Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone................

by Dee

Cathi My Joy

Cathi My Joy

I thought I wasn't ready to tell my story, but reading some of the stories that have been shared here gave me the courage. I lost my daughter Cathi on January 16th, 2010 to a hotel fire in Birmingham. I also lost my niece Angel that night, along with two of their dearest friends.

My daughter was 18 and in her first year of college. She came down to Florida to visit for her Christmas break. She was here from December 4 and she left to go back to school on Jan 8th. I can still see her face as she boarded the shuttle that would take her to the plane, she stopped and turned her head over her shoulder and said "Mommy I love you." How could I have known it would be the last time I would ever see my child alive, a week later she was gone.

Her and her cousin and 2 friends decided to leave college that weekend and head to Birmingham for the weekend to shop with all the gift money they had received. They checked in at the Days Inn in a beautiful part of town. A fire was started by an illegal immigrant that was allowed to work there on an expired visa. Instead of calling 911, this man was so afraid of getting into trouble that he tried to put the fire out himself.

The hotel had no working fire extinguishers or sprinklers, so by the time someone actually did call 911 it was too late for those beautiful young women.

These were good girls, doing the right thing with their lives. My daughter has taught me many lessons in life by just watching the person she was. She was kind and generous to everyone, even people who hurt or mistreated her. She would say, "mom just forgive and let God do the rest."
I miss my girls, my pain is surreal at the moment. I never thought it would happen to "me" but it has.

God bless us all who have and are experiencing these loses, all we can do is help each other, and be patient.

I live my life now as if everyday is my last, and in that I find much joy.

Thank-you for listening.

Comments for Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone................

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Dec 17, 2010
I remember that story
by: Tonya

I live about 50 miles from Birmingham and remember that fire. I was so heartbroken when I heard the news of the young ladies that suffered. I thought so much of their mom at that time. Little did I know that months later I too would be a "Mom grieving the loss of a beautiful daughter"..... I never thought it for real.

There's no where to go, no way to fix this. My life, our life was revolved around my daughter... doctor's visits, hospital stays, dialysis, etc. NOW what do I do with my time. I don't know when I'll be able to walk back into my office at work. She had become the "office baby". For the entire 10 yrs I've worked there, everybody kept up with how she was doing. What am I supposed to say now? I can't even go into her room....... I don't know if I will ever turn her cell phone off... I call just to hear her voice daily. It's worth me paying for monthly still......

Sep 04, 2010
Does the pain ever go away?
by: Anonymous

My precious daughter was also taken from me by someone else's carelessness. Someone whom she trusted and loved and devoted her life to: her own husband. She sacrificed everything for him, uprooting herself from her family and moving 1,000 miles away to live with him near HIS family.

He was a terrible husband, he drank, he was violent, he cheated on her. Her broke her heart a dozen times and she finally left him with their infant son. He chased her back home, threatened to kill her if she didn't come back with his son. She went back. Six days later she was dead.

We all tried so hard to keep her here. We begged and pleaded and cried and bribed. We knew something like this would happen -- after all, he had already threatened her life.

To reward her for coming home he bought her a motorcycle but no safety classes. She had never been on a motorcycle in her life! He took her out on it and we believe he made sure she ran off the road. She was killed instantly six days after she returned home. She was traveling 55 miles an hour according to her husband's own testimony to the police.

He never shed a tear that we saw. He never said "I'm sorry" to our family. He came to the funeral with his son, then left with his son.

He let me keep my only grandson for a couple days during the summer while he went partying with his old friends. But that's it. He never calls. The anniversary of my daughter's death came and went, no call. He had a new live-in girl within a couple months after our daughter was killed.

How are we supposed to ever be happy again? I cry all the time. I try to move on, I still work for a living. I have other children, but they are hurting too. It's not fair that HE is skipping rope and having a good old time and we are still suffering without our beloved. And he's not even sorry. He can get a new wife. We can't get a new daughter. I hate him with a passion and if I thought I could get away with it I would kill him.

Jun 16, 2010
by: Anonymous


May 23, 2010
From where i stand
by: tj

I see a family crushed by a man's mistake. A mistake that could have been avoided if proper care was taken, or more precisely, if ANY care was taken. The EVENT is 4 beautiful young girls lost their lives in a fire; with that, 4 families shattered.

The CAUSE was negligence. Any way you slice it those girls weren't afforded any extra chance of surviving; a building can never make fire an impossibility, but they CAN however, prepare for it to the best of their ability, and just because it wasn't by law, required to have a sprinkler system, contradicts the now PROVEN SCIENTIFIC FACT: that it needed one. The owners saved a buck by not installing 1-1/4" black pipe with a few sprinkler heads per room, and a gravity tank on the roof. The fact that the man was here on an expired visa, was his sole responsibility, but how can a well known chain hotel as big as Days Inn employ this man when his duties as the building "handyman" would certainly include; MONTHLY VISUAL CHECKS OF FIRE EXTINGUISHERS.

I returned to my home in NYC and I took the test to become a fire safety director in the office buildings of NYC. The alarm should have notified 911 without NEEDING a human to make the call...

Anyway, mine is getting too long. I wrote just to show support to my family, and dawn, my ma, who is a pillar of strength for those around her at this trying time. And constantly thinking about how it could have been avoided has consumed me. That is the most recognizable form of my grief, all the what ifs....

May 22, 2010
by: dee

Thank you hh

May 22, 2010
by: Anonymous


I wish that I could be there with you so that we could mourn together over the loss of your most precious child. I don't know you of course, but every mother can understand the pain you are experiencing to some degree and my mother's heart is breaking as I read your story. Know that others share your pain and that your daughter was a precious gift to you and her loss, the loss of a child gone too soon, is painful for all mothers to see. God Bless.

May 22, 2010
by: Hope

I do not have a way with words but I know that my heart pulls as I read your letter. Having had a different loss (husband) I cannot in all honesty say that I know the horror of your grief, I can only imagine. But your ending sentence that you live life day by day and appreciate it is wonderful. My thoughts are with you and I hope you grow stronger each day...HH

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