Diary of a Mother's Mission

My son, Kevin Martin, disappered under mysterious circumstances in the wee hours of July 18, 2004. His partial remains were found on February 1, 2005 in the river. The Des Moines Police have not been helpful and this is my blog to tell what I have done as it's done.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

New year's Eve

Well, the morning of New Year's Eve. Once again I wish this whole thing to be over with. Once again all of the expectations we place on our selves because we live in this society. The bigget party of all and the beautiful Waterford crystal ball of Times Square dominates the news the last couple of days. A million people plus will party in Time Square alone. I must say I would like to see Dick Clark again. Apparently he had a stroke and wasn't MC last year. I'll have to wait and see news coverage tomorrow morning though because I'm going to bed Dick Clark or not!

This is a time of reflection, obviously. I envy those pople who are looking forward to a big celebration tonight. In my own thinking I have reflected and know all of the things I didn't get accomplished last year. For many years now I have always gone to bed early to wake up refreshed. At least I will start the New Year off right. Right for me. I don't feel I have anything to celebrate at the end of the year so I would at least like to start off a new year with a good night sleep and lots of hope that this next year will be different.

Last New Year's I still had hope that Kevin was alive. This year I have hope that we will have some answers regarding Kevin's death. This will be Kevin's year. I have hope but I also know what's ahead of me and ,yes, I might wake up refreshed but I feel I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. I wasn't ready to tackle this when I first got here. I'm not ready now but it's what I have to do. To ask questions, talk to some people. What, doesn't really matter. I know what I have to do. For the first time in my life I've never been so clear about my mission. Yes, as one of the tv newscasters said, so many of the markers of life deal with death. The death of Kevin in my life inexplicable, astronomical.

So this is the Eve of Kevin. The smallest little thing will be a start and will make a difference. I have started already, I know that, but this year will be a focused effort, 2006... and now I have to go to the store to get some hummus, one of Kevin's favorite foods. I'll have that tonight along with some horseradish cheese (which Kevin liked as long as it wasn't too hot) when I get home from work.

Happy New Year sweetheart Kevin. Always in my heart and on my mind...

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Marriott Christmas Tree

Last night as I was deadheading back to the garage I went down 7th Ave., the best street to view the lighted Christmas tree on the side of the Marriott facing north. It's hugh encompassing many stories. They put green lights in the windows for the outline and red yellow and blue lights filling up the center, some of them even twinkling. Last Christmas, although I came into town a day after Christmas, the tree was gone. A few weeks ago I went down to the Marriott and spoke to the general manager. He assured me that, yes they would have the tree this year as they did last year too. Depending on business or lack of it would determine how long they could fill their rooms with lights to create their beautiful tree on the side of the hotel.

Last night the tree was gone. I felt so sad beause the Christmas season is coming to an end. What does this have to do with Kevin? I still can't understand the flood of memories this Christmas. The last time I experienced this was Kevin's Memorial Service week. Christmas is a time of remembering. People get together with loved ones and friends not unlike people coming together at a memorial service to support, acknowledge, talk about old times. We send out cards at Christmas to old friends we don't see on a regular basis but still love and miss and remember. So very similar and perhaps that's why I'm experiencing all these wonderful feelings. It doesn't matter why though, what the reason was or is but perhaps I'm afraid those feelings, my wonderful connectedness to Kevin will vanish just like the Marriot Christmas tree.
The ambiguity of a difficult season exceeding any expectations I might have had and now I don't want to let it go.

I don't know if Kevin had ever seen the Marriott tree. I told the general manager that when I knew I had to leave Des Moines that was one of the things I would really miss seeing each year. This year it particularly meant so much to me. It brought so much joy. It has become Kevin's Christmas Tree and I would have bored him silly talking about it but it is part of Des Moines which Kevin loved and so in my heart

The Kevin Martin Marriott Christmas Tree!

Thursday, December 29, 2005


While I was at lunch with Patsy, the woman who attended the search for Kevin over a year ago, she told me that her best friend had just lost a son on, I think it was Nov. 15th of this year. A doctor and I'm sure a pretty young man. Not as young as Kevin but nevertheless someone who should not have died from a massive heartattack. Another life that was cut short and another set of parents, another family that has had to bury one of their own. Another set of parents who has had to bury their child. There was even a scene in the Lord of the Rings film where King Theodan had to bury his son. He says "no parent should have to bury their child" and yet we have to. It seems that this grief is all to common.

She mentioned that she didn't know whether to call her friend being sensitive and not wanting to be intrusive. I didn't adequately express how I felt so I just said , "call her". Each person handles things differently. People don't know what to say or not say. They don't want to upset the person and so as a result alot of people are left alone with their grief. I can not believe that anyone on the face of this earth wants to be left alone with his or her grief. I've learned to stay by myself when I'm down. Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone. I believe that. Grief is something different though. I always try to say thank you for asking, thank you for remembering Kevin so they know I appreciated them bringing it up, but those times are too few and for the majority of the time I am alone with my grief.

A young woman at work, a fellow driver, said to me the other day "oh you always are so happy!". I almost fell on the floor! Yes, I do love the people at work and it has been a tremendous comfort to be at work and kid with people and get my mind off of my grief. I'ts a relief to be busy and around people. A girlfriend told me she had run into a mutual friend who had run into me. She said that I seemed fine. I wasn't. I was just so happy to see a friend and talk to someone. For a brief moment I forgot about myself and my pain and it felt wonderful. I smile and talk and then on the way out to the car my mood changes. This morning I wasn't even out of the parking lot and I started to cry. I had now entered my other world where I would stay for hours unless perhaps a brief unexpected encounter might interupt it for a very few minutes.
Or maybe a phone call or I might force myself to visit someone. But no. I can not believe that anyone wants to be alone with their loss and grief...

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Day

Although my bloggs have only been about Kevin my biggest joy this Christmas season and this Christmas Day is the fact I've been able to spend it with Brian, Kevin's brother. Last Christmas Brian was in Iraq. We shared things about Kevin and undoubtedly Kevin would have come with us to the Chinese buffet. He would have gone with us to the Jolly Holiday Lights and other things as well. But Kevin isn't here. I don't know what happened this year, a week or so ago, but my depression and sadness lifted all of a sudden. I was able to revel in memories of Kevin as if I was embraced by them or him or something else. I've had unexplicable feelings of peace and joy and wellbeing regarding him. That's the way it should be all of the time but it's something I have to work at, something I can't maintain. The euphoria can't last all the time. That isn't life I guess but now I know those feelings will return.

Joy... I don't know what happened or why but I tried to, as they say, seize the moment. I grasped any little pieces of joy that I could; seeing three deer on S.E. 5th street, the Christmas tree on the side of the Marriot building, the lunch with a wonderful woman who had participated in Kevin's search a year prior. That was up front Kevin , the other things I would have shared with Kevin. Once again he would have humored me my silly little joys but in a compassionate way. Whatever the joys were I'll take them. I've struggled once again with hope and faith but it seems in the end I'm a step higher. I'm sure I'll have ups and downs again but for now I have to give so much thanks for my peace and joy this Christmas Day. I will continue to grab at any little thing and memory of Kevin that brings me joy and I also pray that I can see the little gifts of joy that are given me, the simple things that too often elude us...

Monday, December 19, 2005


Yesteray morning I went shopping for Christmas. I didn't get out as early as I would have liked. Before the gas prices soared my favorite thing was getting up early and taking a ride and watching the sun rise. Sunday morning I decided to go to the Walmart in Ankeny the closest I could come to my early morning trips. Although only 9 or 10 miles away it served the purpose and got me away and sort of into the country. I was thinking alot about Kevin which is what I became very use to on my many trips back and forth between Upstate New York and Des moines after he disappeared and before I moved here permanently.

Anyway thinking and driving is my norm. As I've said before thoughts of Kevin dominate my thoughts on a daily basis but Sunday morning was different, almost like he was riding in the car with me. So much of my depression and frustrations seemed to melt away at least for a short time anyway and I was remembering all about him and vividly picturing him in my mind. When I got to the toy section there was a "Lord of the Rings" final battle gift set which I bought in his honor. I was so surprised to see something new since LOTR has sort of run its course as far as merchandise is concerned. I always look but this was the first "new" thing since I can remember when. If Kevin was still here I would have gotten it for him this Christmas, He would have been very gracious. He would have liked it as an adult collectible even though he packed away all of his toys and gave them to me a few years ago.

This year I would have asked him what he wanted for Christmas and he would have said "his two front teeth" although he had them both. This was his usual reply. He would never tell you what he wanted. Fortunately he was always easy to buy for. He loved the Lord of the Rings. He loved to read it as well as watch the movies and enjoyed the memorabilia as well. This was only a small part but and important part of his young years and wonderful memories he and I shared together...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


What can anyone say this time of year. I don't know what to say other than I wish the whole Holiday season was over. Sad isn't it? All the beautiful lights which do bring joy. All the beautiful things in the stores. It is the season for me where I try to build my hope and faith. Last Christmas I still had hope that Kevin was still alive. This Christmas I'm trying to build my hope and faith that Kevin is still alive but in a different way. I do believe that but it seems so hard at times to maintain what I believe to be true on an emotional level. Each day seems to be a struggle to maintain what I believe in because it's on an intellectual level. I know without a doubt that there is so much more but yet day to day, espcially at this time of year, I can't maintain that knowledge in a positive way.We're so filled with expectations of the joyous holiday and anything short of that fills people with sadness, depression and feelings of aloneness.

So a couple of weeks to go. The frustration mounts because it's taking all my energy to keep my head above water, to do the minimal things required of people at this time of year. I'll still make my Christmas cookies and shop for the kids. That does help. I just don't have the energy to call the police department and get the same response. I will go elsewhere too but it will have to wait as well. Not that it will make a difference but I will try. No, it will make a difference. I'll see to it. Faith, Belief, Hope and courage. I'll work on all those things. I'll get through this Holiday season stronger and then pursue my special purpose; the honor of my son.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Service of Remembrance

Monday, December 5th, Dunn's Funeral Home hosted their annual service to remember those who died this past year. As I went in I was given an ornament with Kevin's name on it to place on a tree in the front of the church for the duration of the service. At the end of the service we were able to take our special ornament home with us. The church was filled and yet perhaps more than half the people did not come. I looked over the names in the program they had given us. Amazing. Hundreds of names and those from only two funeral homes in the area.

Each day Kevin dominates my thoughts, as perhaps I've said before, and yet I go about my daily meaningless life. Kevin's memory makes it more than just meaningless although I feel frustrated and despairing at times wondering what or how much I can do on his behalf. I won't give up although at times it seems that I don't know what I'm doing or should be doing. Whatever comes to mind I will do. It almost seems that I'm living in two worlds. My daily ridiculous existence and my inner life filled with thoughts and memories of Kevin and plans no matter how futile they may be to honor my child.

At the Service of Remembrance Monday night for an hour I didn't feel all alone with my grief. All these people go about their daily lives also as I have been doing. Perhaps I passed them in the supermarket not knowing that they were going through the same thing as me and they not knowing that I was experienceing a tragedy in my life as they were, but that night so many of us were gathered to remember our lost loved one and it was powerful and comforting. We were all there for the same reason. We were all grieving...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Embassy Suites

Each morning I go by the Embassy Suites. Almost two years ago I had the wonderful opportunity to stay there when I came out to see Brian and Kevin at Christmas time. That was the last time I saw Kevin. I still remember driving in the car; Kevin and his father were in the front. I had just arrived in Des Moines at the Greyhound station. I can still see Kevin getting out of the car and walking toward me and then giving me a big hug.Anyway as we were driving, the two of them , Kevin and his father, were telling me that every place was booked in Des Moines and so I would have to stay in Ankeny, 10 plus miles away or more. Well you can imagine my horror at that. No car and being that far away. Forunately it was dark and so they didn't see the tears well up in my eyes. I don't handle disappointment well after being on a Greyhound bus for 27 hours and very little sleep.

As I was about to cry we pulled in to the Embassy. There I was to stay for the next week! Not Ankeny after all. Kevin and his father escorted me to my room. There was a plant, cookies, a card from Kevin and some candy too I think.Such a wonderful Christmas surprise.

The Embassy is on the river. There is an amphitheater there also and and a lighted semicircle which frames the stairs that lead down to a walkway but at times to the "stairs that lead to know where". That isn't the pleasantest memory but I try to forget about that and remember the wonderful week I had in such a luxurious place and the last week I spent with Kevin...