It’s been a year since I last wrote. My last post was a sad one and I didn’t know where to go from there. I was working on other writing in my life. Even though I haven’t been writing here, I have been writing daily. I need to work on more personal writing though. (Other than my journal.) I’ll figure out what I’m going to do with this site soon. If I’m paying for it, I should be using it.
I didn’t read my post from last year. My heart isn’t ready. I Am Not Okay was a post I wrote the day after the man that killed my friend was finally sentenced. She was killed four years ago while pregnant by the man who claimed to love her. She was killed by the man she loved and the father of her baby. It took three years for the case to go to court. I don’t want to go into details because I have already, many times. It’s in the linked post. I do want to talk about how I feel, a year after the sentencing.
This is what I wrote on Facebook a year ago today (I don’t know if I shared this last year in my blog post):
“Today, was yet another day where strength was needed. Strength from me, strength from those around me, and strength from the people I know support me from afar. Today, I saw strength in Crystal’s family. They have been through hell. Three years of it, and I have watched and admired their kindness and love for one another. It’s clear where Crystal learned to love.
Today, I sat with her friends and family, and we listened to details about her death. Some we knew and some we didn’t. It’s now public knowledge how she was killed, but we didn’t know until they said it in court. I can’t speak for others, but it shocked me. I didn’t think the tears would end. We heard a lot that made me hate a man more than I already did – and I didn’t know that was possible.
Do I feel closure? Not yet. I feel exhausted. I’m drained, and I don’t know how to feel yet. I think today was the start of my healing.
A life sentence with no chance of a parole hearing for 15 years. She still isn’t here though.
I was able to read my victim impact statement out loud. I was lucky I could do this. I read my five pages while looking at the judge. I wanted to look at Jon, but I couldn’t. He didn’t look up once during the others so I wouldn’t have seen his face anyway. Once again, this was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I loved my friend, and I want her to be remembered for so much more than what happened to her.
Love to all that need it today. Hug your loved ones. Lots.
To all that were at the courthouse with me today, thank you for sharing your strength.”
A year ago he was sentenced. And just like that, it was no longer about him. It was about her. Last year, I wrote how much I hated him after hearing the details of the day she died. I don’t think I still hate him. I don’t have room in my heart to hate him. I think about him every once in a while but I think about her more. Sometimes I’m curious how he’s doing. I wonder if he thinks about what he’s done. I wonder if he’s able to fully take on the guilt for the lives he ruined.
Other than that, I think about my friend. I think about stories from our past. I think about the laughs we’ve had together. I tell my son stories. I think about what would have been. Her daughter would be turning 4 this year. My son would have loved playing with her. He’d be showing her all the things. He would try his hardest to make her laugh every time he saw her. He’d also make Crystal laugh. (Her laugh was amazing). I wish I could imagine more about her with her daughter but I can see one thing. I can see the smile on her face when she watches her little girl.
I wish this was real.
It’s not though. For now, I’ll take visits with butterflies. Every time a butterfly stops by to visit with me or my son, we both think maybe it’s Aunt Crystal, popping by to let us know she’s okay and that we will be okay.
Today, I was searching for signs from her. I wasn’t at peace. I was stuck with the memories of the court case. I could feel the heightened emotions from that day.
It’s been a year since he was sentenced. It’s been four years since she was killed (along with the baby that she had been carrying and growing for eight months). We’ve had a year of peace to just miss her without having to worry about when the next court case and without having to worry about seeing him. We have closure from that. I have closure from worrying about what will happen next.
I don’t have closure from her death. I don’t think I will. Nobody, NOBODY should die the way she did. Unfortunately, it’s all too common. People are killed in domestic abuse cases all the time. I haven’t decided how I want to do this but I want to tell the stories of survivors. I want people to know they can survive. They can leave. Even though it may be the hardest thing they’ve ever done. I don’t know all of Crystal’s story. But I want to include it.
I miss my friend. Her death anniversary is in July and as always, my son and I will float flowers for her in the river. We also make sure to do something for her birthday. All these anniversaries come and go but they don’t get easier.
I’m not sure there was a point to this post. I miss my friend. A year later, I still feel the grief.
And in an unrelated thought, I’ll try to do a weekly post. I just need to find a goal for this blog.