(My "special edition" Eastern New Mexico News column from September 3, 2017- posted in its entirety now that the paper's exclusivity has expired)
How do you tell your daughter, on her tenth birthday, that her friend has been murdered? There isn't a good way, but I was forced to give it my best shot last week. I know I wasn't the only one; a lot of grieving parents around here shared the same experience with their children.
My daughter grew up with Miss Krissie at the library. The love she showed all the kids who came to share her world of books and crafts made her a favorite. I sat through many a Preschool Storyhour, even after my daughter got too old to really be interested in the juvenile books which were read each week. She loved Miss Krissie and wanted to be there anyway, just to see her. Just to hug her and talk with her.
Life gets busy, children grow, routines change, and new activities replace old favorites. It has been a while since we sat on the rug in the craft room, facing the magical, colorful chair which served as Miss Krissie's throne while she read to the kids. But, still, every time we went to the library, Miss Krissie was the one my daughter wanted to see.
We didn't know Wanda as well, but it seemed she was always there. Always interested in anything my daughter had to say when we went to the counter. She asked questions and acted like whatever my daughter told her was the most important thing she'd heard all day. That kind of interest makes an impact on kids who may suspect most adults are only humoring them.
I grieve the two caring women who lost their lives, and I hope the four others who were injured recover as quickly as possible.
Acts such as this one, which robbed the children of Clovis of a wonderful friend, are often characterized as "senseless". But they are worse than that. Hurricanes and earthquakes and accidents are senseless. Murders are malevolent. There is simply no excuse which justifies it.
I might disagree with how libraries are commonly funded, but I have always valued them. And the people who work in them. This crime hurt.
I try to not be angry. Anger doesn't solve anything. Sadness probably doesn't help much, either, but I won't feel guilty for it. I'm just going to be sad with my daughter and help her through it the best I can. I believe it's what Miss Krissie would want.
Thank you for being my daughter's friend, Miss Krissie.