Amanda-n-RyanHow do you truly enjoy a family holiday when a member has been tragically taken? Memories are forever marked as before and after the loss. At first I wasn’t sure why this year might be harder than others that came after, why I try to be thankful for the good things and can’t quite feel it. Then I figured it out. This will be the first holiday since my niece’s death that we know for certain the fate of the one who took her. The young man who killed her, who chose to tempt fate and drive drunk, is free to be with his family. He’ll have the turkey and fixings, watch the big game, and certainly be thankful that the judge chose not to ruin his life with jail time. He gets a second chance at life, at a family. My family gatherings will always seem not quite complete, missing a laugh, a smile, and many goofy faces. Missing a daughter, a big sister, a friend. But, thankfully, the killer’s life wasn’t ruined.

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