Friday, August 28, 2009


(FYI - I wrote this post last Sunday, the 3 year anniversary of Candace's death. But it's not a nice post. The anger and bitterness that came out when I wrote it was white hot and it scared me a bit. I had refused to feel it for awhile. Refused to continue processing the loss of my friend. So I let this post sit in my dashboard all week. Wondering if I really wanted to put these words out into the world. In the end, I've concluded, I do. They are my words. My feelings. My processing put to paper. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to forgive Janene Johns of robbing Candace of the life she dreamed of. The life she worked so hard for. The life she deserved to live. But it's my hope that by getting this out of me, I can continue down the road of letting my anger and bitterness go. Because I don't like it. It literally, physically makes me sick.)

Last Sunday marked 3 years since Candace was taken away. In my recent cleaning frenzy, I came across some pictures from a "girls night" I hosted probably 8 or so years ago. The ones of Candace stopped me in my tracks. Did you know it's possible to catch your breath, smile, tear up and sigh all at the same time? I also found the card she gave Megan on her 3rd birthday, and a note she wrote me 11 days before she was killed. Both were signed, "Love Candy."

All day on Sunday I thought about Candy. I thought about how 3 years seems like both an eternity and a blink. I thought about holding Mary's shaking hand as she walked me into Candace's hospital room on August 23, 2006. I thought about holding Candace's cold hand and saying Goodbye. I thought about how Mary said to me,

"Oh Erin, this can't be true.
I just look at her and say 'Come on Candy. Wake up!'
That's my baby.
That's my Candy.
Please Candy, it's Mom.
Please wake up."

A local paper ran an interesting article last week. Janene Johns is trying to get off on a technicality. Trying to get her case and conviction thrown out because her attorney claims evidence in the trial was "improperly submitted." (Mind you, Johns and her attorney are NOT arguing the evidence is false!)

Having personally sat through much of the trial and Johns' sentencing, I almost threw up in my mouth when Mary forwarded me the article.

Dear Mrs. Johns,

6 years.

I am sure, right now, 6 years feels like an eternity. But I imagine, when it's done, 6 years will feel like a blink. And that's just it. This will pass. You will be done. Candace is gone forever. Mary now blows out the candles on her daughter's birthday cake. Wade is now a widow and a single parent. A 4 year old boy (who has had to feel his mother's love through pictures and videotapes since he was 15 months old) now looks to the sky and says "Watch me, Mommy!" when he learns to do something new.

I will never again see this smile.

or hear this laugh.

(She could make you laugh til your sides hurt, just so you know.)

6 years. Is that so much to ask? (I think you should've gotten the full 10!) I know you didn't set out to hurt anyone that day. I know you were in a great amount of emotional pain that day. But you made a huge mistake that cost a LIFE. Your actions alone killed a daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend and teacher. Who else pays for this mistake but you?

I've heard you say you'd happily trade places with Candace if you could. If it would bring her back. But it wont. And you can't. What you can do is 6 years. And yet you fight.

Your fight makes me sick. It's a slap in the face to Candace's memory. A huge "F-You!" to everyone who loved her. But your fight has given me a good idea, however. I think I will submit to God (in briefs and orally, of course...all by the book...just like your attorney has done for you) my argument that Candace should be thrown out of Heaven on a technicality. She was, after all, "improperly submitted" in the first place. Think God will go for it? I think it's a fantastic idea. How could he argue?

You do agree, right? The part about Candace being improperly submitted to Heaven? I mean she was just out riding her bike on the sidewalk in broad daylight, when you (admittedly doped up on Xanax, Mucinex and AMBIEN) jumped the curb and ran her down after taking out a parking meter and a fire hydrant! Heck - those three things didn't even stop you. You kept driving, off the sidewalk and back onto the road. Thank God for parked cars or who knows how many more innocent people would have been "improperly submitted" to Heaven that day.

Awww shucks...those are all just technicalities, huh?! Silly me to get lost in the details. I've never been too good at seeing the forest from the trees. Maybe that's your problem too. I imagine it's hard to see clearly with all that blond hair stuck in the shattered glass of your windshield.

6 years.

I pray by then the Good Lord has helped me move past this bitter anger. Because it's gut wrenchingly obvious 3 years has done little good.


LauraC said...

Thanks for sharing Erin. I can't imagine how I would feel if I lost any of my closest friends.

I've been reading Elizabeth Edwards' Resilience recently and love it. It might help you in this time.

Polka Dot Moon said...

Oh Erin..........

I feel your anger as I'm reading your post. You can tell how much your friend meant to you; how much you loved her. I feel horrible for her family, her children, her husband.

Our system is sometimes flawed. I don't understand how any person could fight this sentence.

A tragedy that should never have happened.

Jax's Mama said...

Erin, sigh and a big hug..after reading the article, I googled and read many more articles on Candace and even though you have told me personally and through this blog how much you treasured Candace, and what an amazing friend, mother, daughter, wife and teacher she was. I came across an article about her husband's appearance on Oprah, and I insert his quote here ""I believe that Candace was an angel on this earth, and she had a purpose here," he said. "For some reason God needed her for a different role, and all her qualities were needed in Heaven. I know she's taking care of others right now as we speak." I would imagine this is a comforting reminder during these tough days. I also would think that this letter you have written would find it's way to the judge who will be deciding this case in the next few weeks. If there is anyone who can make people listen, it's you.

Brooke said...

All I can say is tears......that post is the truth. 6 years is nothing compared to what she did. I love the way you write, always do.

Jennifer said...

I had chills the entire time I read this. I will never forget hearing about this on the day that it happened--I was laying in the hospital-same day as Camryn was born! It's just not fair, and I am still sick thinking about it. I think Ms Johns should be put away for LIFE.....for taking a life!

Bert Bell said...

Dearest Erin,

Well this post and the other helps me understand a bit of what you have been going through. Such a lot for one to take in all at once. I have read your posts about Candace off and on...she sounds like she was one wonderful lady to know. I can feel the love you have for her and the grief and hurt you bear through this post.

I will be praying for God's justice in the court room. That the judge will hear all sides in this matter. I will be also praying for you and all of those that love Candace. I will be praying for Ms. Johns as well. Bad things happen to good people, why I have no answer. Praying peace to your thoughts and your spirit. Sending many hugs, prayers and blessings!

Joanna said...

I know.

Gosh, those pictures... Of her arms, her smile from the side, all those things that were so close to me at one time. It is like losing a sister or a husband- she was that close.

Jessica said...

I lost a good friend about 5 years ago. He was killed while serving in Iraq. His death was VERY brutal and hearing details that have emerged since has proven to be extremely difficult. I, too, have anger that such a precious life was lost. He was not a father...yet. He was only 24 when he was killed, very young. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for a spouse to lose a wife or a child to loose a parent, so painful. I do know that writing those words IS part of your healing process and it needs to be done, often. I also wanted to say how amazing it is that through tragedy and death can come new relationships. Just as you became closer with Candace's mom, I became very close with Andrew's mom. She knows how much we love her and how much we loved her son. On his death date, she posted several pics of him growing up. It was so difficult to look at them. The tears flowed freely though. God Bless you!

Kelly and Jake said...

Erin, thank you for saying what so many have been feeling. I too read that article last week and my mouth fell open in disgust. Really? I have no words. The only thing I can do is pray (and cry) and hope that Janene thinks real hard about all of this. I often wonder though, how much time is enough for someone you killed?? Can a number really be put on that? Candace is gone. She does not get to serve "time" and then come back. My heart hurts for Mary, Wade and all of Candace's family...they lost someone so special.

Candace, you had an amazing way of making everyone smile. You are missed by many!

~love said...

oh, sweet erin. i am going to be taking these things to the Lord on your behalf, too. for justice to be upheld and for your (understandable) anger. i am so, so sorry.

stephanie said...

I'm so sorry to hear about this. I'm fairly new to your blog, and I'm so sad reading this. (((HUGS))) to you during this difficult time. I too think that Johns deserves the maximum she could get. She took away a very special person and she should have to pay for that.

Julie said...

tears of saddness flow as I read this.....tears for your friends, her son, her husband, her mom and dad, her brothers and sisters, for all those she touched.

So sorry and for me I am not sure I would ever be able to get past the anger and bitterness, and obviously you will never stop missing your beautiful friend.

BTW ambien and xanax and I think I will go out for a drive in the car??? I can barely get out of bed safely to go potty if I take a 1/3 of an ambien. Holy moly people are stupid and really SUCK sometimes.

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