I’m not sure if I’m ready to write about this yet, but I need to get it out.
October 13th started like any other Monday. We got up and ate breakfast. Todd got ready and left for work. (He is the news and sports editor for our local weekly newspaper.) The kids and I cleaned up breakfast and settled in to get started on our lessons. Things were actually running pretty smoothly.
Then everything changed.
Around 11:00 Todd called and told me his boss (John) and his wife hadn’t shown up for work that morning and hadn’t called, which was very unusual for a Monday morning. Then he said that there was a rumor going around (from people who weren’t likely to spread rumors) that there had been a horrible crime over the weekend and that John and his wife and daughter were dead. I don’t really remember what I did besides praying for the next twenty minutes or so until he called back and said that the rumor was true. After asking a few questions that he didn’t really have the answers to, I got off the phone.
It didn’t seem real. You read about things like the this in the paper and hear about them on the news. Living in a small town, we are largely sheltered from such things. Being home schooled, our kids are even more sheltered from such things. But this wasn’t something that I could keep from them. I kept it simple and explained to them what we knew and what we still didn’t know. We prayed for their family, and ours, and our community.
Todd was obviously very busy and hadn’t had time to talk, and none of this was public knowledge yet, so I couldn’t just call anyone local to talk. But I needed to talk to someone, so I called my mom at work and talked to her for a little while. By the time I got off the phone with her some of the reality had started to sink in. As awful as it sounds, I was also distracted by thoughts of what would happen to the newspaper (they were the owners as well as the publishers) and whether or not Todd would have a job–something I hadn’t really considered before talking to my mom.
The news of their deaths quickly became public, and I was soon able to contact friends from church so that they could be praying. Todd was appointed by his coworkers as the spokesperson for the newspaper, so he spent a great deal of time being interviewed by the media. (Even early on, the irony was striking to me: journalists being interviewed, the newspaper being covered in the news, the crime reporter (John’s wife) being the victim of a crime.) I hardly saw Todd for most of Monday and Tuesday while he tried to do his job and part of John’s job, and handle the media inquiries. He mostly just came home to eat or sleep.
Late Tuesday night, their son confessed to killing them in hopes of getting his inheritance. His motive strikes me as somehow even more tragic than the crime itself. He cared so much for money and so little for the people who loved him most.
I didn’t know John or his wife very well, so I wasn’t personally mourning as much as feeling my husband’s grief and just feeling shock and sadness at the tragedy. But Todd saw or talked to one or both of them almost every day. There were only six regular employees at the paper and two of them were gone.
They were able to get the paper out on schedule Wednesday. By Thursday, a lot of the media inquiries had died down. There was a memorial service the following Sunday that Todd and I attended. And slowly they are finding a new normal at work and we are at home. We still do not have a definitive answer on what is going to happen to the newspaper and whether Todd will continue to have a job. We are trusting God for that day by day.
I know that this post has been rambling and somewhat aimless because I have written and rewritten different parts at different time, but I needed to get it out and I can’t bring myself to go through it again to make it any more cohesive than it is. This is far from all I want to say on the matter, but it is enough for now.
As much as I debated about it, I wanted to post this here because it is a big part of what is going on in our lives and it has deeply affected us.