Friday, May 22, 2009

Dear Jessica,

I honestly didn't know if I would write this blog.

If I could write this blog.

It's hard to believe that ten years have passed. A decade that could have been so very different... that would have if...


There's this country singer who was unknown... well anyhow, the first time that I heard Kenny Chesney's song "Who You'd Be Today" I broke down, sobbing like it all happened yesterday.
Those are questions that I often ask - What would your wedding have been like? Which name would you and Rob have bestowed upon your first child?

I didn't even get to tell you that I was pregnant for Jennah. I called your apartment and left a message on the machine, hoping that I'd hear from you the following day.
A few hours later, you were gone.
When we found out that she was a girl, Chris asked me if I wanted to name her Jessica Ann. I said that there was no way that I could replace you, and that it was best to leave your name with your memory (and that I feared that your mom would try to form some creepy attachment to my kid... really, we both know I'm right).

In an effort of goodwill, your mom gave me the soft teal frock coat and hat that you wore in the spring photo that your grandfather took, when you were barely a year old. I still have them, hanging in my closet, but I never did put them on Jennah. I couldn't. But I will keep them always.

Just as I will, every May, check the OTIS website. Just to see.

Logically, I know that nothing will change. That Marc's name will still be there, and that faithfully checking every year won't bring you back. But it makes me feel better.
One day I'll look and his name will be gone, and I know that only then, will justice truly be served. My hope is that the day is a long time from now, so that he had to spend many, many decades, locked inside a prison cell, away from everything he enjoyed, until finally dying at ripe old age, full of remorse and regret.
Of all the things he was and is, I do think that he felt guilty. We all knew that he felt more for you than you did for him. We just never expected it to end the way that it did. That his mind was that sick and corrupt.

I consoled that him at your funeral. He looked so lost and out of place. Staring at the floor, wearing his Pizza Hut uniform hat, making himself stand out even further against the prim and proper of the church sanctuary. No one suspected him. Least of all your mother.
How he fooled us all, though thankfully not for very long.

About a week after we laid you to rest, Pearl Jam released a cover of "Last Kiss". The irnony did not escape me. Your favorite band, covering your favorite song. You would have been thrilled. You would have laughed at the morose humor in it all.

More than anything, I want to say that I'm sorry that I haven't been there.
To the cemetery. That just doesn't feel like where you are. It's stone slab, with a photo of your head, superimposed onto Natalie's body, holding your violin. If you mom had asked, I could've and would've given her the picture that your loved - the one that I took of you, playing your guitar.
To check on your mom. That one I did quite often, and still do now and then. But she's gone in a way that I cannot fix, and listening to her tears the wound open fresh every time. I don't think that she'll ever heal, or that she ever wants anyone else to.
To the park. I was, once. I had to see the sunflowers. But I felt your presence, and it wasn't the warm and peaceful feeling that I was hoping for, so I quickly departed, tears streaming down my face. I left there hating Marc even more than I did the day before. Even more than I did the day that the story broke on the front page of the Press, naming him as the bastard who stole you away from so many who loved you.

But those things I can still do. There's still time to make them right. And I will (though with your mom, it is hard.. like I said, she's gone way off the deep end. Even for her.).
But I didn't walk up to the casket, and I can't undo that.

Chris tried to make me, but I just couldn't. I could see you lying there, in your cap and gown, and I knew that if I got even one step closer, I was going to break down in front of hundreds of people. You know me - that's not my style. You would've expected better than that. And truthfully, it was a pain that I just couldn't bear. I waas afraid that those tears would never stop.

I did look at the pictures that your mom took, though it was some time later that I saw them. The cake makeup to cover the welts on your forehead (oh, how you'd have hated the hairstyle, but trust me when I say it was necessary), and the bruises on your neck that wouldn't be hidden, no matter what tricks the morticians tried.
Your aunt said that it was your way of showing your killer that you were still strong. That he would be punished. I think that she was right.

There were days that you drove me crazy. That I wondered whose sick sense of humor placed you in my life. My constant shadow, like an enthusiastic and willful puppy. Always begging to tag along. Always needing to be kept out of trouble.
I raised you, supervised you and bailed you out of troubled. Mentored you and chewed your behind when you were being too foolish... not that you ever really listened. Heart on your sleeve and head in the clouds. Happiest outside with your guitar, sitting cross legged on the sidewalk, amongst the vagrant youth downtown.
Forever thinking you could save the world, never not trying. To live with that much enthusiasm would have been exhausting for anyone else. But not you. Never, ever you, Jessie.

I barely knew my sister when you left my life. You were only days apart in age, and at that time, far dearer to me than she was. You're two completely different people, but as I see Susan doing things with her life, I sometimes wonder what you'd be doing now.
But I never wonder whether or not you'd be happy. I know you would be.
My hope is that you are as content now as you were then. That sunflowers bloom when you smile.

Anyhow, I just wanted you to know that even thought it's been ten years, you haven't been forgotten.

I miss you, Jessie. I always will.


Kelli said...

I'm sorry Roberta!