Last year on this day Ryan’s life was in peril. He was in the ICU at Morristown Memorial hospital. I remember talking to the prosecuting attorney about the possibility of pushing back the trial because the charges might well become murder. We decided to see what happened over the next 24 to 48 hours. That night, Ryan turned the corner and began recovering. What a relief.
So, the next day — our wedding anniversary — I left for West Virginia to attend the trial when Sue returned from work. We spent no more than 5 minutes together (Yes, I know, there’s a joke in there somewhere… like what I did with the extra 3 minutes). For us, it was just another ruined day in over 8 months of ruined days.
I remember leaving Ryan in every detail. I had to tear myself away from him and the only reason I could was I knew he would want me at the trial… in his place. It was surreal walking away from his room. A few times I actually stopped and turned to go back. I even sat in the car debating if leaving was the right thing to do. Finally, I threw it in gear and pulled from the parking garage. All the while keeping the hospital in my rear-view mirror for as long as possible.
The drive was emotionally devastating. A real cryFest, as it were. Mostly because it was a period of privacy that allowed me to vocalize my thoughts. Something that was all but stolen from my life. Out loud, I cursed Jonathan May and Austin Vantrease (and their parents, for that matter) for ever being born. I did. I found myself speaking to them directly, as if I were somehow able to beam my thoughts and words to them. I leaned on the hope of justice since taking matters into my own hands would not be right. Still, it was a fantasy that was comforting. But, fantasies are just that, unimaginable actions without repercussions. Something that one would never do given the reality of consequences. Still, it helped me grieve. As evil as it felt, I simply couldn’t stop.
Nor did I really want to stop.