All the precious words you and I have exchanged have found their way into the heart of the universe. One day they’ll pour on us like whispering rain helping us arise from our roots again. ~ Rumi
—-Several people have asked what I would have done differently after Kay’s murder.
They asked questions like, were there any signs? Was this a tragedy that could have been prevented? Do you hold any guilt?
The answers are … Yes. Yes. And Yes.
The signs were there from the beginning. This man stalked her, sat outside our house for hours and begged her to date him. At the time, she was only sixteen years old; a high school student, a people pleaser. I asked my mother recently why we would’ve allowed that sort of stupid behavior. She shook her head sadly, hopelessly, defeatingly. “Well, I just don’t why we didn’t tell him to leave her the hell alone, get the hell away from our house.” I finally said.
Nonetheless, Kay finally complied. “I feel sorry for him. He’s like this little pathetic dog that needs a home, a friend,” she said. “What’s it going to hurt?” You see, Kay’s greatest strengths: kindness, empathy, and compassion also became her greatest weaknesses, and in the end, the parts of her that caused her to stay…
None of us knew this would be the launch of the most dysfunctional, verbally abusive, heartbreaking, exhausting, whirlwind of a relationship, if you want to call it that, any of us had ever known.
And I loathe myself for becoming part of it, part of the darkness, the shittiness. The part that didn’t stand up and scream, “Get the fuck out of our lives.”
I didn’t I didn’t.
You want to know the reason?
Because I thought he’d change, too. Our entire family did.
I remember Kay and I sitting for hours thinking of ways to love him more, make him feel wanted, needed, accepted into our family. I mean, quite honestly, if you can’t convert your old ways by the profound love and kisses and deep hugging and gigantic pasta dinners of our enormous Italian family, you must already be dead.
I’m pretty sure he was. Dead, that is.
Kay repeated these same words to me on our countless walks on the Waterfront Trail—“Kim, I want somebody to listen to me, care about my dreams, my goals, my heart, my future. I want a man who loves me, really, really loves me…but he crushes my soul until I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe when I’m around him.”
I should’ve convinced her to leave, find somebody who would see her, hear her, love her wholly and unconditionally. I should’ve taken her by the hand and said, “you are not going back home because YOU MATTER, your soul matters, your dreams matter, your kids matter.
Instead, I tried to accept him for who he was, who he might become.
He was nothing, but I thought he was something.
Let me start again. Okay?
What I’m trying to say is yes, the signs were visible. Look for them. Believe me, they are there if you’re receptive and awake.
Yes, this tragedy (Kay’s) could’ve been prevented. Our family could’ve been pro-active from the beginning and not another part of the manipulation, the dysfunction, the brokenness, the excuses.
And yes, I have guilt….
In my dreams, I grasp Kay’s hand and say, “Let’s go. I know a place where the wild flowers bloom all year long, where the sun shines day and night… Come, everybody is waiting for you there.”
—–Dear, Reader, I’m writing this to inform, empower, and tell you our story, our new reality—so this doesn’t become your story. Help is available in your area today.
—National Domestic Abuse Hot-Line— CALL NOW!