Publicado el 12/20/2008 1:08 PM EST
Thanksgiving was only a week away and Carrie had so much to do. The kids were excited about the approaching holidays and a possible visit from grandmother.
Jason was three, but was so proud his older sister and brother were home for the holiday break. Christmas was coming and so was Santa. Mark, the oldest, was in the fifth grade and liked his new school in DeSoto more than the old one in North Dallas. And besides, in the old place, Mother had to ride the bus so far to work at the restaurant in Duncanville. Now they had a car, even though it wouldn’t always start. Mother still made the $200 monthly payment to the car dealer. Seven-year-old Angie enjoyed dressing up like a princess and wearing her mother’s shoes.
Carrie’s husband and the children’s father was in prison for drug possession and would be returning home once concluding his drug treatment.
Carrie had not paid the rent last month and knew if she didn’t catch up on the first they would evict her from the small apartment.
And then there was Carl. She was 27 and Carl was 18, but he acted less mature than her son Mark. They had met at the restaurant. Shortly after that Carl had moved in with Carrie and the kids. He refused to work and slept most of the time. When he was awake, he was often gone, leaving the children alone and denying Carrie a ride home from work.
This particular night was cold as darkness settled across the apartment complex where the family lived. Carrie and Carl had been fighting since he had picked her from work that afternoon. He had left the apartment, slamming the door, angry because she had refused to loan him any more money. She suspected he was using and maybe dealing drugs. She just couldn’t loan him any more money, especially with all the bills coming due in a week.
Carl returned after midnight. Glassy eyed and yelling, again demanding money. When she refused, he decided to take the television and sell it. Carrie pleaded with him to leave. Mark and Angie were nearby and crying. Carl put a small caliber pistol to her head. She put up her hands to defend herself and the gun went off. The bullet struck her in the neck, breaking it instantly.
Carrie was dead even as the blood pooled on the carpet near her head. Carl fled, leaving the children with their dead mother.
The next day, Carl’s mother pled for her son to turn himself in to police. He did and was arrested, along with a friend who had come with him who had some outstanding warrants.
I sat with Carrie’s family, friends, and coworkers from the restaurant at the funeral. I wept for Carrie, Carl’s family, but mostly for the children.
The children would now live with their uncle.
The story related to you is true. Names and locations were changed for the protection of the families. The events did occur, and happened as told from information gleaned from family, friend and local authorities. Plus some of the private conversations I had with Carrie.
Carrie worked in the restaurant where I have breakfast most every morning. On the day she was killed, she had come out from behind the counter and hugged my wife and wished us both a happy Thanksgiving. She dearly loved JoAnn and always asked about her when I came in alone. Sometimes when she was cleaning the dining area, she would pause and we would visit briefly. She told me her secrets, and I live with the burden of not being more forceful in recommending for her to get out of that relationship. What happened to Carrie is so sad. But what is worse is all the other young women in similar situations. God help us!
Durhl Caussey is a syndicated columnist who writes for papers across America. He may be reached at this paper or email@example.com.