Much of the work I’ve done on Murder in a Small Town: The Tragic Death of Stacey Burns has forced me to revisit a time of devastating loss in my own life. As I have spoken with people who knew Stacey, it is relatively easy to sense the grief, the futility, the pain, the abject hopelessness. In late May of 1992, I’m certain that it was just as easy for people to sense those same feelings emanating from me. The loss of our son, Gary, at age 29 left us adrift in a sea of confusion, riding a series of emotional waves that threatened to pull us under in a hopeless search for answers where there were none. I believe those close to Stacey Burns have felt the same way and continue to be pummeled by internalized questions at every level.
Searching for answers always brings about introspection. In The Week from Heaven and Hell, I mention the results of one such episode of wondering how things work in this world.
“I’ve always believed that parents have their children until about age twelve or thirteen and then get them back at age twenty-two. In between, the first is that what happened before they left us emotionally, if not physically, is strong enough to help them through the extremely difficult adolescent years. The second hope is that they will come back.”
It is an indescribably sad day when children have come back, only to be lost again permanently.