by Bonnie Roebuck
(Lakeland, Fl )
Heather and her two girls on the 1st day of school 2008
Once upon a time I had 3 beautiful children that I raised myself without a husband (due to a nasty divorce) . . . . . . . .
I remained single 25 years, until age 50 when I remarried... my soulmate and my best friend.
In 2003, my only son, age 27, died in the middle of the night from a heart attack with no warning whatsoever. He had a son (was not married) and his girlfriend took the little boy (which was all I had left of my son) and moved away and refused to let me see his son. To this day I still have not seen him, and its been 5 years. So not only did I lose a son I lost my grandson too. There are reasons I suppose she refuses to allow me to see him. After the funeral she got into drugs and I reported her to the Child Services and she was investigated. So I suppose that is why.
Anyway, that left me with two daughters. Amy, my oldest, who is 40 at this time and Heather, age 37. Amy has been divorced for years and has two teen agers who are giving her a fit - one is 19 and one is 15 and neither one work and she is barely making ends meet.
Heather went to college, got her teaching degree and taught school in a popular charter school in our town. On August 23rd, 2008, my daughter Heather was murdered by her husband and he then shot himself. And this all happened in front of my two beautiful granddaughters, Paige, age 12, and Jordyn, age 7. Now I have one daughter left. I have custody of the two girls at age 60 and my husband is 65 and we have to finish raising these two beautiful girls. We have them in counselling weekly - its only been 6 weeks. I'm still in shock - just numb - can't cry - don't have time to cry - taking care of the girls is a full time job for me and my husband. Although we want to finish raising the girls in the fashion that Heather would have wanted us to, it is still such a tremendous challenge laid before us - but we will do it with God's help.
My husband and I had all these plans about our retirement, etc. cruises planned,etc. - and now, well, our lives have been turned upside down and we have a totally different life ahead of us - I have rheumatoid arthritis pretty bad . I am not in good health.
We are both realtors and in this market we are not doing very well as you can imagine. I haven't worked since this happened, but plan to go back to work tomorrow, Oct 1st., and try to work.
The children are in denial I think - I'm in shock still.
We have joined a church and go weekly - it's been good for the kids and us. We did not attend church before this happened. Heather was an amazing woman who loved children and loved teaching and touched many many lifes in her life and in her death as well. The community has rallied around us and are having fund raisers for the girls for their college education. They are both straight A students and want to go to college one day. My mind isn't working real well, I can't focus - can't remember anything - sometimes think I'm losing my mind. I guess this is all "normal" .
I live in fear that my only daughter left will not survive me either, and I worry constantly about her and her two kids.
I worry about whether or not we are doing the right thing with our two new granddaughters. I just can't cry and think that is wrong too. Why can't I cry? I go to bed exhausted each night and get up very early with the kids. Heather was being abused daily and we knew there was a problem, but did not realize it was as bad as it was. I wish she had said something - I wish I had paid more attention - I knew she wasn't happy - I knew there were problems, but I just did not connect the dots. Why didn't she tell me? Why didn't the girls tell me?
We are strong advocates for abused women now, and will continue to fight for the abused women in our society!