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.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Beginning and the Ending

Today is a beginning of sorts. It's Kevin's birthday, April 7 th. Kevin would be 27 years old today, this year, 2010. As I've mentioned before, some anniversary dates, and there are a few of them, sort of slip by with a passing recognition or notice. Not Kevin's memory, though, as I think of him and include him in my prayers daily, morning, and night as long as I stay awake long enough to do so. Always morning, though, as I wake up and always allow myself enough time to pray for him and include him in my daily thoughts. This year I have been much more aware of his day for some reason, I don't know why, and it doesn't really matter, but this time I wanted to write a blog on his special day - something I haven't done in quite awhile.

So, this was his beginning 27 years ago and another beginning for me in many ways. Another child and he was a beautiful and special child as mother's always think. Each child is a new beginning. All the hope and love and potential but little did I know the ending at that time. His ending. There has been an ending of sorts. An ending of Kevin's life on this earth. An ending of our dreams for him, an ending of his unique potential. But there is also not an ending to this story as well. Six years have gone by and we still do not have closure and justice for Kevin and never will probably, at least not on this earthly plane. I've come to accept that somewhat.

There is still one more thing I have to do which I haven't done. I've gotten three copies of Kevin's records from the police department. They were not complete. I sat at the police dept. for two and a half hours the first time I made an attempt to get Kevin's complete record, while someone, probably one of the detectives who worked on the case, went through and picked and chose what was to be given to me. I had waited too long but I'm sure I would have gotten the same response at an earlier date. The second file had things in it that were not in the first file, the first file had things not in the second file, was out of order, stapled in sections. I still remember so vividly those first days, and weeks, and months, and so remember many things that should have been included but were removed. The file even makes reference to items that should have been included but were glaringly absent. I will try again.

Once again all the things surrounding Kevin's case has come to the fore, as it does periodically, when another missing person case reaches the media, as did the case of a young man from Ames, Iowa, who went missing, I think it was January 22 nd. Jon Lacina. He was 21 years old, as Kevin was, and even resembles Kevin, at least from the pictures anyway. They even showed one photo of Jon haming it up for the camera. I think I have a similar picture of Kevin with the same goofy expression! So sad that another family has to go through this nightmare.

This isn't the ending though. Kevin will never end, as none of us will end, as we are all eternal. His memory is here on earth, his remains, his possessions but his spirit soars. His consciousness and soul and personality live on and always will. So there is no ending to this except, perhaps, here on earth, which is only the shadow of the real world that Kevin lives in right now!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Monday

I was planning to visit the library last Tuesday, April 7Th, Kevin's birthday, but somehow something came up, as it always seems to, something really not as important but seeming more immediate. All the everyday garbage chores, groceries, laundry, a trip to the post office; all the things I would rather not do, but end up spending more time on, than the really important things. There was something more important than those things on Tuesday, an emergency trip to the dentist for Brian, but I still felt bad that I let something get in the way or couldn't have fit in my trip to the library anyway. Does it make a difference? - That I am still looking for ways to honour him in some small insignificant way. Not that I see them as insignificant but I suppose they really are. As I've mentioned before, there are certain times , more than others, and certain frames of mind, more than others, like today, this time of year, where Kevin permeates my every thought. This holiday perhaps brings a little more comfort than they usually do. Holidays are difficult. Kevin's birthday is difficult as well.

This year Kevin's birthday fell between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. Kevin would have been 26 years old. Easter Sunday, the holiest day of the Christian religions. Jesus died for us and rose from the dead to show us the way to eternal life with God, his Father. This has given me tremendous comfort as I think of the loss of this young man, my son, as his birthday falls so close and seems so intertwined with Easter this year. For me that is, as I think of Kevin having eternal life in a beautiful place, free of pain, experiencing Joy. Whatever we are promised in the Gospel through Jesus The Christ.

There is not very much that I can say. The pain is still there. The memories, some fleeting , some intense. The sadness, the grief, the loss. Another birthday which brings everything to the fore and then the emotions will slip back out of the present, but not very far below the surface, until the next day of remembrance or holiday.

Today is Easter Monday. I'm not sure why they label it as such but they do. I should know but I don't. I will find out as I am still finding out so many things. Things to lift my spirit, to deepen my Faith, some done consciously, some unconsciously, as I fight to hold on to the Joy of life which is of God, and God's promise of the hereafter with my loved ones, and my loved one, Kevin. I am still trying to hold on to the Easter Spirit which has helped so much this year as I mourn Kevin. I mourn him still but with a little more comfort and calm this year, on Easter Monday, as I contemplate what it all means - an ongoing process, a process to achieve, hopefully, "the peace that passes all understanding"... And, of course, I wish that for everyone on this Easter Monday.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Well, I am here again after a couple of months of the usual ups-and-downs. Nothing new, nothing out of the ordinary. Much of it must be the usual ebb-and- flow of life. Something I can't stand and so I try to seek evenness and balance in my day to day routine. I'll do without those real highs if I could only be granted a reprieve from those horrible lows which seem so incapacitating. But with so many other things in life, I guess I'll have to accept the ups and downs as well. The Holidays still knock me for a loop. They always have. And , yes, Kevin's anniversary date, February 1st., well one of them. The date Kevin's remains were found.

That brings me to Curt. The man who discovered Kevin's remains on the river under the old railroad trestle during a late January thaw. I owe so much to this man. I was able to meet him at Kevin's Memorial Service because he was kind enough to come. I'll never forget that, as I'll never forget so many things surrounding Kevin's life and death, but when it comes to Kevin's death, this was it.

I distinctly remember those days, the end of January before they found Kevin. I wondered how much longer I could go on not knowing. Not knowing whether Kevin was alive or dead. The day before I got the call from the Des Moines police I started to cry at work. Just cried and cried for heaven knows what reason. I took the next day off and it was that very afternoon that the call came. They had found remains that they believed were Kevin's. A fisherman had found them. That fisherman was out on the river that day and spotted bones that he thought were suspicious. He called the police.

I don't have the words to express what I feel towards this man who was observant enough to spot something he did not think looked right and took the time to make a call. So many people would not have noticed. So many people would not have bothered picking up a phone. But he did. This man saved me from a life of never knowing. Never knowing whether Kevin was alive or dead, and that's the worst of all. Not knowing. We can deal with, or start to deal with, something we know, but to be in the world of not knowing, a state of limbo, is the worst imaginable. What can I say more than that. It is saving my life in a way that perhaps I can not explain. Yes, I am still dealing with the loss of Kevin. I want him here, but I can never have him back, here with me, on this earth. That is the reality. I have to deal with that reality and that is a better reality than wondering if he is still alive, wondering where he is, is he being hurt, why, what happened... and everything else one imagines and fears. A life of never knowing which so many other families have endured and are enduring right now. A nightmare world that goes on and on.. Curt saved our family from that by giving us the truth. A truth maybe that we realized on some level, that Kevin really was dead, but that we could never admit and finalize in our minds and hearts. There are still so many unanswered questions. We don't know what happened to Kevin but we have a certain amount of closure thanks to this man. Now we can deal with the reality, as we have been since that day, February 1, 2005, and hope and pray that the rest of the answers will come.

It has taken all this time for me to at least write a few words about this person I owe so much. To acknowledge him and thank him. When something is so important and meaningful to me I guess I can't express myself. He didn't want acknowledgement in the paper. I can't acknowledge what he did properly. I can never pay him back for what he did. His life is inextricably linked to Kevin and our family by his act of kindness. I am humbled and appreciative and thankful and will be for the rest of my life.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Taken Aback

Well, I thought all the rough edges and feelings of sadness and loss and teary eyes were gone but I was wrong. I don't know what happened but it was probably a combination of things. I kept thinking, why this time of year. Yes, it was around the time of Terry's death but it was Kevin who so dominated my thoughts. I thought I was beyond all of that and that my faith had carried me on to a position of comfort and remembrance. Not so , it seemed. I had pulled out Kevin's video, that his father had put together, to give to Brian. When he returned it, I thought I'd sit down and watch the tape. Actually, I had only seen it at Kevin's Memorial Service but, then, there was so much going on, people around, and obviously, I was in a completely different state of mind. The video was right there. It's not that I haven't looked at pictures of Kevin, I have. I have a picture of him, the cross I had on the table at his service, and the memorial candle with his picture on it that the funeral home puts together, all on his shelf in my living room. But I guess this was different. My little tiny house has become my sanctuary. It's also the place I have to get out of when I start dwelling on sad things. The walls of an already confined space start crashing in. That Sunday afternoon, for some reason, I thought I would pop Kevin's video into the player. Actually, I'm calling it a video but it is a DVD and I don't "pop" anything electronic. I always cross my fingers that I remember how to operate the DVD player.

Kevin's father had put together a montage of Kevin's young life. I guess sitting there , by myself, no distractions, just totally focused on wonderful remembrances of Kevin, over the years, was too much. Kevin's father even included a segment of Brian and Kevin at a Land Rover off-road event taken with a video camera. He was alive and real, there, with his brother in the Land Rover driving around. And now he is gone.

So why all of this set back now? Now the things that impinge on my daily thoughts, a memory, a person, a place, which use to bring me comfort, cause grief and anxiousness as if I have to go through all of the stages of healing once again. I panicked inside as I read in the paper that "Drop Kick Murphy" was playing at the Valaire Ballroom. I've probably misspelled the name. Anyway, a local venue for varied artists. The night Kevin disappeared he was wearing a green "Drop Kick Murphy" tee shirt. At another point I might have gone to see this Irish, folk, punk-rock group that Kevin liked, but now I wanted to forget. I will go out and get one of their Cd's at some point in time, but not now.

Perhaps my faith has wained. That's nothing extraordinary. Waxing and waining. Just like the tides, the moon, our emotions... Maybe everything. I always strive for balance, evenness. It's a little disconcerting to be "high as a kite", actually, because I know I'm going to come down. God comes to us in joy or, maybe I should say, we feel him more when we're in a state of joyousness. He is always with us but despair seems to set us apart from him. At least, with me anyway. So, four plus years later I don't understand all of this. Why I have to feel the pain of the loss of Kevin so acutely, once again. And Terry, too. I'm sure that has something to do with, it as well as the loss of my own immortality. Not that I thought I was going to live forever. But to be more faced with death, one's own, as I've said, is something else. There is a reason for all of this, I am sure. Even depression has a positive because we are working through something and will come out of it better and stronger. I feel a renewed closeness with Kevin which, once again, makes the loss so much more. Whatever else I'm feeling, I don't know. Whatever it is, grief, sadness, depression... I am very taken aback.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Patty's Death

Couldn't come up with a title to this except "On Death and Dying" and that title is already taken. I did take that book by Elizabeth Kubler Ross out of the library, at one point, but ended up not reading it. It wasn't quite what I expected and it seemed to have so much on people who were dying as opposed to the psychology of people who had lost loved ones. That wasn't my issue at the time. Maybe it was just time constraints, at that particular time, and/or maybe I was just not able to get into the book. It certainly isn't something which would be "escape" reading. Things have changed since I checked that book out of the library. The breast cancer diagnosis. Actually, I can't remember if I titled another blog "death". I don't think so although I know I've talked about it. If I did or if I am repeating myself it is, obviously, because it is something I think about all the time. Even moreso, now, since I have been faced with my own mortality. There is a difference between facing the mortality of a loved one and facing ones own mortality. A big one. I guess I thought I was kind of a pro at death until I got my cancer diagnosis and then I realized this was something else. Something really new for me as I have always been in very good health and so something I never faced. I was really scared, shocked. We know we all die one day but, I guess, I could just say those words but subconsciously believe that I was going to live forever. Or, that it was so very far off in the future that I didn't have to be concerned about it and that it wasn't really going to happen. Already the shock has worn off and although I'm still in the midst of things, have started to feel, as I've gotten further away from the surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, that, indeed, I am going to live foever! I know this isn't true but there must be something in the human psyche, I guess you would call it instinct, the will to live, survival, which prevents us from dwelling on the death issue.

Dwelling on death is one thing. Coming to terms with it is another thing and something our society and culture doesn't deal with well. I'm still coming to terms with the loss of my children, my loved ones. Four years later I still don't think my mind can fathom the finality of Kevin's death. That I will never see him again on this earth. What the whole thing really means. That this handsome, young, intelligent, talented young man is no more. One can't destroy consciousness, though. The essence of who Kevin really is. His spirit. Enter faith. Enter belief. I have to believe that Kevin is still alive somewhere, and I do. But that's hard to fathom also, for the human consciousness. Maybe it's easier for some people and, hopefully, I'll get there too, to that level of spiritual development. And I have to have faith that I will see him again and be with him when I die, and I do. I try to think of all of these things, and I do, on a regular basis, but still can't grasp the whole thing. What it all means. Why some are taken so quickly and others are not. Four years later I still don't have the answers but I guess my faith is stronger.

Months ago a young woman I worked with lost her husband, 38 years old. I am still overcome with emotion by loss and death. Perhaps that's part of our society too. Here, I certainly know what loss is. I have dealt with death. Terry was 38, too. And yet I didn't know what to say to her. Everybody has to deal with their loss in their own way. And, yes, it is impossible to take their pain and loss and grief away from them, as much as we would like to. As much as we don't want to see anyone suffer, death is life and so they have to work through their own pain. So, yes, in the past four years I have changed. Hopefully grown as a person as one does when they experience tragedy in their life. My attitudes are different about death and more accepting as that is part of the process, I guess. It would be nice if we could make it easier for those suffering. That doesn't happen too often either. That is our society. People don't know what to say or how to say it and don't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable and that includes me as well.

When you lose a loved one, a big part of you does die. We all die a little in many ways all of our lives. We grieve many things, as I've said before. We grieve the loss of a dream, a belief, the loss of a spouse, meaning in this case, divorce. The loss of opportunities, the loss of youth. Well, it's endless, really. Even the loss of a favorite car that just wouldn't go anymore. So, maybe my title, this time wasn't half bad. I have died before, a big part of me with Kevin, with Terry, with Danny and I will die again, the final one, but for now I'm trying to figure out all of this death stuff, Patty's attitudes about death, for whatever it's worth.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Four Years Later

Today, and the past week or so, I'm not coming from a position of high spirits. I don't know why. I did want to write this particular blog coming from a position of strength but I'm not feeling very strong. Who knows why? At times I try to figure out my gray moods. Sometimes I can, because it's all very obvious. At other times it isn't, and so to sit and dwell on a reason or to try to come up with an answer is futile and a waste of time and energy.

Yes, I finally did go back to the police dept. to request another part of Kevin's file which was under another number and referenced in the larger case file. It was no problem, and went quickly, unlike my attempt to get the primary file. I was in and out in 15 minutes. I also requested a meeting with the new chief, Judy Bradshaw. The office person had to check and when I called back to request that appointment I was told that someone would get back to me. This is what happened the first time. No need to say more about this. Same old, same old. What is the Maj. going to say to me when I tell him there are things missing from Kevin's file? As I've said before, I have to muster all of my strength and faith to go down there and deal with these people. It's depressing.

This past Summer an acquaintance or friend of Donna's, Kevin's step-mother, called her. He had seen a bumper sticker with Kevin's "http://www.kevinmartin.com/" on it, what do you call that, his website, I guess. Gary thought it was a white car but I'm sure it was mine, silver gray. Anyway, he called Donna to tell her that he had had an "insight" and seeing the bumper sticker reminded him of that, and, although so much time had passed, he felt the need to call Donna and relate this to her. Nothing new, but it did corroborate what has been said before; that someone did something to Kevin and that he sustained a head injury. So after all this time, someone remembered something, an insight, I'll call it, and relayed it to us. Why he waited so long to call, I don't know, and it wouldn't have changed the outcome anyway, but it does give hope. The case is closed, definately, as they told me with vehemence, they're not working on it, but if a piece of information comes through that they deem significant they can always reopen the case.

I watched a little of the Olympics this year. The gymnastics are so popular that one can catch coverage of that particular sport if one doesn't have cable, which I don't. A couple of names were mentioned from the last Olympics. The U.S. medaled then as well, although not as prolifically as this year. I couldn't understand why the name wasn't familiar to me and then I realized. 2004! I was in a different world. A nightmare. Kevin had disappeared just before the 2004 Olympics. Rereading the police report, again, took me back to that time as well, something I don't like to do. I don't want to relive the horror but it does come up every now and then. I immediately try to focus on where I am now, the positive, the wonderful memories of Kevin. Now, four years later, I can do that most of the time. Just not all of the time. Whenever I hear a jet plane, I always think of Kevin. This year, once again, I go to Lincoln H.S. where Kevin went to school. On occasion, I still see young guys who remind me of Kevin and I turn my head and watch. Most of the time, they, the school, airplanes, a favorite book, his artwork, which I just looked at again the other day, all different little things that maybe I had forgotten about suddenly pop into my everyday consciousness, and conjure up warm, positive, memories of him - and I'm glad for them. It's hard to accept that that's all I have. Memories. But, yes, I'm very glad for them, because that's all I do have four years later...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Summer of the White Blouse

Well, what does that mean? The Summer before, 2007 that is, I termed the "Summer of the Big Sweat". That's because it was a much hotter Summer than this year, I thought, and I road my bike back and forth to work everyday. I've never sweat so much in my whole life! I guess I should say perspire. Women perspire, men sweat. So, the "Summer of the White Blouse"? Starting in June I had to start my radiation treatment, 5 days a week, for 6 and a half weeks. I went to the stores and looked for ,and found, some light cotton, pretty, blouses to wear. Blouses that would be easy to slip on and off to replace with those ridiculous hospital gowns. At least we could keep on our bottom half whether it be a skirt or pants. Since I was riding my bike I chose black pants. Pants , but in my case, because of my previous uniform requirements at MTA, were all black. So, I pretty much have all black pants and a lot of them. Black pants and a white blouse. Very stylish and sophisticated, I've always thought, especially on models and tv personalities that are very slim. Well, really, everybody looks crisp and business like in black and white, I think. - And sophisticated, too.

Well, what does this have to do with Kevin? I kept thinking about that and my title, "Summer of the White Blouse'. It kept sticking in my mind for some reason. I got a kick out of it as I did my title from last Summer. But then I started to think about it on a different level. Black and White. What does that mean to me. Probably during my growing up years I was more black and white and immature than most people. One sees things in terms of black and white when, in actuality, most things fall in the gray parameters. Life is gray, most of it, not black and white.

This has bothered me, and always will and why I will always persist when it comes to Kevin. Some things are not gray. There are some things that are black and white, absolutes. The dignity of human life. One doesn't just "drop the ball" when it comes to a young man who is missing and then ends up dead in the Des Moines River. I've been over all of that before. Kevin's life was black and white and he deserved the respect that is accorded some and not others. He is a child of God, as is everyone else. His life was precious and deserved so much more. Appreciation. Recognition. Acknowledgement. All of this has been said before ,too. I believe there are absolutes in this life, some things that are black and white, no gray, and Kevin, and Kevin's situation is one of them. He deserved so much more and got pushed aside.

The "Summer of the White Blouse' is over, for now, hopefully not to be repeated (the trips to the hospital) but it came with a new sense of clarity and resolve. Kevin Russell Martin

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Two Rivers

Why I'm thinking so much about the rivers, lately,the Des Moines and the Raccoon, I haven't the faintest idea. I've lived between two rivers before, and beside them, in Upstate New York. The Hudson River and the Mohawk River, those would be. I never paid too much attention to them at all. Terry lived in the historical Stockade area in downtown Schenectady which had flooded on occasion. I really wasn't too aware of that either until Terry moved to that area. It was very similar to Des Moines during the flood crisis this past year. The areas in the flood plain were threatened, with voluntary evacuations recommended for those people living in the most endangered areas, sandbagging . For those of us living on higher grounds, if it wasn't for the news, one could be completely oblivious to the impending threat. I lived in Schenectady so many years but being on higher grounds I was never really aware of any flooding at all, which obviously did happen, in those low lying areas and the Stockade area.

And then there was Kevin. The river, one or the other, here in Des Moines, didn't claim Kevin's life but that is where his remains were found. Ever since then, the rivers have fascinated me as they were an integral part of Kevin's death. As I've talked about before, I had hoped to do another search which did not pan out. I watched the river from that perspective; an opportune time where one could walk around and search an area previously under water. The time was ideal when I first arrived here three years ago. The river bed around the old train trestle where they found Kevin's remains was dry. The search didn't happen and weather patterns changed and then the flooding of 2008. That ideal time has passed for good.

It's just amazing to me. The power and force of moving water. I've watched the rivers, walked in the shallow waters around and below the old train bridge. I've felt the force of the current on my legs as I walked from sand bar to sand bar, not really looking for anything, or thinking I would find something regarding Kevin. Or, maybe I did. Not that this is new to me either as I grew up in an area where we visited the beaches surrounding Long Island, N.Y. I was well aware of the undertow, the force of the waves as they came pounding to shore. But now, of course, it means something different.

Brian and I walked around one or two of the flooded areas after the river had crested. I listened to the news reports diligently. The river was to crest at so many feet over flood stage, etc. I could see that the river was so much higher. But it wasn't until I had gone down to the railroad bridge (Kevin's bridge) where I had been so many times before, that I truly realized the magnitude of the flooding. I had walked on the rickety bridge many times. It was scary as I watched every step I made from one railroad tie to the next. You could see the water or the sand bar, depending on the level of the river at the time, twenty to thirty feet below. That day, as we were watching the river downtown we went to the Scott Street bridge where we could see the old railroad bridge as well. The water was right up to the railroad ties on the bridge! It was amazing. I then had a more accurate realization of crest stage, the flooding, the shear amount of water swelling the rivers. The river levels remained very high for months but now are so low one can see the sand bars along the sides of the rivers and even in the middle. From one extreme to the other!

And Kevin was a part of this, as well, the floods of '08, even though some of my hopes of ever finding more of his remains were washed down stream, forever, with the flood waters.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Wall

The same title and almost a year later. I had asked one of the librarians for help, just a technical question. I think she inadvertantly hit something and it deleted my whole blog.- Something I could have done but I wasn't near the computer. Being so in-experienced, I went to speak to another librarian at one of the other branches. I thought she would be able to tell me what happened and how to retrieve my blog which had to be somewhere in cyberspace. Anyway, no such luck. It was that week right after Brian had finished the Des Moines Marathon. It was a milestone for him, and a few days later, a milestone for me, you could say.

I was standing there at the finish line waiting for Brian to finish his first marathon and thinking. Thinking alot. It had been about ten years since I stopped running and, standing there, watching the runners cross that finish line made me wistful and took me back to a different place in my life. A good place, actually. A place where I used to think in terms of running and the discipline from my running spilled over into other areas of my life. I thought of my life as a road race. Nothing original, but it worked for me. I ran all the time, loved longer distances, and even ran a few races. I had always thought about running a marathon, but didn't. I did run a half marathon, though.

Then it came back to me about "the wall". I had heard it so often. One runs and runs and then about the 20th mile one supposedly feels like they have hit a wall and they have to run through it when they don't feel they have an ounce of energy to take another step. Standing there on the side line, I guess I felt that in my own life I had hit that same wall. I wasn't getting anywhere regarding Kevin and it took every ounce of energy or courage or both to go one step further. I'm still at that point. My resolve is still there. I'm just moving at a snails pace. But I'm still moving. I was never a fast runner, anyway. More of an endurance runner is more accurate.

And I guess I said a mouthful at that point or thought it anyway. I guess I felt that I had run headlong, crashed, into a brick wall. I saw something and as much as I tried to tell myself otherwise, I knew something was wrong. Brian's marathon was October 21st, I think. This day was October 28th. That was the beginning of a long process. Breast cancer.

I was very foolish. Breast cancer is so treatable as long as it's caught early. I never went for mammograms. In my case I was very lucky since there was a visible sign. While I was having my mammogram, I remember the nurse said to me to just consider this a "bump in the road". She wasn't aware of Brian's marathon, or my many years of running, or putting my life in runners terms. It tickled me and it has stuck in my mind and been a very positive encouragement. I've hit this bump in the road, the 20th mile, "the wall". I'll cross over the rough road, muster the energy, whatever it takes, and make it to mile 26.2!

Brian signed me up for the Des Moines marathon this year because I said I had wanted to run it. (I think I was still on steroids, at the time, which they give you as part of your chemotherapy. I think it made me dillusional.) I transferred my registration to next year, unfortunately, but it is really a more realistic decision and goal. My major stuff, chemotherapy and radiation, was finished July 17th but I guess I need a little more time to get back into shape and get my energy back up to par, which I will do. And I have work to do for Kevin...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The final Police Report

Donna here. I'll do some writing here of my own. I never really wanted this blog up, but felt it was for Patty's benefit essentially.

All along I felt that the police, along with my private investigator should be left to do the job they needed to do without our faces in these boy's lives daily. Showing up daily may clam them forever I felt.

However, that feeling changed when a couple weeks ago, I paid a visit to Des Moines, met with Patty and she gave me a copy of the final police report that was previously denied to us. This police report has things in it, that were up then were unknown to us and had we known of this information back then, perhaps we could have checked them out more thoroughly. There were inconsistencies all over it too.

I can't divulge too much right now as I want to meet the police myself as I never did before, despite being the one who hired the private investigator for the case. The P.I., by the way, did NOT give me a full report, but rather a run down of how his time was spent, nothing else. The police report was FAR more detailed and gave us far more information than the P.I. that we hired who obviously has no ethics.

The reason the report wasn't given to us previously (at least the reason we were told by the police) is that it was considered an 'open' case. Apparently when staff changes happened and cases had to be moved, they closed the case without anything conclusive.

I'll report later more.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Kevin's Mom, Patricia has been unable to post...

Just to update those who used to check this blog out. Patty, who is very private in her life's issues, was diagnosed with breast cancer last fall and has been undergoing treatment for it since. The treatment has left her with little energy at this time. I thought it best to notify the list for the reason of lack of posts in the past 6 months.

Kevin's 'other' mom

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Wall

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Once again I don't have a tittle, although this time I did intend to come to the library, was planning on it, and so needed to make the time, which I did, finally! By the end of my blog I hope a tittle comes to me, otherwise, as I said, it will be the first few words of the first sentence.

Yesterday I spoke to a young woman regarding Kevin. It has been so long since I've talked to anyone about Kevin. Occasionally, Brian and I will talk, briefly, but as we're doing other things, it isn't a lengthy conversation. Something will come up, a memory, we'll exchange a few words, and then get caught up in whatever it is we're doing. Usually the kids are there and so it's hard to concentrate on anything except them which most of the time is fine, even therapeutic. It gets one's mind off of whatever one is negatively dwelling on! Anyway, back to my conversation with this young woman. I was very animated and angry. Nothing new as I was talking about Kevin's case. I've made it known in my blogs about my frustration and anger towards the police dept. Actually, I'm perhaps a little more angry now since I'm not in a state of shock and have learned a few more things, seen the way things are done elsewhere regarding missing persons, and also realizing more and more the inequities from case to case. If the police had acted right away, in the first 24 hours which is critical, as they should have, perhaps we would know what happened to him today. It wouldn't bring him back but we would know how he died and when he died.

As we finished up she mentioned or inquired whether I had seen a counselor regarding my grief. It isn't the grief. It's the situation. But I also felt that I was dealing with a person who hasn't experienced the loss of a loved one. I could be wrong. There are many young people who have experienced loss and tragedy. Most everyone has experienced loss of some kind. Those who haven't can't fathom how they could get through such an ordeal and so you must be a walking basket case. So many people know, though, that we all seem to make it through the big things, it's all the little, day to day garbage that gets us down. How we get through major tragedies, I don't know, but we do. But not to be critical, and whether or not this young woman has experienced loss is beside the point. She listened intently and gave me pointers from her expertise on the situation regarding Kevin. And I am very,very appreciative. Now, I know so much more but I don't have a second chance to redo this. My biggest concern and that which causes me so much frustration and depression is the fact that I haven't done enough, fast enough. When I talk to someone, as I did yesterday, and feel I have a chance to make some progress, my spirit soars, the depressed feelings lift. Temporarily, obviously, then I come back to earth and worry that nothing will pan out. I do have a little hope, though, once again, as I have had before. And I'm inspired! I tried to explain that to her, not that I had to, and not that it would do any good anyway. To distinguish from normal grief and the grieving process when there are other circumstances connected to the loss... Actually, I could do this full time, Kevin's case, but that is not an option.

It was kind of ironic I thought. Someone sent in a picture to channel 13, as people are encouraged to do, which was aired on the weather segment, and channel 13's Photo Link. People have sent in cute pictures of squirrels or beautiful flowers, or a badger in a tree which looked like a koala bear, but I think they usually look for weather related things; storms and flooding, but the weather has been calm thank goodness. Someone had taken two photos, before and after, of the old railroad bridge where Kevin's remains were found. It was taken from the Scott St. Bridge where I've gone many times to check the condition of the river and where Brian and I have started out from, recently, as we've walked along the dry riverbed as far as we could go. The first picture showed the riverbed almost completely dry, as I had seen it, and such optimum conditions (in my thinking) which prompted me to go back to the police dept. And the second picture showed the same area after heavy rains had flooded the area once again. The topography of the river bottom had changed so much from the way it was two years ago, but, being dry, and even more area exposed than previously, I went down to the police station to inquire about the possibility of using a cadaver dog to search the area. I inquired, the response was that too much time had passed for a cadaver dog to be effective and then the river flooded...

So, what do I call this blog? I'll call it realization. I don't know why, but I feel I've had sort of a realization lately... of a lot of things!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I wasn't planning to visit the library today. Here I am after a lapse of over a month. I couldn't think of a title but if I didn't put something down, they would, you know, the computer system, would make the beginning of my first sentence the "title". Actually, that probably would have been okay. I wasn't planning!

This morning when I came out of my house at a few minutes to 6, on my way to work, I looked up at the stars. Something that I try to do frequently but like everything else, gets pushed to the side. It seems so much of the time we have too many other things on our minds to stop and smell the roses or look up and get lost in the stars. I paid attention this morning. They captured my attention as I looked toward the East as one of the planets was right above the horizon and very bright. It was a beautiful morning, cooler than it has been, and clear. Not as clear and crisp as it gets in the late Fall or Winter but such an improvement from the hot, humid weather we've had almost all Summer and the hazy conditions in the sky. Not good for star gazing.

Almost two years ago when I arrived back in Des Moines I was driving in to the bus garage from the East side, as I did everyday, and watched a star on the western horizon. I watched it every evening as I was returning from my afternoon run which finished shortly after dusk. I'm sure it was the atmospheric conditions but the star, a very bright one, most likely the planet Jupiter or Venus, and so not really a star, looked to me to be a beautiful little cross in the sky. I say little cross but as it was low on the horizon and so appeared much larger it was rather prominent. I kept looking at it thinking my eyes were playing tricks on me... but it was very definitely a cross. There have been many times since then, yes, the atmosphere or moisture in the atmosphere causing this, where I looked around and all the lights in the city, red and white alike, shone like little crosses.

How our perception's and awareness's and interests change as we experience the loss of our loved ones. I've been interested in astronomy for many many years and took it in school. I've been looking up in the sky for more years than I will admit to and never experienced that phenomenon until two years ago! At one time getting lost in the stars gave me the only reprieve from continual feelings of grief and sadness that I had, and I guess it still does. It is so comforting and gives hope to look up into a beautiful fathomless sky.

And I label this one bright star that appears to me as a cross in the sky, Kevin's Star.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


A week or so ago I was listening to Glenn Beck on the radio as I was driving in the car, running errands. He was talking about disparity in relation to politics and George Bush and Scooter Libby perhaps. Not that I can remember his whole commentary, because I can't and probably was in and out of the car a couple of times while the show was on. I put this radio station on in lieu of a music station which might play one or two songs that I like, if I'm lucky. I think I prefer Shaun Hannity but he's on at a later hour.

Glenn Beck was talking about the fact that even the president of the United States should go to prison if he commits a crime and is convicted of same. Right. So, disparity, the lack of equality is wrong. Sure it is, but that is not reality. It seemed like he, Glenn Beck, was talking about disparity as something that only happens amongst the powerful, in this case politically powerful people, or maybe that was just the focus of his show for that particular day. But I thought to myself, what's this guy talking about. There's disparity in all walks of life. Why doesn't he address that issue instead of something like the president should go to jail if he is convicted of a crime, which is never going to happen.

Disparity. Why did this word stick in my mind? Kevin, obviously. Once again, Pat Tillman's case was on the air, Friday night's national news. Four or five investigations done by the military, a congressional investigation and it still isn't finished, and Pat Tillman's family is still not happy. Now, I guess heads are going to roll, too. Does he deserve all of this?Does his family deserve answers? Yes, a life was lost. His life was lost and there were lies and cover-ups. Kevin did not give up a lucrative career with the NFL but Kevin's life was just as valuable and deserves the same thoroughness of investigation and scrutiny as given to the life and death of Pat Tillman, AND THAT HAS NOT HAPPENED.

Disparity. Kevin isn't the only one. There have been many cases, like Kevin's, where the person has not received equality of effort and time and investigation from the authorities. The media is really great for this sort of thing. Not that they're responsible for it, but their news coverage of certain people and events really plays up the disparity in our country. Who gets the kind of trial that O.J. Simpson got. Who gets the media coverage that certain women got and get who went missing? Did they deserve the coverage? Yes, but so do a thousand others who never get it.

So, how do I feel? Grief and sadness and frustration that's too deep for tears. I came to Des Moines to do a job, though, and so I will. I haven't done enough, and not fast enough, so perhaps that's why I'm depressed.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Three Years Later

A week and a half ago, or so, I once again stopped in at the Mayor's office to make an appointment regarding Kevin. The last app't was cancelled since the Mayor had to be out of town. The new appointment was made for the 18th of July. It failed to register, consciously, while I was there in the office that this was Kevin's anniversary date. Yes, I was feeling more sad and weepy and preoccupied the last few weeks and then realized, once again, that we were approaching that time of year. It then dawned on me that my appointment, inadvertently, was made for that very auspicious, heart-wrenching day. A day that I felt I had overcome, at least somewhat, but which proved once again that the sadness and grief and pain is still very much there.

Being preoccupied I got the time wrong and so scheduled another appointment for the same time, a job interview which I had to go to. Thinking that I didn't have to be at the Mayor's until 10:00, I felt I could go to my interview and still make it in time to see Mayor Cownie. I felt I had the time right but after accidentally pulling out the card that the mayor's assistant had given me , I realized that both appointments were for 9:30! It was ridiculous of me to think I could get in and out of the interview in 15 minutes and still make it to the Mayor's office at a reasonable time, but it then became so important for me to go on that very day, July 18th, that I was being totally unrealistic. I called that morning to say that I would be late but, obviously, I was so late that I didn't get to see Mayor Cownie - understandably so. He had many other people waiting to see him and I wasn't even "fashionably" late. I was absurdly late and was so embarrassed but at least I showed and offered an explanation.

Lorna, the Mayor's assistant was understanding and and gave me another time slot down the road, August 1st, I think. More than that, though, she gave me a hug, one mother to another, and the acknowledgement of Kevin which I needed so much on that day. I made it to the mayor's office that day.That was the most important thing. I don't know why but it was important and it helped. - Even though I showed up 50 minutes late. Actually I think it was 55 minutes late.

So three years have gone by since the last day anyone saw Kevin. I don't know why I went to the Mayor's office a week or so ago.During our next appointment I will just tell him that the police have never gotten back to me as they said they would. Nothing new and"par for the course" since I returned to Des Monies. I don't know what the Mayor can do. He brought the police to his office to try to mediate the problem but to no avail. I guess I will ask him for suggestions; is there anything else I can do, but that's about it. Yes, and there is a new police chief now, Major Judy Bradshaw. I will make an appointment to see her... I guess the bottom line is that I'm not happy with my progress. I've been here in Des Moines for almost two years now and have made very little progress. I'm planning on that changing and so hopefully it will.

As for July 18th, it's over now. I did go to Jimmy John's right after the Mayor's office yesterday and I did see the young man who reminds me so much of Kevin. His name is Brandon and, as I said before, we lovingly call him the Kevin clone. I was able to talk to him briefly as I was paying for my delicious number 15 tuna club. As it turns out, Brandon is in a band and sings, one of the two vocalists in the band. Kevin loved music and played the guitar. I'm sure he fantasized about being in a band but my conversation with Brandon made me wonder if Kevin would ever have gone in that direction. Anyway, my brief visit at Jimmy John's talking to this young man who is almost the same age as Kevin, a year older, if I remember correctly, was so comforting as was my few words and hug exchanged with Lorna. It helped so much. I don't know why, but it did. Why watching this young man who reminds me so much of Kevin, but isn't, I know, helps and brings comfort, I don't know, but it does, tremendously so!

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Kevin Clone

This is what we call a young man we met at a local eatery, Jimmy John's, here in Des Moines. Kevin and his friends as well as Brian frequented Jimmy John's on a regular basis, as I was told by Brian. They deliver. I remember the name but it wasn't until a year ago that Brian introduced me to their #15 tuna club. Really delicious. To date, I haven't tried anything else and don't really care to. When I decide I would like a little something different for lunch, the tuna club is fine and much better than the tuna I usually eat at home, so I'll stick with that.

I think Brian and Jaylynn spotted the Kevin clone first and then told me about him and then Brian took me there for lunch. This young man was delightful and looked very much like Kevin and acted like him when Kevin was at his most outgoing. Perhaps this kid had his quiet side, too, but while on the job at Jimmy John's he seemed more outgoing and quite a character. He really adds so much to the place.

He left Jimmy John's then came back only to leave and come back again??? I was so disappointed when he was no longer there. As a matter of fact, the last time I saw him there I asked him if he was going to stick around for a while. He said he was. He didn't, but last Friday Brian called to tell me he was back again. I guess this Friday I'll go in there for lunch, pay day, and I hope so much he is still there. I'll be so disappointed if he isn't.

Why? I don't know what it is. As I said before, in a way it isn't right. This guy is his own person, he isn't Kevin and I know that, but it brings so much comfort to me when I see this young man, or someone else that reminds me of Kevin. Maybe for those brief few moments I can fantasize that Kevin's still alive in some small way through this young man, or another. We are all very much alike, more so than we are different. That, I guess, is one reason I like astrology. Groups of us have similar characteristics, mannerisms, looks. And then so I wonder, if , for example, this kid has similar "signs" as Kevin.

In a way I thought I was through with this phase as if it was part of the grieving process. I guess not as I still seem to see Kevin everywhere. There was a young man on the bus, Lincoln High where Kevin went, on my afternoon run. Perhaps I mentioned him. A month or so ago I sat at a stop sign and waited for some guy who was walking up to the corner. I mean I waited until he got closer to the stop sign so I could get a better look before I took off. He reminded me so much of Kevin. So many of these times I would have liked to get out of the car and stare, or ask the guy at Jimmy John's so many questions which I'm sure would seem weird and intrusive to him. I'm sure so many questions would have appeared intrusive to Kevin as well. I asked the kid on the bus when his birthday was. He said,"why do you ask?" I think Kevin would have been taken-a-back and responded the same way if his bus driver had asked him the same question.

So I'm feeling very vulnerable, still, and so afraid that I seem weird to these young people but equally afraid to tell them, him, in this case, the Kevin clone, about Kevin and that he reminds me so much of my son. I'm not sure whether a young person would feel honored or offended or just uncomfortable. The other ones are special but this one Brian has named the Kevin clone, lovingly so, as I call him that as well, and he has become very special. Maybe because Brian and I can share it. We both have seen him and he reminds the both of us of Kevin. I don't even know his name. I could call him J.J. for now. Whoever he is, he just adds so much to Jimmy John's, or at least Brian and I think so. It just isn't the same when he isn't there. And then, when he's not there it seems another little part(and hope) of Kevin is gone too.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

A Very Special Comment

I just read this very special comment again. I read it a while ago, although not too long ago. It was recently written. Brian tried to find out who this person was, but couldn't. Recently they changed things on the "Blogger" site that I go to. I had to call Kevin's stepmother to find out what to do. Under the old format, I know, there was something about "comments" but I didn't know how to access them without being afraid that I would mess things up. My knowledge of computers is very limited and so I stick with what I know how to do, which isn't very much. This comment was written after my Spring Babies blog. I've thought about it so often since I read it, and am amazed and thrilled that someone would remember Kevin that well and take the time to write a comment about him after so many years. Obviously I hope so many people remember him, I know they do, intellectually that is, but it isn't until you get something like that, a comment, or someone stops you and says something to you, which has been rare, only twice, that you fully realize that, yes, people still really do remember him. It means so much as I think I've said before. Most of the time I'm alone with my thoughts and memories of Kevin and then periodically, as happened with this wonderful comment, I feel a sense of connectedness with someone else who knew Kevin. I wish this person would tell me more but I don't want to intrude on their privacy either.

Mother's Day has passed. The day after Kevin's memorial service, 2005, was Mother's Day, May 8th that year. I wanted to go to A-Dong, Kevin's favorite place for lunch, but didn't make it with lots of loose ends to finish up before returning to New York. Last year I did and this year, as well, and so Mother's Day has become, for me, a special day of remembrance and reflection regarding him. I'll never forget that Mother's Day that he and I shared in 2003, I think it was. He went walking with me that morning, and it was a cool chilly morning that year, and then we went to A-Dong for lunch. It has become such a special day, so this will be my Mother's Day, each year, as it has been for the last two.

I've thought so much about Kevin's friends, the few I did know, and the special people that became involved with his life, like the wonderful fisherman who found his remains. And then there are friends of Kevin, like the person who wrote the comment, that I don't know, but would like to. I still need to get in touch with them. Most of the time I have a hard time just doing my daily routine, work and chores, much less anything else. I don't even seem to make it to the library much anymore. On a day to day basis I struggle with my thoughts and memories. The loss of Kevin is mind boggling, to say the least, for me, and so I don't know how Kevin's young friends feel about his loss. There are really special people who have been involved with him and they have become part of my heart and his story as well. They have come to mean so much because it is that connectedness which helps ease the pain.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


I mentioned words. That's all I got from the police. Meaningless words. I got home last time after finishing my blog about my impending visit to see the mayor the next morning, to find a message on my answering machine from the mayor's office. He was called out of town and so my meeting with him was cancelled. He's a busy man and so I'll stop in or call and reschedule another appointment to speak with him about I don't know what. What is he going to do? He spoke to the police and it didn't make a bit of difference. Not that I expected him to be on my side and not that he spoke to them on my behalf. Who knows what he said after I left, or what his parting remarks were to the police. No matter what was said, I haven't heard from the police so what does that tell you.

I don't have the words. Sometimes I do, a few words anyway, but other times I can not express what's going on or what I am feeling. Actually, for someone as uncommunicative as I am , when I look back at all the blogs I have written, I guess that's not bad- for an uncommunicative person, that is. I wish I had the words. I have a story to tell. I guess that's why we read the famous authors and poets because they can express everything. Everything that we think and feel and they express it so succinctly and beautifully. Many of us don't even express our sentiments at holidays or for birthdays or anniversaries. We rely on Hallmark and American Greetings and others to say what we can't say.

The second year was really difficult as I had said. I guess because I was anticipating each and every special date , and there were a few of them. It seemed that I did feel a sense of relief that I had made it through that second year. The past few days, though, I have been taken off guard as May 7th was approaching. I wasn't thinking about it, but was feeling very blue and wondering why I was feeling so bad. The memories and anniversary dates are still there, and always will be, although pushed a little bit farther back in our subconscious as ever more new things fill our conscious day to day memories and thoughts and activities. That's good, too, and perhaps that is what gives us the respite from the raw pain we feel at first. We go on and deal with day to day living and as time goes by the pain subsides a little as we're barraged with more and more stimuli. Time doesn't heal. The wound is always there, it just doesn't hurt quite as much. Sometimes.

So, intellectually, consciously, I thought I was doing alot better until, yes, the anniversary date of Kevin's memorial service was approaching and the awareness unexpectedly surfaced into my normal routine this morning. It was a point of closure, that day, May 7th, somewhat, as I have said before. We acknowledged his death although not knowing how, when, or why.

At work the other day I said the words to someone. I was very upset about an incident that had happened at work and so blurted out that the only time I had missed work was when my son had died. That was in reference to Terry. It wasn't until later, while I was on the bus, alone, that it struck me. The words that I had said, but still do not fully comprehend. I felt a feeling of panic, inside, as I remembered saying those words. And the panic that Kevin (and Terry,too) was gone and that we celebrated Kevin's memorial service two years ago. I've said those words so many times in so many ways, "Kevin died", and yet, to this very day, I do not understand or believe it. And it seems unreal. Do we ever believe it? Do we ever truly accept it?Or is it just that the pain, and the knowledge of that person, as we no longer get to build new memories, fades and gets pushed a little bit farther and farther into our subconscious away from our everyday reality. But the memories and pain are always there and so they will always surface in one way or another, consciously or unexpectedly.

So words? Alot of words are meaningless like those of the police, others are not, and really help in the expression of grief, as the words and feelings in my blogs have helped me, with my loss of this beautiful kid, my son, Kevin, on the anniversary of his Memorial Service, May 7, 2005.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Mayor

Really short of an appropriate tittle this morning. Tomorrow morning, once again, I'll get to talk to the Mayor, Mayor Frank Cownie. I don't know what this is going to prove. Actually ,when I made the appointment I should have specified no police please. They were there the last time much to my horror and surprise. I'm sure the mayor thought that to be the solution. One gets the groups of people and/or individuals involved together to settle their differences. I knew that was not going to happen. It has been the same since I returned to Des Moines. The police will get back to me which of course they never do and this has been more of the same. The police never got back to me after the last meeting over two months ago.

Yesterday there was a Congressional hearing on Capitol Hill regarding the death of Pat Tillman. This is the fifth one; four conducted by the military and now this one by Congress. Now, I guess this family wants to know how high the cover-up went, who was involved, etc. They persisted and found out that friendly fire had killed their son but I guess that was not good enough. It makes my heart ache to know that Kevin has not even received one thorough investigation. The loss of a young life is tragic, yes, but the real tragedy is that Kevin's life is not, Kevin's loss of life is not given the same reverence as Pat Tillman's life. -Because Kevin wasn't a pro football player? Everyone knows that money talks. The rich are privileged in ways the common peoples are not. I know that. I guess I was still naive enough to think that this would not happen in matters of life and death. But it does. We took a walk through the cemetery last weekend. The Woodland Cemetery. A really beautiful and old cemetery. Everyone dies, rich or poor, but even in death the rich can build monoliths and mausoleums for themselves and families, where as others are lucky to afford a headstone... Dignity and reverence for life only applies to the rich and well to do?

As I'm getting ready to go and talk to Mayor Cownie, not that I'm prepared, not that I know what good this will do, if any, I have thought about a couple of young lives that perished recently. Abel Belanos, a State Univ. of Iowa student was only missing a couple of days before he was found dead in the lake on campus. He had been at a party Saturday night. They still haven't released blood alcohol levels and whether they will press charges against anyone concerning the serving of alcohol to this young man.

Even more upsetting was the discovery of Paul Shuman-Moore, a Grinnell college student who was missing for 6 months , Sept 25, 2006 until just recently found. They found him in a covered swimming pool at a country club just a short distance away as they were preparing to remove the tarp for the Summer season. A suicide note was found, although the police continued their investigation, but apparently the young man had duck tapped himself. With the Virginia Tech. massacre dominating the news I didn't hear anything more about the Shuman-Moore case. Not that it matters. Another young life is gone and not alot of answers either. This young man was missing about the same length of time as Kevin. He apparently was a music fanatic too. Kevin loved music as well and so I guess I've felt that there were some parallels here more so than other cases. Paul Shuman-Moore was 19 years old. I'm sure there are more cases all over. It's just that these two cases are very close to Des Moines.

So, tomorrow I will see the Mayor again. I'll say my peace to probably no avail. We had a speaker this morning from the police dept. talking to us about safety issues on the bus. He drew a few comparisons about our mutual public service jobs and about how customer service is so important. I guess I would have to give the police high grades on their customer service but that was about all I got! Nice, meaningless, empty words. So what will tomorrow accomplish? I don't even know what the mayor's job is. Is it to appease people? I was always a big one for actions speak louder than words, but perhaps all I will get are words that are meant to appease me but which won't.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Spring Babies

Well, it's that time of year again. Actually, Brian is a Winter baby being born on March 4th. Terry was due on March 21st or 22nd, so almost was born on the first day of Spring, but came on March 29th instead. Kevin was born on April 7th. He would have been 24 years old this year.

Recently I switched my run at work. A new and better run, I guess, or slightly better I should say. I do Lincoln High School, now, a school run before I start doing my regular city route run. Kevin went to Lincoln and I have been tempted to ask if anyone knew Kevin but too many years have lapsed since Kevin graduated. I even think he might have graduated a year early and so it is unlikely that any of these kids were even close to being at Lincoln.

They remind me so much of him, certain ones, the ones with light hair and their baseball cap turned around. The ones that are tall and thin and wear cargo pants and teeshirts even on rather cool days. The ones that haven't filled out yet since they are still so young and growing and won't reach their physical maturity for many more years. I'll never get to see that. I always thought that Kevin was going to be really tall, taller than Brian, as tall as Terry or maybe even taller, 6'4" I predicted. Tall and lanky. He had long arms and legs, I thought, and such big feet for a little baby. I remember this one photo of his father, Kevin's father, who was tall and lanky at one point ,too, and so I guess I thought Kevin would take after his father in that waybut even be a bit taller. But for now all I have are the memories of Kevin who still hadn't lost his boyish physique and still looked at age 21 similar to some of the kids I see at Lincoln on a daily basis.

Maybe to honor Kevin's birthday this year I'll go back to the Mayor's office. Nothing has been done. It has been over two months since I spoke to the Mayor and the representatives from the police dept. They would get back to me. This is what I've been told every time I went to the police station since I came back to Des Moines. They'll get back to me and of course they never do. I didn't want to talk to them that day. It was business as usual, old hat, same old, same old and I'm as sick of them as I am that expression. Same old, same old is what it is.

Recently on the news, perhaps a week ago or so, the news reporters did an update on the Grinnell College youth who disappeared awhile ago. Perhaps they mentioned it when the young man initially disappeared and I just didn't catch it, but apparently there was a suicide note left that was found. The police, there, are dismissing it as being unimportant.- That often times a note is found, but that they are continuing their investigation and do not believe the kid is dead. The Des Moines police, on the other hand, are implying suicide although they can not come right out and say it because they have no proof. They have rallied around a selfserving observation from a drunk 24 year old that was given the next evening, after Kevin disappeared, as one kid flagged down an officer on Ingersoll. There was no suicide note left by Kevin.

A young man, a student at Iowa State U., was found today or yesterday after being missing for a few days, since early Saturday morning I think. They found him in a lake near campus. There were no tips to check the lake, but they thought to search the lake anyway. There was a massive search, dogs, even the Civil Air Patrol. Isn't that a kick in the head? Kevin belonged to the Civil Air Patrol. There was a search and rescue team also. Something like Star search and rescue. The Des Moines police didn't even want me to have a search. They tried to discourage me from having one. Why? A missing kid is one thing. The kid could have taken off somewhere although Kevin would never have done that. But a dead body is something else. When they found Kevin's remains, a dead young man , they did nothing more...

So, my Spring babies are gone, and I will go back to speak to the Mayor... Kevin and Terry were both joys. Spring is joyful and everything is reborn. Easter is Sunday, April 8th, this year and that is joy too because we celebrate eternal life, Christ rising from the dead and ascending into Heaven. Kevin and Terry are spirits and have eternal life and that is hopeful and joyous, too.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

New Year, Same Old, Same Old

The Holidays are over, and I'm glad, except for the Super Bowl. Why I should mention that, I don't know. It's sort of like a national holiday I think. All the hype, a big deal. I feel like one should be getting together with friends and family similar to Thanksgiving and Christmas. It didn't happen for those days and it isn't going to happen for Super Bowl Sunday either. I might stay up and watch a little of it, but that's all, considering my work schedule. I would have talked to Kevin about it, asked about his plans. Terry would have watched it at home, most likely. The Bears this year. I do remember watching a Super Bowl game with Terry many years ago. I think the Bears won that year. I remember John Regans, the "Frigerator" or something like that. He was prominent in that game, maybe even M.V.P.

Before Christmas I spoke to Kevin's former stepmother. I told her it would be after the Holiday's before I would have the time to go and speak to people regarding Kevin's case. Previously I had talked to the Sherrif's Dept. and Lt. Jorgenson, someone I had talked to on the phone a couple of times. He suggested that I needed to talk to Chief McCarthy again. Something I did not want to do but he was right. A week or so ago I stopped down at the police station. Chief McCarthy was out of the office and so his secretary would talk to him and then get back to me. I left there and went to City Hall to set up an appt. with the Mayor. I had one for the following week. I wasn't sure what I would say, what I expected to accomplish, what I expected him to do if anything, but I did make an appointment.

Tuesday arrived too quickly and I didn't really feel prepared. I walked in to the Mayor's office, Mayor Frank Cownie, and I was greeted by Det. Shannon and his two bosses, Lt Dana Wingart and another gentleman - I'll have to get his name at home. Det. Shannon has been on the case but the two others were new to their positions.

Needless to say I was not happy about the situation but when I asked for a meeting and was asked the reason for my meeting, I said the death of my son over two years ago and no answers to date. I would have liked to talk to Mayor Cownie, one on one, but I do understand that he was trying to resolve an issue in his City. He runs the city of Des Moines, I guess, and works with his police dept. If there is a problem the partys involved get together to resolve their issues. I expected nothing new from the police and I got nothing new. Kevin's case is closed except in word only. Perhaps I will have the opportunity to go over Kevin's file at this point - at least parts of it. But that's about it. You know, under the Freedon of Information Act. It seems like that's going to be a joke too. But then again, the police didn't follow the parameters of "Suzannes Law" either. A Federal law signed by George Bush on April 30, 2003 stating that, by law, police depts. had to immediately investigate the disappearance of a young person between the ages of 18 to 21. This was to raise the age from 18 as indicated in the Amber laws to 21.

So a New Year. What can I do?. Not much but at least I can talk. Talk to people.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Just Below The Surface

Christmas is almost here. Another Christmas. Another Holiday. I'm one of many trying to celebrate the special day under the shadow of pain and loss. No, I'm not alone. There was a special gathering in California, and at Disneyland, for the families that had lost loved ones in Iraq. This was all paid for by a charitable organization, I can't remember the name of the person or the organization off-hand. It was a wonderful like three day weekend for the familles and especially the children, to enjoy, have fun and momentarily forget the reality and loss in their life. The reporter talked to the mostly women, although a couple of children had lost their mother, and the children, who had lost a parent. They were all so happy to be there, excited to receive gifts, and go to Disneyland but their pain and sorrow and sadness was just below the surface.

Previously I had mentioned that Kevin, and now Terry, dominate my thoughts. Nothing new to that. I didn't even want to go to the Christmas get-together at work but I did end up going. The way the reporter said what she said put just the right words to what I feel all of the time. All of the things that I feel, the sorrow, the loss, the despair, disbelief, anger, everything... it's all right below the surface. Each day I go about my routine wearing my social mask, I guess you could say. I didn't want to wear that social mask at the Christmas gathering but I did. I sat and smiled and made small talk. In the end I was happy that I did go, even though the real me, my real world was right below the surface, and stayed there for that evening. The only time we're ever unhappy is when we think about ourselves, and so yes, it's good to be busy, be around others, and forget about our own problems, or what we see as our problems.

The other day one of the other drivers approached me in the morning as we were on our way into the building. He said that he had seen the sticker on the back of my car, Kevin's website, and so checked it out. He asked me about it and didn't realize that I was Kevin's mother. I explained to him that I was and we exchanged a few words. So, for another brief moment or two, my real world came to the surface. He said that you never know about people, what they're really going though, which is true, the social mask, and so for a brief time I felt acknowledged as a person. It felt wonderful! Others know, time goes on, they don't know what to say, but the result is that a person then feels left alone with their thoughts and pain and sorrow. At least I do anyway. So at least when the reporter put it in those terms, it acknowledged that these people who had lost a loved one, were having a brief respite from their pain and loss. All of their real feelings, their real lives, were just below the surface.

So another Christmas but I should be lucky because I am here to celebrate it. I have life as we know it here and so I should be thankful for that. I will think about Kevin and Terry but won't make the mistake of staying home this time. They will be with me, just below the surface, but I guess I'll put on my social mask and go out on the town, be with others and celebrate hope and everything else Christmas stands for...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Diary of a Mother's Mission

I didn't make that title up but I liked it. Every once in awhile I've said it to myself, read it on Kevin's website, and wondered what it meant, what I was doing, what I hoped to do. I guess this, my blogs, were suppose to be about the "investigation", progress, updates, etc. Well, there isn't any investigation and there never was one. The police scurried around and interviewed a handfull of people when I complained and told them I was coming out here to have a search. They knew there would be media attention and so were covering themselves. When I arrived out here in August I was told Kevin wasn't a priority and they insinuated, really like very subtle inuendo, although they couldn't really come out and say it because they have no proof, that he commited suicide. March 27th I saw Lt. Tunks and he told me he would get back to me regarding going over Kevin's file. He never did. About a month and a half ago I spoke to Lt. Jorgenson, a Polk Co. sherriff, someone I had spoken to before. He felt that I should go back to the police dept. and talk to Chief McCarthy first. I think he's right but this is not something I'm looking forward to doing. In my opinion McCarthy was very nasty to a woman who was seeking answers about her missing child. I was there alone. Actually I think it was done to intimidate me and it certainly did.

I'm having a hard enough time trying to do my job plus I took on the committment to refurbish a little house. Fortunately it is almost complete, at least the basics anyway, and my involvement with N.F.C.(they hold the escrow money to fix up the house and tell you what needs to be done) It's a wonderful program but it will be a tremendous relief when my involvement with them is done. Kevin is on my mind all the time. (as is Terry) As soon as the Holiday's are over I plan to try a few things. I haven't given up on the possibility of a new investigation. I've been told many things, though, including just backing off and doing nothing. My involvement with the house has kind of forced that issue but no one has come forward, nothing has changed. Things happen as there suppose to happen, or so I've been told.

Yesterday I received a notice that I was in violation of city codes. There was a very neat little pile of rubble in the back, way away from the road. I had begun to check on a few possibilities to get it removed when I got, what I considered to be a harrassing correspondence from the city. Anyway, that very afternoon someone came to remove the garbage. I wish the "City of Des Moines" was as diligent in other matters like investigating the disappearance and death of one of its citizens. They don't have enough money for the police but they seem to have enough money to pay the house police and the weed inspectors. Yes, I got a notice about that, too. Two notices of violation and I've only lived there for four and a half months, owned it for not even six and a half months. The city just built a new skating rink which is now open, they're putting in a new terrace garden in front of the Capitol; amazing. But the police have no resources. I met Mayor Frank Cownie at the 100th anniversary of our union - the A.T.U. I'm not a member but did go at the request of my girlfriend. I didn't say anything to him about Kevin although I felt like it. After the Holidays I will go to city hall. Perhaps he will remember me, especially if I wear my D.A.R.T. uniform. I'd like to tell him my concerns, my opinion, about his city.

So what is my mission? I might not ever be able to accomplish anything regarding a new investigation, what really happened to Kevin, but I can work towards that end. The Truth. If that never happens, but really more important than that, is that his memory is kept alive. Kevin isn't defined by how he died, although the truth should always be known, and so I hope as many people as possible will know about him, his uniqeness, as is every other individual life. No one wants their loved one, their child to die in vane and I don't either. Kevin had a life and a story to tell, too, so perhaps that's my bigger and most important mission...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving, 2006

Nothing very original and I'm not feeling very original today. It's more like same old, same old, or is it same ole, same ole. I chose a quiet Thanksgiving this year. I really wasn't up to visiting and being in situations where I didn't know some of the people, which is the way it would have been. It felt wonderful to receive a few different invitations but I guess I wanted to stay home and reflect on things, Kevin and Terry. Instead of reflecting, though, I guess I was feeling sorry for myself and so being by myself was a mistake.

The situation with Terry was more the norm. The person dies, a few days or a week later, one has the service and then it's over. Then the hard part. No more calls, no more messages on the answering machine, no more trips to the tobacco outlet and then to the post office... They talked on the news the other day about the fact that they're giving additional training in grief counseling to those in the military responsible for helping the families who have lost loved ones. Aparently there are those who don't think enough is being done. They can do more, I'm sure, to help, but then there will still come that point where the family has to move on and rebuild their life. The situation with Kevin was different because he was missing for six and a half months, but the bottom line is sooner or later one has to stand alone with one's grief. Every brief once in awhile there is a moment of joint rememberance like when the young man approached me at the "Kalidescope", or "Hub" downtown and told me he had been at Kevin's search. And, yes , one knows that other family members and a few close friends are feeling the loss just like you, that goes without saying, but still a person stands alone with his or her inner grief, sad to say.

Two years ago Terry came with me to a girlfriends house for Thanksgiving. I was amazed that he wanted to go! That year he said he just didn't want to stay home. It was nice and so I have that memory of a recent Thanksgiving together. Last year he went with his friend Carl to Carl's grandmother's for Thanksgiving, so that was good, too, since ordinarily he wanted to stay by himself.

I was remembering my first Thanksgiving here in Des Moines. I was still upstairs at 1505 Pleasant, Kevin lived downstairs. Brian went to New York that year with his father, but Kevin felt he had to stay here to work. My oven was small, a really cute old range with only three burners on top, and so the oven was miniscule, hardly large enough to cook even a modest size turkey. I cooked the turkey downstairs in Kevin's oven. Kevin was fast asleep through all of it. His hours were very different than mine and since he didn't have to work Thanksgiving Day I'm sure he went to bed just as I was getting up. Well I cooked a pretty good size turkey, which I think is funny. If you're going to cook one, one might as well make it a large one. So Kevin and I had at our disposal about a 23 lb. turkey. Of course there was stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce, etc., olives, which Kevin really liked. Everything was done by about 2:30, I called Kevin (he was still sleeping),I fixed his plate, or maybe he fixed it (I would have made the portions too large ( at 2:45) and Kevin, not being a big eater, it was all gone (his food) and over with (Thanksgiving) by 3:00 p.m.! Not the most memorable day, but we did have a really nice one the following year, Brian, Kevin and I, certainly more memorable, but I do have to laugh anyway.

That was Kevin, though, but something else surprised me too. Just the other day I remembered that Kevin told me that the same two teams play on Thanksgiving Day, the Lions and the Dolphins. I was really impressed! Not that I'm an avid football fan, I'm not, just a Steelers fan, but I should have known that, but didn't, and Kevin did! It just came to me, that particular memory of my conversation with Kevin, Wednesday, as I was driving the bus.

So, one big one down (Thanksgiving), one to go (Christmas)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Stream Of Consciousness???

I got up particularly early this morning hoping to watch the sun rise as I did my walking. A beautiful morning and a sun rise does wonders for a wanning faith. I guess it's that time of year again, but then a cold doesn't help matters either. It was a cloudy morning in Des Moines but getting out early before the throngs and car noises was better than nothing. As much as I love to drive, and I certainly do my share of it, when I'm out walking, to be on busy streets is like an assault to my psyche. I always try to pick quiet roads, some not quiet enough, and so I can't waite to turn the corner onto a less busy street. The decibels drop instantly and I can return to my inner thoughts once again.

Last Thursday I visited the "Hub" downtown, the second time in two weeks. Brian had taken me there five years ago and I had regretted not getting back there sooner; a really neat place with shops and a food court. I went with a girlfriend, even took the bus to and from downtown. What a treat to ride instead of driving! But anyway, I was sitting for a few minutes, waiting for the bus, and a guy came up to me and asked about Kevin. He had been at the search over two years ago. I couldn't believe that he remembered me, and the fact that he did, and stopped to speak with me and acknowledge Kevin's memory meant the world to me. He touched my real world for a brief moment.

As I've mentioned before, sometimes I go by places without a second thought, other times it triggers a memory. Every morning I go by the airport on my school run. This past week I've thought about Kevin each time I went by. A compelling memory. Kevin flew alot for his young years and it almost feels like I should go to the airport around the Holidays to pick him up. Emmett Fox says the departed are like people living in another country, that that is how we should think of it. Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could go to the airport and pick them up, yes, Terry too, as they come in from their new world to spend the Holiday's with us. One day I had this "compelling" feeling to go into Kevin's old house, 1505 Pleasant, which is now on 16th St. The guy from Kinter Construction was nice enough to let me go in. If he hadn't been there I would have sat amidst the gutted rooms and visualized the times I had been there with Kevin. I could just see it in my minds eye; Kevin, me, and the room as it was. I walk by there a few times a week, why one day I get this tremendous urge to go in, I don't know, just like now I have the urge to go to the airport.

I use to buy things in threes. One, each, for Terry, Brian, and Kevin. Lately I've been buying things in threes, too. Three angels, three crosses, for Daniel, Kevin and Terry. Another compelling urge; to buy angels. A symbol, as crosses are a symbol. Symbols of eternal life and beauty and God. All the things we do in a time of grief, I guess, but it does help. Actually, maybe I should have titled this blog "compulsion".

The other day I was talking to a woman on the bus who has been experiencing pain, gallbladder, she thinks. I had talked to her weeks ago but no memory. This time, I immediately became aware of a memory of Terry as a little baby. I had had my gallbladder removed two and a half months after Terry was born. I had been in the hospital for 10 days and so had not seen him. I was suppose to sit on the couch and take it easy, which I did do for a few minutes anyway. My mother brought Terry in to me, and put him on my lap. He hadn't seen me for 10 days, or maybe one or two more, but he instantaneously smiled at me. This great big, hugh, smile which was always Terry. A memory, like so many others which are coming to mind, as they did with Kevin. Memories which maybe go unnoticed or unrecalled when the person is in our daily life and we're building new memories on a daily basis...

Friday I bought a couple of tickets for Jolly Holiday Lights. A wonderful memory from last Christmas. I almost felt that Kevin was in the car with us as we went through Water Works Park to look at all the holiday light displays and wishing we could have one for Kevin.

So a bunch of thoughts, all over the place, as the Holidays approach. I feel that my thoughts are scattered, but still always focused on my inner world of Kevin and Terry...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Book

I had started to talk to Kevin about religion. Not organized religion but my religious or spiritual beliefs. A girlfriend of his had given him a book about angels and from that I purchased a book for him, along spiritual lines, although I think the history aspect was what really appealed to him. It was a play, a dialogue, between John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley. I mentioned this before and the fact that all three men died within hours of each other. It was a dialogue about their three different approaches and beliefs about God and life. Why I was approaching the subject of God and religion so gingerly , I don't know. I guess I had always considered the subject to be very personal, something which developed over the years as ones beliefs matured. Perhaps now I feel differently as I never had the chance, I never took the chance, of bringing up the subject with Kevin and now it's too late. I would have given him a copy of the book which changed my life. Perhaps it wouldn't have appealed to him as much as it did me, I'll never know, but at least I should have tried.

I did give a copy of the book to Brian, and to Terry, for his birthday. The book is "How To Let God Help You" by Myrtle Fillmore, one of the founders of the Unity School of Christianity. Each person is an individual with a different set of experiences, as Terry was, as Brian is, as Kevin was. Perhaps the book would not have "spoken" to them as it did to me, but at least I wanted to offer to them something which meant so much to me. Something which changed my life.

Politely, Terry thanked me for the book when I spoke to him. I don't think I ever brought it up again but I certainly hoped that he would give it a try. Terry's memorial or funeral service was over when Carl, Terry's friend from the second grade, the one who lived downstairs and found Terry that day, stepped up and said that he would like to say a few words. He mentioned the book that I had given Terry and how he had caught Terry reading it a few times. Of course, Terry quickly put the book aside when Carl came in the apartment. He mentioned ,too, that during one of their conversations, Terry said that he did believe in God which made Carl very happy. I couldn't believe that wonderful gift that Carl had given me at the 13th hour. To know that Terry had read even a few words, had just opened the book, was all that I needed to hear. It was like a miracle!

So, no one ever knows. Kevin might not have ever picked the book up. Maybe Brian hasn't either, but at least I should have tried in Kevin's case. I learned my lesson, and so Brian and Terry both got a copy of this very special, precious, book.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Kevin and Terry

Everything is sort of a jumble at this point. I'm not even sure of what I want to write but I did know that I wanted to show up at the library and do a blog. To write something as I have done on a pretty regular basis for over a year now. Little did I know, then, that I would be including a little bit about another one of my children who died a little over two years after Kevin.

Things are kind of muddled in my thinking right now and, obviously, I have thought a little more about Terry these past few weeks, since his death is so recent. I still think of Kevin ,too, on a daily basis. I wonder how there can be room for any more thoughts, thoughts of the loss of another son, but there is. Perhaps it's a little like having one child and wondering whether you have enough love for a second and a third, and of course you do. It seemed that my thoughts of Kevin were all consuming and yet now my thoughts are split between the two.

A couple of things stick in my mind. The Lord of the Rings came to mind once again. Terry loved the Lord of the Rings as much as Kevin did. In the movie, Elrond is telling Aragorn that his daughter, Arwyn, is dying and that Aragorn has to let her go so that she can return to the Grey Havens with her people to live an immortal life. The time of the elves is over. I can't remember the exact words but Aragorn didn't want to accept the fact that their love would be "nothing more than a memory". In this case, Arwyn chose a mortal life in order to be with Aragorn. Love is eternal, they say, as is my love for Terry and Kevin, and yet there is no choice for me at this time. My love for them is a memory and, yet, memory will keep that love alive. But memory is all I have and faith that I will see them again, although not with these mortal eyes.

The second thing that keeps sticking in my mind is living life to the fullest and what does that really mean. I don't mean quality of life. I've talked about that before, so, not that. So what does it mean to live life to the fullest? Go to as many movies as you can, eat, drink and be merry, etc.? The irony is that I never felt that I lived a "full" life until recently. Now I do, for some strange reason. Is the loss of a loved one living life to the fullest? Maybe it comes closer to it than anything else does. The full realization of love by the loss of it? The full realization of life by death? What could be more living life to the fullest than experiencing the loss of it? Death. (I was just told recently that in another religious culture they celebrate the day the person died, not his or her birth day.)

Another of the many ponderous questions which seem to plague my thinking as I try, very unsuccessfully, to understand why the universe acts as it does and why Kevin and Terry are gone from our lives. I have a sense of peacefullness when I think about Terry and his spirit, free from illness and turmoil. But I don't have that same feeling when it comes to Kevin. There is still only a little closure there; we found his remains. It's not the closure as in Terry's case since there is closure. We don't have that closure in Kevin's case since we don't know what happened... that nagging question. Those nagging doubts.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Terrence Patrick Gilson, Kevin's older brother died on September 29, 2006. He loved Kevin and was devastated by Kevin's disappearance and subsequent death. The older Kevin became, the better he and Terry got along. Terry visited Des Moines the first time I lived out here, I think in 2002, around May, and then Kevin went to see him in New York after that. Perhaps I have the two events backwards, I'm not sure, but that doesn't matter.

Where to begin? I was going to visit the library last Sunday (as I had been here Friday and Saturday) a couple of days after my return and as I was logging my journey to and from New York, but I didn't make it. I think the words would have flowed more easily then as I was in a different place and frame of mind. Over the past week all the memories of Terry have been flooding in, I guess a normal part of the grieving process, just as they did with Kevin. So now there's so much more to write but wanting to keep it brief since this is Kevin's website. The reality is though that Terry was an integral and important part of Kevin's life, and would have been either way, if he had died before Kevin or after Kevin, as he did. And I guess I will include things that I said at Terry's memorial service, things which I felt strongly about and which could have applied to Kevin as well, although circumstances were different.

I wrote this before; Terry was the sun, Brian my rainbow, Kevin my pot of gold. Terry was sunshine, a sunny disposition, a big smile on his face all the time. He was the little boy that was the envy of all my girlfriends because their husbands wished they had a kid, a son, just like him; all boy! He was a joy. He had just learned to walk and so insisted on going up the stairs himself. Of course I was right behind him but when I tried to take his hand he pushed it out of the way and said "I do, I do". He had no fear. We went to Jones Beach, the first time for him, at age 4 or 5 years. He had never seen the hugh waves before but he charged right into the water with me right behind him! When he was a little older he discovered Terry Bradshaw and the Pittsburgh Steelers and so for the first time in his life had a super role model and with his same name. He was a devout Steeler fan and one of his friends commented to me how this love and devotion wore off on others as well as his family. Brian, Kevin and I also became nothing but Steeler fans. I failed to mention though that he also loved the New York Yankees and was a fan even before their hugh winning streak in more recent years. During Terry's high school years I vividly remember a conversation with his football coach who had called to check up on Terry. He said that Terry was the kind of kid (player) that the scouts would be watching. He was that good!

Terry wasn't setting the world on fire, though. I'm not either. We all struggle, we all strive, we all have to make a living and put a roof over our heads, in my case it's half a roof. Terry was struggling and those of us who were close to him, recently, were very troubled about him and stuggling right along with him. We all have demons to one extent or another. I'm not just referring to alcohol or drugs. A demon can come in many forms and can be something the person fights all his or her life; weight, insecurity, inferiority, etc. Some of us can overcome our worldly problems, some of us can't. Maybe Terry couldn't. Maybe Kevin couldn't either.

We can never really know, though, what is truly in another's heart or soul or mind. We can never really know what another person is stuggling with or dealing with, not really, not even though they might attempt to tell us. I truly believe that each person does the very best that they are capable of doing at any given time, as I'm sure Terry did, and Kevin did, even though it might not have appeared so to others.

Terry is my child. Kevin is my child. Each of them had to do or be nothing else in my eyes. Their lives were precious. They were both children or manifestations of God. Each one of us has a God given purpose. Maybe it will never be clear to us what those purposes might be. Maybe in time it will be clear but perhaps not for those who mourn his loss, and Kevin's loss, so horribly. We live in this goal oriented, achievement, monied world and so it's hard to remember who we truly are, in my opinion, my belief. But I do believe in the sacredness and uniqueness of each and every life. We are that regardless of what we do or don't do, we are that just because we are born. It has nothing to do with what we achieve or don't achieve... Terry existed and Kevin existed. Just by being who they were they made a contribution to life, perhaps more than we'll ever know. The story isn't finished yet.

A couple of years ago, here, at Christmas time I bought a figurine or collectible from a sports store. It was a young boy 10 or 11 years of age who had fallen asleep in a chair with his Steelers shirt on and helmet right beside him. They had these for the other teams as well. I bought it for Terry for Christmas but couldn't give it to him. It made me so sad. It was this beautiful little kid with all the potential in the world. He was a little devoted Steeler fan having fallen asleep in a perfect world. He had his whole life ahead of him. This was the Terry I knew and this figurine represented him and all my perfect hopes and dreams for him. It never happened. This wasn't Terry's life anymore.

So it's hard for me at times to realize that this world is just a shadow of the real and perfect world to come. Terry is at peace now, free from the turmoil and strife which seemed to dominate his life more recently. And he is with his brothers, Danny and Kevin... and his Pop. He loved his Pop who was like a father to him. (my father)

Terry loved his daughter, Elizabeth, first and foremost, about the only thing he devotedly attended to, he loved his brothers and friends and he loved the Steelers and the Yankees. (I love you, Terry, Love, Mou)