Time stood still for the longest time for Mark and I when we found out that we had been robbed and our son was missing. Then the next morning, we were told of Justin’s fate. He had been found but had been brutally murdered. I will always remember the moment Sheriff Sims told us they had found Justin but he is “deceased.” How can you say my son’s name along with that horrific word? Our worst nightmare had come true. Justin’s body was released that following Friday. The minute hand of the clock just didn’t move anymore. A month goes by, bills have to be paid. Why? Nothing matters. How can I possibly deal with that mundane task? Don’t you know my son died? Don’t you care? Then you realize I have to do this. We are still here and have no other choice but to do what we have to do. We stayed at a hotel until the crime scene cleanup crew was finished and the walls were painted. You paint different colors so you aren’t walking into a house where the time had stayed the same as the day he lost in his life in our kitchen. We walk in, no carpet in the living room and no flooring in the kitchen. Most of everything we owned was in boxes, being cleaned or taken by the Crime Scene Unit. Other items that were missing were taken by the two men that killed Justin. We moved back into our home because that is where we have our wonderful family memories. They took enough from us; I was NOT going to allow them to take Justin away totally. About two months after we lost him, you see everyone’s lives going on as normal as a HUGE part of your world is stuck on this hamster wheel, just trying to make sense of it all. That time is still standing still but now you are being forced to getting a “normal” routine down. It’s the last thing you want to do. It is enough to make you lose your mind for a time. You aren’t but it definitely feels that way! Closer to the third month, Easter rolled around. This was the day that I noticed that time no longer stood still for me. It was a day of acceptance. I won’t get a call from him like I did his brother. Justin was getting ready to leave for the Navy shortly after this happened. He would have been in FL for A school for his skill training. Easter was a defining moment in my grieving. It is hard to comprehend that he has been gone for three months. The length of time seems shorter and longer at the same time. Now our days are moving at the same pace as everyone else, but our life is totally different than many.

Sandy Cates


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