We go back for, hopefully, the final attempt at arraignment on August 10th. There is a very real possibility that the district judge could reduce the charges. That has been the hold up these past three times. Their lawyers are petitioning for the charges to be reduced or dropped. This scares the shit out of me. Because, how will I handle that news? I try not to dwell on the possible outcome of Noelle's case. I can't afford to borrow trouble. I have no control. All I can do is sit back and watch the events play out. It takes every ounce of strength I have to walk into the courtroom, sit across from the people accused of murdering my daughter, and maintain some semblance of calm.
I hate living in fear. My life stopped moving the day Noelle died. Until this trial is over, I can't move forward. The scary thing about that is, who knows how long before it's over? How many more court dates? How many more stall tactics? And when it's over...will I be satisfied with the results? 10 years, 20, life imprisonment? No prison sentence will bring my daughter back, I know that. Will prison rehabilitate them? Make them better people? Probably not.
Do they deserve to be held accountable for what they did? Absolutely.
Every day, I am being punished for the events of that morning, the death of my daughter. I got a life time sentence, but committed no crime. I re-live her death every time we go to court. It has been a year, but the pain is still fresh, the wound re-opened every time I see their faces.
I watch them walk into the room and am so resentful that they have the ability to walk when she doesn't. Watching them leave is even harder; knowing they are going home, living normal lives when hers was stolen.
Noelle wasn't the only one who died that morning. A part of me died with her. I am not the same person I was before. I have been forced to change.
Some of that change has been good. I am more kind since my daughter died. I am more empathetic, quicker to forgive. I have discovered strengths I didn't know I possessed. I have let go of past anger and hurt. My heart was shattered in a million pieces and in the process of putting those pieces back together, I have a stronger and more loving heart. I am proud of that. Regardless, there is a piece of my heart that will always be missing. A piece that died alone in a field while two boys and their mother concocted lie after lie to hide their involvement in her death.
It always comes back to that. Her dying alone. That's where the panic attacks I suffer come from.
I have witnessed death up close. I held my Grandmother's hand as she took her last breath. No one should die alone.
My baby was hit by a truck and NO ONE helped her. No one was there to hold her hand as she left this earth. No one was there to ease her panic and soothe her, whisper I love you in her ear.
My panic attacks, my fear stems from what I imagine she experienced in those final moments. Headlights baring down on her... no way to escape,.. the impact...and then dying...alone. These are not thoughts I dwell on, but they are constantly under the surface...when I'm putting on my make-up, folding laundry, mid conversation, sitting in the courtroom. There are times I can push them away, but others, like today, when they over ride all other thoughts. Today I am acknowledging them. Today I am feeling them. Because I am afraid.
I am afraid of Wednesday. Afraid of this trial. Afraid that I will never feel whole again. Afraid I will never be able to completely release the panic I associate with her death. I'm just fucking afraid.