My daughter, 21, lives in Honolulu and told me by phone that on the day of Chelsea King's candlelight vigil, March 5, she walked to Iolani Palace to reflect on the life of the girl she never knew, but could have been.

I can imagine the picture--a gentle, Hawaiian breeze sweeping through her black hair, as well as the banners above the grand entrance. I feel so fortunate that for a time at least, she was safe enough to experience that moment.

"I walked in that park, Mom," she said, softly.

We both knew what that could have led to and it isn't a thought we cherish. A politician has talked about changing the name of Rancho Bernardo Community Park to the Chelsea King Memorial Park. I hope he doesn't.

My parents live in the row of houses along the ridge above Lake Hodges; and, while I'll always hold a place in my heart for the pretty, blue-eyed blonde who died there, I can't bear the thought of reliving the tragedy every time I travel to Rancho Bernardo.

In 2008, Melody didn't return to my parents house, which is a block away from where John Gardner's parents live on Matinal. She had gone on a walk to relieve her depression and anxiety and by nightfall, my mother was in her car, scouring the neighborhood for Melody.

I stayed by the bay window, gnawing on my nails. My heart pounded as I thought, "What if we never see her again?"

Our girl came home. And I'm so sorry for the families of Chelsea and Amber. When Amber's body was found two days ago, I didn't know what to think. Should I be happy that the nightmare is finally over, or for the Dubois family, has it just begun?

I told Melody that she is here for a reason and to make the most of it. I didn't even flinch when she said she plans to become a tattoo artist instead of going to college. At least I will hold her in my arms again. For that, I am grateful.

Carrie, Maurice, Brent and Kelly--

You have my utmost sympathy. God bless.

                                           --Mindy Vansant

Comments

PistolPete March 8, 2010 @ 1:11 p.m.

I too don't want to see the name of that park changed. Chelsea wasn't a hero. I know that sounds like I'm being callous but I'm not. You're also correct in saying that community has to re-live that pain over for the rest of mankind. Then again, maybe it should serve as a reminder for future generations. RB will heal from this. Collectively, the community at large will do what they've always done-bury their heads in the sand and forget about it.

As for Saturday being a sad for the DuBois', I think it's more of a happy day. They found closure on one of life's biggest wounds-burying a child. It's not a rainbows and unicorns happy day but it can't be any sadder than February 13, 2009...

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PistolPete March 8, 2010 @ 4 p.m.

Honestly, and with all due respect you opinions on this case and the DuBois', I'd rather have closure than saving my strength for a most likely grim outcome for the rest of my life. No one is right and no one is wrong in their opinions.

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