kelli said...

I couldn't read this without feeling chills.

There are no words, but I will say what I've thought so very many times since we "found" one another online.
Your strength amazes and inspires me.

Shutter Bitch said...

I'm bawling after reading this.

What you've had to face is so tragic and sad and I don't know how you do it. I wouldn't be able to get out of bed in the morning. You are an inspiration, and I want to hug you. Please let me know if I can do anything. Anything at all.

Natalie (BSM Media) said...

Hi Kim,

This is Natalie from BSM Media... we met at the Build-A-Bear mixer. I know this comment is a little late... but I wanted you to know that you and Maddy were in my thoughts over the Thanksgiving holiday. Your words are so powerful and you are so strong. My heart goes out to you and your family and Kelli and Jessica as well. I'm am so glad to have met you. I'm just one of the MANY lives that has been touched by you and your girls :)

Take care...

Anonymous said...

Kim, The loss of Kelli and Jessica have touched many lives. I am in law enforcement and have been involved in many police chases, one which ended in the death of an innocent victim. Our agency is studying your daughter's deaths and what we can do to make sure that does not happen here. With leadership and persistance we can change our culture and make a difference. I think of your girls often. I will keep you and Maddy in my prayers.