July 26, 2012


On Monday my mom sent me a text.

The grand jury handed up an indictment.

I knew it was going to be one of two options, murder-2  or manslaughter-1

One was wanted. That other was acceptable.

We were given the acceptable option - Manslaughter in the first degree.

NY penal code defines 2nd degree murder as being "with intent to cause the death of another person, he causes the death of such person or of a third person...". This carries two sentences: 15 to life or 25 to life.

The definition for manslaughter as being "with intent to cause serious physical injury to another person, he causes the death of such person or of a third person...". This has a sentence of 5-25 years with no opportunity for parole until at least 85% of his sentence has been served. Even credit for good behavior won't reduce his sentence to less than 85%.

It's a small victory, (is that even the right word?), for my family. We know he's going to be in prison for a long time.

Although I have no sympathy for him, I do not believe he intended to kill my sister. It doesn't change the fact that he did.

So what does it all mean? It means that he's still guilty of a felony. He's still going to prison and he's still destroyed many lives.

On the other hand, my parents went to court on Friday for a custody hearing. Two days before my mom told me that his father also filed a petition for custody. If that's not a slap in the face to my sister and my family then I don't know what is. Paternal grandparents be damned, these people disgust me. Fortunately, it was also a small victory. My parents were awarded sole custody with no visitation for now. There's a second hearing in late August.

This whole process has me on pins and needles. This wouldn't be the first time the justice system failed someone. It wouldn't be the first time the courts ruled on fairness instead of what's right. I am trying so hard to stay positive, but always, in the back of mind, I hear what if...

What if the judge awards joint custody? What if someone happens to my niece while under their care? Do I write a letter to the judge? Do I let the chips fall where they're intended? If someone used their common sense they'd see that my parents are only getting through the days because they have CJ to take care of. That's not to say that they can't not take care of her, but it's making the grieving process more manageable to them with her around. She's a beautiful little girl. She laughs all the time. She talks and she's full of the life that was stolen from her mother. How could someone possibly think taking that away is fair and equitable? My parents are going to lose it otherwise.

And in all honesty, if that were to happen, I don't think I have it in me to be the family rock this time.

July 17, 2012

Remember Who You Are

During the summer of 1994 one of the greatest Disney movies ever made was released? Any idea which it was?

You should probably know this. I mean, it's a classic people. No? Oh well, Hakuna Matata.

For quite some time I've been meaning to get tattoo #4 since it's on the 2012 BTD list. And like most things I want to do it's been pushed to the back burner because of these things I'm told should be priorities. You know, like paying my rent. With my sister's passing my parents recently got tattoos in her memory. They came out great and the price was even better. A steal compared to NYC/NJ prices. I was planning to get one as well and after seeing their work decided to go to the same place. After all, quality work at a good price? Can't say no to that.

I had future plans to get something for my mom, I just figured it would be, um, after. Since... forever my mom has been in love with the Lion King. It's her absolute favorite Disney movie. Personally, I'm partial to Cinderella and Beauty & the Beast as well as the Lion King... and Aladdin. You know what? I'm just a giant Disney geek. I enjoy all of them.

I adore my mom. She's one of the coolest people I know. She can drink me under the table. She has incredible fashion sense. She's funny, beautiful, smart and all of those other things mothers are supposed to be. It only made sense to get a tattoo of her favorite movie. This was beyond perfect. It summed up everything in all its Disney glory. And thus, my simba was born. It made even more sense to use the line directly from the movie. You should  know exactly what I'm talking about. But, for those of you who aren't obsessed, I'm talking about the scene where young adult Simba is in the open field talking to his father in the clouds. As Mufasa departs he leaves his son with lasting wisdom- Remember who you are...

Also since.... forever I've heard people telling me "you are your mother's child". Umm, no kidding. Whose else would I be? But as I got older it made sense what they were trying to say. And it's entirely accurate. We're very much alike. My mom and I are constantly quoting the movie back and forth, making up our own words (ex: Smarticles - your brains) and laughing about things it seems only her and I can find so amusing. I mean, I made a comment this weekend that actually made my mom pee her pants. Skills, I tell ya.

So, for my mommy. My champion and role model, I got this:

And as I mentioned, I was planning to get something for my sister. This made tattoo #5: