Friday, November 6, 2009

Where to begin?

Many people have been asking about me and my blog. They have expressed concern that I have not blogged lately. Where to begin? So much has happened in such a short amount of time. So many emotions have been felt. It's difficult to even know where to begin.

Life is moving forward for our family. We've had weddings, births and deaths.... Life and death are moving us forward. Joy and sorrow. Lots and lots of love. So much support. So much anger. It's been.... in a word? overwhelming and emotionally exhausting.

We've been called "killers", "media whores", "heroes", and "inspiring". Some have said we are only "in it for the money" and "publicity".

I must say the goodness in people and the kind thoughts and prayers have heavily outweighed the other less than kind comments.

As you all know, I'm very very proud of Nathan. And, Denise....... gosh, how they have both in their heroism and strength have humbled me. I thought I was a strong woman and that I've met with great hardship and tragedy in the past. But, I have never had to face or endure what Denise had to endure. And, yet, still, she rose up and maintained her grace and dignity throughout her ordeal. On her 9-1-1 call, she begged King 17 times and used the words "please". She even fought with grace and dignity. She saved Noah and Adam. Yes, I consider Denise a saint. She was nothing but pure goodness. We were so blessed to have had her as part of our family even for such a short time. Did we know it and appreciate it while she was alive. Yes, I believe we did. But did we recognize the magnitude of her goodness? No. We just took it for granted. She was a nice girl. That's all we knew. I never had a clue to as how strong, brave and smart she was. Nathan did though. Nathan knew.

And, Nathan? gosh, how he's humbled me, too. The way he's faced this horrific ordeal can only be commended. He's working so hard to turn a negative into a positive. He's working so hard to keep Denise's spirit and love alive in Noah and Adam. He's working so hard to be happy and to smile. He insists Denise would want him smiling and happy, not cowering in a corner. Not many people are aware of the pain and suffering he endured after she died. Not many people had a window into his grief. I did. Not many people have a window into how he still struggles. Why? I assume it's because he does not want to cause more pain. Pain has such a ripple affect. Pain is not easy to watch.

We went to a funeral this past Wednesday. The young man who died was Denise's age and went to school with Denise. He was 23. He spent his later years struggling with drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol won out in the end. He was at a party, went in a passed out and never woke up. Watching his family's pain was horrific. Watching his mom struggle with the "whys" we continue to struggle with. Pain on display.

Shawn the young man's older brother put his pain on display. He gave one of the most moving eulogies I have ever heard. It was heartfelt. He did not hold anything back. He hit the nail on the head and did not pull any punches. We really do have to be true to ourselves and love ourselves.

I've received derogatory comments on this blog about our travels and our sharing our story with 9-1-1 calltakers and dispatchers across the country. They termed it as "fun" and referred to these trips as "vacations". They said we were not grieving and that we were causing more pain to the Goffs who were truly grieving. sigh. I finally had to shut the "comments" button off because no matter how untrue I knew it was, it was still hurtful. Pain on display. I guess I asked for the comments when I started blogging.

No. Pain on display is never easy. Only malicious people would find joy in other's pain.

I'm proud of the girl Nathan is dating. We've gotten grief about that too. Nathan dating so soon that is. Nathan started dating her last year. Yes, that was difficult for us. We weren't ready to move on. We were still and are still grieving. We did not think that Nathan should be moving on so soon. Little did we realize at the time that Nathan "needed" to move on in order to survive. This young lady has seen Nathan through a hell that I just can barely imagine even though I'm his mother. She's been there for Nathan through hell. Hopefully someday their relationship will bloom and grow and there will be marriage in sight. The boys love her. But, if it doesn't, Nathan could not ask for a better friend. I cannot say what Denise would be thinking if she were alive. She's not alive. She's dead and since she's in heaven I can only think of her thinking loving thoughts and praying for Nathan's sanity and happiness. That's the kind of person she was. She would not want to see Nathan doomed to perpetual pain or worse driven insane through pain.

It's so easy to judge other people. We judged and we were wrong to judge. Of course, for us we were only looking out for our son, his sanity and his future. Those others who have made snide comments? Who are they looking out for? Not Nate, not Denise and not Noah and Adam.


And, yes, our family was called "killers" because Michael King's jury recommended the death penalty. What's up with that? Some families members spoke out saying unequivocally that we wanted the death penalty for King. Personally, I have mixed emotions about it. Killing King will never bring Denise back. Killing King will never take the pain away he caused her, the terror, the suffering, the violation, the brutality, the callousness of him just listening to her begging for her life..... She'll still have suffered all that pain. Nothing will ever minimize it or take it away. Well, I take that back. If there is indeed a heaven, Denise is there, and no one can ever hurt her again. But killing King is not going to help her. But killing King will do a couple of things that will help me. One, I feel better knowing he'll NEVER be able to hurt another person once he's dead. Two, he'll never be able to think of his crime and fantasize over it. He won't be able to dream about it or glory in it. And I believe he does think about it and fantasize about it. He should have Denise wiped completely out of his brain. I don't even want him visualizing her. So, if wishing King dead makes me a killer than so be it. Some people need killing. Some deserve mercy. King does not.


We've been doing a lot of positive stuff in helping 9-1-1 and it's industry. These trips we go on..... The lives that are touched. And it's Denise who is touching them. We're just the tools and the story tellers. We share her story in hopes that other 9-1-1 call centers can learn from it. You can see how apprehensive they all are about hearing the story. You can see their apprehension as far as talking to us. They don't know what to say. But, once the ice is broken and they hear the story, everyone just rises up and wants to do better. And some (most really) are already doing fantastic jobs. Then they take Denise's story back with them to the other call takers and dispatchers in their comm centers. They wear their bracelets with pride. They feel appreciated and thank us! We should be thanking them. It truly is a thankless job. Most of the general public still think of them as telephone operators without brains that just place the call to the appropriate department. These people have to multitask, think out of the box, listen to all kinds of horrific situations, listen to all kinds of crap, maintain control or gain some control..... all this while trying their damdest to figure out where a cell phone call is coming from. It's crazy! But still... one guy in Illinois told me of a woman in his call center that "is" just like our call taker was. She's been there 20 years or so and does not like typing into the CAD. She "still" writes things down. I did not know what to say. I wanted to yell at him. "WHAT! ARE YOU WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO DIE!" But I didn't. I thought my goodness. Even after hearing our story this supervisor is "hoping" Denise's story will help his call taker see the light. sigh. Some people get it, some don't.

I better go. My emotions are starting to run away with me. I did not re-read this so, please, forgive any errors. Everything was typed off the cuff.