To prepare for Molly’s arrival, Cassie collected baby clothes from friends and family. She neatly placed these outfits into boxes and labeled them in accordance to age and size. She was very organized and deliberate. There was a box specifically for newborn. Being that there were less than ten weeks before she was due to be born, some of the things, Molly could have fit comfortably in being the size she was when she was killed.
Last week we went to the storage container that holds every single one of Cassie’s worldly possessions. All of her work had been undone. The clothes were dumped into clear plastic bags. They were no longer clean. They were no longer labeled.
We had to climb to get to them over boxes stacked and teetering. Over tables and couches damaged by fire. Over a change table and a rocking swing. Things that had been processed and cleaned but were damaged from the fire and still had a coat of ashes on them. Nothing of what we came for seemed to be near the door of the big container.
It was not an easy thing to do. Nothing has been. But we did it with the hope that if they see these clothes, if they could hold them in their own hands, maybe then they will appreciate the reality of the injustice we are asking them to address. Maybe then they will act on it.
A woman, just weeks away from giving birth to the baby inside of her, was brutally murdered. A killer who undoubtedly intended on ending two lives, and a system of justice that pretends it was just one.
Now, there is a divide. There are those who say we must continue to pretend or else it could turn into a debate about a woman’s freedom to choose an abortion, and there are those that say that for justice and the protection of women like Cassie we must stop pretending.
Our position is clearly biased.
We are the ones who are living testament to their lives. We are the ones who have had to sort through their clothes and their ashes. Their existence already gave us meaning. Now, we are the ones who are left to fight for that meaning to be reflected in consequence to the person who took them both away.
As I chose outfits to send to politicians, it occurred to me that this would be the only time I would ever get to pick out clothes for my daughter. I imagined that I wasn’t doing it as good as Cassie would have. After all, every one of these outfits Cassie already chose for Molly.