Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Forever 21

This morning finds me unsettled, jumpy, worried about things that I know are up to the fates and ultimately out of my control and that I only have the power to be proactive about.  I try very hard not to succumb to the worry, the what-if's in this life, because there is already so much of that surrounding me.

With this state came a reminder this morning, via Facebook, that today is Kristin's birthday.

Kristin, who will forever remain 21.

Kristin, who you can read about here and who I wrote about here ("Run Life Your Way", 9/29/2009).  An excerpt from that post:

At 21, Kristin Mitchell had her entire life ahead of her. 

She had a brand new college degree from Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. A family bursting with pride, with love. A wonderful job lined up with a well-known international food company.

And a boyfriend who killed her - three weeks after this photo was taken.

Three weeks.

Her entire life.

Kristin was in the process of ending the relationship when her boyfriend came to her Conshohocken, Pa. apartment. He had some possessive tendencies.

Text message from Kristin Mitchell to her boyfriend.
He would kill her just a few hours later.
The message was retrieved after her death by Kristin's father, Bill.

Kristin didn't know trying to leave him would leave him so violent, so enraged that he would stab her more than 50 times in her own kitchen. She didn't know what domestic violence experts know, that statistics show that the leaving is the most dangerous time in a relationship.

She didn't know that she was, at 21, a victim of domestic abuse.

It is because of the efforts of her friends and family, who established The Kristin Mitchell Foundation in her memory, that many more people now know what Kristin and her friends tragically did not. That dating violence is real. That it is prevalent. That there are warning signs. That there is help.

That it can and does happen on idyllic college campuses to 21 year old students whose whole lives are ahead of them.

We worry about our kids as we let go, as we send them on their way to begin their lives whether it is on an innocent playground or an idyllic college campus. We worry about  who they choose to accept into their midst.

We worry about what they don't know. 

We worry about what we, as their parents, don't know.

And even if we're not parents, we worry about what lurks, who is plotting harm, who we know (and who we don't) that has the capability to stab us 50 times, in our kitchen or randomly on the street in broad daylight. 

Sometimes, as in the tragedy that befell the Mitchell family five years ago, our greatest fears and those we didn't know were our greatest fears actually become our own personal reality show, one with reruns nonstop on every unchangeable channel of our lives. 

And then it is back to the beginning, of trying to prevent and spread awareness and educate and inform of the dangers we know are out there.  Of keeping vigil and remaining vigiliant, of keeping hold while letting go. 

My posts about Kristin's story and dating violence are among the most-read posts on this blog, according to the search term statistics.  I don't know whether that is good or bad.  All I know is that I continue to blog about her story and remember her on special days because doing so might make a difference in the life of one person and one family.  If one family doesn't have to live the nightmare of the Mitchell family, then that is all that matters.  Click here for more information about The Kristin Mitchell Foundation and the annual Kristin's Krusade event, as well as information on dating violence and domestic abuse.

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


BillMitchellKMF said...

Thank you for putting this together today.
As you can imagine, we don't have "happy" birthdays, we have birthdays.
Today is not Kristin's 27th birthday.
She will forever remain at 21.
Time stands still for her.

Please visit kristinskrusade.org
And we will see you at the 5th Annual Kristin's Krusade on November 7th at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia.

Bill Mitchell

joeyfortman said...

When we first moved to Philadelphia from Chicago...we moved into the Riverwalk.

When I heard 'a woman was killed by her boyfriend here'... I started researching. Turns out... we moved in right down the hall from her.

I cried when I figured out the whole story of that poor girl. My heart sank. I was pregnant at the time...and my sensitivity level was through the roof.

From that day forward....when I walked by her door...I always thought of her. Not knowing her..or knowing anything about her...but as my son was growing in me...I prayed that the Lord would teach him how to be a good person.

I prayed that he would be a caring, thoughtful, adoring person one day...One that would treat women with respect.

Here he is... only 2 years later...and he's the sweetest little man I've ever met. Saying "Sorry Mommy" when he steps on my toe... And always touching my cheek telling me I have pretty eyes. =)

I know. He's only 2. But I promise to continue to teach him the right way to live.

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Thanks so much for this, Joey.

And Bill, thank you for allowing me to continue sharing Kristin's story.