Calee’s Dreams

I wrote this piece from my heart. Though several years have passed since the end of the trial, none of us will forget the day of the verdict.

dove-heartAn American tragedy occurred on July 5, 2011. For those of us who sat in front of our televisions for hours, the verdict given by twelve jurors seemed impossible. My husband and I had eagerly anticipated the final hours of the trial. Like most people, we had listened to all the arguments for and against Casey Anthony. I was positive that she would be found guilty. I was wrong.

The verdict, the sentencing and the duration of her imprisonment are like a bad dream. I do not think those of us who watched did so with vindictiveness.  Instead, we each had our own thoughts, feelings, expectations. To us, and the public, we could not imagine ever being accused of murdering our children. However, Casey was.

In a few days, Casey, Caylee’s mother, will walk free. She will pack up her belongings, sign the necessary papers, and walk out the jailhouse door. The jailhouse has been home over these last three years. Most of us wonder where she will go. Where will she live? Where is home now?

Since there is nothing any of us can do to retract these legal decisions, I would like to write about Caylee. What would her future be? What events would she have experienced? What has been lost in this tragedy? What dreams would have been Caylee‘s?

Caylee would be entering kindergarten this fall. She would get a new backpack for school. New dresses would hang in her closet. A trip to Kmart to buy paper, crayons, even a paint box, would make her happy. Perhaps a lunchbox for snacks. New shoes with Velcro straps would sit by her bed ready for her little feet. A trip to the hairdresser would guarantee clean, shiny, well cut hair. All of these events would insure she was ready for school. What a dream come true for Caylee.

School years would fly by. Soon high school, driver’s ed., gymnastics, dating and selecting a college would be a memory. Finishing her degree and job interviews would fill hours. Finally, an offer and acceptance would enable Caylee to move to an apartment and buy her first car. What a dream come true for Caylee.

Falling in love might be the next step in her life. Her beauty, youth, intelligence and sense of humor would ignite love in a young man’s heart. They would dance, see movies, and eat ice cream sundaes always sharing their hopes. Dreams could come true if they were together. Thinking these thoughts, she would don her white, lacey wedding dress to walk down the aisle taking her new husband’s arm. Gazing into his eyes, she would pledge her love to him. A dream comes true for Caylee.

Years later, they would share joys of parenting, doting on their children, all the time loving each other more deeply. The years would continue to bring them blessings of travel, wealth, and good health until one of them left, going to heaven. A fruitful marriage, a spiritual peace and happiness that radiated in their faces would be gifts to and from Caylee. Truly, a dream comes true.

However, these dreams will never be. Caylee will not experience the joys of a long life. She will not fulfill her potential. She is just a memory preserved by hundreds of photos plus video. These filter across our television screens though days have passed. A bit haunting as they play, reminding us of a once beautiful child.

Therefore, what do we make of all of this? I have suffered many of the usual emotions. Sadness, anger, disappointment, disgust, fear and more; maybe too many to list. Little Caylee will stay…little Caylee. Never growing up. Never growing old. Never part of a vibrant family. Instead, her life has ended. It is over.

I guess, though this is reality, we can only become more aware, better advocates for children and hold our own children and grandchildren closer. We can abhor this sad story but the truth is…there are bad parents. There is child abuse. There is no light at the end of some people’s tunnels. Actually, we are helpless to stop much of what goes on.

Now we should feel sad. We can imagine the loss. We cannot fathom ever hurting a child this way. For most of us, we can still do Caylee a favor. We can make our families happy. We can keep them safe. We can live for Caylee, never forgetting that fulfilling our own dreams, is the next best thing to her having lived.

God bless you little one!

About the Author

Maryann Hartzell-Curran, a retired educator and counselor, has written a personal account of her journey through the first year of grieving the loss of her husband in her book, “From We to Me,” to help support those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Maryann founded a successful family therapy practice and taught in the public and private sectors. She also founded and directed a church-based preschool in Lombard, Ill., and gained experience working with the elderly as director of a senior dining center. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in counseling from Illinois Benedictine University.

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