To the very end.

The autopsy couldn’t be performed until weeks of -20 temperature could be reversed. The police and coroner tiptoed around using the phrase ‘thaw out’. I’ve since envisioned and still envision the positions in which she was placed inside of the hockey bag, or the possible surfaces she had to ‘thaw’ upon. That shouldn’t enter one’s mind, especially when it comes to someone you love so deeply.

No one Loretta or I knew or had in our home before this time played hockey. Where could it have come from? Who owned it?

I wanted to fly home with her. I didn’t want her to be alone like she had been for the past few weeks. I should have been home to protect her. We were inseparable and now she’s fucking dead. For some reason, I wasn’t allowed to escort her home, so we both returned home alone.

The Fab Five trickled into Labrador one by one. I didn’t spend much time at home or with anyone other than these folks. It was too hard and I became extremely reclusive and selective in who I associated myself with. I’ve never been entirely close with the Saunders side of the family. While I consider Clayton my father and he has raised me as his own, it’s unbeknownst to me who my biological father is (Does it really matter?).
Our bunch is never invited to their gatherings and we’ve always felt awkward around them, but we hoped we could put such petty nonsense aside during this time. Even at the preliminary hearing, a select few had shown a sort of animosity towards my grieving family that led me to fully disregard them as human. What sort of human being could be so cruel? Definitely not one I’d consider family or associate myself with. This isn’t to degrade anyone, just shed light on the sort of obstacles my family has had to surmount subsequent to my sister’s murder.

I have nightmares about Blake and Victoria. They inhabit my apartment, plotting to kill me after my sister. They try to kill me or rape me. I have better dreams about finding my sister, reviving her, and succeeding. I have dreams of her telling me not to drink and lending me advice.

My first dream was close to her funeral. She spent the entire time trying to save my mother, father, brothers, sister, nieces and nephews from a toxic gas that filled a strange warehouse.

My parents have a 4 bedroom home and 8 children, plus the foster kids and others they would take in, so space was limited. At the funeral, I thought about how I used to crawl into her bed with her when I was a child, after having nightmares or being too cold in the basement. I then thought back on the times she said it was okay for me to sleep in her room in Halifax instead of the couch. I hated myself for choosing the couch. I wish I could have watched more documentaries, ate bullshit food and talked with her in bed again.
I walked up to her casket, howling, and sat with my legs stretched out. With a storm of thoughts and emotion, I laughed and I cried. I loathed what was happening.

After every milestone moment during the search, discovery and burial for Loretta, it snowed and I’m not the only one who noticed.

On the 7th, it snowed when we left the Pentecostal church and headed to her gravesite. I was freezing in a dress and read a poem. Everyone put a handful of dirt on her casket, hugged, cried and started to leave.

The people who were to bury her said no one was allowed to stay for the lowering of the casket or burial. Sabrina, Kyle, Jess and I parked across the road and I watched the pink and white metal box descend.  I had to stay with her to the end.

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About Homicide Survivor

The issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women has encompassed my life after the murder of my sister, Loretta Saunders, in February 2014. Loretta was studying the issue of #MMIWG for her thesis topic at the time of her death. To take a proactive approach to my own healing, I have since taken on the titles of author, advocate, and activist to carry my sister’s legacy forward and raise awareness. I can be reached VIA e-mail at delilah.saunders@hotmail.com
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4 Responses to To the very end.

  1. Diane says:

    Hi Delilah, my heart goes out to you. I’ve been trying for several years now find the strength to share my story. With yours, it makes it easier to share mine some day soon. I appreciate you being so open and I hope that you find solace in sharing with us who are gaining so much from it. much love and blessing. Nakummek.

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  2. Sandi Norman says:

    You are inspiring, young woman. I was one of the many Nova Scotians that watched and waited and prayed for your sister. I watched you on the news, so young, so much strength and character, so full of poise, even though I knew that your heart was shattered. Your deep pain reflected in your soulful eyes. I lost a child when she was only nine and a half. She died surrounded by love, in the arms of those that loved her. It is so hard to lose a child and I managed to learn to live with that. I feel her always with me. What happened to your sister was crushing, everyones worst nightmare. But you will survive, you will get back on your feet and Loretta will be with you, in your heart and in your head. You can achieve great things. Don’t ever give up. You may have a limited school education but you can still educate yourself. You can be a sponge and a student of the world. You have paid your tuition with your tears. Don’t give up. Some days you need to sit down and cry so that you can stand up and be strong. Strength can come from adversity, don’t ever give up. The world needs you.

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  3. Suze says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s a hard thing to lose a loved one, particularly in such a tragic way.

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  4. Sorry I can’t say more you have gone through one of the worst things in life and have to deal with it. It seems like you are in the best way you can. Thanks for spelling your heart out to us it means a lot to a lot of people .

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