Five years ago yesterday, Stephen's Mom, Grandma and Aunt were brutally murdered in Stephen's parents home at the hand of his uncle. That day seems like yesterday but also seems so far away. It is a day that changed the path of our lives forever. Stephen was working in the back yard at the time of the murders and came into the scene. He was given the opportunity to be with his Grandmother in her very last moments, but also had to experience the worst possible thing you could ever see. These things stick with him daily. We lost three wonderful women that day, but we also lost a piece of Stephen and his Dad. A piece of them that we will never ever get back because of the horror they experienced. Over the last 5 years, it has been a roller coaster to say the least. His uncle was in the Cleveland County jail that just happens to be a few miles from our home for several years. Finally in February of 2010, his trial took place. We were so blessed to have the most amazing District Attorney and team who were able to prove that not only was he guilty but that he deserved the death penalty for his actions. The jury found him guilty on 3 counts of murder and sentenced him to death. We breathed a sigh of relief. Not only was he being held accountable for what he did, he would be moved to prison in McAlester and would no longer be in our town so close to us. This was the best feeling. We really felt that we could move on and put the past behind us. And that was semi-true. The trial brought a lot of closure. It meant that we didn't have that looming over us anymore, no more anticipating when it was actually going to happen. We started to try to remember Tami, Grandma and Shelia for who they were and not what happened to them. This was a slow process, but we thought we were doing a decent job.Then Sunday afternoon we got a call that would change our paths again. The call said that Bill had died in his death row cell that morning. This was the last thing we were expecting on this day! I don't want to say that we rejoiced because he was dead, but we rejoiced because of what this meant for us. "OLIVE IS A NORMAL CHILD!" She will learn of these events on our terms now, not because Mommy and Daddy have to go to court for appeals. Not because Mommy and Daddy have to go to an execution. It is over. We stood in our front yard watching her swing and both cried tears of absolute joy! She smiled and laughed without a care in the world. I can not tell you the sense of relief that this brought to our entire family. It's done, it is over and we don't have to deal with him anymore. God once again showed us that he was holding us in the palm of his hand. Now we can truly close that chapter of our lives and begin to truly celebrate who they were before being taken away from us. Our daughter can know WHO they were and not WHAT happened to them! We are so thankful.
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