My life and the lives of my family were forever changed on June 5, 2015 when my daughter, Noelle Nicole New, became the victim of a hit and run. Although this statement is supposed to be about the impact on me, let me first talk about the impact on her. The following is an excerpt from an essay she wrote:
I have been waiting two years and six months to face the people who killed my daughter and speak openly to them. I say people, I don't want to name names because I don't want to get sued. I think I will just go ahead and say Gage and Dakota Shriver. They were found guilty in September 2017. Their sentencing date is December 8th, 2017. The jury recommended 25 years on the murder charges, plus a few additional years on the lesser charges. So round it out to 30 years for my daughter's life. I'm pretty sure Noelle would have lived more than 30 years, so they are getting a bye.
I'm using sports analogy right now, because we all know she was a Sooner's fan. I hate football. Never watched a game, but my daughter loved football and the Sooners, so I have to mention them.
Since the trial, I have had a lot of mixed feelings. I would like to think that those feelings make me human.
I am angry at the people that killed my daughter. Her death was not fair and should not have happened. I have tried to rationalize it. I have tried to come to terms with it...but, yeah I can't. I'm pissed. I am one angry momma
But I have also been a scared momma. How are you both? I have nightmares every night that the judge will reduce their sentence, And nightmares where I am with them in jail. I am the mother than buried her daughter and the mother that watched her children go away in handcuffs.
It fucking sucks to be me.
Friday, December the 8th, I will face them. I will finally be able to say what I have been thinking for the past 2 years. My victim impact statement is long. But, I have so many other words...
Noelle's trial started on September 18, 2017. At the end of the day, a jury of seven women and five men were seated. It is unlikely that I will ever see these twelve people again, but I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart; they found Gage and Dakota Shriver guilty of manslaughter and murder and recommended a sentence of 25 years, plus a few additional years for the lesser charges. Formal sentencing from the judge will be on December 8, 2017.
I am trying to process everything that transpired during the two weeks of hell that was my daughter's trial. I don't know that I will ever be able to rid myself of the emotional damage sitting in that courtroom caused me. I haven't written about the trial because I still don't know how I feel. I am putting Band-Aids on the wounds. Words are such powerful weapons...they can carry almost as much force as a truck. Every single word uttered in that courtroom by the defense hurt me. The impact of the lies, at times, took my breath away. I spent every day of the trial trying not to throw up and every night staring into space...numb.
Limbo. I was never good at that game. I'm just not flexible enough. As soon as the bar gets below waist level, I fall on my ass.
Right now, I feel as if I am participating in the longest game of Limbo ever as I wait for my daughter's murder trial to begin.
It was never in my life plan to become a mother at eighteen. I wasn't emotionally, financially, or mentally capable. But it happened. God's plan, not mine. I just rolled with it, did the best I could despite the timing. Thankfully, I had a man beside me that cherished fatherhood and gave his all to being Noelle's daddy. Sadly, our marriage wasn't enough for me. It took us years after our divorce to get our footing on how to co-parent. And luckily, he found his soul mate, the woman who would become Noelle's "other Mom".
Fear is nothing new to me. I've always been a little bit of a scaredy cat. I refuse to watch horror movies, and I'm not going to lie, getting on an airplane is akin to walking to my own death.
Some of my fears are unfounded and a bit silly-hello-mouse phobia! I once packed up my daughter and went to my Granny's house for a week because I saw a mouse in my kitchen. Every day, I would send my brother to my house to check the trap. I didn't go home until the mouse was dead.
Let's not even talk about my fear of birds. They are creepy evil creatures!
Initially, grief is an overwhelming surge of sadness where your heart physically aches. I've found, as time goes on, the surge becomes a "pinch". Out of the blue, you feel as if someone has reached inside your chest and grabbed your heart for a squeeze. These pinches don't last as long as the surge, but are just as painful. They cause the same reaction in my body; the shortness of breath, anxiety, tears, and ultimately-the disbelief. The pinches, just like the surge, leave me feeling absolutely alone, even in a room full of people.
Sometimes the pinches are triggered by music or photos. I may see a FaceBook post from one of Noelle's friends talking about college or life in general and instantly...the pinch comes.
Some days, the simple act of living causes a pinch.
Sex and the City premired June 6, 1998. I was in college. By the grace of God, I had cable TV and discovered Carrie Bradshaw. For those of you who haven’t watched this show…it’s an HBO soap opera. It is vulgar and REAL. It is me. I channel Carrie on the daily. Her love of writing and shoes…so me. Besides the sex, the thing I love the most about Sex and the City is the friendships portrayed in the series. I can identify with each of the characters and relate them to one or more of my friends.