The day before my mother’s murder, then and now.

June 15, 2006

I woke up, got dressed. I think I wore a blue sparkly tank top from Target with a white skirt. I went to my cousin’s middle school graduation. My cousin’s and I were super close at that time, they were always over at my house and I used to take my little cousin to school each morning in my mustang convertible. It was a celebratory time, as graduations usually are.  My mom was mad that she couldn’t attend because of work, but she had the next day, Friday, off of work to go to her brother’s graduation. We went to lunch, I think it was at Islands but I can’t remember for sure. Then we went to see Cars in the theatre.

I don’t really remember much about the rest of the day. I have a vivid memory of riding the escalator at the mall, and the way the gelato stand looked. Those random, odd details you end up being comforted by years later when trying to remember with such force.

I was texting my mom and called her a few times throughout the day to let her know what we were doing. I’m sure her day was just as ordinary as any other day as well. Wake up. Get ready. Go to work. Thinking of her alive on this last day makes my heart hurt. What I wouldn’t give to watch her move throughout that ordinary day right now. <3

That night I came home and she was already there. I wasn’t expecting to leave the house again, but I did to go visit someone. I changed my clothes, this time light blue skinny jeans and a white t-shirt, only important because it was what I was wearing when I was attacked. I wish I remembered more about our interactions, but I don’t. I couldn’t have known these were our last moments together. It was just any other day.


June 15, 2018

I wake up and check my iPhone. I see the date and think “holy shit, it’s here again”.

I have known it was coming, the same way it does every year. Bringing with it all of those familiar feelings: sadness, grief, flashbacks, super-PTSD-triggers, anxiety, depression, mood swings, unexpected tears.

I’ve been telling myself “I can’t look another June 16 in the face. I can’t.” But here we are. Time stops for no one. Well, today is the 15th- but it doesn’t matter. These two days are THE DAYS. Her last day alive, the 15th. The actual date of death, the 16th.

The. Days. There is before this crime, and there is after. That is my life.

Every year it feels like being chewed up, swallowed, then spat back out by a terrifying monster. Some years are better than others. This one is not so good.

I immediately start to feel sadness in my back and in my throat (where I always carry it). I give myself my usual pep talk before forcing myself out of bed ‘Its okay, Megan. Just get up. It’s any other day. You can do this”. I sit up, as soon as my feet hit the cold tile floor I start crying. I involuntarily say out loud “I can’t do this, it hurts”, and I’m embarrassed. But I realize no one is around to hear me anyway. I cry into my hands until it stops. Then I tell myself to get up. There is no other way than to just do it.

I’m reminded of those first few weeks after I got out of the hospital in 2006. The process of getting out of bed was similar but worse. When you are grieving and/or in shock, everything is exhausting. Getting up. Taking a shower. Making coffee. Thinking about work. I used to tell my therapist it felt like climbing a mountain. Living drains me, in June, anyway.

Right now it is daylight. Reliving this is hard but manageable. At night it will be different. The dark, the hot sticky night that always feels the same to me every year, the clock that keeps moving reminding me we are closer and closer to her death.

I close my eyes and go back to those moments I mentioned above. When she was still here. I can see it so clearly in my mind. I can feel myself in her house with her walking around her room and everything feels so normal. I want to go back there and stop the time. Even if I can’t have her here now, just to go back and study our faces and lives before 12 years of trauma would be enough.

I’ve done this 11 times, I’m a pro. I will be gentle with myself. I will let myself cry and lay down. I will distract myself with funny things. I will write her a letter. I will feel it all relive it and wonder how the fuck I can ever do this again, but I’ll remember the best advice I ever got:

take it day by day. If that’s too much, take it hour by hour. If that’s still too much, take it minute by minute. You can do *anything* for one minute.

Missing you something fierce.



About Megan Ashley

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