The Tragedy I Haven’t Moved On From

“I don’t know how to get passed this.”

I uttered those words through the phone to my sister. She tried to comfort me by explaining how she’d had a hard time when her co-worker’s mother passed away.

It wasn’t the same.

I had no bar, no past experience to measure this grief by. I had lost a friend. Tragically. In a way that no rational mind can understand. And it hit me hard.

But what made it harder was that she wasn’t really a friend, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. She was a Facebook friend, a former grade school classmate who I knew through mutual friends. I hadn’t even seen her since high school, hadn’t interacted with her then and hadn’t thought about her since. Then she sent me a friend request.

Here was this girl, who had been her class president, had been a cheerleader, had been popular, had been all the things I wasn’t in high school, requesting to be my friend on Facebook.I was exhilarated and intimated all at the same time.

She posted a lot and I really felt like I was getting to know her, even though we barely engaged online. I keep meaning to reach out to her…

And then she was gone.

Her life was cut short by her husband’s act of violence. He shot her and their three children while they slept one April night and then shot himself the next day.

I remember vividly the day they were discovered. It was sunny and beautiful, literally and figuratively. A few months prior, I realized I was suffering from late onset post partum depression and then my son’s food allergies were diagnosed. On this April day, we’d gone shopping as a family and for once being in public with an infant didn’t give me anxiety. I felt like the fog was lifting.

When we got home that evening, there was a voicemail from my mother-in-law wondering if we’d heard about the tragedy in our community. I went online and saw their names on the homepage of our local paper.

“No, No, No!” was all I could say.

I went on Facebook to her page and saw post after post, friend after friend, in disbelief and grief.

That was a year and a half ago and there are still days when I don’t believe it happened, don’t believe she’s gone. Those days aren’t as many now but I still think about her often, usually when I’m tucking my son in for the night. My mind will drift to her tucking in her children on that last night and I cry.

I still don’t know how to get passed this but I’m trying. Six months after her death, I started writing letters to Francie as a way of coping with what happened to her. In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness month, I will be sharing some of those letters on my blog in October.

When acts of violence happen, every one pays attention while its front page news. But then time passes and the community at large moves on and forgets, leaving those effected to grieve alone. I hope to raise awareness by sharing this experience.

This post was inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop…and by Francie, may she rest in peace.

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  1. Shannon, I’m so sorry for your loss. I know I experience so much love and joy as part of my wife and mother roles….then you realize that there are people out there that don’t get love and joy in those roles.

    I’ll be interested to follow Domestic Violence Awareness month.
    alyson: common sense, dancing recently posted..After 14 years- do you get a company tchotchkeMy Profile

  2. Thank you!

  3. Oh Shannon! This post totally moved me. You are such an eloquent writer and I really admire your courage for putting it out there. Thinking of you…
    JenniferG recently posted..Wake Up Already- Man!My Profile

  4. It’s interesting how sometimes we feel like we don’t have the “right” to grieve the death of someone who wasn’t always close to us. She obviously had an impact on you whether you were chatty everyday or not. Sometimes it just doesn’t matter. And you’re still allowed to grieve. I think she would feel moved to know that she impacted you in this way. She must have been a pretty special person.
    Mama Kat recently posted..Bye Bye Rudy The LabradoodleMy Profile

  5. This is so tragic and so beautifully written. I remember that story when it happened. I lost a friend this summer also, in a freak and tragic act of nature. I can hardly even speak her name without tearing up. I’m so sorry for your loss.
    Sue @ Laundry for Six recently posted..back to school night- reconsideredMy Profile

  6. Such sudden and tragic deaths are so hard to understand. You honor your friend by remembering her and her children, even though you hardly knew them.
    Ginny Marie recently posted..What was probably only a couple of hours seemed like an eternityMy Profile

  7. Having lost my sister to domestic violence, your post really moved me. I don’t know what to say to you to help you get past this except that time does have a way of healing…at the very least, it does get a little easier and the pain lessens to the point where it’s not always constant. You are doing so much good by keeping her memory alive and drawing attention to domestic violence.
    Elle recently posted..T for Trials and TribulationsMy Profile

  8. What a tough loss and a feeling so deep! I am the survivor and wrote how it all affected me! It seems you have a beautiful guardian angels coming to help tuck you and your son into bed at night

  9. I am so sorry for your loss. That is a lot to take on at the same time. I had postpartum depression, too, so I can certainly imagine how tough that was on top of the death of a friend. Best wishes!
    Soccer Mom recently posted..My Memorial to My GrandmotherMy Profile

  10. My mouth literally dropped open when I read what happened to your friend. I don’t blame you one bit for still mourning her death. You always hear about these things on the news but rarely do you think about the people behind the story. I am glad this has prompted you to get involved against domestic violence.
    Emily recently posted..Over the River and Through the Woods…My Profile

    • “You always hear about these things on the news but rarely do you think about the people behind the story.”

      That is so true and one of the reasons I’m sharing this. Thanks for posting!

  11. All I can say is thanks for keeping her memory alive. The pain and loss can be shockingly intense at times, and I do wonder if it will ever really lesson. It is interesting how it becomes a part of one’s being. The joy and benefits of knowing her, make the greif of losing her bearable. xoxo

  12. Was this the family in Middletown? I remember that; it was awful. I didn’t know her at all, but quite a few of my friends did. I understand you being so upset about it.
    Sheri recently posted..Tragedy in Our FamilyMy Profile

  13. I’m really sorry. I know how you feel because I lost a friend 3 years ago. I actually chose this topic too and posted about her. She and I were best friends growing up, but we lost touch over the years. To this day, I regret not having met up with her all the times she asked me to.
    Jackie recently posted..My FriendMy Profile


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by MammaMania, Shannon Morgan. Shannon Morgan said: My @MamaKatslosinit Writers Workshop post. Its kind of personal: […]

  2. […] written to Francie since her death. Want to know more? Please read the first post in this series, The Tragedy I Haven’t Moved On From. … other posts by […]

  3. […] written to Francie since her death. Want to know more? Please read the first post in this series, The Tragedy I Haven’t Moved On From, and the first letter. Then come back to this post to share your […]

  4. […] The Tragedy I Haven’t Moved On From. […]

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