I started this blog strictly for Kari. My son was in her 3rd grade class at Spring Valley when she was killed. Of course at first we (the parents) were simply told she died in her sleep. Then within a couple days the suicide rumor started its course. I grieved thinking that this woman that I saw 5 days a week when I picked the kids up at school...and that spent more waking hours on those days with my son than I did...was hurting THAT bad and I didn't know it...didn't feel it. But it was just another few days when I "knew" in my heart that she did not, in fact, take her own life. Nothing added up right. And I felt it. For some reason, ever since then I felt Kari's hand on me. That's just the best way I can describe it. It's as if she wants me to "Hang on. Wait with me. The time will come when you can do something." And that's kinda weird. We weren't terribly close in an intimate friendly way. I didn't really "know her" outside of school. Our relationship was built around my boy and our joint venture in his education and well being. She was a phenomenal teacher. And she loved my boy. And for that, I loved her.
When the inquest was going on and then with the judge changing the finding of death from suicide to undetermined, I started getting phone calls and stopped by friends and family about whether I "had heard" or knew anything. People knew/know that I was very personally interested in this case and that I'm an information junkie. If there's information to be had, I'll find it. I got busy. I wanted to know everything. To satisfy my organizing of the information and to share that information with others, I started up a plain-looking little blog. I had tinkered with blogs in the past and it was a quick and easy thing for me to start up. So when my family and friends asked me what I had found out recently, or had I seen the latest TV news interview, or what was going on....I simply had to "link" 'em up. Even though I knew it was a public blog, I thought it'd be lost in the huge world wide web and basically only those that I linked to it would even notice it.
I remembered writing my thoughts and memories down in notes and/or emails to a friend around the time of Kari's death and then again here and there when a tough moment would arise or a new event in the case happened. So I looked on my old computer and there they were. For cathartic reasons, I put some of those on the blog. I also added some memories that my son previously shared with me about his teacher. Within a couple of days of sharing personal things, some of Kari's family and friends found the blog and left a few comments and wanted to know who was behind this blog...that they found it such a blessing. I had never had occasion to meet Mrs. Dulin or anyone else in Kari's family (other than Matt and the girls). I had never had any correspondence with anyone involved until after I started this blog and then we connected in that way. I've emailed a few times with Mrs. Dulin since then and she has told me that my memories and stories on the blog give her joy, laughter and tears....good tears. She has told me that she re-reads and re-reads the following memory:
Quoted from the blog entry:"Remind me to tell you about the time........We were both worried about Bro's TAKS test stuff. We both knew he could do it....but were worried about his motivation to get through it as he should. Did I mention that she loved my boy? We worked together and worked together getting him ready. Literally. Worked. Together.
One day after the reading TAKS results had just gotten in and letters had been written to the parents but not mailed yet.....she was sooooooo excited to share with me that she knew Bro had not only passed, but passed WELL.......I was in the lunchroom with other parents that went in to pick up their kidlets and make eye contact with their teachers and try to keep up with the pulse of things. I saw Bro's class come out of the hallway. THEN.....I saw Mrs. Baker see me. She had a piece of paper in her hand. We made eye contact and she "lit up." Then............she skipped across the lunchroom to me. She didn't walk. She didn't glide. She didn't stand there with other teachers and just wave to me. She. Skipped. With that giant "Kari Baker" smile. She loved my boy and she loved and taught him so well he rocked that freakin' TAKS test. She was beaming. I was beaming watching her beam over my son. Now....right now...I'm a cross between beaming at the memory, crying that she's not here, and anger.....and now a bit of relief."
When Kari's Mom tells me that she can actually visualize this moment and can totally see Kari doing this and how she loves that others can also now "see Kari" in this way through my words....and that that makes her smile....well, I felt the beginning of........"the time will come when you can do something."
A few of the memories I've shared here:
Some old emails from the week after...
Reliving a memory...
My Sweet Boy
***I will update in a little later on how the blog has grown and morphed and become so much more than I intended.
Note: This is not the Q&A for Texas Monthly. That was very similar, same basic info, but in Q&A form.