Dear Katie

16 Jan

As I write this, your Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle and Aunt are striving to bring you some justice. I don’t know yet what the jury will decide and I can only guess what trickery those who did you wrong may employ to wriggle out of their responsibilities.

However, I wanted to write you this letter as it occurred to me that although your picture sits on the bookshelf of our home, next to the photos of my own autistic daughter and although I have written about you from time to time I have never addressed a letter to you.

I wanted to tell you dear that I am so awfully sorry that I never got to meet you. Your Dad and your Grandpa came to see us and brought us some lovely photos of you. In all of them you were smiling and in all of them the adult with you – your Grandma, Grandpa or Dad – were smiling proudly. I can understand that Katie. You were obviously a little girl who anybody could be proud of. I hope to one day be able to tell you that when I can come and visit you where you’re resting now.

I also want you to know that your Daddy, your Grandma, your Grandpa, your Aunt and your Uncle and lots of your teachers spoke up for you sweetheart. They stood up to be counted and said that you were loved – adored – that the fact you were autistic should not ever be used as a justifiable reason for hurting anyone. They told the world what you were like. They wore pink ribbons to show the world that you were remembered. I wore my own pink ribbon everyday too.

One night, my own autistic little girl woke up about 3ish and we sat and I told her about you and about how much you were loved and how brave and steadfast your Daddy and your Grandma and your Grandpa were. Her favourite picture of you is the one where you are sitting on your Grandpa’s lap. I think it is her favourite as she remembers sitting on his lap when he and your Daddy came to visit. You are both little girls who see the purpose of a Grandpa!

Your Daddy is a hero Katie. A man who will not ever stop fighting for the rights of his daughter. A man who has stood opposite the person who wronged you so viciously, looked that person in the eye and remained dignified and composed. A man who has been buffeted from all sides and who simply misses his little girl and wants to do right by her. Your Daddy called me ‘pal’ and hugged me when he came over to see us. I am proud to be thought of as a friend by such a fine man as your Daddy.

The real tragedy is that any of this happened at all. There are no excuses for what was done to you. Whatever the verdict comes back as, the truth is that you were betrayed and snatched away from those who loved you. Those who wronged you – those with no answers – still try to wrong you. They blame vaccines. They blame autism. They blame mental illness. They look everywhere to place blame except where it deserves to be placed. In doing this they seek to cheapen and diminish the enormity of what was done to you. Your family will not let them.

Take care dear. I hope very much that one day I will be able to say some of this to you. I will bring you a toy from my girls and tie some pink ribbon around it. Until then please rest in the peace you so richly deserve. Your family continue to light a candle for your darkness.

Please Note: There is a living memorial for Katie should anyone wish to contribute.

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22 Responses to “Dear Katie”

  1. Kassiane January 16, 2008 at 21:16 #

    *tears*

  2. Maddy January 16, 2008 at 21:29 #

    We’re all thinking of her and her family.
    Best wishes

  3. Niksmom January 16, 2008 at 23:09 #

    Kev, this is incredibly moving. Like Kassiane, I’m in tears.

  4. Ms. Clark January 16, 2008 at 23:57 #

    Thank you. I hope there is real justice done for Katie and loving family. I just wish it had never happened.

    What a massive loss the humankind suffered when she died. She was a treasure and treated cruelly by someone who could not see what an absolute jewel Katie was.

  5. Bev January 17, 2008 at 00:34 #

    Beautifully written, a powerful tribute. Thank you.

  6. Matt January 17, 2008 at 02:32 #

    I haven’t been able to make myself read anything about this. The little I have heard is just so sad.

    I never should have even heard her name, known who she is, and yet this hurts.

  7. Mike McCarron January 17, 2008 at 02:45 #

    Kev,

    We are all overwhelmed with this post. Your family on this side of the pond appreciates your support and thoughtfulness very much.

    Mike

    PS: Thanks Pal — Paul

  8. Autismville January 17, 2008 at 03:04 #

    Thank you for writing this beautiful tribute. I haven’t been able to find the words. So glad you did…

    Here’s to pink ribbons and peace for Katie.

  9. ange January 17, 2008 at 04:55 #

    beautiful, sweet, honest

    thank you

  10. suzanne January 17, 2008 at 15:40 #

    weeping for katie and her Daddy Grandpa, Aunt and Uncle who miss her. thank you Kevin

  11. Beau January 17, 2008 at 19:13 #

    Kev,

    This is a very nice tribute to a beautiful young girl.

    I was going to do something like this on my blog, but I couldn’t think of any words to say.

  12. Kev January 17, 2008 at 21:42 #

    Its good to see so many familiar faces again 🙂

    And the news is positive: http://www.pjstar.com/stories/011708/TRI_BFHBKR7R.008.php

  13. Sharon January 17, 2008 at 22:34 #

    Such a lovely tribute to a precious and missed child.

    I am relieved for the sake of Katie’s dad and loving family that the jury have seen fit to find the criminal guilty on all counts.

  14. Mike McCarron January 18, 2008 at 00:30 #

    Kev,

    As you already know, all of the verdicts were guilty. Here is a statement released by Paul on behalf of the family.

    Public Statement

    If the measure of a person’s life could be quantified by the number of people that loved them, then Katie, in her brief 3 1/2 years, achieved well beyond all of us.

    I’d like to recognize the tireless efforts and personal sacrifices of the States Attorney’s Office, specifically Kirk Schoenbein and Kevin Johnson, and the Morton Police Department, specifically Ray Ham and Bill Roth, for the relentless pursuit of the truth and justice. We are blessed to have these caring and professional people in our community.

    I’d like to thank all the people that worked with Katie. Specifically, Kia Quick and Stephanie Blair — your ability to make Katie smile while you taught her is a testament to your talent and love.

    I ask all parents and especially those of children with disabilities to ALWAYS love your children and be proud of them. Cherish every moment you have with them. Love, patience and tender efforts are the best therapies.

    Paul McCarron

  15. bullet January 18, 2008 at 00:31 #

    I read this post and had to go and hug my lads. RIP Katie.

  16. S.L. January 18, 2008 at 03:05 #

    Thank you for coming back & writing this letter for Katie. It is beautiful. I am thankful there has been justice for her family. I see so many similarities between Katie and my own daughter; I will forever be affected by this beautiful girl. I was touched so much by Paul McCarron’s statement. Praying for her father & grandparents. Take care.

  17. Phil Schwarz January 18, 2008 at 05:34 #

    In my cultural/religious tradition (Jewish), we say “zichronah librachah” (Hebrew for “may her memory be a blessing”) for someone we love who has passed on.

    Kev wrote this post *to* Katie. So I’ll follow suit: Katie, zichronech librachah. May your memory be a blessing.

    May the love you generated continue to give strength to your family.

  18. Kev January 18, 2008 at 08:16 #

    Thanks to *all* of you on this bitter sweet day, especially Mike for taking the trouble to post Paul’s words in full.

  19. Nana January 31, 2008 at 18:41 #

    “Love, patience and tender efforts are the best therapies.”–Paul McCarron

    How true.

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