Gina, Shaun and Joshua

October 13, 1993

To My Three Beautiful Children:

It has been suggested that I write you a letter — a letter expressing what I would have said to you if I had known on June 9, 1993 that I would never be able to talk with you again. If I had known the last time I spoke to you would be the last time I would ever hear your voices, your laughter, your tears, and your love. If I had known that you were going to be murdered in an arson fire I might have said....

To my lovely Gina, my first born and only daughter:
I once said to you I gave you life and I also gave you my life. For your 26 years were not always the most splendid. As mothers and daughters often do — we did not agree. As you know, I wasn't happy about the way you had elected to live your life. I had, although, gotten to a point in my understanding of motherhood that I had done everything I could for you — I had given you those strong roots and wings that we so often spoke about — and I was at a point in my maturity that I hoped they would guide you to becoming the marvelous, exceptional, extraordinary, and wonderful woman and mother that I knew you could have become.

Gina, I enjoyed talking with you on the phone. Your phone calls, even when they may have ended in a fight, were important to me because it meant that you wanted me to be part of your life. I do miss those phone calls.

Gina, you had so much potential. You were a generous and intelligent young women. I've learned, since your death, of your ability to be a good friend and how neighborly you were to people on your block. You were there to offer assistance — be it to go pick up someone that was stranded, help someone into their house with their groceries, or to just sit and listen when someone needed an ear. I was proud to hear, when I spoke to one of your neighbors, that you were caring enough to let her know when you saw a problem with her house that you took the initiative to call her and let her know. That spoke to me of your kindness and consideration for others.

Of yes, my dear daughter, I'm angry that you had selected to live the life style that you were. That you elected, out of fear, I hope, and not self-destruction to stay in a relationship that was destroying you emotionally and physically. We had so often talked about your life style and you always felt there was that light at the end of the tunnel; that tomorrow would have all the answers. I always said to you, when your many problems would come up, "this is not a dead end — it's just a road block and you can detour around it!" Maybe I said that too many times, maybe if I had said, "this is a road block — turn around and get out of there," just maybe you would be alive today. But would you have listened? I think not. You always loved to ask my opinion, but you always did what you wanted to do in the end.

However, I have heard that you were directing your efforts to "re-starting" your goal to make a better life for you and your two sons. I feel that you would have accomplished this if there had only been a little more time. That we'll never know.

Gina, I'm getting very emotional as I write this — I must remember that people die — love doesn't. I will always love you and I will always be honored to say you, Gina Marie, are my daughter!

To my brown eyed grandson, Shaun:
I saw you being born, I heard your first cry, I got to hold you when you were just minutes old — for all these things I'm grateful. From the time you were born you were a beautiful child — of course, grandmas talk that way about their grandkids.

I only got to know you for three years — such a short time. I feel so fortunate to have so many wonderful pictures of you during those three years — wonderful memories of a sensitive, adorable little boy.

I loved talking with you on the phone — your comment "I come to see you, I come to your house" will always ring in my ears. I wish I had seen you more often — that I could have watched you grow into adulthood. I know you would have been a handsome young man.

You were so understanding, it was like second nature to you. You, at your young age, understood your mother's emotions and wanted so much to help her when she was in distress.

As a big brother you were a natural. I just had some pictures developed of you in the hospital when your baby brother was born. You were so proud. I remember when you came to visit us this past New Year's — how patient you were with your brother and concerned when he cried.

I'm sorry Shaun we weren't given the time to do the "grandma" things that make wonderful memories for grandkids, not to mention those for grandma. We did have fun though! I remember how you loved to play taking pictures of each other — you would always say, when you saw me take the camera out, "take my picture, Nonie." I'm so glad that I did take so many wonderful pictures. I will always have you with me by just looking at the picture albums and photos on our wall.

Shaun Edward, I'll always carry you in my heart, with love.

To my baby grandson, Joshua:
I knew you for such a short time — one day short of seven months. I actually only saw you four times.

I remember when you visited us for the first time this past New Year's you seemed to be so content with life and enjoyed the love and attention everyone was giving you. I would prop you up in the corner of the couch and you would just watch the world go by. I have the greatest picture of you, sitting next to Grandpa, just like a "little old man."

We were happy to have you with us those few times and I'll always remember getting up with you early in the morning so your Mommy could sleep in. I know I must have seemed all thumbs to you, and I just wouldn't move fast enough for you when it came to getting your bottle ready — but it was wonderful having you there giving me your directions.

The vision I'll carry with me always of you is when we had pictures taken at Sears (you were only three weeks old then). You have the greatest look on your face — like "Oh, am I to smile now?"

You, too, had those big brown eyes — so much like your Mother's and Brother's. I know you would have grown into a good-looking young man.

I've been told that you were just starting to sit-up and your brother could make you laugh. You must have been a jolly and happy baby.

Joshua Lee, my last kiss on your forehead will always remain on my lips.

To the three of you:
I'm sorry for the pain and trauma you had to endure the night of the fire. I'm sorry, even though I know there was nothing I could have done, I wish I had been there for you.

The night of the fire, approximately 12:22 a.m., I woke with a start. I didn't know why but I knew something was wrong — but I didn't know with whom or what. Now, four months later, I like to think that it was the three of you, stopping by to say good-bye and giving me a kiss of love.

I acknowledge your deaths but I will never accept them. I have no guilt, only sorrow for things said or unsaid, done or undone, but not guilt. The guilt will remain with the person that lit the match that caused your lives to end.

I'm grateful for the short time I had with the three of you. I'll always appreciate the little things that I will remember and be able to bring into my minds-eye of our times together.

To Gina, Shaun, and Joshua — I love you!


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