Every July 15th we relive the worst day of our life. This year will be the 10th time that we relive and remember the horrific events of that day. The day that you murdered my sister. The day you murdered Shea, Ryan and Jordyn’s mother.
She was having a great day, enjoying the warm weather, swimming with the kids and her best friend. She was enjoying her independence after ending the relationship with you. She no longer wanted any parts of your jealous, possessive and manipulative behavior. She was a very strong, confident and independent career woman who did not need or want to be in a relationship that showed such obvious red flags. But despite the break up, that day consisted of non-stop phone calls from you over and over and over again. Knowing that she would never have any peace, she relented, talked to you and agreed to meet with you. That decision sealed her fate… God how I wish she had never ever gone there….. How different all of our lives would be today.
She left her house, told Ryan and Jordyn that she would be back in a few minutes. They waited and waited, started to worry when they saw you pull out of your driveway without her… They wondered why she didn’t come home yet, then they saw the police cars and ambulance and the crowd gathering outside. As they walked down the street, they overheard the neighbors saying that someone was dead, they hoped it was you but feared the worst. They were 15 and 11 years old and they were alone. There are so many heinous things that you have done, but what you did to them at that moment was unconscionable. That memory is permanently imprinted in their brain and that was the moment that changed them forever. #TONI’S LIFE MATTERED!
The days, weeks and months after that are a blur. We were all physically sick to our stomachs, we were in agony, heart broken, emotionally and mentally drained, some of us required medication, counseling and other things just to be able to function. I tried to comfort the kids and my parents but there was nothing that myself, Grief support groups, homicide support or clergy could do to bring Toni back.
Just as we were starting to heal, it was time for the trial. You confessed to the murder, so why was there a trial? We quickly learned how scales of justice are heavily weighted in favor of the criminals.
However, justice prevailed with a guilty verdict and a sentence of life in prison. #TONI’S LIFE MATTERED!
You continue to file appeal after appeal. One time a hearing was granted. Seeing you in the courtroom that day dredged up all of those emotions again.. mostly anger toward you. You, very “matter of fact” and casually stated “I just shot her”.. like you were talking about an every- day chore.. Still no sign of even a shred of remorse…. The sight of you and your blatant lack of remorse was more than my father could take. As they escorted you out of the courtroom, he could no longer hold back, it took 4 Security guards to restrain and drag a 76 year old man out of the courtroom. The advances that we made in the healing process over the years suffered a major set-back that day. Thankfully the judge saw your very callous demeanor and did not see any merit at all in your appeal. His ruling: DENIED!
So we cope by remembering all of the wonderful things about Toni! Her hilarious sense of humor, her bright blue eyes and wide smile. We see so much of her in the 4 grandbabies that she never got to hold, we see how her daughters are becoming the same type of loving and caring mother that she was. We see her strong sense of humor in her son.
We created an annual event, The Toni Clouse Myers Sunflower Ball, to honor Toni’s memory, create awareness and raise funds for the Women’s shelter. Over the years we have raised over $120K. We have become very educated on the criminal justice system and the tell tale signs of an abuser. We have participated in support groups with families of other victims. The outpouring of support from family friends and the community warms our heart and helped in the healing process. #TONI’S LIFE MATTERED
We have now had 10 years (5 million 256,000 minutes) to process what has happened. Yet, I still can not wrap my head around the fact that she is gone. We have been in survivor mode and have learned to adapt to life without Toni. We are stronger than we were 10 years ago and can laugh again. But every year without her also adds to our anger. Every celebration in our life is bittersweet because we know that Toni is not here with us. Every Oct. 24th is another birthday that she never celebrated. Her life mattered to so many people, especially her children. But she didn’t matter to you! Your control was the only thing that mattered to you.
Now ten years later, we find some satisfaction knowing that you have had 10 years to hopefully reflect on the heinous and unforgivable actions of July 15th 2006. We are relieved to know that you will continue to serve your well-deserved life sentence and will never get out of prison. Toni’s children and grandchildren should know that they can live out their life without having to come face to face with the man (I use that term loosely) who murdered their mother and grandmother. May you take the rest of your life to seek forgiveness from the only person who can offer it… the man upstairs.
#TONI’S LIFE MATTERED!
Miss you every day my sister!