A Mother's Thanksgiving Grief

by Lauren Furneaux

This is the last picture I will ever have of my baby girl. Five years ago right now she was eating Lucky Charms with my dad when I told her we had to get dressed. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "Why mommy?" And all I could do was say, "I'm sorry baby."

I held her hand as she cried on the way to meet her "father". She asked if we could go to Splash Village and I told her we would when there was snow on the ground. She asked if Barney could come to her birthday and I told her that he would. And the last promise I made her was that one day she wouldn't have to go to their house.

We got to the meeting spot and she was crying saying, "Mommy please don't make me go." I just kept telling her, "I'm sorry baby" and "I love you and I will see you tomorrow." He took her and she continued to cry. He let her give me one last kiss and he walked away as she screamed and reached trying to get back to me. You never forget that sound.

I went home to get things ready for her to come back. I was going to clean our room and meet my cousin Erica to give her some of Lily's old toys. And I was going to go Christmas shopping. I was at Walmart when my mom and dad texted they arrived at our cabin three hours away. They sent me a picture of a three-foot princess stocking and told me to start shopping for stocking stuffers.

I was in the stocking stuffer isle at Walmart at 3:01 pm when I looked at my phone and saw her "father" calling. I picked it up and he said to get to the macomb general hospital right now. That there was an accident and Renee fell on Lily in the shower. I asked if she was ok and he said he didn't know and to just get there right away. I left my cart and sped-walked to the car thinking 'That's it! She's not going back,' thinking it was a broken arm or leg.

I called my mom and she said to meet my uncle at my house and he would drive me. They were on their way. So I pulled in my driveway jumped in the passenger seat as him and my cousin jumped in and we left. He drove as fast as he could trying to get their but it was rush hour traffic. Her "father" kept calling and saying, "Where are you?" I told him I was trying to get there as fast as I could but the hospital was an hour an a half away without traffic. I asked if she was ok and he hung up on me. This continued a few more times before I called the hospital. I asked the nurse if she was ok and she said the words I will never forget, "I wouldn't be telling you this over the phone but you need to get here. It's bad. She's been back there with the doctors for an hour and she has no pulse."

I don't remember the rest of the ride. I remember asking my 14-year old cousin to call everyone and ask them to pray. I should have never put that responsibility on her. When we arrived at the ER they made my uncle move the car. Her "father" was standing outside smoking as I opened the door. My knees gave out and I couldn't stand. I asked him if she was ok and he said, "No."  I asked him if she was alive and he said, "No."  My world came crashing down at that moment.

When the detective came in later she asked what type of underwear was Lily wearing and asked if I helped wipe her that morning when she used the potty. I told her I did and she asked if there was blood. I told her, "No."  My mom said, "Why are you asking these questions?"  The detective said, "Because Lily was severely sexually abused preceding her death."  We went home that night and sat in the car.

How do you go back into a house that the one person who made it a home is never coming back? How do you go on when all your hopes and dreams are taken away? It was just supposed to be 33 hours, not a lifetime. To this day I hate when my parents go anywhere far away because I'm scared something is going to happen. To this day, I can't go in that isle of Walmart. To this day, I can't wake up on November 20th and not replay every horrific moment.

I miss you Lily to infinity and beyond always and forever and I will never stop fighting for you. So if you are still reading at this point please share Lily's story today. Please make a choice to be her voice because there is no excuse for child abuse.  And please hug your children a little tighter and longer as none of us are promised tomorrow. Thank you all for your support! God bless you! ‪#‎justiceforlily‬ ‪#‎lilysvoice‬ ‪#‎30daysoflily‬

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