For many people, November 23, 2007 was just another day. To me it was the day that delineates my life into Before and After. Before Jessica and Kelli were killed. Before our lives were upended. Before we were thrust into a role that no parent ever wants to play. Before we embarked upon this journey through a dark tunnel of sadness and despair, knowing that our beautiful daughters were forever gone.
For many people, January 18, 1999, was just another day. To me it was the day that my daughter Maddy came into this world, all 9 pounds 8 ounces of squalling little girl with spiky red hair.
And yesterday might have been like any other day for many, but for me it was not only Maddy’s 12th birthday, but the day that we finally got some light at the end of our tunnel. Today I got the phone call from my attorney that I’ve been waiting for since May 3, 2010. Today we received word that the Court had finally, after eight months and fifteen days of deliberation, reached a decision.
And just like I did on November 23, I experienced myriad emotions at once – shock, disbelief, sadness, and anger. Shock and disbelief that it could finally be over, sadness that the two of the people I want to call to tell my new won’t answer, and anger that we even had to do this in the first place.
But today I added a few emotions that I didn’t have on November 23 – relief, and a feeling that a bit of this weight is starting to lift off me. When I heard the news, I cried, but I think it was more along the lines of a release valve letting off pressure.
We still have a few hoops left to navigate, but now I feel like I’m holding the hoop instead of being the one to jump through it.
Nothing will ever make us whole again, but this decision gives us the ability to continue to fund the scholarships, to speak to officers and first responders about my daughters, to raise public awareness about pursuit safety, and to continue the good that I do in their memories.
To everyone who has attended the fundraisers, donated blood, conveyed their sympathy, thoughts and prayers, whether in person or through this blog, I am forever grateful for your support.
People ask me how I do it, and I usually reply “Vodka.” But that’s just my inappropriate humor at work – I get through this because I have such strong support from my family and from my friends, whether we’ve ever met face to face or not.