Today is the third anniversary of my sister's murder. It's weird how much time has passed because some things still burn so hot in my memory. Other things have faded to just embers and nearly dead coals. I imagine that all unexpected deaths are like that. I find that the things I do remember are not the memories I really want.
I remember the pain and worry while she was missing. I was in physical pain from worrying so much over those four days before her body was found. I didn't want to eat or sleep. I just wanted to be out there looking. I needed to feel like I was doing something to help Kelsey. I remember being told to come home because my parents had something to tell my sister and I. How vivid that car ride is. I didn't ever want to make it home because I knew there was only one thing they wanted to say to us.
I don't remember getting home or what my parents actually said to me. I do remember screaming and collapsing on the driveway. I remember Ryan carrying me into the house because I couldn't pick myself up and walk inside. It literally felt like someone had ripped me in half. After that I just shut down emotionally until I crawled into my mom's lap and cried like I used to when I was a toddler. At the time I was 20 years old.
I can barely remember the great fun we had before Kelsey was murdered. We had spent the whole day at Old Shawnee Days (an outdoor fair). I do remember that last day clearly. I started a journal of memories on the day we found her body so I wouldn't forget all the joy and happiness. I didn't want her death to be the only thing that stayed in my mind.
I don't really remember what my life was like before people recognized me from the news as the murdered girl's sister. People still approach me three years later because they read an article or saw me on TV and wanted to say hi. I can't recall what it was like to have a "normal" family life with parents that didn't run a foundation and travel the country trying to get legislation passed. My life has a new normal and it's something I've come to accept, but I still long for what used to be.
I have such great joy in my life now with my daughter, but it's also tinged with a bit of sorrow. Sarah will never know her Aunt Kelsey and I will never be Aunt Lindsey to Kels's kids. Sarah won't have cousins from her. It's a tragedy that pulls at my heartstrings. I missed Kelsey so badly on the day Sarah was born. It was something else I wouldn't get to share with her.
I take comfort in the fact that Kelsey knew God and Jesus and that she's living it up in heaven right now. But it doesn't make the loss and pain for those of here on Earth any easier. I love you and miss you Kels!!