I became mildly agoraphobic when the people accused of killing Noelle were released on bail. I did not want to leave my house. There were days that I couldn’t go to the grocery store by myself. Standing in the shower, dressing to leave the house, my heart would be pounding and my ears would ring. You can do this, I would tell myself. You can go to Wal-Mart. But…but what if I see THEM? What if they are driving down the same road I am, what if I run into them in the parking lot, what if we reach for a gallon of milk at the same time? So I would either order a pizza for delivery and stay home, inside where I was safe and had no chance of accidently encountering them, or call a friend to accompany me to the store.
I have to drive by their place of business every day on my way to work. That’s usually when the shaking starts. Because what if they are outside? I don’t know why the thought of a chance encounter with them outside the courtroom bothers me so much.
I don’t know why I am giving them the ability to control my life…to keep me locked inside these four walls. They have already taken my daughter. Wasn’t that enough?
The seemingly never ending court dates also fill me with anxiety. What will be said in the courtroom? How will they act? Will they show remorse? Will they show shame? Or will they be confident and cocky? Self-assured that their high priced lawyers will get them off? Sadly, only one of the brothers appears to have any guilt for what they did. The other spends his time in court holding hands with his girlfriend, whispering in her ear, winking at his mother and brother. This lack of respect for my family, Maranda and Noelle infuriates me. I try to maintain my composure. I try to control my anger but with every wink, I see those same eyes staring down at my daughter, dead and broken.
When will the day come that I am not cursed with this anxiety? When the trial is over and they are in prison? When I am able to find forgiveness in my heart for what they did? Or will it follow me around for the rest of my life?
Will I one day be able to function normally despite the racing heart and shortness of breath, the butterflies in my stomach? I don’t have the answers to these questions, my counselor doesn’t nor does my psychologist. Time, they say. It will get better with time. And that only fills me with more anxiety because time is not on my side. Time drags slowly by leaving me trembling and unable to breathe in its wake.