Thank you for being Kari’s voice during this journey (almost 6 years!). I remember so clearly reading your blog for the first time. I didn’t know you---I didn’t understand why someone who wasn’t connected to my family seemed to be so absolutely convinced that the story of Kari’s death was a flat lie---THEN I READ:
"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."
And I knew immediately. You knew my child. You knew who Kari was. You knew her heart….her spirit….her essence….how deeply she loved…..and you knew the truth. You didn’t know the details/the specifics (none of us did at this time). BUT YOU KNEW KARI. I wept….tears of joy. I could see my precious child skipping towards you. And this was the beginning of our friendship and our journey together. I am so grateful.
Thank you for being such an integral part of our quest for justice----no, so much more---Thank you for helping us bring Kensi and Grace home. This was our ultimate goal. We had to bring our granddaughters, Kari’s daughters, back to the place/family/people where they would receive the love and HEALING they needed. We are a family….with all it entails. : ) Jim and I praise and thank God daily. He has shown us such grace and love---He carried us, put so many incredible people in our lives, and allowed events to transpire that I believe were miraculous.
We still have so much to do. Jim and I are raising our two precious granddaughters. We steeled ourselves for a rough transition…. but it didn’t happen. Yep, another blessing. The girls have been getting the help they need. They have made wonderful friends, are involved in school, church, service/volunteering, and much more. We are future oriented. Jim and I promised God and each other that we would be vessels for love and healing. We do not make negative comments about Matt or any of the Bakers. No matter who they are or what they have done, the girls love them. We hope that someday they can love their father and accept the truth about what he did to their mother …but they will need to get the facts in the right environment and in the right time. Ultimately, that is all out of our hands. We focus on loving and sharing our lives. Wow! I still can’t get over this incredible blessing~
Shannon, you have become my sister/friend for life. “Thank you” sounds so inadequate. You are such an incredible gift. The next leg of our journey is going to be so exciting. Through your blog, I made new friends who have become dear to me….so many others reached out and supported us. It is overwhelming to think about all of the kindness people showed. I hope they know how much they meant to us, especially in those uncertain times. They held us up!
I love you, Shannon!
Linda (most often called “grammy” in these times )
Love you, too, Sister Friend. What an incredibly strong, Christian example you have been to me.....and so many others. Kensi and Grace are so very blessed to have you and Jim to continue to raise them in such Christian love and faithfulness.