It was two years ago today tragedy struck our family…
A tragedy that I still can’t comprehend…
A tragedy that will never go away…
On February 1st, 2014, Korin Lijah Williams, daughter to Keith, step-daughter to me, sister to Kira, and mother to Kayva, and would be Auntie to niece MacKinley, was taken from this world at 18-years-old. As I sit, composing this post, I search for the perfect words, words that describe the event that changed our lives forever. I realize there is no easy way to say it…she was killed, by someone she knew, someone that was supposed to have her back, someone that she thought was down for her. The circumstances surrounding her death are better shared another time…they are long, painful, complicated, and unresolved. This post is not about HOW this happened, this is a post about thoughts and reflections I have about her death.
There are many ways to describe how I feel, it’s different every day, and although we have plowed through the most difficult times, there is not a day that goes by that we are not affected by Korin’s death. My husband, I know, has suffered the greatest loss of all. Korin was his only child and I know, as a step-parent, that I have not experienced the same grief that comes from losing someone that you created. He will never be the person he once was but will never let anyone know that either. He has been the pillar of strength and the exemplar of resilience for our family and I know that he will never falter…and THAT is the most heartbreaking of all.
I often, too, reflect on how this has impacted my daughter and Korin’s step-sister, Kira. She, very much like Keith, is resilient and strong. She will never let people see her pain and, although she displays her emotions more evidently than Keith, the world will never know the true impact this has had on her. She was only 4 when Keith and I met, Korin almost 2-years old, and the girls grew up together. Kira has memories of Korin that no one else has. Kira’s daughter, MacKinely, was not even born at the time. She will never get to meet her Auntie Korin, she’ll never really understand the loss. Yet, Kira continues to demonstrate strength and I know this will trickle down to both her daughter, MacKinely, and to Korin’s daughter, Kayva.
I spend a lot of time pondering how this will impact Korin’s daughter, Kayva Lanae Williams. Kayva was 9-months-old the day that Korin was killed and although she will not remember her mother, she will forever be affected by the loss. This was something that, at one point, I thought Keith and I would be responsible for managing…how and when to tell her about Korin’s death, how to tell her why her grandparents were raising her, and how to answer her questions. But, just as the story of Korin’s death is better saved for another time, so is the story of Kayva. We no longer carry the burden of deciding how and what to tell her, but I worry nonetheless because she is faced what is an incomprehensible situation.
I spend most of my time thinking about the regrets that I have and how I could have been a better step-mother. Korin and I didn’t have a close relationship, especially as she got older, but I believe, that at least for me, things were improving. The relationship between Korin and I wasn’t necessarily a bad one, it was more non-existent than anything. There are many things I can blame or use to explain away why we weren’t close but in the end, none of that matters. The truth is I should have been more proactive in fostering a bond and as cliché as it sounds, you truly don’t appreciate something until it is gone. I loved Korin but I chose to take the path of least resistance instead of doing what sometimes seemed impossible. It was my responsibility to foster a better relationship with Korin and I did not do that, I can not take that back, and for that I apologize.
Not all of my time is consumed with negative thoughts. I often reflect on how extremely grateful and blessed my family is. We were taken care of and the generosity of others carried us through the days, weeks, and months that came after the tragedy. People fed us, showered us with cards and flowers, chauffeured us around when both of our cars broke, clothed Kayva, equipped us with baby toys and necessities, furnished Kayva’s room, donated money and covered expenses, took care of our responsibilities at work, visited us, taught our Zumba classes, kept us company, sent kind words and sentiments, attended the funeral, and offered to do pretty much anything else we thought we needed. Shortly after Korin’s death, it was my intention to make sure that I thanked everyone that offered our family support during this time but I never did. There are hundreds of people, around the world, that have helped us get through the last few years and I cannot wrap my brain around trying thank them all. At one point I had a list of everything given to us and by whom but it became to overwhelming and I couldn’t keep track. If you are one of those people, although I wish I could hug and thank you individually, this will have to suffice. If you know of someone who offered us support that won’t get to read this blog, please thank them for us. Korin’s death has been a tragedy beyond all tragedies but the outpouring of kindness has helped restore balance in our lives.
Keith and Korin’s favorite song was R Kelly’s “The World’s Greatest.” So please, if you didn’t already, take a few minutes to listen to the song and enjoy the pictures.