Simply Saskia! The 1st MURDERVERSARY of my daughter, Saskia Savana Burke…

First, everyone wants to know WHAT you could possibly be doing to survive this. Now, one year from that moment, its HOW you’ve gone on… From the most VIOLATING thing that could possibly happen!

December 20, 2012

One year ago today, everything stopped – and time has stood still. The world continues to buzz and run forward, yet for me - it has merely been a couple of breaths…   I’m still standing in the same spot.

There were so many pieces of myself I had saved along my life's journey, and I realized a long time ago I had been saving them for YOU, Saskia...

I am sifting through it all now, saving a few pieces for Kes, letting go of those things only you would have savored, and cherished.  It's so ugly to look back on such a lonely life and realize – I'm here once more.

Goodbye, pieces of me.


I’m so shattered, and I’ve been grasping this week at the tiny fragments…  ( I had to find you,  tell you I need you – tell you I set you apart! )   The feeling of your stubby hand on my shoulder, as you lean your head against mine to whisper to me. Teaching you to dance in the living room to the “Fifth Dimension, Donna Summers and Cher” while wearing our Hawaiian wraps. Shopping at the witches store in Idyllwild for your first scrying stone, sitting at the table and adding it to a chain so you could wear it as a necklace – because the green of the stone matched your eyes. Snuggling under the covers with you when you were fresh out of the shower, the wonderful smell of your strawberry scented conditioned hair pressing against my shoulder, watching "The Holiday" just the week before.  Holding you that last time, one last embrace before kissing you goodnight…

And those other fragments… ( Come up to meet you, tell you I’m sorry, you don’t know how lovely you are )   Seeing your body at the morgue, your once shining green eyes so milky. Looking you over, head to toe ( just as I had that first day I met you ); only now seeing each and every thing Gary did to your perfect little body.  Every stab wound, every cut.  Holding your tiny, cold hand in mine and turning it over, seeing all the defensive wounds on your fingers and palm.  Gathering all your hair at the top of the table and braiding it, and when I cut off your braid – and your hair fell short around your face, how horrified Kim and I were to see how much you looked like Kim's daughter Lynnette! How that one section of hair - fell out when I was gathering it, from the incision made across your head during the autopsy.  Taking your cold, damaged face in my hands and kissing you one last time - goodbye…

Carrying such a heavy burden of guilt, ALL ALONE.  I should have done more – forced officer’s Gerber and Driscoll to speak to, or press charges against Gary the year before!  I was too unfortunately right in my assessment that he NEEDED the moral guidance his parents were so selfishly refusing to give him!  The irrepressible regret I will ALWAYS carry for this – because it would have stopped Gary from murdering you that morning!  I should have stayed on the couch with you that night, forced you all to watch “Marley and me” together, instead of going upstairs with Kessa to watch it, as you searched to see if there was something else on.  I should have been there to defend you - I should have taken those wounds from his attack when it came!  I should have laid down beside you and gone with you that morning…   ( Tell me your secrets, and ask me your questions – Oh, let’s go back to the start! )

I finally got a refill of my 'scream' pills, and have indulged at taking one each night this week to help me find sleep.  I’m hoping now, that while I find some sleep, you can visit me in my dreams ( Tell me you love me, come back and haunt me ) – even if you just want to scream at me again, because I long so,  just to hear your voice!

You’ve taken so much of me with you already… In the silence, I can hear the music you inspired inside me to paint all of the most beautiful things I’ve ever had the pleasure to create. In the void, I can feel the spark of creativity you sent coursing through my veins, as only your creativity was closest to mine – and together we did all the things I had ever wanted to do, because YOU wanted to do those same things too. In the emptiness, I can feel how you filled me up with our too familiar thoughts and feelings and words – all the hours of conversation on a myriad of topics, that we took such pleasure in exploring and learning from, together.  And in the darkness, I can remember the magical beauty we saw everywhere together – remember the orange butterflies? How I created a butterfly habitat in our yard with the plants and flowers we planted together here, and the hundreds of butterflies that emerged from their cocoons that first spring?  How they danced for me, as if I were a fairy princess, fluttering in my hair, landing on my hands and cheeks, swarming all around me – as if to say “thank you, thank you for building us a home!” – and you were so in AWE of it all…  You took all our magic with you baby, and the butterflies come no more.  ( Running in circles, chasing our tails –  Coming back as we are! )


You were my best friend, so much more than just my daughter…  I gave to you everything I had ever wanted, and you were so much like me – it was everything you could have ever hoped for, and more!  I lived my only real childhood, my only real LIFE – with you, and together we did everything we wanted!  Letting our imaginations run free, wildly exploring our creativity together, and loving every single second of it!  And as you matured, realizing that truth about yourself – that you were indeed too much like me, existing too far outside the box and in this, it would forever be a NEED in you to be with me, our bond that would always keep us so close!


I am a large shadow of you,

I am what you were - and what you hoped to be!

I am a mirror before you, reflecting all that you are!

And it's reflection after...

Without you, I would not have been.

For you were the me, I only dreamed I could be!

I am the reflection now of what you are, after you were.

You are gone, and the reflection is empty.


I will be standing in this same spot still, when MY time comes Saskia. You are the first and only person I wish to see in that moment! To once more have you curl your tiny hand around mine, feel the silky warmth of your other hand caress my cheek – once again see that smile, the one that starts with the corners of your mouth turning up, pushing your full round cheeks up, squishing your slanted eyes up further in the outer corners – your whole face smiles each time you smile!


I love you Saskia! I love everything about you! I love every second spent with you! I love every single thing we ever did!

I’m standing in exactly the same spot, loving you still!


Nobody said it was easy…  It’s such a shame for us to part.

Nobody said it was easy  -



I’m going back to the start…


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T. Young December 24, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Heart wrenching, achingly beautiful. Although I cannot know the level of your grief, I've lost a beloved nephew to suicide on Christmas day 10 years ago this year. It is a long process back to a "new normal" but the changes remain. Thank you for sharing your memories and pictures of your beautiful Saskia! And please continue to write, Cat. You have a gift you should share with all of us. Bless you today and always.
Lady Saint December 24, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Such achingly beautiful words. My heart is broken reading your words, feeling a level of your pain. I will cherish the time spent with my children even more after reading this. I pray for God to bless you with a peace that surpasses all understanding.
Kim Tavares December 25, 2012 at 05:50 PM
I'm alone in my living room, as I wait for my reflection to wake up and come to find me. My son, so unusual, so "not-normal"; so very much like me. My eyes are filled with the tears your words drew from deep inside my heart and soul. Soon they'll spill over and course down my cheeks. Even if they didn't, if there were no outward sign to be seen...Austin would know something had touched me. We are very close. Thank you for reminding me what a remarkable, magical, unusual thing that is. I don't know your story; but thank you for sharing your heart. I grieve for your loss and pain. God Will comfort you. Only He can heal such pain.
Melanee Lyn Metzler~Collins December 27, 2012 at 08:02 PM
I feel your pain, as a mom, as a friend of a child that only you know is more than just that, a child, but much much more, a piece of my self also left this earth 8 yrs ago in January. My 24 yr old son was taken by leukemia. a very short illness, only 7-8 months and it robbed my Corey, my little superman, my little man of steel of everything he was made of, and it took a little from each of his siblings also as we watched him be destroyed by this horrible disease! I will not claim to know your pain as a mother who's child was snatched away by the hands of another human. I pray to God that that monster gets what is coming to him, and I know who he will have to answer to in the end. The only advise I can give to you, mom to mom is to learn to lean on the Lord more and more every day. I pray for His grace on you and your family and that He will show you peace in the midst of this painful storm you are in. The holiday season will always be the worst time of year for you, and birthdays too. If I can say 1 more thing, please try to celebrate all of the thousands of days that Saskia was alive and with you, and not just the 1 day that she was murdered. Honor her in the celebration of her life. After reading what an amazingly giving spirit she was I find it hard to believe that she would want you to do anything else but celebrate her. Hugs to you mom, Mel
southernbelle December 06, 2013 at 02:04 PM
my tears are running with you as I read this. My 15 yr old daughter is also my most precious friend, and one of the only 2 things on the earth that makes my heart beat. I can not ever imagine your pain and the utter blackness you must have from her being gone from you, and I can't find any words in our vocabulary to express how sorry I am for that, for you! The only comfort at all, the only way of even taking the very next breath and then the next, is from the memories you described. If it were not for those…I fear your heart might just stop beating. So in that, I am so so thankful for you…that this precious child has given you such simple yet boundless memories to cling to and taught you the one thing so many don't know how to achieve--and that is the knowledge and ability to give and receive an ultimate, divine love that few ever can even understand. I know you hurt, it's so evident in your heartbreaking words…it's almost tangible, even to this stranger! You have been given a gift that is so far beyond this heinous event-- Saskia's given you something in her death that few ever receive in life-- the ability to love this way, all because of who she was. Her legacy is not the day she died. Her legacy is so much greater and reaches so far beyond that day---she gave something divine. Something holy. Her legacy is love; endless, boundless, measureless, priceless….pure. Please rest in that--because that is who she is. She is not the girl who was murdered. Or the child that was taken away to soon. Or the victim of a heinous crime. Saskia is love. She is endless, boundless, measureless, priceless…she is pure love.


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