"You’re not invisible”, I said. You might wish you were, but I can see you.”
“I know you can, but it takes special eyes to see me.”
The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips
One beautiful day in Oklahoma, I decided to do yard work. Before I could plant the flowers and vegetables, the highlight of my day; I had to mow the yard. Which sounds simple, until I realize the mower is out of gas and I can’t get the cap off of the gas jug.
Being the hypochondriac that I am, this whole Covid 19 is stressing me the fuck out. And honestly, we should all be aware and concerned. I have tried to stay off the internets as to not cause myself unnecessary anxiety...but I felt obliged to share with you the most common sense Do's and Don't's in regards to this virus...and all the ways that I am and am not following common sense advice.
There is a commonly held theory that there are 5 stages of grief.
There are many adjectives I would (willingly) use to describe myself...short, sarcastic, outspoken, loyal, foul mouthed (I could go on and on), but one I will never (willingly) use is victim. Because even typing that word sucks. Who wants to be labeled a victim?
I want to talk to you today about triggers...and not the horse...although we can talk about horses. They are great therapeutic animals, braiding their manes, riding them...unless they buck you off when you try to drunkenly climb on their back and you break your ass...or in medical terms...coccyx...true story. It happened. And it hurt...for a long time. I don't recommend it. The combing and braiding of hair I fully support though.
Tonight I couldn't sleep. No new thing. So I watched TV. A movie. Pitch Perfect 3. Who doesn't love Fat Amy? And music? Pitch Perfect (the first one) was amazing. So amazing they made two more. But the second one....I didn't watch. I've posted about this before. That was the last movie Noelle saw in the theatre.
When I've gone too many days without eating, dreams of food awaken me. Sometimes, it's Taco Bueno or What-A-Burger; others, it's Sushi or a lavish buffet where I'm stuffing my face with everything imaginable while wearing a formal evening gown. (why the evening gown? I suppose I like to be fancy, even when I sleep) I know on those days, I HAVE to eat.
Gage and Dakota Shriver did not set out to kill my daughter on June 5, 2015. I have never thought that was their intentions…their actions, however, did kill her.
After setting through 9 days of trial, I have reconstructed, to the best of my ability (there are some parts I blocked out) what happened.
I’m going to start at the beginning. Because that’s where a story always starts, right? And just to warn you. I might be sarcastic and angry and rude in this telling, and the family and friends of the accused might be offended…but it’s my story…so fuck them. And if they want to tell their story…let them. Most of their defenders weren’t there during the trial. Gage’s biggest defender, seemed to take a nap during some of testimony. She took her shoes off and laid down on bench….all I could think about was when I saw that was my daughter’s shoes…..she got knocked out of her shoes….did you think about that B? When you took your shoes off and laid down on bench did you think about how your boyfriend’s truck knocked my daughter out of her shoes? And her socks. That was how hard the impact was. And how did her shoes get conveniently laid in tire tracks? I did. They didn’t get to hear the medical examiners tale of her injuries. She had numerous fatal injuries…I think, if I am remembering correctly, five. Five ways to kill your daughter…try going to sleep with that every night. There are the broken bones…the stomach pushed into her chest cavity, the skull fractures that severed her brain stem. Whatever the case… They don’t know the story that the forensic evidence told. They didn’t hear from the first responders…they just heard the story from their friends. And their friends lied.
Lies…that is the crux of this trial. That is where my anger stems from. That is the heart of my hurt.
Before I begin, let me say to all the friends and family of the Shriver boys, they are one person to you and another to me. To you, they are your cousins, husband, boyfriend, friends, whatever. To me…they are the boys who killed my daughter. Intentional or not. They KILLED my daughter. Accident or not…they KILLED my daughter.. One of the phrases that stuck with me throughout the trial, from an OHP investigator, was, “There are NO accidents…there are only crash scenes” That may not be a direct quote, like I said earlier, I have blocked a lot out.
Throughout the trial, Noelle’s death was referred to as an “Accident”. From their lawyers. They trivialized her death…like a glass of spilled milk. I sat through two weeks of seeing my daughter covered in a sheet as a screen saver. He knew I could see his computer. Asshole.
At the beginning of Noelle’s trial, 2 long years ago, I felt like I needed to explain why she was out walking at 3 AM. I felt like I needed to defend her and protect her. I needed to give a reasonable excuse for my 18 year old daughter to be out walking without my knowledge. So one of the first interviews I gave, I explained why she was on that road that night. I sat in front of a camera and tried to justify my daughter’s death. Because I knew she would be judged. And I knew I would be judged. And judged she was, by the boy’s grandmother, publicly at least on FaceBook. I screenshotted her posts and blogged about it. She threatened to sue me. For sharing her words. I didn’t see her at the trial though. I did see her at the sentencing. And then she chose to speak out. But, what does she really know about what happened? Oh yeah, lies. Lies are very important in that family. That came out in their testimony.
They needed to say that Gage hit a deer, that’s why his truck was wrecked, that’s why he had the bruises on his face..so the family wouldn’t hate Dakota for hitting Gage. And of course, because their mom ”doesn’t like paying for stuff”. So, pretty much, in that family, you will be “hated” for hitting your brother, but if you kill and almost kill another girl, we will sell houses and put up all the money we have to keep you out of jail. Fuck yeah.
Yes, those boys were being judged too, but there were also people saying, “Why was she out that late? Why was she walking” What was she doing wrong? Absolutely fucking nothing. She was trying to comfort her friend. Was it a smart choice to walk to QT that night? No. If I would have known their plans, I would have stopped them. I wasn’t given that choice. Did Gage and Dakota have a choice to drive to QT? Yes, they did. This wasn’t brought up in trial, but why was Gage driving? His brother knew he was drunk. His friends knew he was drunk. One testified that he tried to stop Gage from driving. Dakota had a suspended license at the time of the “accident”, so he let his brother drive. His brother that he was always “supposed” to protect. His brother that he felt so bad about hitting that he had “water in his eyes” afterwards…seems to me like Dakota was covering his own ass. He wasn’t going to drive with a suspended license…let Gage, the drunk brother, drive. And come what may….oh, come my dead daughter.
I didn’t hear her leave the house. Do I hear my front door open every time now? Yes. I can tell you the sound of every door opening in my house now. Bathroom, laundry room, Jack or Lilli’s room. I have those sounds memorized. And each opening wakes me up out of a dead sleep. Or the quasi sleep that I do each night. I am on hyper alert. Every fucking night. I sleep when my kids are in school. Because I know they are safe there. And that’s the only time I can rest, if you want to call it that.
After the trail I was confronted with the Pro-Shriver group…called out because I have, in fact, had a DUI. That was very classy of them. If it gave them a little satisfaction in pointing that out, then good for them. There has been nothing but victim shaming from them since my daughter’s death. Maybe to take away some of the impact from their crimes? But, before you start gasping in awe, take a look at www.oscn.net. Their mother has a lot of names, and a record under each one. I will openly admit to EVERY thing I have ever done wrong. And I will be humble and regretful of each…and I will not and have not repeated any wrong.
During the trial it was brought up that Gage had not even gotten a speeding ticket before the “accident”, well, he had only had his license for 10 months. I think I got my first speeding ticket when I was 28. And, he had letters from people that “knew him” and spoke on his behalf. I’m sure he was a good kid. He put on a good show. But his mother and brother both stated that he had a drinking problem. But Dakota still got in the car with him knowing he was drunk…hummm?
Have you looked up the meaning of sociopath? I’m going to leave it to you….to look up the meaning. I am not a psychologist by any means, but…just google it…
During the sentencing, one of their lawyers said he felt he had been intimidated and criticized throughout trial. He even referenced something I said in my victim impact statement. Guess what motherfucker? You got paid a lot of money to get criminalized and intimidated throughout this trial. I got criminalized and intimated without a retainer. I haven’t been able to leave my house in two years without someone with me. For fear of seeing the Shrivers or their mother
I went out to a restaurant last year, with one of my friends, and as we were leaving, SHE was there. At the bar. Tipped her beer at me and smiled. God’s, or Noelle’s strength, took me through that. I stood outside that restaurant and warred with myself. How could she not look at me with anything but shame…and then I realized that is how low class she is. I have had to quit my job. I am a prisoner in my own house. And I am ashamed of the person I have become. Because of them. Because I am afraid to leave my house. There are times I lay in bed at night and say, “You can not let them control you”. But they have…for 2 years. Even though those boys are in prison, they still control me.
Looking at their faces during the sentencing, they still have no remorse. Their family tries to say they have “different’ ways of showing emotion….reference sociopath….
So now I am dealing with a new year. Another year without Noelle. On New Year’s Eve, I woke up at 5 am….it felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. And I still feel the same today. The pain of losing her won’t go away. Even though I know Gage and Dakota are in prison. Even when I know their mother, Annette, or whatever alias she uses, is soon to go to prison. Nothing takes away the pain..
And I am still scared….I am still sacred to let Jack or Lilli leave the house. I am still scared to leave my house. And that, my friends, if not the way to live….