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Dr. Salvatore J. Culosi
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May 24, 2015
Dear Sal...Today it was the 10:30 mass ...that was being offered...for the repose of your soul...on this 112th Month Remembrance Day...and to my surprise...the lector actually read... and then announced your name...aloud.

I was going to pick up the flowers yesterday...that I would bring to your resting place today...but I got a late start...and the flower shop had already closed...by the time I was ready to go there...so I got them today...after mass...and since it is Memorial Day weekend...I also ordered a red, white and blue arrangement...in memory of my brother...your Uncle and namesake...who served in the Army... during what was then called...the Korean Police Action. I left his flowers alongside yours...when I visited you today. My two very loved and very missed...Salvatore's. God bless each of you...as you rest in His perpetual light.

This has been a very trying week for your father...and me too...since so much is going on...that I wish we had no reason to be a part of...but because we do...we will try in your memory... to not lose our cool...and be as effective as we can be.

This past week...we have been to commission meetings... three nights in a row. The regular Ad Hoc meeting was on Monday...and then there were...two more sub-committee meetings...that Dad is also serving on. The Independent Oversight & Investigation committee... met on Tuesday...and on Wednesday... the Use of Force group met...along with three invited speakers...all FCPD officers...who were there to read... and then explain...some of their updated General Orders...and the SOP guidelines...that have been put in place...since 2008 and 2014. One FCPD weapons training officer...who is an appointed commissioner...said that our case...was the impetus...for the changes that were made...to the previous risk/threat assessment form.. and that now...in order to justify a request...for the use of a SWAT team.. several criteria must be met...and several officers...have to sign off on the request...before it is approved ...or rejected. Additionally, the officers fielded questions...and made attempts at answering them.

It is very frustrating to listen to... in my opinion...a lot of words...that on the surface sound promising...but in reality...and based on...what has gone wrong in the past...may not be received and implemented...in the way they are intended...or one would hope they would be understood to mean...so as to minimize tragedies like ours... and future ones...from continuing to happen...and instead...could likely leave the door open...to one's own interpretation or discretion...for their meaning....(the skeptic in me points to the buzz words they all know...and that along with other loop holes...would get them off the hook...if they did choose to do otherwise) so there is much...that still needs addressing and defining... if we are to have a truly clear understanding...of what it is that must be done...in order to ensure... that needed preventive changes to... policies...protocols...procedures...training...and...vetting...be made.

As for excessive force issues...along with those regarding transparency... accountability...consequences for actions...and a very overdue and most necessary...citizens complaint and oversight review board...for those who are sworn...to serve and protect...so that the residents of Fairfax County.. can restore their trust in...and their respect for...the FCPD...and the Board of Supervisors...well, I can only hope ...that we are all on the same page... in this effort.

On a more pleasant note...May has been a busy month...as your Godchild turned twenty-one...a little over two weeks ago...and your oldest nephew was seventeen on Monday Another of your nieces....received the Sacrament of Confirmation... this past Tuesday...and will graduate in early June...from elementary school. Your oldest niece will be twenty-four in a couple of days...and it seems like only yesterday...that they were all babies. They are all good kids...in some cases I should really say young adults...and you would be very proud of each of them.

It is a quiet Memorial Day weekend... and while some...only view it as the beginning of summer and cookouts...I would hope the real reason for this holiday...is remembered...as we pray for...and honor those servicemen and women...who made the ultimate sacrifice...while defending our country...in order to protect our freedoms. God bless each of them...as they rest in His eternal peace. May they never be forgotten.

Sal...please watch over your sisters...their families...your brother...and all of our dear friends.

I love and miss you son...and I wish you could have been here...with us...to celebrate these happy family occasions.

God bless you Salvatore. You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
May 10, 2015
Dear Salvatore...If not for them... this wouldn't be...the Tenth Mother's Day without you...and as I count... every step up the path...to your resting place...you know...what's going on...inside my head...and I don't see...my thoughts changing ...when it comes to them.

Right now we are re-reading reports...and dredging up...due to the formation of this commission...many of the same questions we had...in 2006, '07, '08, '09, and '10. Who knows...if there will ever be answers...sufficient enough to explain...why and how...the same type "incidents"...since your loss to us...have taken place again...and if in fact...the changes to the three P's...plus any issues with training ...and officer accountability...in an unjustifiable shooting of an unarmed citizen...that we were led to believe ...were made...actually were addressed ...implemented...and then followed.

Hopefully...these next weeks of meetings...will be both enlightening and productive. But...I won't hold my breath...since blue is not my color. I know...it's my glass is half empty view...or is it...as the engineer would say...the glass is just too big.

On a more pleasant note...we did have a nice brunch today...with your sister and her family...but for me...and here I go again...I continue to think...of how things could have been...and should have been...if not for them.

Keep watching over your siblings... your nieces...your nephews...and Dad.. who is trying to do his best...while dealing with a difficult situation... in addition to me.

I love you son...I miss you...and I pray for you...always.
April 24, 2015
Dear Son...This 24th...marks Month Number One Hundred and Eleven...as I keep counting. I heard Mr. Geer say he had been tossing and turning...for about 500 nights...as he lay awake...wondering who shot and killed his unarmed...non-threatening son...why...and how could It have happened. I guess counting is what we parents do...for a host of reasons...and as we do...the days turn into weeks...then months...and years. I don't know why there is a need to mark time...I only know that there is.

Both Dad and I...attended the 8:15 mass...being offered in your memory...and since it happened to be...the students' regular Friday mass...a 7th grade girl...announced the intention for the mass...and said your name loud and clear. Afterwards...I left flowers at both your resting place...and the St. Joseph statue. I guess this too...along with my written thoughts to you...have become parts of a monthly ritual...for me.

This past week has been a particularly trying one. Although the news about the Geer tragedy...has been in the spotlight...for the last several weeks...it was on our Tuesday...that I read...the County settled with John Geer's two daughters. So once again...in my opinion...they have managed to walk away...because the wording in these settlements...do not contain any admission of wrongdoing or guilt on their part...so they get to view a pittance of dollars...as being equal to the loss of a life...that was precious...unique...irreplaceable...and priceless.

I suppose they think it was a generous offer. I think otherwise...as this family not only lost a son...and a father...but then were jerked around...far too long...as they sought answers to their questions. It was a complete fiasco...until a Judge court ordered the FCPD...to provide the requested and entitled to information...to the family and their attorney.

The Board of Supervisors was completely ineffective...and were it not for a Senator's letters...the tenacity of a WAPO reporter...a grassroots group calling itself Justice for John Geer... and the outcries of disgruntled FFX County citizens...regarding the mishandling of this incident...(for lack of a better word)...up and down the chain of command...to include the County's legal advisers...and to the point...of what appeared to be a cover up...or a potential obstruction of justice...this stalling of information...might have gone on...much longer...as it did with us...in our efforts to seek the justice...that was owed to you.


The officer who shot and killed Mr. Geer...was reported to have said...it was a good shoot. It was not accidental,'...and...No, it was justified. I have no doubt about that at all. I don't feel sorry for shooting the guy at all. He evidently believed he saw something no one else did. However...according to other officers who were there...it did not happen the way...the officer who shot and killed John Geer...said it happened...and they spoke up...and contradicted what the officer who fired his weapon...cited as the reason for him to shoot. He unnecessarily took another's life...but still seems to feel justified in what he did.


I remember in our case...another one saying he squeezed one off. Do these officers even care...or realize how inhumane they sound...after having just unjustifiably taken the life...of another human being...and I repeat...who was like you...also unarmed...and non-threatening. How can they sound so flippant. What has happened to these people...that allows them to be so callous...and cavalier...in choosing words...that are so hurtful...for the victim family to hear or read. It may be police jargon to them...but it sounds so disrespectful...and devaluing...of human life...and even if it is to them just buzz words...I think it adds to what may be...a profession and mentality...that has been so desensitized...that some officer's have lost sight of their humanity.

So now...the Board of Supervisors...after all the negative outpouring...has formed an Ad Hoc Commission...to examine best practices...and send forward their recommendations...where and if needed...to FCPD policies...protocols...training ...excessive force issues...the use of SWAT teams...and to address the issues of transparency...accountability...consequences for officers' wrongful actions...and perhaps a Citizen's Oversight Committee...where civilian complaints about officers...may be filed and reviewed.

Good luck with all of this...as I am very skeptical. Way back when...I was just looking for some good...that could come from what happened...to you and our family. How naïve my thinking was. Perhaps they would consider...an addendum to one of their SWAT policies or protocols...some sign off sheet...that would control what they are used for...and name it for you. I also was waiting for some apology...but that would be an admission of wrongdoing...ie. guilt. It never came in any form. Oh sure...the TV blurb...offering sympathy to the victim family...but in the same breath...extolling the record of this fine officer...who was as sorry as anyone could be...according to the then Commonwealth Attorney...who then decided not to convene a grand jury...to look into the facts of what happened. In all this time...the same players...are still at it...only the victim names seem to change.

Oh wait...it was decided that a special grand jury be convened...to hear the facts of this case...and to investigate...so as to ascertain whether alleged criminal...or corrupt conditions existed...which may have impacted...all that has taken place.

Ok...I've ranted again...and probably will continue to...as all this goes forward.

May John Geer rest in peace...and God bless his family.

Son...I still can't forgive myself...for not getting into that courtroom. Whatever the outcome would have been...at least their tactics would have been exposed...and I could have kept my promise to you.

God bless you...and keep watch over your sisters...their families...your brother...and Dad.

I love you Sal...I miss you...and I pray for you always.
April 05, 2015
Dear Son...Dad and I went to 10:30 mass this morning...and then visited you at your resting place. I left a lily plant at the statue...and white tulips in your vase.

It's hard to believe...that this is the Tenth Easter...that we have spent...without you...and the second one...that was celebrated in a most unusual way...for us...considering our heritage...and our customary traditions...of family gathering all together...to not only enjoy each others company...(minus a few minor meltdowns)...but also the holiday fare ...that we were raised with...and came to expect...but times have changed... along with the menu...and so many more things.

We have learned to make accommodations as family has increased...and taken on other necessary obligations...that preclude the opportunity...for everyone to be under one roof. Despite the changes...we did manage to have...a nice time...at our dinner out ...with 2 of your 3 siblings...and your three nephews...and one niece.

Afterwards...we came back to our house...and then the surprise jam session began. The kids brought their instruments with them...keyboard... electric guitar and amplifier...an acoustic guitar...and a ukulele...and they displayed quite a lot of talent. The oldest one plays the keyboard... writes his own music...and some of his songs...even have lyrics...which are quite sensitive...to be coming from one so young. I was impressed. The second one reads music...but also has a very good ear...can also play a few instruments...but is one with his electric guitar..so he too has talent. Your niece...is also able to play several instruments...has a beautiful voice...and her singing is a joy to listen to...truly a gift. The youngest is a drummer...but he did not bring his equipment with him...so while I'm sure he too...has rhythm and talent... since they all are so musically inclined...I was happy...to just take his Mom's word for it.

Your brother was also enjoying their music...and was encouraging them...as he too recognizes their abilities... and that made them feel good.

The rest of our family...was elsewhere ...but I did get to speak to them... and wish them a Happy Easter. So much has changed...that I wish hadn't.

So Sal...to say you are missed...is an understatement...you know how much we all miss you.

I pray that your Easter was a very blessed one...and that...you are in the company of family...and friends... have also been called back home.

God Bless you Salvatore...as you keep watch over our family...and our dear friends.

Know that you are loved...and prayed for...always.
March 29, 2015
Dear Sal...Today is Palm Sunday Number 10...so once again...I brought palms to you...at your resting place.

Dad had made braided crosses with his palms...but I just folded my palms... hoping I could slide them into your vase...and in between the flowers...but that was a no go... because of the fact...that it has turned very cold again...and that caused the other day's rain...that had collected in the vase...to freeze. So I placed the palms...into the rose bouquet... that was still there...from the 24th.

We went to breakfast afterwards...and sat opposite...a father with four children. One of the boys...a good looking nine year old...had shown the others...that he made a cross with his palm. It resembled a long...off kilter plus sign. I thought he was so cute...so I told Dad...to go out to the car...and get one of the braided crosses...and give it to him. He did that...and then showed the boy...how to make one. Funny how things happen...because Dad on the ride back from your resting place...had said that no one but he...knows how to make the braided palm crosses...and when he's gone...the crosses will be too. I suggested he pass on that skill...to one of your nieces or nephews...jabbing him a bit. Who could have known...that the opportunity to do just that...was going to be realized in short order. Dad was the teacher...and a total stranger...the student. The boy seemed very interested in the lesson...so I will assume...he will be using his newly learned skill...and his Lenten palms...from now on...to make braided crosses...for all the Holy Seasons...yet to come. I told Dad ...that he can rest easy now...knowing knowing that he at least...left "someone...to carry on...his braided crosses tradition. I don't think he appreciated my comment.

We are having a quiet day...and...are looking forward to...tonight's TV adaptation of Bill O"Reilly's book ...Killing Jesus. It's not told...from the usual religious...or spiritual slant...instead...it looks at the events in Our Lord's life...by the retelling of the political, social, and historical conflicts...that were taking place at that time...and that led to Jesus' death. With all that is going on in our world today...it looks like not much has changed...since there are those...and so many issues.. still at odds with His teachings... and...as He is being "politically corrected out of our lives...I hope in His mercy...His words on the cross are...and will still be...echoing in our behalf...when the end time does come...because the cumulative "them" ...continue to know not...what they are doing.

Son...I hope this was another...very blessed and peaceful Palm Sunday...for you.

God bless you...as you keep watching over...our family...and our friends.

You are very loved Sal...very missed...and prayed for always.
March 24, 2015
Dear Son...Yesterday I had a mass said...for Nan's 28th Year Remembrance Day. How I wish there was no need for Remembrance masses...and that things could have remained as they once were...but they aren't...so...on this...another Tuesday...marking this 9 Years and 2 Months Remembrance Day...Dad and I...were at the 6:15 AM mass...being offered...for the repose of your soul. I am now waiting for the flower shop to open...so I can get my usual order of flowers...and then I will visit your resting place...and the St. Joseph statue. I can't believe I got so sidetracked this past week...that I didn't post a reflection for you...and my brother...on March 19 the Feast Day of St. Joseph...so I am belatedly...hoping that you and he...both had a blessed name day.

I suppose my distraction...was due to all that is going on...in our county re the Geer case...the FCPD...and the FFX Board of Supervisors...amid the disillusion...with the later two... because of the way...they have dealt with the Geer family's requests for information...regarding the loss of their loved one. The stonewalling has been reported about in the media...along with the many negative opinions...that are critical of both the Board and the FCPD...which the residents in FFX County...have seen fit to voice...via the comments sections...of the Wash Post stories... as they continue to report...on all the latest and unbelievable actions...that are attributable to their unwillingness... to treat this victim family...with some amount of consideration...and human decency...for what they have been made to go through...and to suffer in these past 19 months...while grieving the loss of their loved one.

Last night...one day short of this Remembrance Day...Dad whose initial request to the Board of Supervisors ...for their consideration of his interest in serving on their newly formed Commission...was realized. The Board finally decided to create this Commission...in an attempt to acknowledge citizens' outrage...re what has been going on...in this county as the buck kept getting passed ...as well as in the FCPD...re matters...of excessive force issues... transparency...accountability...preventive changes...police oversight (preferably by a citizen's committee)...best practice changes that may be needed...concerning policy protocols...procedures...training...and even the education of officers...in how they should procede...when dealing with the mentally ill or physically handicapped...that the officers may come in contact with...when responding to calls.

Initially Dad's offer was declined... then he was emailed about a "maybe"... if a sub-committee might be on the horizon...so he was asked to submit his resume. He did...and finally was informed that he would be appointed to serve...and that appointees would represent various backgrounds...and concerns. It started out with Twenty-five people...and now has grown to be Thiry-eight. Thirteen of those are defined as citizens...Ten police.. Five in the legal profession...Five in media/public relations...three are academic/consultant...and two are in supporting roles.

In this first meeting of four...held at the Government center...and open to the public...they all got to introduce themselves...and tell a little bit about their background...and spoke briefly on what they thought he/she could bring to the table...concerning the many issues at hand. There was talk about budgets, and shortfalls for the different agencies...but no one mentioned that perhaps...the Board should have re-considered their 25 or 30% voted raise to themselves...as a is that a really necessary expenditure?...at least that thought crossed my mind...because I'd prefer...to see body cameras and video recorders for leos.

A friend of John Geer's...JS...and your Dad...were the only ones...who spoke to the causes...immediately related to the before...and after issues...of what led to the tragic and unnecessary loss...of our loved ones...You...and JS's friend, John... and what has been...or still needs to be done...in the aftermath...to prevent such tragic...heartbreaking... and unnecessary losses.

We were told that some changes were made...after your loss...and I even asked to be sent...what those changes were...of course...I never got anything. So now...9 years later...THEY finally have been ordered by a Judge...to turn over what has been done since 2006...and other info that the Geer lawyers requested.

Dad surprised me...I expected him to get his points across...but this time...he actually spoke from an emotional place...not true anger or rage...since that isn't who he is...but from a disgust that had it not been...for their absurd 2006 policies...practices...and protocols...YOU would still be here with us. Also...had something been done since 2006...that was of consequence...maybe John Geer...and I include David Masters...might also still be here.

My thinking leads me to believe...that without accountability and consequences for their actions...it appears that officers don't have to think twice...before pulling a trigger...and in our case...along with Masters and Geer...each of you were unarmed...and unjustifiably shot and killed...and why...because officer's know...they have not been in the past...and even now...held to account...for what they cause to happen. They hit those buzz word excuses...I felt my life was being threatened...he made a furtive move...and worst of all...it was an accident. In reality...all fabricated excuses...used by those who were sworn to protect and serve...in order to avoid the truth...so as not to be held accountable.

Ok son...here come more of my opinions...

Although the meetings are open to the public...I had to leave the room...when H began to speak. Sill standing on his 40 years...of never having any doubts...about all those halo wearing humans...(and I do know that there must be good ones among them...like the three who spoke up in Geer's case)...that he never found reason to doubt...even when victim families were left with the tragedies...or circumstances that they unjustly caused to happen. I could hardly stand to hear BR talk about his training of officers and how instrumental he was...in advisory and counseling areas...within the County. R did not acknowledge us nor did we need him to.

So Sal...we get to be there for three more meetings...before these findings/recommendations...that are non binding findings...at the hands of this commission...and whatever sub-committees they choose to form... go forward for the Board's consideration. Of course this is before the Nov. elections.

My bad though...because the skeptic in me keeps coming out...and maybe that's because...whatever they claim to have changed since 2006...amounting to these past 9 years (7 prior to the Geer shooting)...and the recent SWAT raid on the unarmed poker players in Great Falls...with whom the FCPD...struck a deal...according to the article I read...and then split (though unevenly) the monies from the game...between the county...and the players...has left me somewhat jaded...unbelieving...and distrusting of...even what I have seen...read... and am now hearing.

Another surprise after Dad's comments at this meeting...was the spontaneous applause...he received...in support of what he said...that evidently hit upon ...what many in the public audience... were thinking...and feeling should be said.

I almost forgot...one of your friends was there...CS....but I didn't recognize him at first...and actually had to ask him his name. He told me you were the nicest of guys...very trusting...who had friends from all stations in life...and as a result of what happened to you...he has become somewhat of a civic activist. I am grateful that he hasn't forgotten you...and your caring nature.

So my dear son...maybe this is a beginning...too late for you...us... ...David...and John...but it's a start ...hopefully well intentioned...and more importantly...culminating in recommendations...worthy of their of consideration...and implementation.

Sal...you are loved...you are missed...and I pray you know...what we are all hoping to achieve...even though it's long over due.

Please keep watch over your sisters...their families...your brother...and your father. It's a stressful time. Extended family...and friends...too...also need some special thoughts.

I hold you close in my thoughts...in my heart...and in my prayers...always.
February 24, 2015
Dear Sal...This 24th...once again is falling on a Tuesday...as we mark the 9 Years and 1 Month Remembrance Day...
of the new normal...that has changed all of our lives...and that we know to be...anything but normal.

As we begin the first week of Lent... the mass being offered in your memory today...was at noon...and as I have have come to expect...without Mr. P being there...your name was not read aloud.

The Gospel and the homily...emphasized the forgiveness of one's transgressors...if you yourself expect to be forgiven...by God...of your own transgressions. It looks like I have a long way to go...on many levels...to come to terms with that.

Today when I visited your resting place...the path was clear...thanks to the slightly elevated temperatures... from yesterday...which melted what had been a snow packed entry....when I visited on Sunday. There was still some ice...on the lower portion of the path ...which the ground crew could have cleared...but didn't...and so another irksome item...not exactly requiring forgiveness...but still irritating...is added to my many levels list...but at least I was able to leave the flower there...and at the statue...when I left mass.

There is still on going news about the FCPD...Bd of Supervisors...a Commission called for...to advise them ...about transparency etc..."face washing" going on...in an attempt to calm the natives who have finally had...their tolerance level for steer droppings...maxed out. The Bd should have been watching them...well before 2005...and holding them to a standard befitting...their oath of serving and protecting.

When I read the latest WP article on Feb 21...titled: Fairfax County creates commission to review police policies and procedures...and also in hindsight...I have reassessed my belief...which at the time...of your tragic loss...had put faith in the system...and my thinking that there may have been... among those there that night...honorable people...who had a conscience...and would have...after being party to such an unjustifiable...and reprehensible plan...that resulted in such a wrongful act to take place...would then come forward...in truth...but instead they circled the wagons...and put up their blue wall. I guess we as a family...were using our own values...as the measure...and standard...with which...to assess others...thinking they were more like us than not. So wrong.

As I keep hoping...and praying...ever since 2006...when we were led to believe...that changes would be made...although I never saw anything first hand...this Commission... although too late...to be of consequence or benefit to you...and our family..with God's blessings...may be helpful for others.

Sal...you know you are loved...and missed...and a song...I recently heard...that had a few minor lyrics changed...from the original..certainly spoke to me...and how I feel...I Can't Let Go.

Watch over our family...you know the needs and concerns. God bless you son.

You are in my thoughts and in my prayers...always.
February 14, 2015
Dear Salvatore...Today is Valentine's Day...and as I drove through the gate to visit you at your resting place... there was a car parked on the road... and it was at such an angle...that it made it a little difficult to get by...but as I did maneuver around it...I saw a large Steelers logo... that was attached to its trunk...and you know what I take that to mean...so thank you...for my special Valentine.

Although I left flowers...I don't know if they will still be there tomorrow.. when I visit you again...because Sunday's weather forecast is calling for winds...cold temps...and maybe even some snow flurries. So...I may find them frozen...or...not there at all...having been blown away...but at least they are there for today...as a token of my love...for my "sweetheart" ...you.

Keep close watch over our family...and know that you are loved...and very missed...by each of us. God bless you son.

You are in my heart...and in my prayers...always.
February 03, 2015
Dear Sal...It has only been a few days ...since my last post...but with no end in sight...to the ongoing newspaper
accounts...re the FCPD and the Geer tragedy...which I've been focusing on ...and speaking about with friends...since it is so relatable to our own case...today, a dear and well meaning one...said that I need to put behind me...what happened to you...and in her opinion...and maybe others too...I should stop dwelling on it...which is a rather strange thing to hear from her...considering she has also lost a son...so I'm sure she knows what that heartache is...and probably thinks of him...and misses him each day...too...but still felt she needed to tell me that. While I know loss is never easy...and no parent should outlive their child...I do believe the circumstances surrounding that loss...must be...what makes it possible...for some to be more resigned to it...than others...at least that is what I think.

Sudden losses...especially of young people...are the most difficult to deal with...since they are so unexpected...and therefore particularly devastating and shocking.

Illness...when a loved one is in pain...and there is no hope...for an end to their suffering...maybe acceptance is easier...for a family...because no one wants to see their child...or sibling...struggling ...and too...there is usually some amount of time...in which things needing to be said...can be...and although one is never prepared to lose someone...you can in the time left...prepare for the inevitable... and be there...for and with them...in those final moments.

Accidents...and not in the way...the FCPD purported to use the word ...in describing what took you from us....are always a parent's worst nightmare. Whether your son or daughter is driving a car...or out doing some other fun type of activity...that can go bad in a moment....while it is not an outcome you'd find any easier to accept...it is still an accident...and was not intended to happen...by the person whose life may be lost. I saw my parents...suffer the loss of my brother...because of a car malfunction...that was likely due to the NYS budget issues...that should have had trooper cars...taken off the road...when they were in bad shape...just like the one my brother was left to use...on duty that day... which was not being maintained....and really needed to be junked...and replaced with a new one. It was a terrible and overwhelming loss for our family...and my parents were never the same after that. I use to think...because of his loss...that nothing else bad...could ever happen to us again. How wrong I was.

I can't even begin to know...what a parent has to live with...when their child is so depressed...or at least not thinking clearly...and may not have the will to go on...and gives up...leaving their family...with what is...a very, very sad reality.

I don't believe that one loss is easier than another loss...but I do think the circumstances under which...someone loses his life...and that is...directly related to another person's actions...so therefore...is that person's fault...does make the loss...more difficult to bear.

You were young...healthy...happy...enjoying your life...and had a promising future in your profession...with who knows which life events...on your horizon...i.e.... marriage... children...and all that comes with having a family...but because of sheer stupidity...and a lack of common sense...on the part of the FCPD hierarchy...and their misguided policies and protocols...to include the inadequate training of their officers...who were allowed to go to your home...on that night... with a SWAT team...and it resulted in the most damnable of acts...the unjust taking of someone's life...and one of their officer's...just caused that to happen again...to another family.

I know everyone grieves in their own way...and that we all have different personalities...and coping skills...but I'm me...and your loss...was...and remains for me...an inexcusable and reprehensible act...so there is no stop watch...or time limit...on how long...I should be allowed to take...to “get over it”...because I never will.

Furthermore...all this recent news coverage...concerning the mishandling of everything... from the FCPD shooting and killing of Mr. Geer...to the delay in providing his family with information they were seeking...to the criticisms...of the Deputy Executive...Police Chief...Head of FCPD Internal Affairs...FCPD Deputy Chief for Investigations...County Attorney...the Bd. Of Supervisors...and smacks of a cover up...involves some of the same people...and issues...we had to deal with in our case too.

I know the advice...was out of concern for me...but the concern should be focused on the residents of FFX County...the FCPD...and their need for oversight...which is long overdue.

I love you son...and I miss you...and while you are watching over your sisters... their families...and your brother...know that I am thinking of you...and praying for you...always.
January 30, 2015
Dear Sal...In light of a recent newspaper account...dated Jan. 27... and written by Tom Jackman...which referenced a Nov. incident...involving the FC SWAT team and Det. David Baucom...which I had not been aware of...but due to a Google Alert on my email...(and I don't know how those
alerts even show up)...which cited the County "settlement" re our family (what a strange word...because for me nothing is settled) so I decided to open it. Directly under the first heading about us...was a Wash Post headline by Jackman...which was titled...Fairfax SWAT team raids high stakes Great Falls poker game, seizes cash, terrifies players. Prior to the Google alert...I was just trying to get through...what is a very sad week for me...but I began to read the story ...and all of its 500+ comments...some of which I responded to.

How ironic...for this to be in the news...this particular week...which is as I've already said...a difficult one for me to get through...because 9 years ago...this week...is when all our heartache began...and in fact...on this day...the 30th...is when I saw you for the last time...as I kissed you...and made you a promise...that I didn't know wouldn't be kept.

Because of what they caused to happen...the same opinions I had of them then...and probably always will have...surfaced again...as I began to read. A couple of paragraphs in the article...mentioned you...and what happened as a result of...the same two...common denominators...named in
this raid...Baucom...and his use of SWAT...that were also involved in our tragedy...and now also involved...in this latest over the top response.

Additionally the policies and protocols then...that allowed for the FCPD SWAT to be used in routine matters...which was insane...since there are no margins for error...when using SWAT SOP...their tactics...and their "ready gun” practices... and were after your loss...supposedly reassessed...and changes made...so that what happened to you...and our family...wouldn't happen again.

The article headline was..Fairfax SWAT team raids high stakes Great Falls poker game, seizes cash, terrifies players. It read in part as follows...

On a quiet weeknight among the stately manors of Great Falls, ten men sat around a table in the basement of a private home last November playing high stakes poker. Suddenly, masked and heavily armed SWAT team officer from the Fairfax County Police Department burst through the door, pointed their assault rifles at the players and ordered them to put their hands on the table. The players complied. Their cash was seized, including a reported $150,000 from the game's host and eight of the ten players were charged with the Class 3 misdemeanor of illegal gambling, punishable by a maximum fine of $500.

One regular at the game said he glanced out the French doors in the basement and “I saw these helmets bobbing up and down” in the darkened backyard. The shadowy figures yelled that they were Fairfax County police with a search warrant, then opened the door and about eight officers in black marched in. “They were all yelling, ‘Does anybody have a weapon?'

There were no guns at the table, and no resistance, the player said. "They could've sent a retired detective with a clipboard and gotten the same result." he added. He requested anonymity so as not to jeopardize the case against him or his professional career.

Raids by Fairfax police on private poker games are not new — a similar game in Great Falls was raided in 2005. (and here it begins) But in 2006, a SWAT team was called in to arrest a single suspect accused of betting on football games, and SWAT Officer Deval Bullock accidentally shot and killed optometrist Salvatore J. Culosi. After that, the Fairfax police said they would use their teams more judiciously. Still, the Fairfax police have continued to be unapologetic in their aggressive enforcement of gambling laws. They will even make the effort to place an informant in a poker game and they are still willing to wield their heavy artillery.

After they (the players) got over the shock of staring down the barrels of high-powered semi-automatic assault rifles, then being interrogated and charged with a crime, the players and dealers all shared a similar goal: to wriggle out of getting a conviction, even a misdemeanor, on their records. Their lawyers were ready to go to trial in Fairfax General District Court last Thursday and to challenge whether the Virginia gambling law's definition of “games of chance” covers poker. In 2013, the Supreme Court considered and then decline to rule on whether poker qualified as a game of skill, and the Great Falls case appeared ripe to make legal history.

But the Fairfax prosecutors, with what the lawyers said was the police detecives' blessing, cut them a deal: stay clean for six months and the gambling charge would be dismissed,and eligible to be expunged from their record. And for those who had cash seized from them — one player had more than $20,000, the regular player said — the police agreed to return 60 percent of the money, and keep 40 percent. Though the police use of civil forfeiture is being revised in federal courts, in Virginia state courts the local police agency may keep 100 percent of what they seize. And what the Fairfax police organized crime and
narcotics section, which investigates gambling, will do with their seizure proceeds they will not say.

The defendants decided to take their deals and keep their mouths shut.

In my estimation...it smacks of FCPD ulterior motives...again...and they appear...not to be altruistic or honorable ones. Seems like a strange way to police.

One would have thought by now...that permitting the use of SWAT...for this kind of operation...aside from the reasons that are usually given...to justify it in their minds...and sounds like a stretch...for an excuse to use them...added to the possible loss of life...in such an unexpected and confusing scenario...one would think...that after all this time...since they have had...the last 9 years...to think
about their policies and protocols...that history wouldn't be repeating itself...on so many levels. Thankfully no one was shot...or killed...by "accident."

Sal...maybe I should be appreciative...in an odd sense...that the wrong that was done to you...is remembered...and will continue to be referenced...whenever there is a legitimate reason...to challenge and question this FCPD...use of SWAT...and the way they perceive serving and protecting...which is often questionable.

All I know is...you should be here...and enjoying your life. I miss you son...and I love you. You know all my thoughts...and what I carry in my heart.

God bless you Sal...as you rest peacefully in His perpetual light.

With my prayers...always.
January 24, 2015
Dear Son...Today we were at the 8:30 mass being offered for you...as it marked the Ninth Year...Day of Remembrance. Mr. P can always be counted on...to announce your name... whenever he is the lector...at a mass being said in your memory...so I was grateful that he was there today. Our dear friends...J & R...and...R & W...also attended the mass...as they have done each year...despite my telling them...that I don't want them to go out of their way...but they do anyway...and so...we are most grateful ...for both their friendship and support.

After mass...we all went to breakfast and spent several hours...catching up with each other's crazy lives. It was good to see them...and hear all the news that has taken place...since we last saw them in late summer. Somehow the daily routines...the holidays and flu season...got in the way of our getting together sooner. While at Pytn Pl...about 12 vets came in...and they were wearing their motorcycle jackets...adorned with their tour of duty combat mission insignias. One of them acknowledged my enthusiasm...as he was listening to what I was saying to our friends...in explaining my Peter Principle problems...with all the modern technological devices. He commented...saying he admired my energetic and demonstrative (talking with my hands) explanations. I told him that your Dad claims...that everything with me rises to a level of...10... whether it is warranted or not...I confessed to him...that I am more like a 12...on that scale...and we all laughed. When I got up to leave...and out of the blue...he got up too...and walked over to me...and asked...if he could give me a hug...and he did. I'd like to think that maybe...because it was this day...it may have been prompted by you...as a sign for me. We thanked them for their service...and wished each of them...God's blessings.

After we left...Dad and I visited your resting place. Your “hero” sister had been there yesterday...and left a lovely floral arrangement for you...in memory of this day. I'm sure your other sister...was at mass and praying for you. I also got an email card from D&MC...saying they were thinking of us...and remembering you on this day. They too have sent a message to us...every year since the first one. I so appreciate...your not being forgotten. My cousin P also sent a note...and I am going to return a call to B...since I missed it. I obviously took too long to call...because he just called me again...and this time I spoke to him...and he agreed with me...about the hug being a sign. Mrs. L also called me...and we talked for a while. She is such a sweet person... and we know each other's pain. Aunt C also called...and I will call her back.

I doubt that those who caused our grief...are thinking of you...or us...but that is theirs to live with

We went to see American Sniper last week...and the reviews seem dependent on...which side of the aisle...you sit. Recently...the movie and subject matter...is taking a lot of criticism ...so when I saw that Sean Hannity... was going to interview the father of the title character...I wanted to hear what he had to say. Wayne Kyle...is the father of Navy Seal Chris Kyle... who served four tours of duty...in Iraq..and was named by the DOD...as the deadliest sniper marksman...in U.S. military history. Undoubtedly..he saved many American soldiers...from being killed by the enemy...but after surviving what he went through on foreign soil...when he returned home ...he was tragically killed...by a soldier that he was trying to help.

That said...the father explained that dealing with his son's loss...has been a struggle...for he and his wife...and that he was told by some other gentleman...a few days after his son Chris was killed..."that you never get over it. You learn to live with it." Mr. Kyle said that is what they are struggling to do...trying to learn to live with it. I dare say...when a parent loses a child...the pain it creates for them...causes living and existing to interchange...and parents are left to juggle with that...as taking one day at a time...may get you through the motions...but the new normal...that you are left with...is anything but...normal...and your life is forever changed.

As for the negative criticisms of this movie...as far as I'm concerned...they all pale...in light of the loss...of this family's son. Remembering hurts...forgetting is not an option... and the pain...it never goes away.

God bless their son...and you.

I love you Sal...I miss you so much... and when I think of what these nine years could have brought to you...and our family...if only this day had never happened...I am incensed that it did...and I want to scream...and scream...and scream...until I can't scream anymore.

Keep watching over your sisters... their families...your brother...Aunt C & Uncle A...and all those...who may be thinking of you...on this day.

You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
January 07, 2015
Dear Sal...I eat my heart out every day....for breaking my promise to you...and more recently...with what is being reported in the news...regarding the shooting and killing of other unarmed persons...by police officers...whether they prove to be justified shootings...or not...the one that I relate to the most...is the shooting and killing of John Geer...at the hands of the FCPD...in 2013.

I have read your name...and our family name...in both the text...and the comments section...of recently written articles...about this very shooting...by the FCPD. There are parallels drawn...regarding the way the FCPD responded then...to our family's questions...and how they've responded now...to the questions of this victim family. Sadly...they stonewall...then fabricate...and frustrate. In my view the same three words...that held no meaning for the FCPD in 2006...still hold no meaning for them as we begin 2015. The three words...Transparency...Accountability..and Consequences.

I wonder...if only we got into court...maybe and it's just a maybe... their poor policies...terrible protocols...and inadequate officer training...that led to your loss...and our family's grief...could have been exposed...in our case...via their own officer's statements...which were contradictory of each other's accounts ...and understandings...of what the operation was...and which role each officer had within the plan...and after what they caused...to not own what they did...and conduct a thorough investigation at the scene...just showed a blatant disregard ...for what it should mean...to unjustifiably take another's life. If enough light was shed...on the ineptness at so many levels...within the FCPD...and then reported on...in print...or in any other form of the media...who knows...maybe the Geer family...could have been spared...their heartache.

I have left a lot unsaid...but you know my thoughts and how I feel.

Watch over your sisters...their families...and your brother.

I love you son...I miss you...and you are in my prayers...always.
January 01, 2015
Dear Sal...It is a quiet New Year's Eve...thus far...and your sister isn't due here until 8ish...so I am taking advantage of it...and writing this as time permits.

Dad made his usual...pizza...this time with the aid of a mixer...and a dough hook. It did lessen the kneading process...so that was good...and it saved him some time and energy. Energy being key...as we both...have ample reasons to be...running a little low...in that department.

Your brother went out initially...but returned home before midnight...so we welcomed in the New Year...with him and a friend...and your sister and her children. At midnight we were texted...by two very dear friends...and then...received a phone call...from another one. I called your other sister...and proceeded to pass the phone around...because she was at home...with a bad cold...that is going around...and affecting many people.

This holiday...was not met with much enthusiasm...and I know a number of people...who expressed that same feeling. Times have changed...and life is different than it once was...and for a whole host of reasons. We can't stop time...or life from changing...but one thing is a constant...and that is...you are missed...and we wish so very much...that you could be here...with our family.

We are ending this year...on another sad note...because of the recent...and unexpected loss of Mr. P. He and his sense of humor...will both be sorely missed. I pray that he will be reunited...with his very missed son...Vinny...and that both their souls...rest peacefully...in God's perpetual light.

May you have a very blessed...New Year 2015......as you watch over your sisters...their families...and your brother.

You are not forgotten Son...I love you...and you are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
December 25, 2014
Dear Son...Dad and I visited your resting place today...and I removed the Advent wreath...that I didn't take home yesterday. It was quite windy... so I hope the flowers that are there.. don't get blown away.

We are having a quiet day...just us... and your brother. Christmas for any of us...is not what it once was...and has become a day...that I can't wait for...to be over...although I can remember...when it was looked forward to...but that was before...all that has happened.

Recently...Dad commented on a newspaper headline...that referenced a judge's ruling...that ordered the FCPD ...to release information...they have been withholding...from another victim family...whose unarmed loved one...was killed by a FC police officer...in Aug. 2013. The family has been waiting...since then...for their questions to be answered...so I don't think...the FCPD has learned anything since 2006...and the shame is on them ...once again. It was a present of sorts...to see Dad's comment...in today's paper...on the editorial page.

I wish you a Blessed Christmas Day... Sal.

Watch over your sisters...their families...and your brother.

I love you Son...I miss you...and you are in my thoughts...and in my prayers ...always.
December 24, 2014
Dear Salvatore...Today is Christmas Eve. It is the ninth one...without you...and is also...the 8 Years and 11 Months Remembrance Day...that marks what has caused us...to be forever changed as a family.

We will be at the 5 pm mass today... that is being offered in your memory. The St. Joseph statue...has finally been restored...and is once again...on the pedestal in front of the church. I left a rose near the plaque...and another at your resting place...along with a floral Christmas arrangement... but this is not the way...I ever thought...we would have to spend our holidays.

When I visited you this past Sunday... I saw a floral birthday arrangement... left for you by your sister. I am also a sister...who lost a brother in tragic circumstances...and it hurts me...to know that your siblings...are feeling your loss...and experiencing your absence from our family...just like I felt...those many years ago... and still do...at the loss of my own brother...as I often wonder...even now ...and as I imagine they will...how different life could have been..."if only"...we were all spared...what did happen.

Strange how we all take so much for granted...expecting only the usual life changes...to take place...as a family grows...and the years go by... but then in an instant...it can all come crashing down...as it did for ours...when the most unexpected...and out of the ordinary...tragically happens. It happened that very way... for your grandparents...when they lost your uncle...and at the time...I thought...this kind of grief...could never happen again...so close to home...but it did...and just as they were devastated...at the loss of their son...so am I...at the loss of mine.

I don't mean to be so maudlin...maybe it's the time of the year...coupled with the dreary and rainy weather... and it tends to make people feel blue ...but more likely...it is not for any of those reasons...and is just because ...there is no other way for a parent to feel...when their hopes and dreams ...for the well being and happiness... that you pray your children's lives... will hold for them...is denied to them ...and in a way...that you could have never imagined.

I have so many questions for God...and I hope...HE has answers...that I can accept.

Please keep close watch over your siblings...their families...and your brother.

I love you Sal...and I miss you so very much.

You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
December 17, 2014
Dear Son...Today would have been your 46th Birthday...so I pray...that in that better place...it is a blessed one...and that you are celebrating it ...in the company of our family...and your own dear friends...who are there with you.

The last one we celebrated with you... was your 37th...so this is the ninth birthday...since then...that once again...will find me...at the mass being offered for you...receiving communion for your intention...and then visiting you...at your resting place...with a floral birthday arrangement...but it's not the way...a mother should have to mark...the occasion of her son's birth...but... because of them...and what they caused to happen...this is all I can do for you. There is no longer a family gathering...no dinner...no cake...no singing...no blowing out of candles... no presents...and no wishes...for many more...healthy and happy returns...of your special day...and why?...because of them...and what they caused to happen. Your future was taken from you ...along with all our hopes...of perhaps...seeing you marry....and becoming a father...and achieving all of your potential and goals...and so many more “ands”...but again...because of them...and what they caused to happen...we will never know the joys.. there could have been...if only.

As I repeated today's responsorial psalm at mass...the phrase stuck in my head...”justice shall flourish in his time..and fullness of peace for ever." Anytime I hear the word justice used.. whether spoken...written...or read... my inner dialogue kicks in...and it doesn't help matters...when there has been so much coverage in the news... about certain unarmed persons...being shot and killed by police...when they were being confronted by them...and while I don't want this...to be a part of my thoughts...on your special day.. I do have my opinions...about what has taken place...in several of these incidents. I recognize that there are times...when it may be a justified police response...but taking a life... when "theirs' is not in danger...or being threatened...is beyond any reasonable explanation...and a totally unforgivable act.

The book of Genealogy...connecting the Old to the New Testament...was today's Gospel reading. God chose this lineage ...for His Son...to show that Jesus is the descendant of David...and of Abraham...and also to fulfill the promises...He made to the both of them ...which was the heart of His plan to rescue humanity...and that in blessing them...they could become a blessing to others. This rogues' gallery of ancestors...showed that no one is perfect...but can be made holy by God's grace.

I think the homily on family...coupled with today being your birthday...and the justice flourishing in his time... and peace for ever...tapped into all of my usual thoughts...on these very issues...and I came away without any resolves...concerning family...justice ...peace...and because of the sick world in which we live...the rescuing of humanity...has also become a very long shot..in my so jaded opinion.

I know we must keep the faith...not lose hope...or give up on prayer...but there are times...when I wonder...if we are being heard.

You know my concerns...so keep close watch over your “hero” sister...and her family...your other sister...who also had a mass said for you today... your brother...and your nieces...and your nephews.

Thank you for the three signs today... they were welcomed. God bless you!


I love you Sal...I miss you...and I pray for you always.
November 27, 2014
Dear Son...Another Thanksgiving Day... the 9th without you...and it breaks my heart.

I love you Sal and I miss you. You are in my prayers...always.
November 24, 2014
Dear Sal...I received communion at the noon mass...being offered for your intention...on this Eight Years and Ten Months Remembrance Day. Last week ...after all the failed attempts...on site...to correct the problems with the Saint Joseph statue...it was removed from in front of the church... and sent to the NY studio...for the needed restoration....so I only bought one flower...and I left it at your resting place when I visited you... before getting to the other tasks at hand...that this holiday calls for... but you will remain in my thoughts... and just a heartbeat away...as I carry you with me always.

This is Thanksgiving Week...and with all that needs to be done...it was kind of your sister...to once again have this holiday at her home. I still haven't addressed the last question you asked me...but I know it is long overdue...and inevitable...since I am really feeling the repercussions...and limitations...of my every difficult step. So I will have to do something soon.

As always...the holiday season is very bittersweet...but we go through the motions...because we must. Your nieces and nephews...have their "meal" expectations...so I will do my best to meet them.

I don't know how your sisters keep up the pace...since their children are all so busy. Two of the boys were in a play...and between rehearsals and weekend performances...they were racking up the miles...on the road. The tennis practices and meets...the homework...then studying...and science fair prepping...are also very time consuming. Then too...there is the home schooling...the doctors' appts... and the general running of a home... and it all leaves me out of breath... for both girls. God bless them...they are amazing mothers.

Your older nieces are doing well too.. one at work...and the other excelling at your alma mater. Creating music... via some computer apps...the playing of guitars and even a ukulele...while still wanting a violin...and a base guitar...with speaker...keeps the country kids...as they call themselves ..additionally occupied. More than a few of your nieces and nephews...also have good singing voices. Again...one of your talents too...although I think Dad would want the credit...for that gene.

Parenting children today...is much more demanding...than it was...when I was raising a family...so I'm glad I'm not young any more.

Your brother was recently hired...to use his talents...in an area...that he seems to have an affinity for...and perhaps it may open doors...to other opportunities for him...so it's a bit of positive news.

I will try to remember to count my blessings on Thursday...and while I do have many...the one that was taken from us...by them...is a very painful one to have lost.

I love you son...I miss you...and you are in my thoughts...and in my prayers ...always.
November 11, 2014
Dear Son...Weather-wise...today has been beautiful...but since it's also Veterans Day...it is somber...as we offer our respect and prayers...in remembrance...of all the men and women ...active duty...civilians who once served...retired...or deceased...who have sacrificed much...in service to our country...while protecting our freedom. May God also protect...and bless each of them.

Yesterday was a strange day...because out of nowhere...a site came up on my computer screen...from Find Law...and it cited our case vs B. Of course I started to read it...and it was getting me irritated. It presented an account of what took place...in the pre-trial legal system...from 2007... up to the Court of Appeals decision. As I read...I was responding mentally ...to what they described...as a dynamic plan...and it was to be used.. against you. I was remembering all of their...behind the scenes stonewalling ...that prompted the steps we took... and adding in...my recollections of sitting through...the many upsetting ...police officer accounts...via their depositions...where the contradictions of each other's statements...were mind boggling...and what they did or didn't see...or what each one's roll was...or what they thought it was...no two were on the same page..thanks to that dynamic plan...then adding into my memory bank...the visuals..of their snide lawyers' facial gestures...and snarky comments...I was revisiting all that took place...throughout those 5 years...and it was aggravating me as much now...by reading the account.. as it did then...while living through it. I know...I know...I know...I am told often...to turn the page...on a lot of things...and...that it's done.. but I really needed to keep my promise to you...and so in a legal sense...I am in limbo.

I've always found...that when someone is asked for the truth...and “that someone” can't look you in the eyes... when answering...it is a sign that "the someone”...is either lying...or guilty...or both. The only time...we were in the same room...with HIM...I remember hearing that he requested... we not be present...but we remained in your behalf...and throughout his deposition...I never took my eyes off of him...and he never once looked at me...or in my direction. I found that very telling.

The UC Det...at the end of his deposition...came towards me...and attempted to offer me his hand...but I didn't take it. He said “I understand ...and I'm very sorry about what happened to Sal." He knew that you were a decent person...and that his request...for SWAT team involvement... and their over excessive show of force was completely unnecessary...and your loss...totally unjustifiable. He was the catalyst...so he knew...he had and has...a lot to be sorry for.

As I was in the middle of reading..Dad came into the kitchen...and put the mail on the table. I saw an envelope addressed only to me. I was surprised to see...that it was from Dr. Brodmann ...the first optometrist you worked for...so many years ago. She sent a card with a note...and enclosed two photos...of a dinner party...that you were all invited to. She wrote “The years have passed but the fond memories of Sal have stayed in my heart.” She said she wanted me to have the photos...and that she also has...a video of you singing...at her Mom's retirement party. Both of her parents have Alzheimer's...and she's been taking care of them...for the last six years. I will send her a note...thanking her...for her kind words...thoughtfulness...and the photos. What I appreciate most..after all this time...is her remembering you fondly..since I know how accommodating you were...in dealing with..her strong -willed office managing Mother...but then again...you had plenty of practice in that area...having me for a Mom...and too...you were a very supportive buffer...between Dr. B and her Mother. Being a caretaker isn't easy...so I will offer her...some words of encouragement too.

Yesterday was an up and down gamut. Anger and sadness...surprise and tears ...and Thanksgiving isn't even here yet...that “family gathering” holiday ...amongst the many other days...that they have destroyed for us...as we are in the season...that emotionally..does me in the most.

I visited you today...Tuesday Number 459...took home the angel...and will return for the vase...since it is fall cleanup time...at your resting place. Even the St. Joseph statue...is in need of repair...the third time wasn't the charm...I can only hope...that this time...it will make a difference.

Keep watching over your sisters...and their families...your brother...our extended families...and your friends.

I love you Salvatore...I miss you... and you are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
October 24, 2014
Dear Sal...We attended this morning's 8:15 mass...that was being offered in your memory..on this 105th Remembrance Month. I again...visited your resting place...leaving flowers there...and at the St. Joseph statue.

Since it is a Friday...all of the St. Michael senior building students... were in attendance...along with your niece...who is now an eighth grader. To think she was just five...when our world was turned upside down...and now...by next fall...she will be in high school. So many changes have taken place...over these years.

This is the time of year...the 100 days...starting with that first encounter...two days after your brother's birthday...and ending on Jan. 24th...that cause me to look back...in hindsight...on what took place that lead up to...what should have never taken place.

I don't know how...“he”...and...“the other deceptive one”...can live with themselves. What they did...and may choose not to think about...will not be forgotten by me.

And here it is...Fall. So what made this...your favorite season...and time of the year...was...seeing nature's colorful displays...as your drove to...from...and between your two practices...watching football games... and being with friends...going out for Halloween costumes...and then arriving at the party...Thanksgiving and family dinners...your Birthday...Christmas shopping and buying presents...your favorite foods...the welcoming of a New Year...with celebrations...and why it's not my favorite time of year...is because of what they caused...to happen...so this once looked forward to...and happy season...is now very sad...and very difficult...to get through.

In recent weeks...as I mentioned before...I found myself once again... voicing my opinion...in comments re another shooing and killing...of an unarmed man...by a member of the FCPD ...that took place last Aug...and is by all accounts...still under police investigation...so the information the family is seeking...has not been forth coming...pending who knows what. The buzz words that safeguard...those who are "protectors and servers"...while keeping the family “stonewalled”...are tactics I know too well...having also been there. I feel for this family...and will continue to pray for them.

Our world's a mess..on so many fronts ...and because...as it's said... "things can always be worse"...they probably will become worse...much worse...if God continues to be ignored.

Sal...this is no longer a world you would recognize...and I pray that you are at peace...in that better place.

I love you son...I miss you....and you are in my thoughts...and in my prayers ...always.
September 24, 2014
Dear Salvatore...I attended today's noon mass...that I had scheduled in your memory...on this..."8 Years and 8 Months Remembrance Day." I brought flowers to your resting place...and to the Saint Joseph statue...since it hasn't been removed yet.

The sacred spaces people...are suppose to cast a new statue...because the one that has been there...for the last 3 years...was ruined by their attempts to seal its finish...but so far the damaged statue...has not been replaced ...by the promised new one.

Sadly...Dad had to give up on your car. I remember the night you brought it home. Cousin Anthony was visiting us ...and we all went outside...to see your new 2000 Dark Navy Blue Pontiac Bonneville...and you were so happy to show it to us. I have a photo of you and “Father” Anthony...standing in front of it... right after he gave you...and your car ...a blessing. I also remember...by Christmas in 2005...you had asked us...to go with you...to start looking...for a new car...right after the holidays... because you felt the mileage...you were putting on it...going from one office in Warrenton...to the other in Manassas...was becoming a wear n tear issue...for it...and since Dad also wanted to get a new car...you could both go looking at the same time.

After what they caused to happen...to you...and us....our world came to an end...and Dad just kept your car... and although I didn't want him to drive it...he did...up until this past Thursday...when it broke down on the beltway. He had been throwing money into it...repair after repair...over the years...and now...the transmission he had already replaced in 2009... conked out on his way to work He entertained the idea of replacing it once again...but I think I surprised your father...when I told him to let it go...because everybody knows...that I don't like to part with anything that was yours...and the reason...I didn't encourage him to have it fixed...was because...you had wanted a “new car”...way back then...so I felt it would be more than ok...to now give up on it. After I cleaned it out... wiped it down...and vacuumed it very thoroughly...we donated it to a veteran's charity. I took one last picture of it...as it was being towed away...but the one I'll cherish...is the one of you...with Anthony... smiling so broadly...and looking so happy.

I love you Sal...and I miss you...each and every day.

Keep watching over your sisters..their families...and...your brother.

God bless you son. You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
September 09, 2014
Dear Salvatore...Today is the 450th Tuesday...and although I did visit you today...I must confess...that there have been a few times...when our weekly Tuesday's...had to become Wednesday's or Thursday's...over these years...because of that very last thing...you said to me...about getting my knee issues resolved...which I still have not done...and now they have become...the very reasons why... some of our Tuesday's...have been missed.

This past weekend was a hectic one... as Dad wound up in the ER...because he over-extended himself...with "do it yourself" tasks...in and out of doors ...on a particularly hot and humid Saturday...and since he's never one to pace himself...or stop to take a breather and a drink of water...he managed to become very dehydrated...to the point of almost having to be hospitalized. Although all the tests he was given...proved to be negative ...his symptoms...of dizziness and constant vomiting exhausted him...and kept depleting what he tried to drink ...so he spent the balance of his time sleeping...only waking to take in sips of fluids...that he hoped would stay down. He saw Dr. F on Monday...and he ordered an electrolyte panel...and we are waiting for the results. In the meantime...he is trying to replenish his potassium and salts. I personally think...there was a bit of sun-stroke involved...but alas I don't have a shingle...so my diagnosis fell on deaf ears. Gatorade has been suggested for the moment...as the cure all.

After I had already read the newspaper article...a few days ago...leaving a comment too...re the lawsuit filed by a Springfield family...against the FCPD...ML phoned the house...wanting to touch base with us...knowing that the Jackman article...on what happened at the hands of the FCPD...to the Springfield man...would certainly be upsetting to us. We spoke for a while...and I wished him...and the involved family..the justice they deserve...since it appears...that the FCPD hasn't learned much...over these last 8 years 7 months and 16 days... especially when they are dealing with ...an unarmed person.

Our world keeps getting sicker...and sicker...on so many levels...and yet there are those...who remain quite unprepared for that time...when all their wrongs...will be accounted for..and their consequences realized. Until then...God help all of us.

I love you Sal...and ask that you... watch over our family...especially... your sisters...your nieces...your nephews...and most importantly...your brother.

I miss you...and you are in my daily prayers...always.
September 03, 2014
Dear Sal...It happened again...and the FCPD is once more responsible...for causing another family...to grieve and ...be forever changed.

Jackman wrote the article...and it was in today's...our Tuesday's..Washington Post. The victim's family...has just passed the one year mark...of their loved ones loss. The information they are seeking...has yet to be given to them. They do not know the name of the office...who killed their son...and devastated his children...nor has the family...received any answers...to their many questions.

They had been quietly waiting all this time...thinking that the FCPD...has a conscience...was doing their job...and then would be forthcoming. We thought that too...and like us...the first year ended for them too...and they learned the hard way...that the only way to get answers...was to file a lawsuit...and...it was announced today.

I do hope they fare better than we did ...since there is a new cast of higher ups...as Gerry Connolly was elected to Congress...but not with my votes... Robert Horan...the then Commonwealth Atty. is retired...I didn't know there is an award named for him...and it's bestowed yearly...to the individual ...who has demonstrated the highest level of excellence...in advancing the pursuit of justice...for the citizens of the Commonwealth of VA. We were and are citizens of VA...and now I'm wondering...if you can be the recipient of an award named for you... and if not...maybe that's why he didn't appoint a grand jury...to hear our case...he probably didn't want to be considered self serving...and yes I am being sarcastic...also ex FFX County Police Chief Rohrer...who was once a SWAT first line supervisor... not a comforting thought for me...has a new position...as deputy county executive...in charge of public safety programs...and will oversee the Police Dept...so what is that flip definition about insanity...and with any luck... maybe their lawyers...that we dealt with...are no longer involved...in county legal matters. They were an obnoxious threesome. Oh, I almost forgot the DOJ...with their bar raised ever so high...when it comes to civil rights violations...and officer's intent. Right!! And heaven help them...if they go to the Richmond Court of Appeals...since they don't really like to make decisions...but they will Deny...or Dismiss the facts in an appeal. I guess I am getting old...and I no longer feel the need... to mince words.

I hope this family...can withstand getting dragged...through all the many frustrations and disappointments...of a slow moving legal system...that seems to care less about the rights of the victim...and more about the inept badge wearers...and a department and union...that has an us vs them... attitude and mentality...even when they may be in the wrong.

Of course...something written by the reporter rubbed me wrong...and so I commented...and a usual holier than thou type...voiced his opinion...re my feelings in the matter...and somehow I managed...to not dignify his stupidity ...with a response...which is out of character for me...but I'm learning...and it was fortunate...that two other people who also commented...did check him on it.

I'm sure I will be keeping tabs...on how it progresses for them...and saying lots of prayers for ML's health ...and hopefully a victorious outcome ...with justice having been served... sooner than later.

I love you son...and continue to have a tough time...with my broken promise to you.

Rest peacefully Sal...and keep close watch over your sisters...their families...and your brother.

I love you...I miss you...and you remain in my heart..in my thoughts ...and in my prayers...always.
August 24, 2014
Dear Sal...We attended the 10:30 mass this morning...being offered for the repose of your soul...on this 103rd Month Remembrance Day.

Today is also Dad's birthday...but I doubt that it's a happy one for him... despite the attempt...to celebrate it with some friends...last night.

The news has been insane...the last few weeks...none of it good...and some of it...really hits home...so it has us reeling again...and running that gamut of emotions...that leaves each of us...wanting to scream...and scream ...until we can't scream anymore...and it has to do with injustice...”use of force” policies...and all the PD buzz words...that are off putting...a new one on me is...”social capital"... which some "expert" cites as...what is needed...to whether this “type of storm"...as another police shooting... of an unarmed person...this time in Missouri...raises the tally once again.

Reading the reported accounts...about the unarmed black teen...who was shot and killed...by a white police officer ...and what may...or may not have taken place...that put this incident into motion...or watching the news on TV... and then listening to the talking heads of radio...and their call-in audiences...who all want to voice...their thoughts and opinions... and in many cases their unfounded conclusions...and finally...the badge wearers who close ranks...and as one reporter stated...opt for obscurity... rather than needed transparency... which in my opinion...is all due to their..."us vs them" attitude and mentality...continues to strike...one too many chords with me...relative to some of the treatment we experienced.. when dealing with the "us"...in our own very unnecessary and unjustifiable loss.

Until more is made known...I will try to temper my upset...but that is never easy for me.

Sal...watch over your sisters...their families...and your brother. You know my concerns for each of them...and what is in my heart.

I love you son...and I miss you. You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers ...always
July 24, 2014
Dear Sal...Just got back from the noon mass...being offered in your memory today...on this 8 Years and 6 Months Day of Remembrance. Although your name was listed in the church bulletin...it went unannounced from the altar.

After mass...I went to the florist... and had 3 arrangements made. I left the first one at your resting place... and the second at the St. Joseph statue...which is again looking like it was vandalized. Evidently the third attempt at fixing some of the imperfections on it...was definitely not the charm. It now looks all caked...and gloppy...and is two or three different shades of a mustardy color. The salesperson from the religious store...said he will have the NY artist...come down to remedy it. I think it needs to be totaled...and they should provide us with a new statue...since they are the ones who have messed it up each time.

This past week...I was on a war path of sorts. A plant I had left at your resting place earlier in the week...actually two days prior to the current visit...I was making...was missing. My first thought...was not the deer. There was no way...one could have carried it off in his mouth...at least not without leaving some telltale signs...like at least ...spilled dirt. The entire plant was gone...as though it was just picked up...and carried off. I figured... maybe someone who uses the area...as a personal jogging path...since this wasn't the first time...that a plant I've left...disappeared...while no other flowers in the area were disturbed...may have helped himself... once again...and is using them to create a garden.

I did decide to ask the caretakers..if they were told to remove plants...and when I was told...they are at times... and do...if the plants are dead...but considering that I am up there several times a week...and don't like seeing dried out flowers...which I'm sure wasn't a problem with the latest missing plant...I asked at the front office...if they would tell the crew...and the manager of the groundskeepers...to leave what I put there...alone...and I will take care of what ever is needed. It really irritates me...because no other vases are disturbed...and their flowers are long overdue for discarding...but they are never touched...so I wonder exactly what is going on. You know me...I'm no shrinking violet...and I don't mince words...so I am not expecting it to happen again...but we shall see.

The third arrangement...I also left at the statue...in Richard's memory... because tomorrow marks...his...8 Years Remembrance Day. Each time I recall what he wrote...in his letter of condolence to me...about remembering you always....it saddens me to think...that just six months and one day after your loss...he also was called back home by God. Each of you...as well as Vinny...is so missed.

On a more pleasant note...last night we got to wish one of your nieces...a Happy 14th Birthday. Time keeps passing...and your nieces and nephews ...are growing up so fast. I wish you were here with us and them.

Please keep watch over each of them...as well as your sisters and your brother.

I love you son...I miss you...and you are in my thoughts each day...and in my prayers...always.
June 24, 2014
My Dear.Salvatore...I wasn't able... to schedule a mass for you...on this...Eight Years and Five Months Remembrance Day...because...the last of the Novena of Father's Day masses.. that began on the sixteenth...were ending today...but there will be a mass...offered in your memory... tomorrow...which I will be attending.

Earlier...I visited your resting place ...and the St. Joseph statue...and I left flowers...at both locations.

Today was a beautiful...bright and warm day...one that you should have been enjoying...but there we were... with me on one side...of an inscribed marble slab...and you on the other. I know this is my reality...the new normal...but the circumstances...that have brought us to this point...are hard to believe...and even harder to accept.

The questions that were asked of them did not get credible answers...so for me...they remain unresolved...and will continue to run through my head...along with my many thoughts... regarding their lack of honor and integrity...in a profession...that should strive for nothing less...if they really mean...to serve and protect. I can't help how my thoughts and feelings surface...and God knows.. that I make no apologies...for what I think of those...who caused your loss ...and our grief.

I miss you son...so very much...and for so many reasons.

God bless you Sal...as you keep watching over...your sisters...their families...and...your brother.

I love you Sal...and you are in my thoughts...each and every day...and in my prayers...always.
June 15, 2014
Dear Son...I wish you a very blessed “GOD-Father's Day...as you keep watch over your two Godchildren...as well as your sisters...and your other nieces and nephews.

God Bless You Sal.

I love you...I miss you...and you are in my prayers...always.
May 24, 2014
Dear Sal...Today marks...the 100th Month Remembrance Day...and I will once again...be receiving communion for your intention...at the 8:30 mass...being offered for you this morning.

One would think…from what I term as remembrance days…that all the other days...in between the twenty-fourth of one month...to the next month's twenty-fourth...are just regular days for me…but they aren't. Thoughts of you... come to mind...every day...and throughout my day. I could be in the midst of a mundane chore...or in a grocery store...or out with friends... or watching TV...or just waiting for a light to change...and in an instant... despite what is going on around me... or what I am doing...you suddenly pop into my head...and I suppose that is because...you are with me all the time...as I carry you close in my heart. I love you...and I miss you.

This past weekend...we were at West Point...for Dad's 50th...Class of ‘64 Graduation Reunion. The turnout was impressive...with over 300 “Old” cadets...their spouses...and in some cases...even their children and grandchildren...in attendance.

I regret...that we never visited West Point...with you or your siblings... when you all were younger. It is an impressive service academy...as well as a national landmark...and yet we took it for granted...as native New Yorkers...and it became...just where Dad went to college...besides...when- ever we were in the NY area...it wasn't to sight-see...but to spend time with our family...now in hindsight...who knows...maybe if you had seen...what a beautiful setting it was...and remains...in addition to its discipline...that forges young boys... into becoming strong and responsible men...who value the principles of... Duty...Honor...Country...it may have influenced your choice...when it was time...for you to consider colleges. I do believe...you could have met...all the requirements...for acceptance..but then I think back...and remember what you said...as a little boy...about the “most dangerous things" in the world.. that you wouldn't want to do...one of which...was to be a soldier...and now I'm thinking...at least a soldier...had a fighting chance...but a non-threatening...compliant...eye doctor...standing in his own driveway ...facing an armed SWAT officer...may have fared better...as a soldier...see Sal...this is how my head goes...from one thing to another. Back to what I was intending to write.

We stayed about 35 minutes from the Point...and rode in buses...that dropped us off...door to door. It was very well organized...and we had a really good time...as we reconnected with so many old friends...and got caught up...on where our years have taken us...and our families. There were lots of laughs...stimulating conversations...Dad's singing...two nights in a row...and which I must admit...was enjoyed by everyone...of course he really enjoyed...all the positive comments and compliments he got. There was also a beautiful and heartfelt...memorial service...for all the fallen members of the class...and then the graveside visits...to those of them...who are buried at the West Point cemetery...so along with the laughter...there were also tears...and with that in mind...on this Memorial Weekend... may all of our fallen servicemen and women...defenders of the freedoms...we still are enjoying ...rest peacefully...in God's eternal light.

Please watch over your Godchild...she is abroad...and I for one...won't rest easily...until she gets back home. There are also other matters...that need special attention...and you know what they are...and for whom.

You are loved...you are missed...and you are in my prayers...always.
May 06, 2014
Dear Son…Today your Goddaughter turned 20…but we can't celebrate her birthday until tomorrow…because she is at UVA...taking the last of her sophomore end terms.

Her ambition to be a high school Math teacher...is underway. This is year two for her…with three to go…since it is a five year program…and despite carrying …more than the required credits...she is doing quite well. God bless her!

The changes in these last 8+ years…are most evident…as I see how much…your nieces and nephews…have grown. The oldest...will be 23…in just a couple of weeks. How I wish you were here…to see who they are becoming.

I must say...I was both surprised and grateful...to read that Michael too... is praying for you.

Sal...watch over each of them...as well as their parents...and your brother...too.

I love you Son...and you are in my prayers...always.
April 27, 2014
Uncle Sal,
You are in my prayers. If you are in purgatory at this moment, I hope that you can get out as soon as possible, so that you can enjoy the fullness of heaven in all of its GLORY! It is Divine Mercy Sunday. I will be going to Adoration at 3:00 and will be praying for you today.
April 24, 2014
My Dear Son…I received Communion for your intention…at the Mass…being offered for you this morning…on this.. ”99th Month Remembrance Day.” I believe...that an intercession of a spiritual nature…such as a mass... provides graces…mercies…and prayers... for the one for whom it is said…and so…I suppose...having monthly masses said for you...is how I continue to cope…with my inability at that time…to have attained for you…the last rites of our faith…even though...it was attributable to their negligence…from that very night…when their delayed notification to us…of what they unforgivably…had caused to happen…to you…and to our family…had put us in a time frame…that was beyond...the limited time…in which those rites…could have been...administered to you.

As St. Ambrose preached, "We have loved them during life; let us not abandon them in death, until we have conducted them by our prayers into the house of the Lord."

You are loved Sal...and you are always in my prayers…so for as long as I can schedule masses…I will.

After Mass…I brought flowers…to your resting place…and I also placed a second arrangement…near the St. Joseph statue. This has become somewhat of a ritual…for me…as I keep marking time…and missing you.

Keep watching over...your sisters... their families...and your brother.

I love you Salvatore…and you are in my daily thoughts…and in my prayers...always.
April 20, 2014
Dear Sal…Our celebration of holidays.. has changed in so many ways…over these last years…and none of them...for the better. True...they always seemed to be a circus…in need of a tent…but they were...the memorable ones…where we'd all be together...laughing...joking ...poking fun at one another...and raising our voices...well over all the loud pounding...stomping...running... jumping...and semi-seek-n'destroy sounds…that the younger kids...mostly your nephews…seemed to enjoy making.

It is Easter…our 9th…in our “new normal”…and somehow…I did manage...in those first few...“after” what happened years…even through the tears of seeing your empty chair...at the dinner table...but because all the grandchildren were young…to still get myself...to go through the motions... of a holiday…but now...the children are no longer little…and the motions are not needed. I haven't filled any baskets...or boiled and colored any eggs...or put out even the fewest...of Easter decorations...in fact…I'm not even cooking...and this may be the second year…that has happened. Of course there are reasons why…some move valid than others…but I wish it didn't have to be...the way it is.

Granted…I am slowing down...and still skirting the knees issue…and also other agendas too…need to be taken into consideration…as families grow... and other obligations surface…or the making of their own plans…or their own traditions…can also be in the mix…and then too...there is the unforeseen... sometimes it's the weather…or like someone getting sick…and the “not sure if we can make it” call…and before you know it…it adds up to the beginning of the end.

I need to come to terms with some things…like certain changes are inevitable…and other arrangements may be necessary at times…and it looks like this is one of those times. At the least it will be an experience…and who knows…it may turn out to be a good one. It's just that...despite all the work and complaining…change is not easy to accept…also some habits die hard…and I am a creature of habit... whose spirit would be willing…if only everything else…could fall into place.

For now…we will go to church…and then visit your resting place…and I will pray for you...but being me…there is always that question…that pops into my mind…with every step I take…as I walk the path...to a place…that my son... should have never been…in my lifetime. Do “they”…those I will always hold responsible…for the visits I now have to make…ever think of you…and what their inexcusable…and reprehensible actions caused…or do they even have a conscience?

Today the weather is beautiful…and I wish you could be here with us...to enjoy it...but instead...I can only carry you close...in my heart. I love you son…and I miss you.

I was forgetting to mention…that last week…on Palm Sunday…Dad visited you…on his own. He had made…two braided palm crosses…so he brought one to you… and the other to Ryan.

It was decided that we should eat out today…so I made a reservation at an Italian restaurant…about ten days ago. We had a 1:30 seating time…(your Godchild had to get back to school) but for about 30 minutes into the... restaurant's allotted time frame...we were only nine of the fourteen expected. One of your sister's got stuck in traffic…so she was a little late…but all in all in turned out ok. At least I hope...they thought it did ...and didn't feel too rushed. There was quite a variety of foods…most of them quite good. The Provolone and the Italian Ricotta Cheese Cake…were exceptionally good…and so was the Lamb. We weren't as noisy…as we could have been…at home…so that was also good. I think everyone enjoyed themselves…but of course...we had a spill...and yes...I had to be the one...to break a glass...and watch its contents go all over the table...so I guess …I will have to live that down.. before the next time…………if there is one.

God Bless you Sal…and rest peacefully knowing you are loved…you are missed.. and you are prayed for…always.
March 24, 2014
Dear Sal…On this 8 Years and 2 Months Remembrance Day…I attended the 8:30 mass…being offered today...for the repose of your soul. Mr. P…bless his heart…once again came through…and did announce your name.

After mass…I visited both your resting place…and the St. Joseph's Statue... and I left a floral arrangement at both. I think the florist…is using me…to see how quickly each month goes by…because when she sees me…she knows …it's the 24th again.

I was listening to the radio this am…and came across a station…airing a panel discussion…among several lawyers ...civil activists...and scholarly types…who were weighing the pros and cons…on the topic of transparency…or lack of…within the justice system…and cited the public's right to know…how the Supreme Court…and its Justices... arrive at the decisions...which then affect all of us.

One of the conclusions drawn...re the right of the public…to “see…learn…and then…to understand"...how issues get resolved…and enacted upon…focused on long standing cultural circumstances.. that have prevented that right…from happening…as certain entities are predisposed…by a “belief"…that they... do not have to be open…to outside involvement or any oversight…because that was not the way…they were designed to operate...from the get go. At least that is what I came away with …before I had to turn the radio off. I suppose secrecy has its merit…for those who would disallow others…from knowing and viewing the process…but to my way of thinking…it is very suspect. Knowledge is power...and the reluctance in sharing it...is because those in charge of the status quo... don't want to take a chance…at tipping the scales…and losing some of that power.

Of course…I found the topic subjective …and my thoughts and views quickly surfaced…re other local government departments…where transparency…in addition to the accountability…and the preventive changes…we were seeking …in your behalf…was also stymied.

So once again…and it never seems to take much…I am back to square one.

I love you son…and I miss you.

God bless you…as you keep watch over your sisters…their families…and…your brother.

You are in my thoughts…each and every day…and in my prayers…always.
March 19, 2014
Dear Salvatore…Yesterday was Tuesday Number 425…and today is...the Feast Day of St. Joseph.

I didn't get to visit you yesterday... but was hoping to make up for it today …on your patron saint name day…but that didn't happen either…because more and more…the awful weather we've been having…is taking a toll on my knees... and it is just a matter of time…before there will have to be…a definitive answer…to the last question you asked me...as I have no intention...to give up...my visits with you.

Stay close to my other Salvatore Joseph…and continue to watch over... your sisters…their families…and your brother.

May God bless you…and your Uncle…on this very special day.

I love and miss you son…and you are in my thoughts…and in my prayers… always.
February 24, 2014
Dear Son…I can always rely on Mr. P... to remember to announce your name…when he is a lector…and at a mass being offered…for the repose of your soul... like he did this morning…on this 97th Month Remembrance Day. Mrs. T was also at mass…with her husband…and she tapped me on the shoulder…just to let me know…we were all in her thoughts.

Father S's homily struck a chord with me. It was on the six words…written in the gospel…and spoken by a father.. in behalf of his son…who was possessed by a mute and deaf spirit...ever since he was a small child. The father said to Jesus …”if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus' responded to the man...“‘If you can!' Everything is possible to one who has faith.” at which point…the father cried out…”I do believe…help my unbelief.” The gospel continues…and Jesus restores the boy's health…by casting out the mute spirit …and although afterwards...the boy appears dead…to everyone watching... Jesus takes the boy's hand…and lifts him up. The lesson...as Father explained ...is faith often waivers…so there is frustration…and it is hard to truly trust…even when we believe…so we need to always remember …that Jesus is loving...compassionate and merciful... and our knowing that...should give us hope…and no doubt…that He will also take us by the hand…when we need Him to…and lift us up…as well ...but we must do our part too...which is…to just keep praying.

With all the injustices in our world …it is hard to keep the faith…but just maybe…I have heard…a new to me…simple six word prayer...worth remembering.

Everyday I think of you…and I miss you ...and my mind goes in all directions. All the memories that were yet to be made…all the hopes for you…and all the things life may have held for you…were ended with that night. When I think back…on the tragic loss of my dear brother…I do remember telling myself …through my own tears…pain and sadness ...while watching my parents grieve... that nothing so tragic…would ever happen again…to our family…and when I had you…seven years later…and then naming you after your uncle…it was a blessing…and I could share you with my parents…and perhaps give them back some of the joy…that was taken from them…in the loss of their son. I always felt you had many of my brother's finest traits…and when you accomplished some of the things…that he had set as goals for himself…it touched me deeply...both for you and for him...because even though...there were circumstances that had prevented him...from attaining them...you...as his nephew...and namesake…were closing that circle.

I know that life isn't fair…and everyone has crosses to bear…but I had my foolish “teenaged reasoned safety net"…believing that a tragedy like the loss…my family had already suffered... couldn't happen again…but it did.

It's often said…whom God loves…is called back home young…because he is good...well...my brother was a good human being…and I know you too…had a kind and caring heart…but there aren't any words…that make it any less painful...for parents who have been made...to outlive their children...or for them to accept...and understand... why there had to be such losses. All I ask now...is that...God bless each of you...very loved young men.

Last night…a dear friend…who lost both a son…and her husband… told me she is thinking of joining a bereavement outreach program…hoping to help others ...who walk this path…to know…through her first hand experience…that while there is a time to mourn…there is…in time…also healing…and one can find joy…and choose to be happy again. She is a truly good and caring person. I admire her outlook. I don't think of myself as doom and gloom…but I know me…and although I kid and joke…this new normal…is always right there…so I take one day at a time…going forward …some days better than others…but they will never be the same…as they once were. Maybe her reaching out to others…will have God bless her…in a very special way…at least I hope so.

I love you son…as I love your sisters …their families…and your brother. Sal, please watch over them.

You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers...always.
February 14, 2014
Dearest Salvatore…I wasn't able to visit you today…but you were in my thoughts…as always…and I asked God…to bless you…on this Valentine's Day…for being a “sweetheart” of a son.

You are loved...and your are missed...very...very much...and you are in my prayers…always.
February 11, 2014
Dear Son...When I checked my emails this morning…on this 420th Tuesday... there was an email from the legacy site…letting me know...that there was a new entry...in your Guest Book. Since I am usually...the only one... who writes on this site...with the occasional exception...of a reflection left by someone...who knew you…and wants all of us to know...you are remembered by them...…it does touch me deeply.

Losing a child…no matter the age or circumstance…is every parent's worst nightmare…and in our particular case …because of what the FCPD caused to happen…to you…due to their excessive show of force…that was completely unwarranted…it makes it all the more…tragic. You were in the prime of your life…and you were a contributing member of society…and what they did…by putting you in harms way…with no margin for error…is and will remain for me...the most reprehensible and deplorable act…in the annals of the FFX County Police Department.

I live with your loss…every single day …and I miss you so very much…as does our family…so when someone takes the time…to write a reflection…saying they remember you…and your case…and that they recognize the wrong…and the injustice…that was done to you…as your Mom…I am grateful to know…it was...and is still recognized by others...and that they care…and have not forgotten you.

God Bless you...K. Reilly…and thank you…for your thoughts…and for praying for Sal…at mass.
February 09, 2014
I just want you to know that I have not forgotten your son and his case. I left Fairfax Co. in 2007 but remember reading about this incident with horror and disbelief. This terrible story regularly pops into my head as a prime example of excessive force wielded by government at the local level, but your comments here make it much more personal for me. I'm sorry for your loss and will pray for your son at Mass.
January 24, 2014
Dear Son...Prior to Jan. 24, 2006... and without my realizing it then...I took a lot for granted...since I had no reason to think…that life would not continue…just as it was…and at least for...as long as I lived. True, there would be some exceptions…as relatives aged...but also all the happier ones...like...graduations...engagements...weddings...and births...would spring up…but I could go with that flow…as life moved forward. I was fine with …our status quo…and never could have imagined…that knock on the door…that changed our lives…so abruptly.

Here it is…the 8th Year Remembrance Day…Jan. 24, 2014…but for us…it's Jan. 24, 2006...all over again.

This morning…Mrs. L and several other dear friends...joined us at the mass… being offered in your memory. We went to breakfast afterwards…and then…I picked up the flowers…I had ordered yesterday…and brought them to your resting place. The angel was covered in snow…which I cleared off…and there were other flowers in the snow…that someone had left for you. My cousin sent me a card…Bri called…and Mrs. C sent an email...all wanted me to know...that they haven't forgotten you...and our family. There are so many kind people…in our lives…and I am grateful...for each of them.

Your brother...wrote about you…on his facebook page today…saying how much he loves...and misses you...and so many of your friends…and his…commented on how much…they too think of you…and miss you.

Last night…I was introduced to a woman…that I had not met previously. At first the conversation was small talk…but somehow it got more involved …and before long…I was telling her about you…and what had happened. As I began to explain…what took place that night...and in the following five years...I was getting myself...sad... angry...and very upset. There's no letting go…no closure…no forgiveness …how could there be…for what they caused…to happen to you. From Oct. 17 to Jan 24…only 100 days…and via a few interactions…they turned our world... upside down. To me...those who were directly responsible...for allowing you to be put in harm's way...as well as the initiator who misled you...and the one who unjustifiably stole your life...are all deplorable.

I haven't read Balko in a long while …because the posted newspaper accounts …of police involved shootings…of unarmed and non-threatening persons... that are then termed…“another isolated incident”…which is…not so…always rile me…and of course…that was the case... when I read one of his accounts...this past week…and I felt the need…to respond via a comment…to an article about a police chief in Dallas…who is trying to hold his officers accountable…for blatant wrongdoings... they have committed…and then lied about. He has fired several and for that I applaud him. He is going up against…the police union…in trying to do the right thing…and I hope he continues to challenge them. The article underscored many of my own views.

The weeks from mid Oct…to this one in particular…are made up…of what I refer to as…my roller coaster days. All the…if only…what if…could…should…and would have reasoning's…surface…and I let them. Maybe it's how I punish myself…for not keeping my promise to you.

I love you Sal…and…I miss you. I hope you have forgiven me…because I can't forgive myself.

I have some special concerns...so please...continue to watch over…your sisters…their families…and…your brother.

God bless you...as you rest peacefully in His perpetual light.

I think of you throughout my day...and you are in my prayers...always.
January 07, 2014
Dear Sal…I was planning on visiting you today...Tuesday number 415…which is our first Tuesday of this new year …but I didn't…because of the bitter cold…that was forecast from yesterday …for today…so I decided instead...to visit you yesterday. I hadn't wanted.. to take the Christmas tree down…that was left for you…until after the Feast of the Epiphany…but that didn't quite happen…so I removed it late yesterday afternoon…when I was there.

Last night…we were in the company of…a very caring friend…who knows grief…all too well…as she too…lost a young son. Yet despite her own hurt…she remembered that this is…a particularly sad time of year…for me…and she gave me a vase with roses…and a card. It shouldn't amaze me…but somehow it does…that parents…who have suffered the loss of a child…despite their own heartaches…are still so willing…to reach out…in support and understanding…of another's parent's loss. God bless her for her kindness.

Your Godchild is back at school…so please keep watch over her…as well as your other nieces and nephews…your sisters…and…your brother.

I love you Sal…and I miss you. You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers ...always.
January 01, 2014
Dear Son…We welcomed in the New Year...in the company of your sister...and her four children. Your brother…had planned to go out…after eating with us…but since the kids... always look forward to his company…he delayed his leaving...so he could do.. the expected…“uncle” thing.

I have resigned myself…to the changes we have made…but they are not the way…we once spent holidays…long ago …when we would go up to NY…to be with family…or as it happened over the years…as we did that less…and less… for various reason…we still tried to keep the tradition...by being with our own…immediate family…but since nothing lasts forever…and in fairness…change happens…and new traditions in the making…replace the old ones...we…or should I say…I…have tried to adapt On the plus side…on his own…your brother…who knows me well…and is sensitive to how I feel…and think…did remember to call us…at midnight…to wish us a Happy New Year.

I had to miss my Tuesday visit…since it was the eve…and I was trying to prepare…the little I did…but I knew you'd understand…although missing our Tuesday…doesn't sit well with me…but I will hopefully…get to visit you...later today.

We went to last night's mass…so that your nephews and niece…after staying up late…to welcome in 2014…as we knew they would…could then…be able to sleep in…this morning…and they did.

As I have said before…my heart hasn't been in much…for a long time…but this year's holiday season…has really gotten to me. I did have your brother…take a few Christmas boxes…down from the attic…but I only used a couple of our decorations. Guess I didn't feel as guilty…as I thought I would. I know it's not a good way to feel…and what's worse is…my knowing how much you enjoyed…the holidays…and yet…I couldn't bring myself…to even go through the motions ...this time. I miss you…and the way things use to be.

Dad's store bought pizza dough…didn't cut it…last week…and your brother-in-law…ribbed him about it. Needless to say…the New Year's pizza…was the real thing…and got rave reviews... although he only made four…and not the usual ten. He said he was glad...to cut down…because just the thought…of mixing and kneading the dough…for six more...would have finished...wiping him out.

Your sister couldn't stay for dinner today…since she had too many things to do at home…so they left shortly after breakfast. I had planned a nice meal…but I went with the flow…knowing how pressed she is…for time. We did however…manage to play some games with the kids…and your brother was very kind…to indulge them…by not leaving as early…as he would have liked.

It is said…what you are doing at midnight…you will be doing the rest of the year...and no sooner...than I said to the kids..."be careful with your drinks"...bam...we had a major sparkling red cider spill…in addition to...some pink champagne…that also found a target…so I guess I will be sopping up…mopping up…and vacuuming up…throughout 2014 too. Some things...that should...just won't change.

I love you Sal…I miss you…and I wish you A Very Blessed New Year…in that better place.

Continue to keep close watch...over your sisters...their families...and your brother.

You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
December 26, 2013
Dear Sal…We decided to go to Christmas Mass last night...and this morning... we visited your resting place. We brought you a small…decorated tree... that Dad secured to the three vases... so that the wind…won't knock it down. We will leave it there…for the 12 Days of Christmas…which ends on the Feast of the Epiphany.

Father said in his homily...that the word Merry…when wishing someone a Merry Christmas...means Blessed and Peaceful…so I will wish you…A Very Merry Christmas.

God Bless You Sal…I love you…I miss you…and...I pray for you...always.
December 24, 2013
Dear Son…On this 95th Month Remembrance Day…our Tuesday…which this year…is also Christmas Eve…I attended the mass…that was being offered for you…this morning…and again…there was no mention...of your name.

I left my usual rose at the statue... before I visited your resting place... and that is when…I had a warranted... ...upset. Several months ago...the statue…although it was supposed to be sealed…to deter any discoloring or patina...from forming on it...over time…had in fact…not been sealed …and started to discolor in places. There were reddish smears…in several areas…and so we called the company... that had cast it…to ask them…to address the problem…and for it to be restored…to its original state. It took quite a while…for one reason or another…for them to tend to it. They said they would need…a couple of good weather days…in order to remedy the problem. This past Friday…it was in the high 60”s…so someone came out…and “fixed” it…and then asked for our patience…while the “fix” dried...and …they suggested...we not rush to judge the outcome...too quickly. Well we waited…and now it looks like the “fix”…can be mistaken for vandalism. It now looks far worse...than it did before...even though at that time...it was still unsightly…due to the reddish spots that were there. In short…now it looks terrible…really awful...and we are not the only ones...who are disheartened…by their attempt…to correct the issue. I know in the larger scheme of things… that leaving un-"well enough alone”…would have been a better choice…considering the mess it is now…but it wasn't “well enough” to begin with. I hope they have a remedy for their “fix.”

To change the subject…this year...your father…has tried a short cut…to his pizza making. He sold out…and “bought” the dough. He doesn't know…how it will come out…and the trade off... remains to be seen. I can still hear your voice...on the other end of the phone…asking…“when will they be done?” even after eight…of our “new normal” Christmas seasons. Your brother just came into the kitchen…and said…it smells great in here. So maybe at least…one of the five senses…has been satisfied. Later it will be my turn …shrimp cakes for tonight...and then...struffoli...and egg nog...which are my contributions...for tomorrow.

I haven't decorated…or sent out cards ...my heart just isn't in it...because …because. But I do know…that my guilty conscience...will at least have me...taking out the Nativity pieces... and a couple of old reliables…that were always…a part of our former…or have become now...a part of our...new normal...Christmas. Things have changed so much.

It truly doesn't get any easier…no matter what people may think...or say ...as they presume the source of grief is finite. I received a card…from another bereaved parent…and in it he wrote. “Grief never ends…but it changes. It's a passage, Not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, Nor lack of Faith…It is the Price of Love. He knows this well…as he…like us…also lost a very loved son.

I would add this…although the acute pain…may dissipate to some degree…but because grief and love are conjoined; you don't get one without the other…so during holidays, special days, or just any day…for that matter...because of the love...that acute pain may be felt ...just as it was…when the loss first happened. It has been called a grief burst…or as others have said…as though one is being ambushed by grief. I have been there…I am there...and I expect I will continue to be...as none of these last eight Christmas seasons …have become any easier…or any less sad...just like our Tuesdays.

Salvatore..Keep watching over your sisters...their families…and your brother.

I love and miss you son…beyond what any words can express...as I wish you a Very Blessed Christmas Eve.

You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
December 17, 2013
Dear Salvatore…Today is Tuesday…number four hundred and twelve…in addition to being…what would have been...your 45th Birthday. So…while I pray that you are happy…and at peace…in God's perpetual light…I also hope…you are able to know…just how much…you are thought about...loved...and missed.

Weather wise…it's a somber and quiet day…which makes me think...that Mother Nature…is very attuned…to me...and my feelings on this day.

It would have been wonderful…to have had...a nice family dinner...for you...tonight...with a birthday cake...cards and presents...along with some teasing and ribbing...about getting older...and of course…our very best wishes...for many more…happy returns...of your very special day…as you would blow out the candles…on that cake…and make a wish of your own…and that...is exactly...how it should have been.

But...because of “them”…we no longer have that opportunity. Instead…all I could do for you today…was to attend this morning's mass…being offered…in your memory…and receive communion…for your intention. I did place…a blue rose…near the plaque…at the St. Joseph statue.

Afterwards…I visited your resting place…to bring you...the floral arrangement…I ordered yesterday. It is a “Dad's…do the math” bouquet. But because...I am a lot less creative... than he...in this area...mine has an easy answer. Four white roses... etched in light blue…with a fifth center rose…in a deeper blue color…all of which are nestled...in very lovely and beautiful...winter greenery. Four ten-ers…and a five…is how Dad would see it.

I also lit three candles…on the Advent wreath...hoping it wouldn't be...too irreverent of me...to use them for my purpose...as I then...silently sang... "Happy Birthday"...to you...and then blew them out.

It's not how…a young healthy man...who had a full life ahead of him…and so much to offer...should now have to have...his birthday marked...in this way...because of their actions...and so it breaks my heart.

Your oldest sister…had made an earlier visit than mine…so when I got there…I saw beautiful flowers with a note…that she had left…for you. I know Cyn must have offered prayers for you today…and Chris…first thing this morning…on his FB page…typed…Happy Birthday Brother.. and not "Bruthaaa"…which he liked to call you. A number of his friends…and yours…acknowledged his sentiment...in letting us know…that they also...were thinking of you.

If I keep thinking...I am going to write things…that even though…God and you know...are in my heart…and are exactly how I feel...about “those that caused our grief"…it's best..that I not go there. So...

I received a phone message...from Mrs. L…last night...which I will return. She was letting me know...that she is aware of what today is...and has been thinking about you...and praying for you...and our family. She too knows this loss...and understands the pain. We are bonded...by our "new normal" lives...and it's our hope...that You..along with Richard...and Vinny... are in each other's company...in that far better place.

God bless all the parents…who know the grief…of losing a child…and...to know that their children are remembered... is very much appreciated by them.

Sal…Watch over your sisters and their families...your brother...our extended family...as well as...a little guy who shares this birth date with you...and all your friends…who could use an “angel.”

So my son…may your Birthday be...Very Blessed.

You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
December 13, 2013
My Dear Son…As your birthday draws closer…I thought it would only be our family...who would be remembering it. So I was very surprised this morning…when I received a notification via a legacy email…that someone had left a reflection on your page. When I read it…I was brought to tears…envisioning memories from so long ago.

It called to mind…that yes…Barbara was your first love…and what a cute twosome you made. I have saved the letter from her father…sent to me after what happened…in which he told me…that you were such a nice young man…and how shocked and very sorry he was…for what they caused to happen to you. He said that…even after his daughter…started dating other young men…over time…that you always remained his favorite...of her beaus.

I still have vivid memories…of you and she…singing the duet…Summer Nights…for the Senior Variety Show…and again…she made a beautiful…Olivia Newton John…and you…a very handsome…John Travolta. Your both had great chemistry on that stage. The photo in your high school year book…a black and white no less…of you escorting her…when she was chosen…to the homecoming court…captured the innocence…of a first and young love.

I remember with fondness…how you fussed…over wrapping her Christmas present one year. You wrapped…and re-wrapped her gift…so many times…and each time…you would check to see…if the picture on the paper…was exactly centered…on the top of the box. Then you put a ribbon and bow around it…and placed it in boxes…of larger and larger sizes. When she finally…unwrapped each one…she had collected…a bunch of ribbons…and bows...and proceeded to put them…on top of her head. Seeing her so happy and excited….gave all of us…a scene we can still recall…to this day. Those bows…and streaming ribbons…on her head…as she smiled broadly…in pure delight…are etched into our family's hearts…and memories.

I have photos of you…leaving our house for the prom…corsage in hand…and wearing a tux…with an aqua bow tie…and cumberbund…that was chosen…to match Barbara's gown. There are many others…of you and she…taken when you picked her up…at her house. Not sure…if it was her tiara…or another girl's…but somehow…there are even photos…of Mike Fisher…and then you…taking turns…while sporting that tiara…as you both...decided to kid around. They are happy pictures…of a carefree time. There is even a picture...of an uncarved pumpkin… that she sent to you…when you were at UVA…telling you it looked innocent…but that it caved in…and saturated all her clothes…with pumpkin juice...and for whatever reason...you saw fit...to save it... and I still have it. There is also a picture…of each of you…wearing decorated hats…your's looks like a Raiders of the Lost Ark genre…and her's…has some type of airplane propeller looking gizmo on it.

It is nice to know…that she is happy…and has a family now. I don't know exactly…what caused the drifting apart back then…maybe it was the distance between colleges…or that new friends were made…and comfort levels changed…as maturity set in. In any case…she was a lovely girl…and it sounds like…she has grown into a lovely woman…as well.

Brad Felling…had been on the planning committee…for the upcoming DJO 20 Year HS Reunion in 2007…and I had heard…that she was looking forward to seeing you there…her little Sal…as she called you…in deference to your father. But then Jan. 24, 2006 happened…with its inexcusable...unjustifiable...reprehensible...and unforgivable act…that took you…from your life…as well as…from each of our lives. I read somewhere…that after that…she decided not to go...to the reunion.

I am grateful…that she thinks of you fondly...and has remembered your birthday…over the years.

It is comforting for me…to know that…you are not forgotten…by those whose lives you have touched…and that you were…and are valued…thought about…and continue to be remembered...as a good...kind-hearted…caring young man…who had a sense of humor…an endearing crooked smile…along with those big soft eyes…that were the window to your soul.

So thank you Barbara…for your thoughts…about our Sal…and may God bless you…and your family.

I love you son…I miss you…and I pray for you...always.
December 12, 2013
Sal was my first love, and I was his, from age 16 to 20. Every year as his birthday approaches I think more often of him and think over the years when we were close. I am so happy, and have a wonderful husband and two beautiful, healthy children - but am always sad about Sal and sad for his lovely family. Tonight I decided to read some of his many letters, which I have kept for 25 years. Sal was funny, and I had to laugh out loud as I read them, many times, and I also cried. He was a beautiful letter writer. I'll never get over the injustice done to Sal. Sal was so many wonderful things, and I think of him today as if I saw him yesterday. Of his crooked smile, his soft eyes, of our talks, and of his heart. He was a wonderful human being and I was lucky to once love him and be loved by him. I missed his friendship, after college, but always thought of him with a smile. We will see you again Sal, and I will beat you at cribbage then, and I will "let" you beat me at ping-pong! Love always, Barbara
November 24, 2013
Dear Salvatore...Today is not only…the 7 Years and 10 Months Remembrance Day…of your heartbreaking loss…to our family…but it is also...The Feast of Christ the King…which ends the church's Liturgical Year…and with that end…comes a new beginning...the Alpha to the Omega.

Father said…Christ ended the reigns of all the kings…that came years before Him…and by His sacrifice on the cross…He has provided each of us…with true freedom…which is…that of our souls. It was a very insightful homily…on what we should be doing…as we prepare for that someday…when our King…will sit in judgment of us…and the choices we made…while living our lives. The question is…Were we slaves to our vices…or principled and prayerful…as we sought God's grace…in helping us to attain heaven? It was an “examine your lives…wake up call” sermon…and very thought provoking.

As this current year…is coming to an end…I am once again…running a gamut of emotions…and I know why my now seasoned...”new normal” feelings…are being heightened…and it is because…it is the time of year…for family gatherings…the holiday season…but because of their unjustifiable…over the top actions…on that night…they have caused our family…to be forever changed…and so we're not able…to be the family…we once were...and that pains me.

Yesterday afternoon…we attended a memorial service…for one of Dad's West Point classmates. It was so sad…to watch his two sons…who were trying to maintain their composure…as each related...to those in attendance…all that their Father meant to them…as he guided and guarded them…throughout their boyhood years…and into adulthood…as they married...and then became Dads too. They expressed their own hopes…to be as good a Father and role model…to their young children…as their Dad was to them. There were tears mixed with laughter…then tears again. Times like this...are always bittersweet…because while they are difficult...it is still always good…to see former classmates…and their spouses...who all remain very loyal…and supportive…of one another…in both the good…and…the saddest of times.

Last night we actually spent a very enjoyable evening…in the company of your brother…your niece…and many of our friends. It was loud...because there was so much laughter…and lots of singing…and I knew...it was all contributing to…those times and the things…that warm your heart…and make for...the very best of memories.

Dad sang with Chris…and then with Vic. It was touching…to see and hear… Uncle and Niece…singing a duet…which by the way…and thanks to their terrific voices…brought the house down. How wonderful it would have been…if you too…could have been there…to join them. I have a cd…which I treasure…of you and your brother…singing together…and I remember how it too...was a show stopper.

In four days it will be Thanksgiving…and while I will count our family's blessings…and be grateful to God for them…there are still...and always will be…until that someday…all my questions…that are waiting for His answers.

I miss you son…and I love you. You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
October 24, 2013
Dear Sal…I went to the morning mass…being offered for you…on this 93rd Month Remembrance Day…and yes…a surprise…your name was announced.

It's Fall again…and since you didn't care for hot weather…these crisp cool days…with their colorful trees…and weekend football games…as well as…the start to the holiday season…made this the time of year…that you found most appealing…so enjoyed…and always looked forward to. I wish I could have shared your perspective…but because of all that took place…Seven Years and Nine Months ago…that began at this time of year…it is for me…a season that opens up…too many memories…and they all break my heart. I love you Sal…and I miss you so much.

Last week…your brother turned the same age…you were…when you graduated from optometry school. We wanted to take him out for dinner…of course he didn't want to go...so it was a very quiet birthday…but at least…he humored me…and agreed to blow out the candles on his cake. Things just aren't the same...as they once were.

I won't take the time…on this special day…to set the record straight…about something that is a year old…although I only recently read it…but I will get back to it…and express my feelings.

Keep watch over your sisters…their families…and…your brother.

God bless you son…and know that…you are in my thoughts…and in my prayers… always.
September 24, 2013
My Dear Son…Seven Years and Eight Months…or...400 Weeks…or Twenty-eight Hundred Days…and again this Remembrance Day…the 24th…is a Tuesday…just like it was then.

True to form once again…your name went unannounced…at the mass being offered today…in your memory…and as always…when that happens…I think..."par for the course"…but then…God knows just the same.

The groundskeeper finally…did what I asked. Today…when I left flowers…at your resting place…I saw…that the bush that was piled high with mulch…which then would blow…all over the vase nameplates…now has a brick border surrounding it…so the problem is solved. It only took me five years or so…and umpteen requests. The lesson learned is…persistence wore him down. Now…if the flower…that I left at the statue…stays where I placed it…that would be nice. Someone always manages to move it…and you know…how I view…the disturbance of anything left…in a loved one's memory.

As I listened to WMAL last week…I heard an all too familiar voice. I was getting ready to call in…but your father beat me to it. The host of the radio show…was addressing the incident…at the hearing being held…by the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee...where the parents of the Benghazi heroes…who were killed…while fighting to protect the US consulate…were about to speak. A number of congressmen stood up and walked out…and one was a representative from our state. The same one…that was Chairman of the FCBS...who gave us...“lip service”…as we waited for over a year…for the same type of information…these parents want ie. How and Why...did our sons get killed…and Who is accountable and What consequences should be brought to bear on those involved…and Where was...in their case...the help that was asked for...plain and simple…as parents we want answers…and truthful ones. So this behavior…the disrespect and indifference ...was no surprise to Dad or me…as we too…were disregarded…and could relate well to the level of disrespect…shown to these parents. My heart goes out to these families…and to their hero sons…as for those who walked out on them…they should be shamed…for their indefensible actions.

Everyday…there is more and more evidence…of man's inhumanity…towards his fellow man…as the reports of violence...throughout the world...attest to. There is a total disregard…indifference…and devaluing of human life. Not many care…about others…unless and until…those “others” become them. I only hope…God is watching…and still willing to help us.

I love you Sal…I miss you…and I pray for you always.
August 24, 2013
Dear Sal…Just got back from the 8:30 mass…that was offered for you this morning...on this 7 Years and 7 Months Remembrance Day…and to my surprise…your name was actually announced…this time.

For me...the 24th of each month…is always “that date”…the one that started…the beginning of the end…and when August comes around…since it is also Dad's birth date…it makes it all the more bittersweet Our family has changed in many ways…and not even…going through the motions…seem to matter.

We will however…since your youngest nephew's birthday is Monday…and he is visiting us tomorrow…have he and Dad…share candles…some on a birthday cake...and at his request…his…on a pecan pie.

I wish my heart…could be in ‘family” occasions…like it use to be…despite my griping…but for a host of reasons…it no longer is. I guess the best I can do…will have to do.

I left flowers again…at the St. Joseph statue…and…at your resting place.

I love you son…and I miss you…and the way it once was.

Continue to watch over your siblings…and…your nieces and nephews.

Your are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
August 20, 2013
My Dear Son…I'm sorry I missed…last week's visit...on “our Tuesday"...but I will not miss...this one…which is... Tuesday number three hundred and ninety-five…as I continue to hold you in my heart…in my memories…in my daily thoughts…and...in my prayers.

I visited your resting place…before going to the interment service...for your brother-in-law's father…that was also taking place today…at FMP.

Loss is never easy for families…but Mr. G is now resting in peace…reunited with his dear wife…and their son…so his remaining adult children…and his grandchildren…should take comfort…in that. Mr. G was a good husband…and a devoted father…who raised his eight children..."in the faith"...and..."by his example"...so hopefully…this legacy of faith…having been passed down...from him to them…will also pass from them…to their families as well. May God reward and bless him…for his role as a Father.

Sal…I wish you too…could have had…the opportunity…to become a husband…and a father…but because of them…and what they stole from you…and us…what might have been…we will never know.

This new normal forever changed life…we are left with…is not one that any of us…could have ever envisioned.

I love you Salvatore…and I miss you… beyond words.

Please keep close watch…over your nieces…your nephews…your sisters…and your brother.

God bless you. You are in my prayers always.
July 24, 2013
Dear Salvatore…This morning we were at the 8:30 mass…being offered for you…on this 7 Years and 6 Months Remembrance Day. There was no lector…so your name was not announced from the altar…but I rely on God…and He knows this mass…was offered in your memory. Once again…I left flowers…at the St. Joseph statue…and at your resting place.

These last several weeks…have me revisiting…all that we went through…over those five years…of waiting on a legal system…while we were trying to pursue justice…in your behalf. The Chief's report…took one year…and after reading it…there were still so many unanswered questions…so we filed our suit…in order to seek the justice owed to you…and it was also the only way…we would be entitled to disclosure information…that we hoped…would shed light...on what really took place…that allowed for you…to unnecessarily be put in harms way…and at risk…with no margin for error.

I suppose the stimulus for my thoughts…was watching the Zimmerman case…as it played out in court. His attorney presented the substantiated facts…while the other side appealed to emotions…as both sets of parents…the one's who lost a son…and the other…whose son is accused of murdering him…even though he claimed self defense…sat there heartbroken...but stoic.

Only God knows the truth...about what happened…and perhaps the defendant…but because it is a one sided account…there are those who doubt…and take issue...with the juries” findings. The verdict…which was based on a “beyond a reasonable doubt” decision…and the facts presented…was in my opinion…a good verdict. But the powers that be…got into the mix…and that rallied support…not only from demonstrators…but also from a hyped media…whose coverage appears biased. So now the DOJ has been asked…to look into any civil rights violations…while seeming to disregard the prior FBI investigation…which found nothing to suggest…a need for further scrutiny.

We too...asked the Justice Department to conduct an investigation…concerning the violation of your civil rights…on that night…as you stood there perfectly compliant…non threatening…and never having owned a weapon... certainly did not have one…in addition to not having a criminal record…while a veteran FCPD SWAT officer…who had his weapon loaded with hollow point bullets…and his finger on the trigger…and in an unaimed shot…according to him…as he was taking his gun from his thigh holster… somehow managed (I know Sal…it's in my craw) to hit the center mass…of another human being…and then compounds his version…by saying...he didn't know it was his gun that went off...until his hand kicked back. I would like to know...what caused the trance...he had to be in...on that night...which allowed him...to be able to make such allegations. But…his word was taken as truth…and that it was...an accidental discharge…and since none of the other officers...who were there…claimed to see what happened…there was no real attempt…to consider it a crime scene…or to test him...for either drugs, alcohol or substance abuse. Later on...we were told…nothing was done...because…”he didn't look like he was lying.”

The DOJ told us…”that the bar is raised too high to prove intent”…imagine that! Here I was under the misguided impression...that you do not point a loaded weapon at anyone...ie. unless and until...you are prepared to shoot…and that is usually because... your own life is in danger of being taken...or at the very least...being threatened in some way. How naïve it is of me…(sarcasm) to read...and then believe..the fundamental and often called universal rules...of gun safety which state: ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. Trigger finger off trigger and out of trigger guard and.. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. Sworn to serve and protect...and he couldn't even follow a single rule.

I wonder what the DOJ will tell this family.

One of the defendant's lawyers said…he was happy for the outcome…but sad at the same time…since it was a case…that never merited being brought into a courtroom. He commended the jury for their verdict…saying something to the effect…that as a result of the verdict…this tragedy was at least…not turned into a travesty.

We were not defendants in our suit…so this case is somewhat reversed…and although the circumstances…aren't exactly the same…it remains that one human being…lost his life…because of another's actions. I know that grief…and it doesn't go away.

There are other reasons…why this case is being highlighted…and I can't help feel…that they may be...the same type of reasons…that allowed for...the accountability and consequences... being sought in our case...to be circumvented…as time ticked by. My guess as to why…is because no one in a position to…wanted to set a precedent. Hopefully someday I will get my answers.

God bless you Sal…as I pray…you rest peacefully…in His perpetual light.

Continue to watch over your siblings…their families...and…your brother.

I love you Son...I miss you…and you are in my prayers…always.
June 24, 2013
Dear Son…On this Eighty-ninth Month Remembrance Day…the lector at the mass…being said for you…actually remembered to announce your name…and that was nice to hear…since there have been…so many times in the past…when other lectors…have neglected to say the name of the person…for whom the mass is offered. It may be a small point…since God always knows…who the mass is offered for…but being the throwback that I am…and even though I know…that wherever two or more are gathered in His name…He is in their midst…I still prefer…to have your name read aloud…because I so appreciate the congregational prayer…and strength in numbers…appeals to me.

Last week I read a book review…by a criminal lawyer…who has a blog called Simple Justice. He wrote about Radley Balko's new book…RISE OF THE WARRIOR COP…The Militarization of America's Police Forces. He states that every person…who shares an interest in the relationship among policing, criminal justice and American society…should read this book. He cites it as a critical history…of how we got from Officer Friendly to SWAT teams…and the pervasive mentality…that flows throughout most Police Departments…as they use these teams…even for routine police work. Of course…you know my feelings…on this subject.

Simple Justice…although justice is never simple…is a well written blog... and since I had already pre-ordered the book…I am looking forward to receiving it soon.

In 2011…after the justice owed to you…wasn't served as I had hoped it would be…this same lawyer…wrote another blog titled…THINGS THE LAW DOESN'T DO WELL… and it pertained to the legal system…and the outcome of our case. Since I had not left a blog comment…at that time…I felt this would be my opportunity…to do so now.

I wrote that I had been on both sides of the issues…having lost a wonderful State Trooper brother…while he was on duty…and then my son…as you were put at risk…and wrongfully killed…at the hands of a SWAT officer…who failed you...and his sworn oath...to protect and serve.

The criminal lawyer responded to my comment…as follows:

”I'm terribly sorry to hear about what happened to your brother and your son. There are parts of this book that will have special meaning for you, and as you already know, won't lessen the pain.”

He is correct…because living each day…thinking about you…and missing you…is mental agony.

God Bless You...as you watch over... your sisters...their families...and... your brother.

I love you Salvatore…and I pray for you…always.
June 04, 2013
Dear Salvatore...Today…when I was walking up the path…to your resting place…I stopped to look up at the sky…which was a lovely blue…and there were no clouds in sight. The sun was shining brightly…but it was neither hot nor humid...and weather wise…it was just a perfect day…one that was made...to be enjoyed. The grounds crew…had mowed the lawns…and the trees and bushes…were all mulched…everything looked neat…crisp...and picture perfect...so it made for a peaceful panorama.

Too bad I could only see that peace…but not feel it. All my questions for God remain…despite His gift…of this beautiful day…and why...because you should have been…the one here…to enjoy it. As I drove away…all the thoughts I hold in inside…rode along with me.

I had errands to do…so I hoped I would be distracted by them. No such luck. A lady who works in the store I went to…and who hadn't seen me in some time…approached me…and in a very careful way…choosing her words…asked me...how long it had been...and why was I still wearing black. Before I could answer…she began to tell me about her culture…and their views on wearing black. She meant well…and I appreciated her concern…in telling me...that if I took off the black…that a change would take place in me…and I would benefit from that…and then added...that God doesn't want people to mourn too long.

So I explained to her…that I was keeping my word...since I was the one solely in control of that decision. I had compromised one promise to you…but this one…rests on me. I told her I was prepared to stop wearing black…after the trial was over...whether or not we prevailed…but since I didn't get that day in court…here I am. She said she understood…but would pray for me…to change my mind.

As if that wasn't enough…earlier in the day…I was reading about the trial…of an alleged Boston gang boss…who in addition to the many charges he faces…is also alleged to have killed the sister…of a man…who is looking for three things…that this trial may provide...regarding her death. He wants...answers…justice…and eye contact. The brother says…the gang boss…who again…allegedly...strangled his sister…”will not turn back and look at any of us"…the us being other families…who also lost loved ones…at the hands of this alleged gang boss…and I quote…”What a coward.”

I think...coward...is much too kind a word...for anyone...who won't look... into the face...of their victim's family. More likely they are without a conscience...and therefore "soul less."

I know the feelings...and can relate. At our depositions of the FCPD officers…I waited for the day…that I would see…face to face…the SWAT person…who stole your life from you. When he came into the room...I looked at him…and continued to look at him...the entire time...he was being questioned... hoping to see the...“I'm sorry”…in his eyes…but he never once looked at me…or even in my direction. It could have been guilt...that wouldn't allow him…to look me in the face...but then again...some are born without remorse…for their actions…so I understand the sentiments of a brother…who wants... answers…justice…and...eye contact. I hope he gets…what he needs…in order to find closure.

I too...in your behalf...was seeking accountability...justice...and consequences...for those who allowed for...and caused...the wrongful taking of your life. Since it didn't quite happen the way…I had hoped…I will continue to rely on God's justice…and in His time.

So this day...that started out so very beautifully…certainly didn't help me find any peace.

It will always be…one day at a time... for me...until THAT day.

I miss you son…and you are always... in my thoughts.

Please keep watch...over your sisters…their families…and…your brother.

God bless you Sal...you are loved... and I pray for you...always.
May 24, 2013

My Dear Son…This morning we attended the 8:30 mass…that was being offered.. for the repose of your soul…as we mark..the 88th Month Remembrance Day. After mass…I left flowers...at your resting place…and...at the St. Joseph statue.

Since today is Friday…it was also the school mass day…which is always attended…by the entire student body…and the reading…was about...the value of friends. Father's homily from Sirach…cited that…true friends are discerned not by prosperity, but through the trials of adversity: distress, quarrels, sorrow and misfortune…and such friends are rare…and their value is beyond estimation, a gift from God. Sal...I know you had many friends…and that you were also a good friend in return. So God bless your friends...and God bless you too.

Today is also a very cold...and gray beginning...to Memorial Day weekend…so there are many people…feeling the loss of those…who are no longer with them…and a somber and solemn mood…is in the air. God bless each of the many men and women...who made the ultimate sacrifice…while preserving our freedoms…as they served in the military…and may God watch over…all those still serving…and who are in harms way.

Sunday is your niece's birthday…and another reason to celebrate…while once again…wishing things could be…the way they once were.

I love you…I miss you…and I think of you throughout my day…and that is how it will be…until that someday.

Keep watch over our family…and your friends.

You are in my prayers…always.
May 21, 2013
Dear Salvatore…I'm sorry I missed…my weekend visit...but at least it was for a good reason...and a happy one at that.

Two days ago...on Sunday...May 19th... your first niece…graduated from UVA... completing the circle...she had unknowingly begun there...just prior to her birth...twenty-two years ago... when your sister…who was just days away from her due date...attended your May 1991 UVA graduation...so now...her daughter can also say...“I have worn the honors of honor, I graduated from Virginia." It sounds a little smug... but it is what "they" say.

As she now...joins the ranks of other family "alum"...she is the third one on our side…and…I believe the tenth one...on her Dad's side of the family. Her sister...and another cousin…will bring the numbers to four and twelve respectively...over the next four years…and with other family members still to come…it is indeed…destined to be...a very long and proud legacy.

I only wish...you could have been here with us...and that we all...would have been able…to celebrate with her.

It was a wonderful occasion…and we wish her God's blessings…and a very healthy…happy…and…joy filled life.

Keep watch Sal...over your sisters…their families…and your brother.

I love you son…I miss you…and I pray for you...always.
May 12, 2013
Dear Son…Today is Mother's Day…the eighth one…that had me visiting you…instead of you visiting me. How out of order that is...and the why...will always rest…with those…who unjustly…caused your life to be stolen…from you…and from our family…and it has left us...broken-hearted and forever changed. I know I shouldn't dwell on this...but today…is the very day…set aside…for mother's to be in the company of their children…or to at least be able to hear from them…and since that is not possible…for all of mine…I need this day to be over.

Cyn is coming up…to celebrate your nephew's 15th birthday with us…since we won't be able to do that…on the actual date…because on that day…the niece…that made you an uncle…for the first time…is graduating…from the University of VA…so we will be there…to watch it happen.

Sal…they are all growing up...and are no longer the little ones…you once knew.

We had dinner out…for your nephew's birthday...and afterwards came back home…for cake…ice cream…pictures…and a little family time. It was a pleasant day…but not as good…as it could have been..."if only..."

Watch over your siblings…and your nieces and nephews…especially the two…who are at the beach…this week.

I love you son…and I miss you so very much. You are in my thoughts…each and every day…and in my prayers…always.
May 08, 2013
Dear Sal,
I miss hanging out with you and listening to your beautiful voice. You sang like an angel.
I know you are at peace and you will always be in my thoughts until we meet again.
Love,
Tracy
April 24, 2013
Dear Sal…Last night I received a phone call...from one of your former classmates…who attended both St. Mike's and DJO with you. He has been married for four years now…and resides in Portugal…but was here visiting his family. We made plans to meet him today…at the 8:30 mass…that we will be attending this morning…which is being offered...for the repose of your soul…on this…Seven Years and Three Months Remembrance Day.

After mass…we all went to breakfast…and had a very enjoyable visit with him. Dad had to get back to work…so he left after an hour…but you know me…and so…we managed to talk for an additional two hours…and could have gone on even longer…but he did have things to do…since he was flying home tonight. Seeing him...made me think back...to all your childhood friends…who were good boys then…and now…they have become…good young men.

After I drove him back to his car...I visited your resting place…and left flowers.

In the past seven years…so many of your boyhood friends…have become husbands…and fathers…while pursuing careers…that require great dedication…and a multitude of responsibilities. They are all past forty now…more self assured…and decent human beings…and it makes me wonder…what changes these years…would have held for you…if only…that night never happened.

Sal...watch over your siblings...your nieces and nephews…and your friends.

I miss you…so very much. God bless you.

You are loved…you are in my thoughts…and...you are in my prayers…always.
March 31, 2013
My Dear Salvatore…We are having a very quiet Easter…and the rain is making it…all the more dreary…but I do hope…that you're having…a beautiful and blessed day…in that far better place.

After mass this morning…I visited your resting place…and left some tulips…then said some prayers…all the while sick at heart…that you are not here.

After getting dinner started…I phoned a few old and dear childhood friends…to wish them a Happy Easter. It must be a melancholy day…since our conversations…related to the same sentiments…as each of us...verbalized to one another…how wonderful it would have been…if as we got married...we had been able to…continue to live...in closer proximity to one another…which would have given us…the opportunity…to spend more time…in each other's company. I guess the older we get…the more we recognize…and appreciate…how very fortunate we were then…to grow up in a neighborhood…where lifelong ties and friendships were developing…and over the years…we have become...more like an extended family…as we share a love…and special bond with one another…that despite the distances…has managed to keep us close…even after all these years. Family...and...those extra special Friendships…are a blessing…and Life is too precious…and much too short...to take any of them for granted.

Sal…watch over your siblings…and our extended families. God Bless You.

I love you son…I miss you…and I carry you in my thoughts…in my heart…and in my prayers…always.
March 24, 2013
Dear Salvatore…The noon mass today…on this Palm Sunday…which is also the 24th..was offered in your name...as this is...the 86th Month Remembrance Day.

We are expecting one of your sisters…and her children for dinner today…and of course…I tried to meet their "menu" requests…but there just might be a little disappointment…because I think…the kids may have expected artichokes too…but that isn't happening. I feel badly…not doing all that I once did…but because so much has changed…even going through the attempted motions…falls short.

There use to be excitement…Palm Sunday and Easter…two weekends in a row..with family dinners…Dad making braided palm crosses…for everyone…and putting out decorations…coloring eggs…filling Easter baskets with candy…and rushing to get everything done…so that the grandchildren…would have a memory of our traditions. The best part…was having those loud...noisy…teasing…laughing…chaotic gatherings…at the dinner table. Everyone talking…as you…your sisters…your brother…and brother-in-law…would be sharing and catching up…with each other's lives…and plans…while the younger kids…were running everywhere…but that is no more. Your nieces and nephews…are growing up…and no longer are…the children you knew.

I know circumstances change…as a matter of course…but they do affect…how future family holidays are spent. As grandchildren get older…some are away at college…with no Easter break…and the younger ones…sometimes get sick unexpectedly…causing plans to be changed...but these are the temporary happenings…in their lives…and they will resolve with time…and get back to normal…but what happened to you…that shouldn't have happened.…caused the most permanent changes…in our lives…so for me…there is no getting back...to any normal…and the "reasons why"…surface over and over for me...during holidays. The memories...of all the pre-trial years...courtrooms...judges…the filing of motions...denials...the decisions being handed down...the appeals court...the many contradictory depositions from the officers...the experts testimonies...the newspaper reporters and their articles…and all the time spent waiting...on the legal system...on and on…and the worst of these stored scenes…that play in my head...is my kneeling beside you...and whispering in your ear...a promise to you...that I was not able to keep.

I never mean to go down this path…when I come to this site...but that is where my thoughts take me...and then because I broke that promise...you didn't get a chance...at the justice you were owed. And for that...Son...I am so sorry.

I know I need to focus more on the Resurrection…and God's promise…as I wish you…a Blessed Palm Sunday…and God's Peace…until that someday.

Keep watching over your siblings…your nieces…and…your nephews.

Sal…I love you…I miss you…and you are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
March 24, 2013
March 19, 2013
Dear Son…Today is St. Joseph's Feast Day…and…Tuesday…number three hundred and seventy-three…as I continue to mark each one…as what happened…on this day of the week…never leaves my thoughts.

It is also once again…your Patron Saint Name Day…and…our new Pope's Inauguration Day.

You…and Pope Francis…the name he chose…in honor of St. Francis of Assisi…as a symbol for…peace…simplicity…and…poverty…have some things in common. Besides an Italian heritage…you both share…the same birth month and day.

Highly intelligent…trusting...honest…caring…and witty…are some of the qualities…attributed to those…born under the Sagittarius sign…and our Pope…having exemplified these character traits…from the outset…in addition to his simple and humble demeanor...is being received…worldwide…in a very positive way.

Additionally he is our 266th Pontiff…and the first Jesuit Pope…since the Society of Jesus…was founded 500 years ago. Your Uncle…for whom you were named…was also taught by the Jesuits…when he attended Fordham University…in the early 50's. The Jesuits focus is higher education…and they are known…for free thinking…which has helped…make its universities…so well-regarded…and with God's blessings…and in my opinion…Pope Francis…may be our modern day…Man For All Seasons.

Sal...please watch over your sisters…their families...your brother...and our extended family...and friends. You know what is in my heart…so pay that special attention.

I love you…Salvatore Joseph…and I wish you a blessed name day. You are in my thoughts every day…and I miss you...so very much.

You are in my prayers…always.
February 24, 2013
Dear Sal…Today is Sunday…and we attended the Noon Mass…being offered for you…on this…Seven Years and One Month...Remembrance Day.

I can't help marking time…as it takes you...farther away from me...while at the same time...takes me…closer to being with you.

Every day…there are stories in the news…about senseless shootings…mostly of young people…at the hands of evil souls...that are willing to kill... because they have…neither respect nor value…for human life. They don't even appear…to have any remorse for their actions. Yet because of them…parents…continue to know…and feel the pain…of having to bury their children. It is sad...that families are forever changed…because of these killers. It truly sickens me.

As I read about…or listen to the accounts…I run the gamut of emotions…that I felt on that night…when told about you…and continue to experience…each time I see…and hear parents…whose words I can relate to…as they are interviewed by reporters…some more insensitive than others…as they just seek a story…from those mothers and fathers...who have just experienced... the most incredibly devastating…unspeakable…and unbearable pain and hurt…that anyone can know…and yet…with a microphone in their hands…and seemingly detached from their humanity...these news people continue to ask…and to probe…until they have their news bite. Son…we live in a very shameless world.

I can only hope and pray…that what lies ahead…for those of us…who are at least striving…or who have tried…to become better human beings…will be worth all the heartaches…that we are made to go through and face…in this temporal life.

I love you Sal…as I love each of your siblings…and I miss you. Keep watch over your nieces and nephews…and your sisters and brother.

Rest Peacefully Son...and God Bless You.

I carry you in my heart…in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
February 14, 2013
My Dear Salvatore...Thinking of you... and wishing you were here...to enjoy this Valentine's Day.

Love and Miss You...Sweetheart.

Your are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
January 24, 2013
Dear Son…This morning…we attended the 8:30 AM mass…that was being offered…for the repose of your soul…on this 7th Year Remembrance Day.

When I saw Fr. C…come out of the sacristy…to say the mass…I took it as a sign…from you. I know it is not easy…for him to get around…and today's weather…wasn't the best…so whatever effort…he had to put forth…in getting to the church...was most appreciated by me…because I see him…as another link…to you…since he was…one of your patients.

This morning we awoke to snow…and although two of our friends…did surprise us…by getting to the mass…a few of our other friends…who had also intended…to join us in church…were not able to make it...so they phoned us…to let us know…they would be thinking of us. We have been blessed…with very loyal friends…and over these years… they have been most caring…and supportive…and I know…each one of them…is a gift to us…from God…and we are very grateful…for having them...in our lives.

Yesterday…I went to the florist...and ordered two floral arrangements…and today I picked them up…after mass…and I brought one…to your resting place…and the other…I placed near the plaque…at the St. Joseph statue.

How I wish this day…would have held no significance…for us...and was just…an ordinary day…instead of the one…that has changed all of our lives…forever.

Sometimes…on those special days…the holidays…when most families get together…I wonder if any of them…whether they were involved…directly or indirectly…reflect on…and really think about…what they either took part in…or caused to happen...to you…and our family...on this day.

I know…if I was in his position…given who I am…I would find it…hard to live with myself…knowing that…I had been responsible…for the unbearable grief and sorrow…now felt by the family…who had their loved one…stolen from his life...and theirs…because of my actions.

Maybe someday…conscience will kick in…and serve…them…or…him…better…than it has thus far…and they…and he…will realize…just how unjustified…and deplorable…their actions against you…were.

I love you Son…and I am so sorry…for not keeping my promise to you.

I can only hope...that you are…in the company of our family…and your friends…while Resting Peacefully…in His Perpetual Light.

You are in my thoughts…very missed…and in my prayers…always.
January 22, 2013
My Dear Son...Who would have ever thought…before Jan. 2006 happened to our family…that Tuesday…the day of the week…on which you were born..."Our Tuesday"…the day I first held you…my beautiful baby boy…who was full of grace…just like the line…in the child's nursery rhyme…would in time…go from such a happy day…then...full of good memories...to the worst one…now…that a parent can know.

I never thought to measure time...or to count Tuesday's…as you were growing up…but I do now…and I have been…ever since that night…and today is…the 365th Tuesday…without you…and you are so very missed.

Sal...you know what my concerns are... so keep close watch...over our family.

I hope you know…how much...you are loved...and that...you are in my thoughts…and...in my prayers…always.
January 02, 2013
Dear Son…This New Year…2013…has already brought to us…a worrisome start…as the result of an unpredictable circumstance…that carried over from 2012…as the best laid plans…had to be cancelled…because things…went terribly wrong…causing concern…anxiety…and stress…for one of your sister's…her family…and ours.

We were in Charlottesville…on New Year's Day…lending support to her…as doctors were…and still are...trying to determine...what should be done…in order to treat…and remedy…a serious problem. We are praying...that all issues…will get the proper attention…and result in a positive outcome.

Her children were disappointed…at not spending the holiday with us…and I asked them…to understand…and to look beyond themselves…and not cause their actions…to upset their mother…any further…which would only add...to the stress…than she already is under. Being kids…I can only hope…that they will remember…what I said to them.

I was not able…to visit you yesterday…but I did get to mass…and communion…before we left…and I offered my intentions…for you…your sisters…their families…and…your brother.

I love you Sal…and I ask…that you continue to watch…over your siblings...and our extended family.

You are missed…and thought about throughout my day…as I carry you...in my heart...and in my prayers…always.
December 26, 2012
Dear Salvatore…This seventh Christmas Day…without you…is an exceptionally quiet one…and sad for many people…for a host of reasons…but I hope and pray…that you are having a Blessed Christmas…in the far better place…than is here.

While I know…one shouldn't wish time away…these holidays…can't be over soon enough…for me. It may be a season of joy…but it is also for some…one of sorrow...
and…loneliness.
.
I have read…a rabbi's view…that stated…that sorrow…was given to us…as a parting gift…when we left…the Garden of Eden…and has been a constant partner…of human life ever since. Suffering in the present…comes from pain…whether physical or spiritual…suffering of the past is mourning…and suffering in the future…is worry and anxiety. He said… joy and sorrow are intrinsic…joy defines sorrow…sorrow defines joy…like the relationship of light and darkness …and some say…that most joy in the world…is just the absence of sorrow... and that all suffering…has a specific purpose…as it sets the limits and borders…that we don't want to cross... while pointing to ways, purposes and ideals…that become much clearer with the contrast. We may want to avoid sorrow…but avoiding it…won't make it disappear. We have to face it. Remembering sorrow can be painful…but that is the other side of light.

Pain…Heartache…Heartbreak…Sorrow…all feelings…that those who have…lost loved ones…suffer and know too well. So we must…one day at a time…keep the faith…as we go through this…valley of tears. During the holidays…taking one day at a time…can often be reduced to…moment to moment…because the grief… is that painful.

I love you Sal…you are very missed... and...you are in my prayers…always.
December 24, 2012
Dear Son…Today marks the…Six Years... and...Eleven Months...Remembrance Day...and it is also...Christmas Eve.

We had a mass for you this morning…and to our surprise…a classmate...who attended West Point...with Dad...was there in church...with his wife. He said…they had been at our church…for a prior service...on Saturday evening... and read your name…in the bulletin's mass schedule…for today...and so they decided to attend...this Monday mass…in your memory. It was really nice…to see them…and to know…that others have not forgotten...about you...and us. Even a childhood friend…of one of your sisters'…was there. Not only did she make…the effort to be there…but then she handed me…a Christmas present. She is a very lovely…and thoughtful person…who recently lost her own mother…and I know...she too is feeling sad. Her parents…were genuinely good souls…and they raised their large family...to be good people too. After mass…and our exchanged wishes...for a Merry Christmas..I visited you...at your resting place.

Yesterday…when I visited you...I lit the fourth candle…in the Advent Wreath…said the prayers…and then placed a small Christmas tree…in front of the wreath. We had attended the noon mass…where I received...a very unexpected gift…as prayers have been answered…and I hope…they will continue to be.

In the evening…we went to a Christmas concert…that was held in our church. Blind since birth…but blessed…the young musician…who was performing…has many God given talents…that include…an incredibly beautiful singing voice…and the ability…to play the piano…and organ…by ear…since the age of two. He also speaks eleven languages. It was a pleasure…to hear him…and to see in him...the love that God has…for all his children.

Tomorrow is Tuesday…our Tuesday…week number 360…and Christmas Day…the seventh one…without you. This time frame…beginning with your birthday…through the holidays…and then to the 24th of January…has me reliving all the memories…of the “last times"…that you were with us…followed by…more memories…of what took place…in the aftermath…of what happened. This holiday season…is one continuous cycle…of sadness.

Life isn't always easy…or fair…yet it remains…a precious gift…which should be cherished…respected…experienced…and enjoyed…and it pains me…that so many years…were stolen from you…and what could have been…in your future.

Sal…these occasions...are not the same…as they once were…even though…we go through the motions…things are as they say…forever changed.

This “new normal” is most Abnormal.

I miss you…as we all do…and I hope and pray…that you are at peace.

You are loved…you are thought about each day…and you are in my prayers…always.
December 17, 2012
Dear Salvatore…Today we attended the 8:30 mass…that was being offered…in Remembrance of Your 44th Birthday. We also visited your resting place…and left flowers...that the deer will most likely eat. We also met…with the grounds people...who were finally…going to install your nameplate. Mrs. L…was kind to attend your mass…and even came with us…to your resting place…for which I am very grateful.

From the beginning…Dad and I…had different thoughts on when…that nameplate...should be dealt with. He said…whenever it would be ready…and I wanted it to wait…until after…the legal matters would be addressed...put to rest…and my promise to you…kept. I must admit…I had no idea…the length of time it could take.

My reasons for the delay…were not appreciated by some…but for me... having to see your name engraved…so soon...and so permanently…on that plaque…was too final an act…and since a promised report to the community…from the FCPD…took a year to produce…I wasn't ready…to deal with any…final act. It still is…and was then…too much to bear. In the midst…of grieving your loss…and coping with a pre-trial investigation…that led to...what became a five year journey…through a slow moving legal system…as we sought justice in your behalf…it was as though…the temporary marker... which has now been there…for the last six years…ten months…and…twenty three days…somehow could hold at bay…all that we were yet to face. It sounds senseless…I know…but parents who suffer the loss of a child…will understand…that we do…whatever it takes…in order to cope…to function…to exist…one day at a time…while bearing the greatest cross…a parent can know…and in our circumstance...all of it…while fighting for justice...that never happened.

Soon after…the trial that never was…and my broken promise…which I will never come to terms with…I began to focus...on what needed to come next.

The reason it took…from Jan. 2011…when I first approved the template…until now…is because each time the plate arrived…there were problems with it…so it went back and forth…about 5 or 6 times…and each time…it took several months between mailings…to and fro... before it would reach its destination. I was starting to think…that only you… understood my heart…and that you were somehow interceding…so that I could have more time…to adjust to the idea…of the inevitable permanent nameplate. In the interim…I was told not to worry…because it would be redone…over and over as necessary…until it met my expectations…and now that day has arrived...and it's not a birthday present...I would have ever imagined.. for you.

I was expecting the plaque...to be centered perfectly…on the stone…but it turned into…no easy task. Mrs. L lent her support…to my concerns…Dad gave up…and though the groundskeepers were patient...and most accommodating…while making several attempts...to correct…what I saw...as less than perfect…in the end…it was still…not to my satisfaction. I guess the lesson for me...is one that…I find very hard to learn. Letting things go...is a major challenge for me…especially when the “things”… concern my children.

I hope…if you were able to witness…from that far better place…exactly what was going on…throughout the process…that you laughed…at us…or at least at me...and now know…just how much...the very best…was and is…always wished for you.

I wish you a Very Blessed Birthday... Son...and I pray that you are now... celebrating it…in the company of family…and your dear friends...who are with you…and I'd like to think…since none of you young men…had children of your own...that the..."Four Uncles” were there…to welcome all those beautiful...and innocent little souls…that were tragically taken…from their families.

In this season of hope and light…my heart goes out…to all the parents and families…of those who were senselessly lost…on Friday…and I pray…that God blesses them…with an abundance of His grace…as they too…have been forever changed…and will now…one day at a time…face a new normal.

Thanks for sharing this day with me...and for the good news…from DRJP…and keep watch over…your sisters…their families…your brother…and our extended family.

You are loved Sal…and you are sorely missed. I carry you close…in my heart…in my thoughts…and…in my prayers... always.
December 17, 2012
Happy Birthday Sal. You will never be forgotten.
December 17, 2012
To Salvatore thinking of you often but, especially today happiest birthday in a better place. aunt cookie
December 09, 2012
Dear Salvatore…This second Sunday in December…is designated as...National Children's Memorial Day. This event which began in 1997...is a...Worldwide Candle Lighting Ceremony…in memory of children…who at any age…and for any reason...have been called back home…to God.

The Candle lighting will begin in New Zealand…and end on the West Coast…of the United States…illuminating the globe…in a 24-hour…wave of light…as families and friends…in homes around the world…say the names of the those children…they wish to honor and remember…as they light a candle in their memory. Through this ceremony... thousands of people come together…in a way that transcends…all ethnic…cultural…religious…and political boundaries…and ensures…that these beloved children...who are very sorely missed…will never be forgotten.

Tonight at 7 pm…I will light several candles…in memory of You…and my Brother...as well as...Michael...and…Richard...and Vinny. Then just one more...for all those children...who are known only to God.

When I visited you today…and right after...I blew out...the second Advent candle...I was surprised...by two very unexpected encounters. One allowed me to express my thoughts…to a woman who was also visiting a loved one…and with whom there was a common ground. The second provided me…via a honking horn…the news…that the long overdue…nameplate…had finally arrived. Lo and behold…they got it right this time…and it only took 6 tries. I brought it to church…and waited for Father C's noon mass…to be over…hoping it would be ok…to have the crucifix portion blessed. It was…and he did bless it…saying how much you are loved…and missed…mentioning too…that he was one of your grateful patients…and then prayed…that you are welcomed…into God's reward.

Sal…watch over your sisters…their families…esp. your two nieces…as this is "exams" week…and…as always…your brother.

You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
December 02, 2012
Dear Son…Yesterday we attended a funeral mass…for a very lovely...and dear lady…and it brought together…many old friends…from St. Michael's…who came to pay their respect. In church…we sat behind…three of your boyhood friends. I remember them as young boys…playing on the school blacktop…and here they were…grown men. As I hugged each of them…it was like…hugging you. They have become...fine young adults…and it was...so good to see them.

Today...is the First Sunday of Advent…and we begin...as a Church…to go through…the new liturgical year again...which consists of six liturgical seasons. The cycle is a reminder…to us…that every end...is also a beginning. The church readings and liturgies…we focus on…during this season…are the sacred mysteries...of the birth...life...death...and resurrection of Jesus. Father's homily...reminded us that...this is a time of quiet reflection...prayer... and conversion of heart.

As I listened to this morning's homily…I felt like I was…the ‘hold out' choir member…he was addressing. I know and get…the quiet reflection…and prayer…I do both…all the time…it's the conversion of heart…that is the difficult one…and I know without it…the joy and peace of Christmas...will be elusive.

After mass…I visited your resting place...and I left an Advent wreath…read the blessing…and lit the first candle. I am hoping my actions…will help my words…to be heard.

I miss you Sal…and this time of year…adds to the pain…and grief…they caused.

You are loved…and in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always
November 24, 2012
My Dear Sal…Dad and I attended…the 8:30 mass this morning…that was being offered for you…on this...6 Years and 10 Months...Remembrance Day.

Since your sister…and her children…were leaving today...we didn't go directly…to your resting place…after mass…because there wasn't going to be…enough time…but right after they did leave…I drove out…and left…a Remembrance Day Rose…near the Angel statue…and on the way back…another one…at the St. Joseph statue.

While visiting you…I was hoping for…some sort of sign...that might let me know somehow…that at least…you are at peace...but today…on this very cold and windy day…all there was…were the sounds of clanging…echoing chimes…and the rustling of dry leaves. Maybe signs...take more forms…than I realize...well at least…I hope they do. So I will...pay closer attention…to not only the visual ones…but to the auditory ones…as well.

Thanksgiving was as ok as it could be. Your nieces and nephews…are growing up…and getting big…which makes…the dining room table…seem smaller and smaller. As usual…there was too much food…so plenty to eat. The football game…was exciting to watch…and there were cheering fans…and laughter…and a minimum…of sibling teasing…among the younger grandchildren…so less need…for their mother's intervention…and only a couple of meltdowns. As I observed…all the interactions…I was thankful for the blessings…but the heartaches…will never go away. We all love you Sal…and we miss you…each and every day.

These family gathering holidays... since that night…and all that led up to it…resulting in your being stolen from us...have become…the most painful season…and time of year…for our family.

I pray Son…that in that better place…you are safe…happy…and…at peace. God Bless You Salvatore.

You remain in our thoughts…in our hearts…and in our prayers…always
November 22, 2012
My Dear Son…I may not be able...to make a visit...to you today…so I have asked Dad…to bring the Thanksgiving flower…to your resting place…for me.

It is now…the 7th Thanksgiving without you…and this “family” holiday…although your sisters….and their families…will be here…with us…and your brother…is not…and never will be…the same…as it once was…when we were not…a part of this “new normal”…which we"ve become.. because of them…and what they caused…to happen…to you…and our family.

I do thank God…for having you…in our lives…but it should have been…for so many more years. I thank God too…for your sisters...their families….and... your brother.

I pray…that you have a Blessed Thanksgiving…knowing that you are loved…you are missed…and you are always…in my heart...in my thoughts…and in my daily prayers
November 13, 2012
Dear Salvatore…On Saturday…I received in the mail…for my approval…another sketch of the plaque…that will...with any luck…be cast properly…this time. There have been…at least 5 or 6 attempts…to get this done…over this past year and a half…and each time…a finished product arrived…there was a problem with it. I only hope and pray...that this time...when it gets here…they have it right…because it has been…so long overdue.

Mrs. P emailed us a link today…to the dedication of the St. Joseph statue…that her son filmed. He did a nice job of capturing...what took place…beginning with the installation in September, 2011…to the blessing…by Father P…in March of 2012.

I love you Sal…and this time of the year…only serves to underscore...how very much...you are missed.

You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
November 02, 2012
Dear Son…Today I went to the All Souls Day noon mass…and then visited your resting place. I was not able to get there...this past Tuesday...due to the weather...and you know...my missing a Tuesday...does not set well with me.

Father's homily today...reminded us... of how important it is…for us to help…and to pray for…the souls of the faithful departed…who are in Purgatory…since they cannot attain...the beatific vision in heaven..until the temporal punishment...due to venial sins…and mortal sins…is cleansed…and he said…we help that to happen...by remembering them in prayers…and at the sacrifice of the Mass…and they in turn…when their souls get to heaven…will prayer for all of us…who helped them to get there. So there we have it...a combined effort...on Earth...the Church Militant...in Purgatory...the Church Suffering...and in Heaven...the Church Triumphant...equaling...the Communion of Saints...and two of the three...are also being called to... moral perfection...so we pray as best we can...if we are to have...any hope of being...on the receiving end...of God's promise. I don't know...how my prayers are received...I just hope He hears them.

Yesterday was All Saint's Day…and Gramp's birthday. I couldn't send flowers to St. John's…because of Hurricane Sandy…and the toll she took…on New York City….and the surrounding areas. I think God is using nature…to get our attention…and I can only hope…that we don't continue to disappoint Him…with our poor behavior...and our poor choices. It is consoling to know however...that God is merciful…and loving…and that in our final moments…He will give us one more chance…to choose freely...either...eternity or damnation...and hopefully...we will choose wisely.

I hope that...all those who have been affected...by Hurricane Sandy…will keep the faith…and continue to trust that…God will get them through…this terribly devastating period.

I love you Sal…I miss you…and I hope that you are resting peacefully…in the company of our family…and friends.

God Bless You….as you watch over... your sisters…their families…and your brother.

You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
October 24, 2012
Dear Sal…I went to the morning mass…being offered for you today…on this 6 Years and 9 Months Remembrance Day. I visited you yesterday…our Tuesday…and again today…and on the way back…I left another rose…at the St. Joseph's statue. I apologize for missing this past Sunday…but I was blind-sided…by plans I hadn't made…so…of course…my plans didn't happen.

This past weekend…was heart wrenching for me…as I had to go through…box after box…of your belongings. It was something…that I have put off…and would have continued to…because even now…I am not ready…to part with any-thing…that was yours. It seems…it is always because of other considerations…that I am made to…“do what must be done." If none of what they caused…had happened…then none of…this…“what must be done”…would have ever needed to be…considered…or…done.

We started with boxes marked school…and as I looked at all those medical books…some of which…still had…your graded test papers in them…I became even more aware…of just how bright and smart…you were. You had so much to offer…and contribute…and it was all stolen…by them…from you…from our family…from your friends…and from all those…who would have benefited…from your knowledge…as their doctor.

Sal…the awards…trophies…diplomas…photos…cd's of your favorite music…and artists…caricatures…saved souvenirs... and drawings that you did…on and on…of course…these are the things…I will not part with.

There were things…in their original boxes…that you had purchased…as potential gifts…or just because…they were...too good a deal…to pass up…and as you often reasoned…”maybe someone in the family could use it”…and for me…they all came with a memory…including a Christmas gift from you…to me…that I stupidly told you to return…because I would never use it. I can still see…the look of disappointment...on your face…because…you had given it thought…and believed it to be…the perfect gift for me…both practical and useful…and I had refused it…not to hurt your feelings…but because…I didn't want you to waste your money. How I wish…I had never caused you...that look. You insisted on not taking it back…and bought something else for me…that you said…you knew I would like…and be willing to keep…because it was a part of “home” for me…and you were right. I treasure the Twin Towers picture…and the original gift…still in its box…but the best gift was…you…and I carry you in my heart…and in my thoughts…all the time. I love you…and I miss you…so very much.

There are still…more boxes…office and house items…but they will have to wait…for another time.

Salvatore…watch over your sisters... their families…and your brother.

God bless you son…you are in my prayers...always.
October 15, 2012
My Dear Salvatore…Today is a milestone birthday…for your kid brother…and it is not…a happy occasion for him...none of the last six…have been what they once were…and it breaks my heart…to see him so down on himself. Please keep close watch over him…as you intercede in his behalf…however you can.

Remember too…your sisters…and their families. Your aunt…uncle…and…cousin…are also in need of prayers…as health issues are of great concern. It seems that everywhere I turn…there is nothing…but sad news…and maybe…given everyone's age…it is just…the way it goes.

It is also…the season of the year…that I dread…because it leads to…all that took place…by them…that caused our world…to turn upside down...and the flashbacks...and memories...remain vivid...as I expect...they always will.

I love you Sal…and we all miss you. You are in my thoughts…in my heart…and in my prayers…always.
October 09, 2012
Dear Son…On this 350th Tuesday…I had to miss my visit…to your resting place. The reason is...we were in NY…with childhood friends…to attend the funeral…of a dear friend's brother.

As the saying goes...and was proven in part today…”you can't have a funeral without laughter…and a wedding without tears”…well…although there wasn't any wedding…the tears were a given…and the laughter…a gift…as we recalled…all the fond memories...of the fun times we shared...while growing up together.

It's funny…how we think…we know our friends so well…and we did…then…but as our lives took different paths…and we moved away from our roots…because of careers and job demands…and despite having kept in touch…over the years…we were amazed to learn...how much we didn't know…until now…about our friend.…and it seems that...his immediate family…were also among...the last to know…until this final tribute…just how much…their loved one's life meant…not only to them…but to so many other people…they hadn't met…before today…and who had also come…to say a last goodbye.

Tony…made his family…very proud…as they listened…to these strangers…who told them…their personal stories…of how Tony was so supportive…and helped them…to deal with…and overcome their problems…and had it not been for him…they would not have…come so far…in their lives.

His son wrote...and delivered...a beautiful eulogy...in which he called his father...his hero.

I know…we are all here…to learn lessons…and to become better human beings…and we do that…whenever we take the opportunity…to reach out to others…and Tony…reached out…more…than any of us…could ever hope to. God bless him…for his generous and compassionate nature…and may he rest peacefully…in God's perpetual light.

Sal…I lit a candle for you…as is our custom…when entering a church…that we have not been to before…and I prayed…for you…and your sisters…their families…your brother...and for all of our friends…who know the heartache of loss.

I love you Salvatore…I miss you…and I think about you…each and every day.

You are in my prayers…always.
September 24, 2012
Dear Sal…On this 80th Month Remembrance Day...Dad and I attended the 8:30 mass...that was offered...for the repose of your soul. I will place flowers at your resting place…and at the St. Joseph's statue…when I visit both…later this afternoon...after we get back…from a second mass…a funeral mass…for the mother…of a friend of your eldest niece.

The past several weeks…have brought bad…and sad news to us…involving our extended family and dear friends…so much so…that answering a ringing phone…has become...for us…a dreaded…“what's next” moment. Of course…we pray…that God will bless...those who are facing illnesses…and unexpected surgeries…with the best of all possible outcomes…for the individual's…as well as their families…but for those…who have suffered an unexpected…devastating…and tragic loss…this week…I can only think…that God…for reasons known only to Him…continues to call home…only the very best of us…and my prayer…for those who are left…to mourn…this horrific…tragic…and untimely loss…is that...God will give them the graces…they will need…as they begin to cope…one day at a time…with the physical absence…of a devoted wife...and very loving and supportive mother...daughter...and sister.

It was so heart-wrenching…to hear what her family…and friends…had to say about this woman…who evidently was a very good soul…and will be sorely missed. It saddened me…that her children…had their mother taken from them…and on this day…six years and eights months ago...one of my children…was taken from me.

Sal…this temporal life…is not without its pain and sorrow…trials and tribulations…as we all know…and I can only hope…that God's promise…of spending eternity…reunited with those we love…will be…what will get each of us through…as we carry our burdens…and crosses…grieve…and mourn…in what is truly…this valley of tears. I know we are Resurrection people…but there are times…when being tested…comes at too high a price.

I love you son…I miss you…and I pray for you…always.
August 24, 2012
Dear Salvatore…You will have to forgive me…once more…since I managed...to miss...this morning's 8:30 mass…that was being said...in your memory…as today marks...the
6 Years and 7 Months Remembrance Day. It is also a Milestone Birthday for your father.

Last week we had a “family dinner”…to celebrate the occasion…even though it was a little early…but today…it will be...just the two of us. We also had a surprise visit…from two old and dear friends…so there were 15 of us at dinner. All is all…it was a nice weekend…but it could have been…so much more…of a happy occasion…if only…we numbered 16.

Both your nieces...have now left for college. One went yesterday...and the other today…and your sister...has been very busy...getting them ready to go back…despite the fact...that she hasn't been feeling too well. I think in all the confusion…although I knew what today was…it somehow got by me…maybe I am just getting old. I did leave a flower…at the base of the St. Joseph statue…and I was surprised to see…a huge butterfly...balancing itself…on a petal of one of the surrounding flowers...that Mr. B. planted all around the base. It could have been...what is called a Monarch…but since I am no butterfly expert…to me it was just an exceptionally large one. I'll take it as a sign…that you were watching. When we go out later…I will visit your resting place…and leave another flower there. I love you Son…and I miss you so very much.

It has been a while…since I saw your “country” nephews and niece…as they like to call themselves…in comparison to us “city” relatives. I guess to them…the busy, noisy and overcrowded roads…are a stark contrast…to the panorama they enjoy everyday…in the Shenandoah Valley. They've become quite the swimmers…taking first place county ribbons…in the breast stroke…and butterfly. Maybe their height…since they are all tall…for their ages…their large feet…and upper body strength…coupled with that “cleaner country air”…are serving them well…in the pool. I know you would be amazed…at the size of them.

Sal…keep close watch over your nieces and nephews…especially the older ones...while they are away at school…and of course…your sisters and brother.

You are loved…you are missed…you are thought about…each and every day…and you are in my prayers…always.
July 24, 2012
Dear Salvatore...This 6 Year and 6 Months Remembrance Day…has fallen on our special day…Tuesday…and while I planned…to attend the mass offered for you this morning…I was needed elsewhere. I know you understand…and I hope you are watching…and interceding however you can. Any more…none of us…can know…where a new day will take us. We can only hope…that we have God's help…in dealing with…whatever challenges come our way. .It just never seems to end. I did however…manage to visit your resting place…and you know the concerns I have…so you pray…and I will too.

We had a family dinner last night…minus a couple of your siblings…and your sister out did herself…despite not feeling well. She is an amazing mom…and proves it daily…just like the other one.

Tonight we had the opportunity…to experience DC…in a way foreign…to our regular routine…and it was thanks…to a generous invitation…from a good friend. And Sal…it is a small world…because we wound up realizing…we had a lot in common…with the guest of honor…so it turned out to be…an enjoyable evening…with nice people…after a very hectic day.

I had hoped…by now…that I would have accomplished…so much more…than I have…but the incentive…and energy needed…to do that...keeps me from…completing…what are my ever changing goals…and deadlines.

Sal...watch over…and protect your sisters...and their families...and keep close to your brother.

You are loved Son…you are missed…and you are in my prayers…always
June 24, 2012
My Dear Salvatore…We had no idea…who would be the celebrant…at the 7:45 am Mass this morning…that was being offered in your name…on this 77th Month...Day of Remembrance…so when Fr. C came out of the sacristy…I viewed it as…more than just a coincidence. I know it shouldn't matter…which priest has a particular mass…and truly it doesn't…but because Fr. C…had the opportunity…to know you…since he was a patient of yours…his presence on the altar…made it all the more personal for me…and I appreciated that…and saw it…as a little sign…from above. I do pray…that you are resting peacefully…but I still question…the reasons…and the purpose…that is being served…by what has happened…to you…and…to our family.

My thoughts have been in overdrive lately…and I know why…as I recognize…that timing is everything…and as intolerable acts…keep happening…people lose their patience for them…so they start making enough noise…to be seen and heard…and that rallies others... who then provide…by their numbers…the needed support...to make change happen.

As I read…several recent articles…about the firing of police officers... who have been involved…in the unjust shooting…and killing…of other unarmed citizens…as well as…the firing of a Police Chief…who drew criticism…for his agency's investigation...of a highly publicized slaying…I found myself thinking…FINALLY…hope does spring eternal…and the time has come…so they now know…they are not above the law…and that…the unrelenting notoriety…that was brought to bear…in these instances…is what caused the results…that was warranted…and is also exactly…what should have been done… by us…in our case…too.

So here it is…Six Years and Five Months later…and when I think back…on our journey…for the justice we sought…in your behalf…and that was owed to you…but not realized…in a court of law…I know I can never forgive myself…for breaking my promise to you…in not staying the course…because maybe it was…for us too…despite the toll it was taking…over the span of the 5 frustrating years....just a matter of…a little more time…to see it through…to the end.

Wrongs will always be wrongs…and stonewalling…fabrications…mishandled investigations…and cover-ups…should never outweigh…and be substituted…for the transparency…accountability…and the consequences…for ones actions…that are…the necessary stepping stones... that should be addressed honorably…by those who could provide…the requested information…to those…who are entitled to it…and are...in pursuit of deserved justice…in the wrongful loss…of a loved one.

Ok Sal…I did it again…but these are the kind of daily occurrences…that just get to me.

You know the concerns I have…so keep watch over your siblings...and your nieces…and your nephews.

God bless you son...and know that…you are loved…you are in my thoughts…you are in my heart…and you are in my prayers…always.
June 17, 2012
Dear Son…Today is Father's Day…and it will be...another quiet one. Both of your sisters…are with their families…so it will be just us…and your brother…in the continuing cycle of…how everything...has been forever changed…for our family.

The probability of experiencing this day...first-hand...was stolen from you…so I can never…wish you...the greeting of this day…my dear son…but I pray…that you have…a blessed GODfather's Day…as you watch over…your two Godchildren.

I love you son…and I miss you…so very much…each and every day.

God Bless You Sal.

You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers...always.
May 31, 2012
Dear Sal…Yesterday and today…proved to be quite rewarding…for your niece. Last night…she crossed the stage…six times…to pick up Certificate Awards for…Principal's List...for all three quarters…English 4 Honors…Accounting Honors…AP AB Calculus…PSAT National Merit Commended Student…and 2012 Valedictorian. She is also a member of the National Honor Society.

Today at the Basilica…she was Awarded Four Medals. One each for…Social Studies…General Excellence…Valedictorian…and Student Athlete…which requires the maintaining…of a 3.5 grade point…and Stef has a 4.56…and was…seated first on the Tennis ladder…and voted MVP player twice. In all likelihood…she would have received the Mathematics Medal…like you did 25 years ago…because she had the highest grades…in her advanced Math Courses…over the last four years…but because she took...the Advanced Placement AB Calculus…and not the BC…it went to a student…who wasn't at DJO for four years…but did take the BC class. Oh well…that would have been wonderful…but Valedictorian…says it all.

Her Valedictory Address…was written with insights and wisdom…one would think were beyond her years…but it was a Stef original…and even though…we all wanted…to add our two cents worth…and have input…she kept us at bay…and delivered her message…conveying her thoughts…reflections...advice…and wishes…in a voice…that was strong.. clear…audible…well cadenced…and sincere. Who knew…she would be...such an effective speaker...too. Of course your sister…“her Mom”…had to wipe away tears…and so did I. Your sister…as an alumna…was also invited…to present Stef…with her Diploma. It was a very special moment…and we are all…so proud of her.

2012…not only marks...your Godchild's DJO Graduation…but it is also the year...you would have celebrated…your 25th High School Reunion…and it would have been…such a blessing…to have you here…for both of these…milestone occasions. I miss you Son.

Family celebrations...are no longer the same…so much has happened…and too many of us…are missing these moments…that make up a life…and the memories…that we will carry forward…and then cherish...and treasure…when the time comes…for looking back. How different it all could have been...if only...

Sal…watch over her…and the rest of our family...too.

You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
May 25, 2012
Dear Son…Today…on this 76th Month Remembrance Day…my emotions…and thoughts….have run the gamut. Missing you…wishing you could be here…infuriated… by the circumstances…and…at those…who caused you…to be taken from us…and always the why…and what purpose is being served. Life has become…an unending cycle…of questions…without answers.

This afternoon…there was a happier mood…when I saw your Godchild…in her Prom Gown…looking absolutely beautiful. Next week…we are looking forward…to Awards Night…and…her Graduation Speech. She is Bishop O'Connell's Valedictorian…for the Class of 2012…and her achievements are many. She has worked hard…and we are very proud of her. Again…you should be here…with our family…as we celebrate the happy occasions…in the lives…of your nieces…and nephews…but…so the cycle continues.

I did go to mass this morning...and visited your resting place afterwards. Every time I walk up that path…my insides scream…in disbelief…of what is our reality. The setting is peaceful…and quite beautiful…but it is not where you should be. You should be living your life…and enjoying all.. that was yet to be.

Sal...watch over your sisters...their families...and...your Brutha.

I love you son…you are in my thoughts…and...in my prayers…always.
May 13, 2012
Dear Salvatore...I went to mass this morning...and then visited you...on this...seventh Mother's Day...without you.

What has happened to our family...in this course of time...is not what I envisioned for us...and it hurts me deeply. I keep telling myself...one day at a time...since it is what it is...but I find it more and more difficult...to accept. I don't know...maybe acceptance...will never happen for me...no matter how much I pray.

I love you son...as I love your sisters...and...your brother...but Mother's Day...is another...of those special days...that I prefer...to go quickly.

You are missed son...and you are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
May 12, 2012
Dear Son...Thank you for watching over each of them...and I hope you know... the same pride...we all are feeling... at this wonderful news.

It is a very well deserved honor... that she has rightfully earned. She is a true blessing...and a joy.

I love you Sal...and you are in my prayers...always.
April 24, 2012
My Dear Salvatore…The morning masses for today…on this 75th Month...Day of Remembrance…were already assigned…to other parishioners…so in your memory…I attended the “Priest's Intention” Noon mass…and afterwards…I visited your resting place.

Sunday…I missed my visit…because we were invited...to a wedding...this weekend…and while we had a good time…in the company of…family and friends…you know…how it makes me feel…to miss a visit. On the way home...it poured rain...so additional time...was added to the trip…because of the weather…a few accidents…and a road closing. Fortunately we arrived safely…but later than usual…so between the weather…and our arrival time…my Sunday with you...didn't happen.

When I got home…there were a lot of emails…and one of them…from a good friend…contained a link…to a renowned Dutch violinist, conductor and composer…and his orchestra…doing a tribute...to Frank Sinatra…with My Way…on his Stradivarius violin…at Radio City Music Hall. I opened it...and listened...and it was very beautiful…so I passed it forward…to other friends...who might enjoy it too. A short time later...I received a thank you email…from the retired police chief…whose police officer son…was killed in an automobile accident…that was caused by a drunk driver…in 2004. We met coincidentally…on the Officer Down Memorial Page…as he posted reflections...for his son…while I posted them...for my brother. He happened to read…on Uncle Sal's site…that I not only had lost one Sal…but two. He immediately reached out to me…and we have been email friends since then.

His email back to me is below.

Thank you for sending me this violin rendition. We have a video made of Michael's life with photographs from his birth up to his death and the background music is Frank Sinatra singing "My Way." Michael loved all kinds of music from Hip Hop and Rap, to Sinatra. He would drive down the street in Chicago in his Jeep with the top off singing Frank Sinatra songs to a tape he was playing, as loud as he could. So, as soon as I heard it the tears came but happy tears of a wonderful memory. Bob

Sal…no matter how much time passes…the memories are stored…and our senses are at the ready…to tap into them…and in this instance…because of a song…a Dad was able to shed happy tears…recalling and visualizing...a wonderful memory…of his very loved…and very missed son.

We parents…who have lost children…share the same sadness…and grief…so when there is…a wonderful memory…we reach out…to one another…hoping to share that too.

God Bless You Sal…and please keep watching over…your sisters…their families…your brother…and all those…I hold in my heart.

You too are loved...and missed...and are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
April 09, 2012
Dear Son...Not only is it Easter Sunday...and the seventh one…without you…it is also…the date of an anniversary...and tomorrow...is a birthday...for one of your sisters.

In the past…when we didn't have…the heartache we now know…we would have had…our usual holiday dinner…with the added celebration…of these other two occasions…but it is the present…and because so much has changed…for all of us...it did not happen…and it breaks my heart.

Sal…watch over your sisters…their families…and your brother.

I love you Sal...and I wish you...a Very Blessed Easter. You are so very missed...and you are in my prayers... always.
April 01, 2012
Dear Sal...Today is Palm Sunday...the beginning of Holy Week…and this time…Dad managed to get...just enough palms...with which to make...the braided crosses.

In our heritage and tradition…palms were a sign of peace…and I knew nothing more…than that. I just read…that a palm branch…was the emblem of Judea…and appeared on the coins of the land…symbolizing one of the country's riches.

There are many different varieties…the date palm supplied fruit…the coconut palm… coconut and coconut milk. The sugar palm's sap…was dried…beaten…and ground into fine sugar…its leaves boiled…and used as a vegetable…the trunk of the sago palm…was ground into flour…and made into unleavened bread. The trees had almost no waste parts. Their coarse fiber used…to make brooms…mats…and…baskets…their fine fiber... used to make sewing thread…their heaviest fiber…used to make strong ropes. Palm oils…have been made…into both butter…and soap. Fine bowls…cooking utensils… even tools…were made from coconut shells. Some palm wood…does not easily rot…and was especially good…for making boats. The seeds were boiled…and made into a medicinal drink…or dried and eaten like nuts…or made into beads. The palm's flowers.. were made into perfume...or used as decorative headdresses…for the women.

Fittingly then...when Jesus entered Jerusalem…the trees were in bloom…so in covering the way…with palm branches…the people were offering…a symbol of great value and luxury…and strewing palm branches…at Jesus' feet then…was a symbol of the…giving up of worldly goods…both necessities and luxuries. The people loved and honored Jesus…and they showed their love and honor…by lining His path…with something very important to them.

Dad made the first cross…for you…and he left it…at your resting place…and I now have...a fuller appreciation…for the symbolism…behind the palms.

I love you son…I wish you a Blessed Palm Sunday…you are missed…and in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
March 24, 2012
Dear Son…Today is Month Number 74…as another Remembrance Day…is marked. Dad and I…attended the mass…offered this morning…in your name…and…then I visited...your resting place…which doesn't get…any easier.

For the last several days…I have been listening…to the radio coverage…on another tragic death. This time it was an unarmed FL teen… who was shot and killed…on Feb. 26th…by a neighborhood watch volunteer.It is very sad…and personally...quite upsetting…to hear...as well as...to read the comments…as they reflect...many of my own thoughts…as I continue to question..what was and is…gotten away with…when no one…values the life…of another human being…and I cringe…as I continue…to mourn your loss.

In just a matter of days…this story…has gained national attention…and the police chief…who was in charge…of the investigation…has temporarily removed himself...from his job…amid mounting criticism…and pressure…to charge...and arrest...the neighborhood watch leader…with the killing of the teenager.

The local prosecutor also stepped down…from handling the case…and the Florida Governor…appointed another state atty. to handle the investigation. The Sanford Police Chief…said that he stands by…his department's initial investigation...which left the watch volunteer…uncharged…as he claimed self defense…in the young man's killing. The Chief said…he is stepping aside…to avoid being a distraction…because his role in the matter…is overshadowing the process.

The case has been…drawing widespread national coverage…amid claims that Trayvon Martin, who is black…was a victim…of racial stereotyping. I don't know…if all the facts are in…or if... they ever will be. The neighborhood watch volunteer has said…he acted in self defense. Is it just another buzz word…that is accepted…without any challenge…by those at the scene…who take the word…of the very someone…who caused the harm…just as the word…accident…was also taken at the word…of the someone…who caused our grief…on a night…6 years…and…2 months ago.

I see a number of parallels in this case…that were in our own. So far…it is only the time frame…that is different…as we too sought answers…and justice…in your behalf...like these parents...who are also seeking…answers...and justice...in behalf of their son.

We as parents…wanted the same level of accountability…transparency…and consequences...to be brought to bear…and have a grand jury…hear and weigh…what should have been...presented to them…for a decision…as to whether or not...to prosecute the wrong doing…as criminal...and not leave it to…the sole discretion…of a state attorney…who in our case…had a reputation…for never going against an officer…in the 40 years…that he served…as prosecutor…in our Commonwealth.

I have read that…the teen's parents…have already received…a response from the DOJ…and were told...by them...that they will..look into the matter.

Our journey for justice…dragged on for 5 years…and also went to the DOJ...and then twice...to the Court of Appeals in Richmond...and in the end…there was no justice…as our resources to go forward...were depleted.

What no one understands is…as they sit in judgment…it is not a question of dollars…which most unfortunately... become the only alternative...because they never can equate…to a loved one's life…which is priceless...and so it is...truly only about justice…and that justice is difficult…to receive.

His parents are rightfully entitled…to the justice…that their son deserves…and that they are hoping to get…and are seeking. I had also hoped…for that same end…in January of 2011.

Like this young man...you too...were unarmed…and unjustly...and wrongfully shot...and killed...in an instant. It is my belief…as in this case…that there...was also profiling…in ours. A wrongly conceived perception…in my opinion.…because of heritage…was formulated…and that led…to the over excessive show of force…cloaked in a warped ulterior motive…by the undercover detective...and in a reversed situation…the investigation…conducted by the department...was virtually nil…and there was…the added double standard…because the person…who caused our grief…was also a police officer…so he too...was taken at his word…that it was an accident…and therefore...he wasn't drug tested either…because he didn't look like... he was lying...and then he only received...a three week suspension…for taking a life...that was valued... unique…precious…and irreplaceable. Words cited and believed...both taken as gospel. I will never understand... that logic.

Both unnecessary loses…that change families forever…and may have been avoided…if only…people didn't act so hastily.

I know life isn't fair…but there should be…no double standard…or bias…that is based on race…or profession. Wrong is wrong…and to whom it is owed…justice needs to be served.

I hope Trayvon Martin's parents…find the justice…they are seeking…without it causing a further divide. May cool and clam heads prevail…and may Trayvon…Rest Peacefully...in God Perpetual Light.

My most sincere condolences to his parents...and family.

I miss you Sal…and I pray for you…always.
March 19, 2012
My Dear Salvatore “Joseph”....A couple of months ago…I made a decision…to begin my morning…without reading the Agitator…first thing…as I had grown accustomed to doing…over these last years. Being...upset…frustrated...and angry...aren't the emotions… that one...should start a day with...even if one thinks…she is coping…despite…no longer having the patience…or tolerance…for a daily diet...of the many injustices...that one may read about…or...that life throws...at some of us.

Since there would be articles…followed by...a reader's comments section…referencing… either another "Isolated Incident" or...Wrong Door...No Knock...and botched SWAT raids...along with accounts of…Misconduct and Abuses...by LEO's…and on and on…that somehow managed to…be escalated…rather than diffused…by those who are…sworn to serve and protect…which often result…in horrific outcomes…due to the wrongful handling of a situation…that didn't warrant…the over reaction it received… only served to aggravate me…as I read these accounts…so I changed my routine.

Admittedly…some habits die hard…and the other day…the 15th…a ‘fateful' date…known as…the Ides of March…may have been…what prompted me…to visit my former day starter...at least…that is what…I am chalking it up to.

Sure enough…there it was…the very first article…reporting on…and with video…from a police cruiser…a police officer…abusing the rights …of a motorist…to the point of lying…and then… fabricating reasons…to detain him…while another officer looked on…and did nothing …to intercede…in order to…minimize…what could have…turned into…an even worse situation..

Then another article…on the state of VA and DNA evidence…that was beneficial to certain persons…who had been incarcerated for crimes…that they said they did not commit…and now…despite the proof…of DNA tests…citing their innocence…it appears that no great efforts were made…to get the information to them…so amends could be made…for these wrongful convictions…and real justice served. The poor excuses…and convoluted reasoning…in defense of…and supporting…the ridiculous justifications… made by those…in a corrupted system…as it…and they…perpetuate the injustices… experienced by some…who would be vindicated…of their charged crime…and therefore benefit…from this new evidence…and information...and that it is…withheld from them…or their families…if they have already passed on...is in my opinion…disgraceful... and dishonest.

Sal…we live in a world…where the plain and simple truth…does not set someone free…because it is circumvented...and that...has become the status quo...as Ethics...Values...Honor...and...Respect...have gone by the wayside.

Now to my point…I would have missed…another short mention…had I not…for that unknown reason…gone to the computer…and curiously clicked on…the Agitator site…once more. As I kept reading…I came across an article…mentioning you…titled the Sal Culosi case. It seems that the reporting…about our tragedy…has been deemed worthy…of a Maggie nomination…in the category of…Best Web or Digital Edition Article…for the reporter…who followed our case…from the beginning…to its…I don't know what to call it…I would have said…end…but as any parent knows…who has suffered…the wrongful loss of a child…for us…there is no end…so all I can say is…he followed it…to where it stopped…for him.

I am grateful to him…for not forgetting…the terrible wrong…that was done to you…and although…I don't know…if he will win this journalism award…I do wish him well…for reporting it as he did…and for keeping the public informed...as we sought…in your name …the justice owed to you…but that could not be delivered…by a stacked...very difficult...and slow moving system…that in the course…of those five…pre trial years…wore out our resources…and failed all of us.

Son…you are loved…and you are missed…and…on this Feast Day of St. Joseph...which is also your name day…I pray...that you are happy...and resting peacefully...in God's Perpetual Light.

Sal…watch over your sisters…their families…your brother…and Bri.

You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
March 18, 2012
My Dear Son…Today…one day after...St. Patrick's Day...and...one day before.. St. Joseph's Day...the statue...in front of our church...of...St. Joseph and the Boy Jesus…that was donated... to Honor...our founding pastor...Msgr. Thomas Patrick Scannell…and in Memory of…You…Richard…and…Vinny…was finally and formally... Dedicated and Blessed...right after...the Noon mass.

Our current pastor…Father Pokorsky…officiated…with the help…of an altar boy…who held the book…from which he read. He also…referred to the milestone dates…on the inscription plate…pertaining to Monsignor Scannell…and right before...he ended…with a group prayer…he sprinkled Holy Water…on the statue…and on those of us…in attendance. Fr. Fimian also attended…as well as many…former parishoners…and dear friends...that we haven't seen…in quite some time…but who came...to pay their respect…for Father Scannell…and also in support….of our families. Even a classmate…of your's…and Richard's…was there…with his cute little girl. Father Pokorsky...also thanked...and mentioned…by name...the “benefactor” families...which was most thoughtful.. and...very gracious of him.

It was nice to see everyone…who took the time…and made the effort…to attend…this well deserved honor…in recognition of Monsignor Scannell. The timing worked out fittingly too…even though…the statue has been in place…since this past August…because…yesterday…the 17th…was also…the Monsignor's "Patron Saint" Name Day…and tomorrow…the 19th…is the 75th Year Anniversary...of his Ordination.

I left a bouquet of 6 flowers…at the base of the statue. The florist…must have thought…I was strange. She asked if I wanted…what is the "usual" order…when buying roses...ie. a dozen roses…and I said no...quite emphatically... because I had a specific reason…for the number…and the arrangement…of the flowers. You know me…things have to... make sense to me…and have meaning…even if they hold…no logic…for anyone else. I wanted one Lily…symbolic of St. Joseph…two Red Roses…one for Jesus…the other one...for the Monsignor…and three White Roses…one each…in loving remembrance…of three young men…who are our sons…brothers… uncles…and...were each others…school mates…and…friends.

God Bless…Father Scannell…for his Priesthood…and for his…many years of service...and guidance.

May God also Bless…each of you boys…who are very loved…and very missed...by your families.

Son…you are in my thoughts…and…in my prayers…always.
February 24, 2012
My Dear Salvatore…The passing of time…that I know does not heal…only gives me more time…to think about…how much I miss you. It is now…Month Number 73…taking me further…from the last time I saw you…yet closer…to the time…when I hope and pray…that I will see you again.

As any parent…who has lost a child…knows and understands…there are days…when you just want to scream…and scream…as you continually question…what you had been helpless to prevent…and now live with…because it cannot be changed.

Every day…there are lives stolen…in unnecessary…senseless…and devastating ways…that attest to the insanity…in some cases…of those…who would dare to end…another's life…but when…the evil in our world…is also cited…as a force…that can move someone…to commit a grave wrong…in the taking of another's life…the mere mention of the word...is disregarded…as though…evil…does not exist. But it does. Son…we no longer…live in the world…that you knew…as a child…or even in the one…that you were unjustly stolen from…six years…and one month ago. It is truly sad…that there are…those who do not value…a human life.

I was reading the newspaper articles…about the UVA tragedy…that has caused…one family…to now know…the grief of losing a daughter…and a sister…and another family…to bear the burden…of having their son…spend many years…in jail…for what he did…that changed all of their lives…forever. One mother was quoted…saying it is an unbearable loss…and she is so right. I read an anonymous quote…”Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” I will pray…for both their mothers.

This morning…the entire grade school…attended the First Friday of Lent mass…that was the same mass…being offered for the repose of your soul…on this day 24th day of the month. I was surprised…to see your niece...and one of her schoolmates…come down the aisle…to present the offertory gifts…to the priest. At the end of the mass…I went over to her…and asked her…how she was picked…to do that. She shrugged…not knowing…but the Principal said…it was just a coincidence. She had asked…one of the teacher's…to pick two children…who could meet that need…and send them to her office…and lo and behold…one of them…was your niece. Just a coincidence…I don't think so. I believe…it was more than that…and so I am grateful…for intercessors.

Sal…watch over your sisters…their families…and…your brother. We all love…and miss you…so very much.

You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
January 24, 2012
My Dear Son...It is now…January 24th…a Tuesday again...and the Sixth Year Remembrance Day…of what…should have never happened...to you…and that...I live with…each and every day…because of their unjust…excessive...and unforgivable actions...that caused... those incredibly…heartbreaking words…to be spoken to me…by the detective…on that awful night.

Sal...I treasure all my memories…of you. Beginning with your first kick…to the last kiss…as I whispered in your ear…and told you again…how much...I had hoped…and wished…and prayed...that life would hold for you...all the good things…it had to offer. From the moment...you were handed to me...my beautiful baby boy…and then…in that final moment…as I looked down...at my handsome young man…I repeated once more…how much you were…and always would be…very loved…and now...missed. You are always in my heart…in my thoughts…and in my prayers.

This morning…we attended the 8:30 mass…being offered in your memory. Some of our good friends…were also kind enough…to be there…and I am very grateful... for their support..and thoughtfulness. Mrs. L. told me…that she can still hear…her son Richard's voice…and his crying…on the phone…when he learned…of your loss. Now...we both cry…because we have each...lost a very precious son. Mothers...who have lost a child…store in their memories…many things…that cannot…and would not be understood…by those…who have not…walked our path. Some may think us strange…for what we cling to…but not us moms…who know the pain…of losing a child…and the grief…and…the sorrow…that we each cope with…while trying to get through…just one day at a time.

I'm still finding it difficult...to summarize…for the justice (a word that sticks in my throat) site…all that has taken place...this past year…since breaking my promise...to you…by not going into court…for the trial that was scheduled…and then didn't happen. I had naively thought…that one way or the other…in keeping my promise to you…that I could then…begin to celebrate your life…even though…in my heart…I knew…I would always mourn your loss…and grieve for you...until...we are together again. Every time…I attempt...to collect my thoughts…and put into words…my feelings...concerning this past year…I get sick at heart…and get nowhere.

How I wish…we could go back…in time…so that none of this…might have happened. But it is what it is…that vague phrase…that I don't care for…and explains nothing…but is meant perhaps…to allow one to be resigned…to what one cannot change…so that one can move on…or forward…as one continues to live…under the pressures…and stresses…that could have been avoided…if only they...the FCPD...had used common sense…and acted reasonably…with regard…to “my one”…YOU.

I wonder at times...if any of them…has a conscience…and ever thinks…of what they took part in…and caused to happen…to you…on this day. I know I should not dwell on them…and usually don't…but it is exactly why…I needed…in your behalf…to have them heard…and seen in court…exposing themselves…with their contradictory testimonies...as light would have been shed...on the inept persons…and department…they were then…and maybe who knows…still are.

I just got back…from visiting…your resting place…and as I walked the path…I could see...a floral arrangement... that had been left…for you…by your sister. I know Cyn went to mass…in your memory…and that…Chris is thinking of you…as they all love…and miss you too.

Bri called...and...I also got...two nice surprises. A phone call…from a young lady...that has always held...a special place…in my heart. She wanted to let me know...she too...had been thinking of you...and us...on this day.

Your Godchild...also came by...after school...and gave me...a dozen and a half...beautiful…long-stemmed pink roses...to bring to you. She touched my heart so deeply...and brought me to tears. Sal...she is amazing...and gifted...in so many ways...and you would have been...so very proud of her. Please keep watch over her...and all of your nieces...and nephews.

Rest Peacefully...You Are Remembered.

Sal…I miss you beyond words. You are loved… and I hold you in my heart…and in my thoughts…and I pray for you…always.
January 02, 2012
Dearest Salvatore...We had a very busy weekend...and although we did watch...the very noisy...Times Square crowd...ring in the New Year...my thoughts were elsewhere...and at midnight...I was silently...wishing you...a Very Blessed New Year.

I love you son...and I miss you so very much.

You are in my thoughts...and prayers...always.
December 25, 2011
To My Salvatore...It is Christmas morning...a very quiet one...nothing like the ones we had...when you...and your sisters...were growing up...and later...the even noiser ones...thanks to your younger brother.

There won't even be the confusion...of our Christmas dinner...with everyone raising the decibel levels...in the middle of laughs...and one-upmanship barbs...while food is being passed... from one end of the table...to the other. It is not a Christmas...I ever thought...we would be having…and the lesson learned...“quiet”…is very overrated.

After mass...and visiting you...I will probably be wrapping...the rest of the gifts...that your "country" nephews and niece...will be opening...when they visit us...sometime this week. No Sal…it's not the Christmas…you once knew…when everything was done…at breakneck speed…and we were up…into the wee hours…on the Eve…just to get everything done…before morning.

The changes in our lives...may have been inevitable…since children grow up…marry...have families…and begin to lead their own lives…with other responsibilities and demands. It is just the life cycle…repeating…and while that is a good thing…it's one that says…times are different…people have moved on…and nothing…as Gramps would say…stays the same…or lasts forever.

I pray that you are with…Uncle Sal…Nan…Gramps…other relatives…and friends…spending a Blessed…and Merry Christmas…in that better place. God Bless each of you.

I love you Son…I miss you…and I wish…life could have had…only happy changes.

You are in my thoughts…and prayers…always.
December 24, 2011
Dear Son….We attended the 8:30 mass this morning…that was offered for you…as today marks…month number 71…and yes...you are and have been…in my thoughts…and I have missed you…each and every day…of these last 2160…that have passed.

Today…is also Christmas Eve…so I have placed...a small Christmas Tree…opposite the Birthday flowers…that your sister left for you…and hopefully…it will not go missing.

I received a Christmas card…the other day…from a dear nun…who had been at St. Michael's for many years…but is now back at Camilla Hall. I remember her…telling me…a few years…after your loss to us…that whenever she saw me at mass…I looked so sorrowful. In her recent card to me…she wrote…

Dear Mrs. Culosi, knowing that your son is with the Lord, should make this Christmas better. Every January the 24th I pray for you because Salvatore doesn't need prayers. I pray that you are a little more resigned in 2012. May the Infant bless you.

In light of sister's prayer for me…I have read the following.

Resignation is a quality of the saintly souls…and is the outcome…of the soul's evolution…for it is the result…of either love or wisdom. It does not mean giving up something…it means being contented…to give it up. Therefore...to be resigned is not weakness…it is a great strength. We should form a habit...of being resigned…as not having resigned ourselves...to an experience…means the loss of an opportunity…and to resign oneself…means to do so…even when one has the power…to resist. But this resignation…which is such a simple thing…is yet miraculous…this virtue is not only beautiful…it is a miracle. Resignation is really the expression of mastery over one's self. If one can be resigned, so much the better; but one should not force one's nature.

Sister is very kind…means well…and has a deep faith…and I was touched…to know…that even though…it has been three more years…since her first comment to me…she is still praying for me…at least on Jan. 24th...and I thank her...and pray that...God will bless her...for caring.

I see where...being resigned...has its merits…and…if sister continues to pray for me…who knows what will happen…but given my nature…well…at least she has caused me…to enlighten myself.

I know I can't change what is…and I am bearing up…as best as I can…but I will never “get over” your loss to us. Nan and Gramps…never ‘got over”…your Uncle Sal's loss. Parents don't “get over”…the loss of their child. The best we can hope for…as we try to adjust…to the “new” normal…that has befallen us…is to take…just one day at a time…as we attempt to cope…with one of life's…most heartbreaking and painful experiences…or as pointed out…and defined above…as “the loss of an “opportunity”...for resignation…that I would have hoped…never to have had.

I love you son…I miss you…and I wish you were here with us. You are in my prayers…always.
December 17, 2011
My Dear Salvatore…Today is Your Birthday...the sixth one...we have spent...without YOU.

It is another year…with more to follow…where there will be…on this occasion…no gathering together…in order to recall...and remember...what we will never forget.

There is no family dinner…no cake…no gifts...no sitting around the table…no joking and laughing…no playing games.. and admittedly...no loud voices…or the scolding of children...or my critiques of Dad. No there is none of that... all of it has been replaced...by my tears..for what can no longer be...as it once was.

After the mass…that was offered…this morning…for the repose of your soul…I visited your resting place…where I prayed…for you...my forever 37 year old son…instead of being able…to wish you a Happy 43rd Birthday…while watching you…blow out the candles…on your birthday cake…and making a wish…for whatever was in your heart…and should have still been…a part of your future.

This time frame…is the one…that puts me deeper…into that tailspin of…WHY.

Last year…on this date…we were in court...awaiting the judge's pretrial instructions…and rulings…on whose experts…would be allowed to testify…(another bittersweet memory…to recall on this date…due to the judicial scheduling…because court is held on Friday…and last year…the 17th fell on a Friday)...so although I would have preferred…not to be in court…on your birthday…we had to be…since we were getting close…time wise…to the trial date. When the judge…finally decided…to allow our experts' testimonies…and not theirs…it became the defining moment...for them…and put into play…the County's “sudden” willingness…after five years…to talk to us…via lawyers. Quite a turn around…from their NOT wanting…to meet with us…from the onset…before lawyers...and later on…even in the interim…to answer the questions and concerns…we had from day one…as your parents…and family…who from the very moment…we heard the devastating news…had become forever changed…thanks to them. No…there was no interest then…from them…to recognize common decency…and their obligation…to answer our questions…and to treat us…as they would have wanted to be treated…in our situation…let alone…as the victimized and grieving family...they caused us to become...as a result of their deplorable...and reprehensible actions.

But on your last birthday…having heard the judge's decision…it didn't take more than…a couple of hours…before their lawyer…called our lawyers…to discuss a settlement…as though a monetary figure…could ever equate to...the unjust taking of a life. You know how heartsick I am…and will continue to be…for not being able…to keep my promise to you...because in breaking my word...it allowed them…and him…to walk away…without him ever stepping one foot…into a courtroom…where he would have been confronted... with what he did…and caused…as a direct result of everything…that was wrong…and yet allowed to be done... because of the faulty procedures... policies...protocols…and training…in a 2006 FCPD.

I have heard…as a result...of our family's tragedy…that some procedures have changed…in regard to using SWAT teams...for low risk...routine police work...and while that may be...the good...that comes from...the something bad...it doesn't change anything…for you…or for us. I know I should be…and I am…grateful…that others may benefit…as a result…of the changes made…since our tragedy…however…it was...is…and always will be…for you...and for our family...too little…done too late.

Justice…there wasn't any Sal...and once again...I didn't mean to empty... and unload...here...all that I carry in my head...and in my heart.

So my thoughts on this day…are not the happy ones…they could have been…if only you were here.

I love you…and I miss you son…and I pray…that you are…in the company…of our family…and your friends…in that far better place…enjoying this day…as I wish you a Blessed Birthday...and ask you…to continue to watch over…your sisters…their families…and your brother.

You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
December 11, 2011
Dear Son…Today is...the second Sunday…in December…and it marks…the Annual Candlelight Observance…of National Children's Memorial Day. Tonight at 7 pm…in each time zone...across the USA…bereaved parents…will be lighting candles…to honor the memory…of our children…who have returned home...to God…much too soon...and much too young.

I will be lighting a candle…for you…and additional candles…for the children...of family and friends…who may not be aware…of this Day's significance…but who have also...lost their dear children. I will include…your Uncle Sal…Michael…Richard…Vinny…Jerry…Doug…David…Martin...Aaron... Ashley...Laura...George…Ryan…Sean…and little Benjamin.

Each of you…is very loved…and we were blessed…to have you in our lives. You will not be forgotten.

May God's Perpetual Light…shine upon you Sal…and each of them…as you rest in His Eternal Peace.

You know what is in my heart…and in my thoughts…so please keep close watch…over your sisters…their families…your brother…Dad…and our extended family.

Sal...I miss you so very much.

You are in my prayers…always.
November 24, 2011
Dear Son…Today is...Thanksgiving Day. It is also…5 years...and 10 months…since you were taken from us…and although…I tried to schedule a mass…for this day…the one… and only mass...being offered...this morning…had already been taken…by another parishioner. It does seem odd…that there would be...just one mass...on this special day of Thanks...but I suppose...practicality…won out…since most everyone…wants to spend this day…with family…and friends. How I wish…I was able…to spend this day...the way…our family…once did.

I have a little head start...on tomorrow's menu…so I will visit you…right after mass. I must admit…that I find this time of year…and these holidays…quite overwhelming. I know there are blessings to be counted…and I am grateful for them…but losing you… makes them so hard…to keep in perspective.

I know I am out of sorts…and it is quite apparent. I…just ruined a cake…that I have made numerous times…which was going to be…the last thing…I would prepare tonight …in order to keep ahead…of tomorrow's schedule…but that's not the case now…so down the disposal it went. I think…it would be best…to call it an “eve”…and to try again…in the morning.

Hopefully…I will get it all together…before everyone arrives.

I love you Sal…and I miss you…so very much…and I hope you know…all that is in my heart…and how thankful I am…to call you my son..

Keep watching over your sisters…their families…and your brother.

You are in my prayers…always.
November 15, 2011
Dear Sal…This morning...I had a mass offered…for both sides...of our family members...who have been...called back home...by God. It is also Tuesday... week number 303...and I have just returned...from our visit.

Yesterday we were in Reston…at a TV studio. We had been invited…to be guests…along with FCPD Chief Rohrer…Mr. Beltrante…of the VA Citizens Coalition for Police Accountability…Mr. Jackman…a reporter for the Washington Post…and Mr. Pope …an author…and award winning writer…for the Connection Newspapers. The host was J. Lovaas…of Reston Impact...and the topic…Fairfax County Police Department's Use of Lethal Force...and the need for transparency...and a citizen's oversight review board.

Several FCPD cases were discussed…in referencing…transparency…and accountability…and the rights of victim families…to get the answers to their questions…and the information they are seeking…in a timely manner…as they try…to pick up the pieces…after their loved ones…and their families lives…have been tragically changed…as the result of…excessive force issues…or over the top responses…by FCPD police officers…in dealing with their loved ones...who were county residents...and citizens.

I must say…the Chief was cordial…and tried…to remain receptive…and understanding…of the “why” factor... in the many questions…that he was fielding…from this group. However…the bottom line remains…victim families…have rights…and should be treated…with compassion…respect…and dignity…by those…who caused the very grief…they have been made…to suffer…as a direct result…of excessive force responses... by FCPD officers…in creating the circumstances…that have cost these families…unnecessarily…and unjustly... the lives...of their loved ones.

I know it is a fine line…trying to accommodate…both sides…citizens…and officers…but since we are all human beings…my hope would be…that we remember that…and recognize…that each life…is a worthy as the next…and the police…although...they put their lives…on the line daily…they are sworn...to serve and protect...and they do not…have the right…to jeopardize the lives…of those…they come in contact with…and who are not threatening them…nor should these officers…be given a pass…and held to a lesser consequence…for their actions…than any other person…would be…in a similar circumstance…where there is doubt…about what really happened…that caused a life…to be stolen…or lost…unnecessarily.

Son, I don't mean to ramble…but when there are...excessive wrongs...they need to be owned…by those...who commit them…and in these cases…despite the officer's..."buzz words"…and perceptions…and knowing that…in the 40+ years…that officers…have not been held accountable...and have been given…the benefit of the doubt…there needs to be…a sense of fairness…felt by the community…whether in the form of…a civilian review board…a grand jury determination…firings…or other appropriate consequences…for officers…involved in questionable operations…or circumstances…especially…when there is…an unjustified...and unnecessary…loss of life.

My heart is broken…and I feel…for those families…who also know…this kind of pain.

God help all of us…and as a result of our tragedies…may policies…protocols…and training…continue to be challenged…and corrected…so that others may be spared…the heartaches we know.

God bless you Sal.

I love you…I miss you…and I carry you close…in my heart…in my memories…and in my prayers…always.
November 01, 2011
Dear Son…It's Fall again...your very favorite time...of the year…but for me…it has become...in these last 5 plus years...a painful time…of reliving... all that led up...to our greatest hurt.

I know you enjoyed...the crisp cool weather…seeing the colorful leaves…as you drove home…from work…sitting in front of the TV…watching the new line up of shows...and sports...picking out a costume…for the Halloween party…that was in the works…and getting into the spirit…of the holiday season…as the stores…would always be decorated…and it would set the mood...well in advance of...both Thanksgiving...and Christmas. Then the phone calls...from you...would begin...and all those questions...about what was planned…who was coming…and...what did the kids want. If you only knew…and maybe you do…how so much has changed…for our family. It breaks my heart.

Tomorrow is…All Saint's Day…and Gramps birthday…so I will go to church…to attend the mass...being offered…in his memory. Lately it seems...that all I hear...is sad news. We spent Chris' birthday…at a memorial service…at M&K…for a young friend…and now Mr. B...has passed away. I had last seen him…at Fr. Luis…funeral mass…and he made it a point…to tell Dad and I…how proud he was…of our family's conduct…in light of the many...frustrating years…we had spent…in our attempt…to seek the justice…that was owed to you. He told me…how highly he thought of you…and what a good boy...and student you were...and that you…and our family... were always in his prayers. He was such a fine…caring...and understanding gentleman...and... he will not be forgotten...by those of us…in the DJO family…who had the privilege…to know him. And so...another good soul…has been called...back home. Dad and I... will pay our respect…to him…and his family...on Thursday...and we will attend...his funeral mass...at OLGC on Friday.

Well son…I visited you…and Ryan today…and I will visit…the both of you…again tomorrow…our regular Tuesday…and then again...on Wednesday…All Soul's Day…and since…I promised...another heartbroken Mom…that I would visit... her little girl…each day in her absence…I hope that...each of you…knows…how very much…the both of you…are loved…and missed.

May you…and sweet little Ryan…rest peacefully...in God's perpetual light.

Sal...watch over...your sisters...and their families...your brother...and Bri.

You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
October 24, 2011
My Dear Salvatore...Fr.Clark...offered the 8:30 mass this morning...for the repose of your soul...as we mark...the 5 Years and 9 Months...Remembrance Day

I saw Mr. B. after mass...and he asked me...what I thought of...the brick path...that he formed...in the shape of...a cross...and that leads...to the St. Joseph statue. I told him it looked really nice...which it does. He has been very dedicated...to this project...and wants it to be...as close to perfect...as possible.

While it is a fitting tribute...with which to honor Msgr. Scannell...I told Mr. B...that I had heard...there were some people...who were questioning...the placement of the statue...at the front of the church...and some others...who felt..that the plaque's inscription... citing the names...of just you young men...in whose memory...the statue was donated...was limiting...for lack of a better word...and excluded...other parish families...who have also lost children. This was never...our intent...and heaven knows...each of us parents...would have given anything... to have our loving sons...here..with us...healthy...and enjoying your lives rather than...having our families... come together...in this endeavor...due to our mutual heartaches...because of the tragic circumstances...that caused the untimely passing...of you three... wonderful...boyhood friends.

Mr. B. assured me...that people...will always...find fault with something... and no matter...how well-intentioned.. or pure...our motivation has been...there will always be...those... who will remain critical.

I will visit you today...and again tomorrow...Tuesday number 300...and I will continue...to walk that path...to your resting place...feeling the same grief...pain...and disbelief...as I have felt...from that very first time...and I still want to scream out...at the injustice...done to you.

Sal...please watch over...Dad...your sisters...their families... your brother...Grandpa...Aunt Cookie... Al...Uncles A & K...lil’ Grady...and our dear Bri.

I love you son...and I miss you...with all my being. I carry you close...in my heart...in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
October 15, 2011
Dear Sal...Today is your brother's birthday...and I know...how much...he is missing your company...on this special day. So please...keep a close watch...over him...and keep him safe.

You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
September 24, 2011
My Dear Son…This morning...we will be attending...the 8:30 mass…that is being offered...for the repose of your soul…on this...68th Month Remembrance Day.

The installing of the St. Joseph Statue…at St. Michael’s…has been going through a rescheduling process…for the last few weeks…because of all the rain we keep having…but today…if all goes according to plan…we are hoping…to see the statue...on our way out of church…since we were told…that it should be delivered…around the time…mass will be over.

Finally…it's here...and we just got back...from visiting your resting place...after watching…the initial placement of the statue. Of course…there were differing views…on how... the statue should be positioned. Mostly...it was your parents…differing views...which is par for the course. All those that were there…thought St. Joseph…should be facing the school…with the Boy Jesus…facing the church… and eventually…the angle was agreed upon…by everyone…and now…it is...what it is.

Mr. & Mrs. L…were unable to be there…but…Mr. and Mrs. P…their son...who filmed the process…their grandson…Father F…and a few other parishioners…were in attendance. Mr. B…who toiled...above and beyond…in a labor of love…because of his respect and admiration…for Monsignor Scannell... worked relentlessly…for several weeks…in the heat…and then in the downpours…while designing the layout…preparing and grading the ground…so the walkway pavers…would be level…and the planting of the boxwoods…pansies…and yews…would be properly spaced. Before everyone had to leave...he led us in a prayer.

The engraved plaque…will be placed in a little while…so I will be going back up there…to lend my opinion…but of course…Dad thinks…I am overstepping... and being a pest…but...I just want it done correctly…and if that means... what he chooses to think...I really don't care.

The inscription on the plaque reads:

ST. JOSEPH WITH THE BOY JESUS
In Honor of St. Michael's Founding Pastor
Monsignor Thomas Patrick Scannell
September 19, 1910 – April 4, 2005
Ordained March 19, 1937
His Message – A Simple Truth
“YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD”
Donated in Memory of Their Sons
Graduates of St. Michael School
Salvatore Joseph Culosi
Dec. 17, 1968 - Jan. 24, 2006 Class of 1983
Richard Godwin Livingston
Jul. 11, 1969 - Jul. 25, 2006 Class of 1983
Vincent Anthony Puritano
Nov. 10, 1965 - Apr. 19, 2008 Class of 1980

Just got back from a second go round…the plaque is in concrete…and needs to set.

The statue denotes a parent’s…in this case…a father’s caring…yet strong and protective nature…as he embraces his son…”God’s child.” To me…and I would guess…to the other parents…whose sons’ names…are memorialized on the plaque…the theme of this unique statue…speaks volumes…about each of our own sons…and our love for them.

Sal…you are so very missed. You are in my thoughts…in my heart…and in my prayers…always.
September 18, 2011
Dear Salvatore…We just got back from NY…so my visit to you today…was later than usual...but I got there.

We spent Friday night…at a surprise 40th birthday party...for my Godson. It was supposed to be...last Friday... but duty called...so he had to work...as it was...the 9/11 weekend…and every officer…was needed.

He and his wife...have a handsome young son...and three very pretty...little daughters. We spent the evening with his family…his fellow police officer friends…his college fraternity brothers...and all their families. The music was loud...the food good...and the company at our table...was the best. It was a good time...as we shared childhood memories…and lots of laughter...with old friends…who remain…the dearest of our friends.

As I looked around the room...at all these young people…who were standing up...mostly the guys…talking and laughing...kidding around and catching up...hugging and patting each other...on the back...as they shared stories...with one another...while some of the others…mostly their wives…were dancing...like teenagers once again...and all of them...having a grand old time...I was so aware...of how many of them...were the age…you would have been now. I kept finding myself…thinking of you…and wondering…what your 40th birthday…might have held…for you. Maybe you too…would have been a husband…and a father…but…that blessing…was stolen from you…and from us. I guess the “bittersweet”…will always surface…when I think of you...and all that could have been...if only...

We spent Saturday in NJ…to celebrate Gramps 93rd birthday…with Grandma… your Aunts and Uncles…and a sweetheart of a Cousin. The young…and the old…each causing me to reflect…on life…and where it takes us.

I also had a quick visit…with my sister and brother-in-law…and two other good friends…who showed up with Entenmann’s…since my reputation precedes me. Both visits…were too short…as time was of the essence…but we managed…to cram it all in…and it turned into...a very pleasant weekend.

Sal...I know you were listening...as I prayed. Thank God…everything...turned out much better…than we...were expecting.

I love you son…and I miss you...so very much.

God Bless You...and keep watching over your siblings…for me.

You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
September 11, 2011
Dear Son….Today marked the 10 Year Remembrance Day…of incredibly insane acts.

The attacks on the NY World Trade Twin Towers…and the Pentagon…resulted in so many lives…being stolen from their futures…and left their surviving families…changed forever…as they mourn and grieve…their loved ones…who were the innocent victims…of a world gone mad.

To think there are beings…so warped by their hatred…that they are capable…of such evil…is beyond comprehension.

It was sad to watch...and listen…to Pres. Bush…Pres. Clinton…VP Biden…and others...who spoke at Shanksville, PA…where the 40 brave souls…on Flight 93…fought to take control…of the airplane…they were passengers on…so that the terrorists…could not fly it…into the Capitol…and cause...even more lives... to be lost. God bless the souls…of these ordinary citizens…who had the courage…to do what was needed…and died as heroes. May they all rest in peace.

Of course...there are the memorials…that will mark...for all times...the names of all those...who should never be forgotten. It was very touching... as the names...were read aloud...some by family members...as solemn music was played...and a bell tolled...for each one. Sarah McLachlan sang…I Will Remember You…defining moments in past history...were cited…for the same kind of bravery…these passengers displayed…beautiful words were spoken…parts of poems…and famous letters read…all of which served...to honor those…who were lost. But the fact is…there is nothing…not the names carved in stone…not the words spoken…nor the passing of time…that can make…the loss of a loved one…any less painful…or easier to accept.

I watched…I cried…and...I understand what these families feel. There is that heartache...that feeling of emptiness...as you continue forward... without the physical presence...of that dearly loved...special someone... who is so very missed...each and every day. I so know this...all too well.

Dad and I…also visited you today…after mass. We then went…to the 3 PM... Remembering 9/11: Global Living Rosary for Peace…at St. Michael’s. There were many people…of different nationalities…in attendance…and so…the first half... of each prayer…of the Rosary...was said in the native language…of those cultures…that were represented. It was a beautiful ceremony.

Sal…keep close watch...over your sisters…their families…and your brother.

I love you son…and I miss you. You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
August 24, 2011
My Dear Salvatore…Once again...I was not able…to have a mass offered…in your memory today…on this 67th Month…Remembrance Day. Nevertheless...Dad and I did attend…the 8:30 AM mass...and we offered our prayers…for you.

After Mass…Dad went to work…even though today is his birthday…and I visited…your resting place.

It pains me deeply…that you are not here with us. Every day…you are my first…and last thought. I still can’t believe…what they caused to happen. It was so senseless…and the hurt…that our family knows…as a result…of their actions…they could…never even begin…to imagine. The justice we sought...was not served…and because of that…I will remain…at odds with myself…for as long as I live.

Chris told me yesterday…that lately…he has been thinking of you…more than usual. I don’t know what to say to him. He loves you Sal...and he misses you.

I know…time heals wounds…of the body…but it can never…heal those of the heart...because broken hearts...are forever. The more time...that passes…the more we ache…for what is no longer…and can never be again.

Before I visited you today…I was talking with some friends…in the church parking lot. We were discussing…the pedestal…for the St. Joseph statue. I think it looks…a bit slanted…of course...Dad disagrees. But four other women…also think it’s slanted…so tomorrow...a level will be in my car…and then…I will know for sure. I believe…the statue...should be in place…by the end...of next week. That is…if earthquakes…like yesterday’s…and a forecasted hurricane…due to hit…this weekend…don’t cause any delays.

Your youngest nephew…is turning 8…this Friday. So that will be…the second cake…this week…if plans don’t change. How I wish…everything could be…the way it once was.

I love you Son…I miss you…and I pray for you…always.
August 18, 2011
Mrs. Culosi and family-

I think of you all often and keep you in my prayers.

With love,

Evelyn Herrera Capps
July 24, 2011
My Dear Son…I was finally able…to have today’s…7:45 AM mass…which Dad and I did attend…offered in your name…on this 5½ Years Remembrance Day…of your loss to us.

I have been thinking of Mrs. L…and I know that tomorrow…as Richard’s 5th Year Remembrance Day is marked…she too will run the gamut of emotions…and memories…reliving and rethinking…what was…and is...no longer. All those milestone moments…the future could have…and should have…still held…that mother’s hope…and pray…their children will be allowed…to experience…and enjoy…instead…have been tragically denied...to them…and to us too. Our families…have been forever changed…parents...siblings…nieces…and…nephews…and we will never know…the joy and happiness...we may have had…if our son…brother…and uncle…wasn’t stolen…from his life…and ours.

Today the homily…was about Solomon…who asked God…for an understanding heart with which to judge…and the ability to distinguish right from wrong…so that he could…govern God’s people. And as was pointed out…he was given a heart…so wise…and understanding…that never before him…was there…anyone like him…nor would there be…anyone after him…that would be equal to him.

So where can we expect to go from there. I do want to think…that there are…at least…some of us…with a healthy conscience…who attempt to try…and do…what we hope…and believe…to be…right…but your mother…may not make the short list.

Just about 3 weeks ago…I had the unexpected opportunity…to empty my gut…to some degree…on a key person…when I asked him…at a meeting I was at…to allow me…the courtesy of his time. God must have poked his conscience…because he obliged…and I told him…what I was holding in my heart…for so long. I was probably most..."politically incorrect"…in my “emptying” and I did point my finger…but he remained politely composed…and as I read his face...and expressions...I think he was even in agreement…with my thoughts…and words...on what took place…that night...that shouldn’t have…and what was not done…that should have been. Perhaps in his heart…and as a parent himself…he knew…I was right…and that I had every reason…to regurgitate…all the wrongs…that had taken place…on his watch...which then resulted…in the unjust…and unnecessary loss…of your life…without any of the consequences…that were called for...and should have been imposed…on those responsible.

I also saw the pictures…on Radley’s site...as I find myself drawn there…in the hopes of seeing…something changing for the better. Bless him…for his involvement…and compassion…as he was so instrumental…in helping Mr. Maye gain his freedom.

In yesterday's attempt...to get some things done...I managed to sideline myself...as movies based on true stories...were on the Lifetime channel...and of course...I had the TV on...so nothing got done.

One movie I watched yesterday…was about a Conn. housewife…who sued a local police dept…claiming a failure of equal protection...under the law…as growing signs of domestic violence…against her by her abusive husband…went ignored by the police…in addition…to their casually dismissing…her need…to have them enforce…the restraining orders…he would violate. After he tried to kill her...while an officer present...did nothing...to arrest him...a suit was brought…against the dept...and the juries’ verdict…prompted a national reform…of domestic violence laws. The Thurman Law…now makes domestic violence…an automatic arrest offense.

Another movie…titled Justice for Natalee Holloway…an update to the first…which was about her May '05 disappearance…had me as a viewer…and a mom…as angered and frustrated...as her poor mother was…while seeking answers…about what happened…to her daughter…and no one…was getting those answers for her. This sequel…gave the mother some closure…although I know…there can never be real closure. She did however…see the person…suspected in her daughter’s disappearance…finally…in jail. She saw him…face to face…and was able…to tell him what she thought…and how she felt.

I admire the mother's strength...her courage…and her ability…to remain focused…at all costs…while dealing…with the loss…of her daughter. She established the Natalee Holloway Resource Center…as an information…and resource point…where people can turn for help…when a loved one goes missing. It is located…right here in DC…in the Museum of Crime and Punishment. She also developed Mayday 360…to help travelers…who find themselves…in serious trouble…outside of our country. I find her remarkable…and I applaud her…in her efforts to bring a loved one home…or someone to justice…as she is now trying to do…with her Vanished program.

I guess…what this all points to…is that…anyone…who has been wronged…to whatever extent…or…anyone…who has known the loss…of a loved one…due to someone else’s fault…or deliberate actions…needs to have justice served. There must be accountability and consequences…for one’s actions…and when that…”anyone”…also happens to be a mother…grieving the loss of her child…there must be those…who... best have understanding hearts…before they dare…to judge her actions.

Keep watching over your...sisters... their families...and your brother.

I love you Sal…and I miss you.

You are in my thoughts...in my heart...and in my prayers...always.
June 24, 2011
Dearest Salvatore…Month number Sixty-Five…and as always…we went to Mass…but again…it was being said…in the memory…of another parishioner’s loved one. Our private intention…of course...was for you.

After mass…we met…one of your boyhood friends...a classmates…who had come home…for a visit with his mom. He is now married…and lives in Portugal…with his wife. He looks well…and tomorrow…we will have breakfast together…before he has to fly back.

I looked at him…and I saw you…as a boy…running to my car…after school…to tell me…how he had spoken up…politely of course…but spoke up nevertheless…to the teacher…for always picking…on the same boy…even when that boy…had done nothing wrong. You were so excited…because I think…he did…what you wanted to do…but thought better of…and that day…he became an instant hero…in your estimation. He holds a special place in my heart too. His well worn…rosary beads…are with you now…because they were the ones…placed in your hands…when he asked…if he could leave something…of his…for his friend…YOU. He is such a good young man…he is humble…and very compassionate. I know he too…keeps you in his prayers.

I visited your resting place…after we got back…from an appointment in Arlington. Of course I was disgusted…when I saw…that your name…had once again…been removed from the marble. It was securely in place…on Tuesday. Maybe it’s nature…we have had lots of rain...and it could have...washed it away…but I doubt that…then again…maybe it’s a sign…that I need to address…the permanent marker issue. It just breaks my heart…to do that… because I wanted it to be…the last thing…I did for you…after going to trial…having kept my promise…to you. But that didn’t happen…and it hurts me to my core. There was no justice served…son…and I am...so very very sorry…for caving.

I have to stop crying…so on a better note…your Godchild…has done it again. She did really well…on her SAT’s. God bless her…she is so smart. She must have made…a mailing list…of top students…because there were…college info booklets…addressed to her…from Harvard…Yale…and who knows…what else will come in. Maybe the SAT people…send forward…to the top universities…the names of students…who are worthy prospects. The tuitions are insane…but maybe there are grants…and scholarships offered. We shall see…I think UVA...is number one…on her list…but for Northern VA students…as always…it remains…a tough school to get into. It is easier…to get in from out of state…and we all know why.

I love you Sal…and I miss you. Keep watching over...your siblings...your nieces...and your nephews. You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
June 07, 2011
Dear Son…It is once again Tuesday…the 280th one…as Dad and I…also mark this date…as our 47th wedding anniversary.

Last night…while out with friends…we were put…in the awkward position…of accommodating…a premature…and much unexpected recognition…of today’s occasion. Since I’ve never liked fanfare…pertaining to anything…to do with me…I tried…in spite of that…to be lighthearted…but my reality…always finds me. Initially…there were congratulations…and best wishes…from those that were there…along with pleasant social exchanges…some most sincere…others jokingly…but all well intended.

Each singer there…dedicated his/her choice…of a song…to the Happy Couple…believing that is...who we are. They are wrong…but it was ok…until someone…just decided to sing…The Dance…your song…and you know…what that does to me. I hear your voice…and those lyrics…that break my heart. I did my best…to conceal my upset…but of course…Dad noticed…because it gets to him too.

Evidently that wasn’t enough upset.…because one of the lawyers…from the firm…that had represented us…over these last 5 years…happened to coincidently…drop by. He offered us…his warm congratulations…and asked me…how I was doing. He was not assigned to our case…and was just being polite…in asking. He didn’t know…that no one…should ever ask me…how I am doing…because I will tell them.

Initially…I had hoped…that the FCPD hierarchy...would be remorseful…and willing to own…what happened on their watch. I thought…there would be an apology…a mediation…where our many questions would be answered…that the named officer would be fired…perhaps changes to their protocols…would be made...in your name…to include…blood and drug testing…of any officer... involved in a shooting…video and audio taping of SWAT operations...adopting a policy...to immediately notify a victim's family…the instituting of a civilian review board...or oversight committee…but there was none of that...instead...the blue wall went up…they closed ranks...and our questions went unanswered.

In my grief…I had foolishly viewed those involved…as parents…not just "the police"…and thought that a conscience…and a heart…would permit them...to understand…what it meant…to lose a child…so unnecessarily and unjustly. But there was no reaching out to us…so at that point…our answers…could only come…through the legal system…if that.

So Sal…I told him exactly how I felt…and will always feel…about going against…my word…my promise to you…my gut…and my better judgment. I told him…how much I wanted to go to trial. For me…it was never about dollars…or a settlement. It was about…the justice…owed to you…for what they caused…by their wrongful…excessive actions. They needed…in my opinion…to be in court…to have light shed upon…their misguided policies and procedures…their ill conceived plan…their over the top…and poorly executed tactics…their poor training...their officers' contradictory explanations…of what each one's role was…in this most unnecessary operation…and…the pitiful attempt...by the Internal Affairs Department...in investigating their own.

But a trial didn’t happen…despite my focus…on the court date. In the end…and due to considerations…that will never...rest well with me…the FCPD and others...walked away…assuming no responsibility...or consequences...for what their actions...led to...and caused…and I don’t deal well with that. I guess that lawyer…may have been…sorry that he asked…but I can’t help how I feel...and I don't hesitate...to say so.

Last week…fortunately held some joys…your Godchild…made us all very proud…as she crossed the stage…three times…to receive awards. She was given another “bar”…to be pinned…to her Academic Letter…for being on the principal’s list…for all her academic quarters…along with the AP Spanish… and Statistics Award. She was later told…by her Calculus teacher…that she could have received…the Calculus award too…but since…it was a three way tie…and she was… already getting other awards…the teacher…chose one of the other students…as the recipient. Dad was disappointed…because he knew…she had done well...in that class…just as you had…and felt…each of the three tied students...deserved to be named…and all of them…should have received awards.

We also celebrated…your eldest niece’s…20th birthday. It’s hard to believe…so much time has flown by. I also went to Colonial Day…to hear…and see…the youngest one…on stage…and then…play on her recorder…Amazing Grace…and Yankee Doodle…without missing a note…and finally...dancing a Colonial dance…with her classmates. She is also...a scoring lacrosse player. Your nieces…are very lovely...young ladies. I don't see the other children...often.. but they too…are playing instruments…and are involved in sports.

Keep watch over all of them…as well as your sisters…and your brother.

I must add…that Dad did get me a beautiful…long stemmed…overpriced rose…last night…and today…I placed it in your vase…when I visited you.

I love you son…and I miss you. You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
May 24, 2011
Dear Salvatore…The masses for today…on this 278th Tuesday…that marks this 64th month…of your loss…were already scheduled…for others in our parish…and although…my intention…was to attend…the 8:30 mass anyway…my slower…than usual start…this morning…not only sidelined me…from mass…but I also lost…because of an appointment…my small window of opportunity…to visit your resting place today…so I feel somewhat...out of sorts…by what I didn’t get to do.

The only saving grace…is that I spent…the better part…of this day…thinking of you. A good friend…came with us…to lend his support…as Dad and I…have to make…some decisions…about a pedestal…and its foundation…that will be…not only structurally sound…but also aesthetically pleasing…in its location…for a statue…that is being donated…to our church…in memory…of You...Vinny…and…Richard…but...in honor...of our founding pastor…Monsignor Scannell. We are weighing…all the options…before going forward…and are hopeful…it will meet…with everyone’s expectations…and be finalized…by August. Of course it is all subject…to the approval…of our current pastor…and the other parents…whose sons…were also…called back home…much too young…and much too soon.

Son…every time…I think of you boys...I find myself hoping…that all of you…are together…happy…at peace…and of course…watching over...your sisters…and your brothers. I know firsthand…how very heartbreaking it is…to lose a brother…so I totally understand…how much each of you…is loved…and missed…by your siblings.

Sal…I hold you...in my heart…in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
May 08, 2011
Dear Son…This is the Sixth...Mother's Day...that has me...visiting you...and wishing...it didn’t have to be...this way.

Today...when I visited you...I found that...once again...someone...and not a four-legged animal…had taken a plant…I had brought…to your resting place…on Tuesday. Since this has happened…several times…in the past…I can’t chalk it up…to an indiscriminate act. I guess…I will just have to accept…that there are…deliberately mean-spirited individuals…who are totally disrespectful...and without a conscience...as they disregard the sacredness…of hallowed ground.

This weekend…we celebrated…your Godchild’s 17th Birthday. I even spent…a little time with Vic. She came up…to see her Mom…for Mother’s Day…and to pick up something she needed. Today Cyn surprised me…she called…and then drove up…with three of her children. We went to brunch…and your brother joined us too. Afterwards we all went…to see your niece Jen…play lacrosse. She is quite good…yesterday she scored two goals…and today…she scored two again…and had an assist. Last weekend…and again yesterday…Dad went down to watch…Alex and Matt…play softball and baseball. Dad called the baseball game…and from what I was told…more than a few...of the parents…enjoyed his colorful...New York style commentary. Mike wants no part of sports...but is an impressive piano player...despite his unwillingness...
to practice…and Chris…whose voice... keeps getting deeper...will become a teenager…this month. Your brother... is trying to convince him...because of his size...to play football...but young Chris prefers…basketball. They are all growing up…so quickly.

It was a pleasant day…but I know…it is also…the 275th week…without you. I love you Sal…and I miss you.

I hold you in my heart…in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
April 24, 2011
Dear Salvatore…I keep counting…and this is Month number Sixty-three…as well as…the Sixth Easter Sunday…without you. Nothing is the same…as it once was. Everything has changed…because…a part of each of us…has gone with you.

A dear cousin…sent us an Easter card in which he wrote…citing Mother Teresa's words…“Never let anything…so fill you with sadness…that you forget…the joy of Christ Risen!” He then added…“may this season of resurrection…and new life…fill you with hope." It is a profound quote…coupled with…a well intentioned message.

At Mass…this morning...the pastor also addressed…a similar theme. He spoke of…significant emotional events…giving examples…such as…the Depression…Pearl Harbor…the Korean War…the President Kennedy Assassination…9/11…that shaped different generations…into who they became…after being affected…by these events. He assured us…there would be more…of those type events…that would also occur...in the lives…of future generations...that will affect them…as well. But the one…universally significant emotional event…that supersedes…all the others…is the joy and hope…we find…in Christ’s Resurrection…and that should be…our soul’s focus.

I know on some level…the consolation…I should find…in these messages...and my hope…IS…in the Resurrection…but mere words alone…can do no justice…to the intent…of a card…or a homily…because it is not…just an “anything”…nor a broad based “significant emotional event”…that should so fill one…with such a sadness…that would cause him… to forget the joy…of a Risen Christ.

Perhaps sharing in the Lord’s cross…through carrying our own…we parents…who have suffered…the deepest sadness...and the ultimate loss…that of a child…with God’s help…will not forget…the hope…and the joy of this day…which will eventually…allow us…to be reunited…with our loved ones…for eternity.

You are loved Sal…and you are missed…and I pray…that in that better place…you are having a Very Blessed Easter…in the company of our family…and your friends.

Thank you...for the little white butterfly…when we left...your resting place. I saw it as a sign. God bless you son.

I carry you in my heart…and in my thoughts…and I pray for you…always.
April 20, 2011
Dear Sal...Another Tuesday…walking that path...and this one...also marks…Year Three…for two other parents...our dear friends...who also know...the grief…of losing a loving son. I felt badly...as I wasn’t able…to get to the mass…that was offered...in his memory…this morning…but at least Dad was there.

This evening…we had the pleasure…of being in the auditorium…when your Godchild…was inducted…into the National Honor Society. She is a very gifted…young lady. Next month…there will be…the Academic Awards Night…and we hope…her dedication to her studies...and all those long hours...of working so hard...will allow her…as they say…to reap the fruits of her labor. She is a very disciplined student…and her grades are outstanding…so hopefully...we are looking forward…to seeing her...cross the stage...more than just once…to receive…what would be...very well deserved...recognitions of excellence. All of us...are so very proud of her…and you would have been too.

God bless you son...as you continue to watch over...your sisters...your brother...your nieces...and your nephews.

You are loved Sal...you are missed... you are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
April 17, 2011
Dearest Son…Another Palm Sunday…as we begin Holy Week…and the Sixth Lenten Season…without you.

After mass today…we visited your resting place…and left fresh flowers…and some palms…in your vase. The animals had made a meal…of last week’s tulip plant…so even though the weather…will now become favorable…for fresh flowers...I may have to consider…leaving only artificial ones…even though…I don’t like to do that.

Sadly…for us…today...has just become…another weekend day. All the traditions…we knew…and those of my youth…have unfortunately…gone by the wayside…although Dad...still managed…to use some of the palms…to make braided crosses…for your sister…and your nieces.

Everything has changed…and none of it…for the better.

I love you…and I miss you Sal…and the way everything use to be.

You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
March 25, 2011
Dear Salvatore...Today…is the 62nd Month...without you...and Yesterday...marked the 24th Year...without Nan. These Remembrance Dates...make me so aware...that although time...has a way of passing.. there are some things…that it cannot…and will never be able to…heal.

I attended…today’s Noon mass…in your memory…and yesterday’s Noon mass…in Nan’s memory…because when I went to the Rectory…in early December…to schedule “special purpose” family masses…for this new year…the three masses for today…and those for yesterday...were not available...since they had already been taken…by other members…of our parish.

After visiting your resting place…on Tuesday…I went to the office…and finally submitted the approval form…for the nameplate…that Dad…along with your sisters…and your brother… recognized as being…long over due. I am fully aware…of their patience…with me…in this regard…and in other matters too…over these past 5 years.

I had said…when our civil suit was over…I would…(believing that is when justice would have been served) tend to the last thing…I needed to do for you…which I had put off…because the thought…of your name…permanently engraved…in that bronze plate…that should have…never been needed…for you…at the age of 37…was going to be…too final…to see and accept…as though the temporary marker…and the years…of waiting on the legal system…made any of what happened... less painful.

I had hoped…that a trial…would not only...have allowed me...to keep my promise to you…and to hold responsible...the person and tactics…allowed for…by a Police Department…to so very wrongfully...and unnecessarily confront...an unarmed…non-violent...non-threatening…and compliant citizen…with an excessive show of force…that in our case…put you at risk…and in harm’s way…with no margin for error…and in fact...caused your loss…which we will mourn forever...but would have permitted...the legal system...to work towards the justice...we have been seeking...for so long...in your behalf.

Additionally…light would have been shed…on the poor policies…procedures…protocols…and training…that attributed to these officers...not even understanding…what precise role...they each were to have…in this ill conceived plan. The contradictory statements….made by SWAT team officers…when they were deposed…in pre-trial sessions…would have made them…as trial witnesses…most unbelievable. It would have been apparent…to Fairfax County residents...that the explanation the FCPD offered…as to how things happened…was ridiculous…and in order to avoid.. another senseless tragedy…like ours…a Citizen’s Oversight Group…to Review and Monitor grievances…support and demand…Full Transparency…Absolute Accountability…and Preventive Change…would be a worthwhile undertaking…if we are to expect…our police to protect and serve…as their sworn oath requires.

My thoughts…play over and over...about how different it all might have been…if only the FCPD had acted…with regard for a human life.

When families are young…so much is taken for granted. There is a tendency…to think nothing will ever change. But when it does…in a normal course of life events…as it will…you begin to realize…how very blessed…you had been...once upon a time.

Some things are inevitable…people cannot live forever…and as parents grow old…while it is sad...to lose them…it is a part...of life’s time line…but young people…one’s children…who are healthy and vibrant…in one moment…and then…suddenly and tragically…stolen from their life...and yours... under any circumstance...those are the very loses…the unexpected and untimely ones…that pain the deepest... and should not happen…in any parent’s lifetime.

I have always prayed…that my children…would be blessed…with good health...happiness… peace of mind…and kept safe from harm. Maybe I haven’t prayed…as devoutly as I should have…but I will keep praying…and hoping…keeping the faith…and trusting in God.

I love you Son…I miss you…and I pray for you…always.
March 19, 2011
Dear Son…Today is the Feast of St. Joseph…who is honored as...Protector of the Holy Family…as well as credited…with preventing a famine in Sicily…which was the birthplace...of your Great-Grandparents.

When taking his name…as yours…on your Confirmation Day…you honored him…as your Patron Saint...and now…I pray that he will both Protect...and Bless you…and your siblings…with God's Peace...on this very special day.

You know what my concerns are…and how much family has always meant…to all of us…so I ask…for your help…as a loving Son…and a caring Brother…to keep close watch…over our family…especially your sisters...your brother…and...your nieces and nephews.

I love you Sal…and I miss you…each day.

You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers...always.
February 25, 2011
Dearest Salvatore...I had to miss our Tuesday...this week number 265…and I couldn't get a mass scheduled...for either you...on this…61st month…or…Gramp’s…for his 10 Year…Remembrance Day. I am so sorry…but I didn't...get to the rectory…soon enough…to find these special dates…still available

Dad’s surgery on Tuesday…was the reason…I had to miss my visit…to your resting place…this week. I think that makes 3 or 4 times…in the last 5 years...that I have not been able to be there.

Son…please watch over Dad…as he begins to recuperate…as well as…your sisters…and their families…and…your brother.

I did receive some good news…in the midst of all our issues…from a mother…who also...lost her precious daughter…because of a former FCPD officer. Her advocacy for a law…in her daughter’s name…is just one signature away…from becoming a reality.

I love you Sal…and I miss you. You are in my heart…in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
February 14, 2011
Dear Son…Today is St. Valentine’s Day…and while I wish you…a blessed day...I also want you to know…that I love you beyond words…and I miss you...each…and every day.

When I visited...your resting place... this afternoon...I saw that someone else…had also thought of you...on this day...and left flowers for you…but without a card...so only you know…who they were from…and what I know…is…you are not forgotten.

With all my love…and my prayers…always.
February 12, 2011
Dear Sal…Yesterday…I was finally able…to claim…what I had asked for…years ago…that more than a few…then…and even now…viewed as a strange request. No one…except another mother…who has also lost a child…can appreciate…and understand…how painful a loss it is…every single day…and because of that heartache…your instinct is…to safeguard…whatever you can…and protect anything…and everything…that pertains to your child.

You already know…how I feel…about having to sign…that piece of paper…and I just couldn’t let myself…be a party…to another…county dictate…as I view...those concessions…that go unchallenged. I thank God…that this time…I didn’t have to…and it was resolved…as I needed it to be.

A few nights ago…along with other…concerned Fairfax County residents…we attended a meeting...that I hope...will result…in the much needed objective…they are pursuing. While Dad and I…would like to be actively involved…right now…the timing is bad. Some medical issues…need to be addressed first…but afterwards…we want to lend our support…to this movement…again because of you.

I love you son…and you are in my prayers…always.
February 09, 2011
Dear Sal…Yesterday…our Tuesday...we attended the funeral mass...for Fr. Luis...who passed away...on the feast of St. Blase. While it was sad…to lose such a good…well loved…liked…respected…and admired priest...it was also... very heartwarming...because it brought together...so many…of the former…DJO HS faculty…and family…from days when…you…and your sisters…were students…in “Father Louie’s”…Freshman History class. He was a very dedicated teacher…and I know…from the stories…that I heard…that he made a positive…and lasting impression…not only on those…who took his class…but on us parents…after meeting him…for the very first time…on Back to School night.

My fondness for Father…stemmed from his…bigger than life personality. I will remember his broad smile…his enthusiastic and welcoming spirit…his delightful accent…that coupled with his animated…and expressive ways... made his sense of humor…all the more delightful. May God bless him…as he rests in eternal peace. I will keep him in my prayers.

There were more than a few…of those present…that remembered us…and asked how we were doing. What can you say…when asked? Ok…is not quite truthful. I held back the tears…and said…we are hanging in there. Mr. B…the long time…and now retired…principal…ever the gentleman…made a point to tell me…that he prays for our family…and that…he was proud of us…and how we have been handling ourselves…over these last five years…as we waited…on the justice system…in the aftermath…of such an incredible wrong…adding that...”your son was such a good boy.” Something…that anyone who knew you…could easily see.

I visited your resting place…when I got back…and you…are the only one…who knows…how poorly…I handle that.

I love you son…and I miss you…each and every day. You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
January 24, 2011
To My Very Precious Son…Tonight…will mark…the 5th Year Remembrance…of a day…that would have…never ended…as it did…if only my wishes…were able...to turn back time.

In the aftermath…of these many years…there have been…so many tears…for what can never be. The hopes of a beautiful…and productive life…given all…that you had accomplished…and what was still possible…for you…to enjoy and achieve…in the years ahead…were all…in that solitary moment…wiped away. Your dreams…and your goals…were stolen from you…and now…I am left…with just my memories…and thoughts…about…what should have been...for you...and is no longer…so it pains me…beyond what others...might think is reasonable.

I have been asked…in recent days…and in light…of what has been reported…if I feel…a sense of justice…on some level…or if I’ve come to grips…with believing…I have done…for you…all that I was able to…given the dictates and constraints…of a court system…that is not “plantiff friendly”…at best.

I have also been asked…if I would…now…stop wearing black…and…stop going to the cemetery…as often…as I do...which in their opinion...is too much. Well meaning people…no doubt…letting me know…what they think…I should be doing…in order to…start putting “this”…behind me…and getting on…with my life. They are not me…and they don’t know…what I hold…near and dear. So…I listen politely…and I do…what my heart…leads me to do…besides…you are the one…who should have been…getting on…with your life.

Sal…given what happened to you...that shouldn’t have happened…well…I believe...I AM handling it…as well as could be expected. I’ve never asked for…or expected…sympathy… or…any understanding…from anyone…nor do I remember…seeking anyone’s approval…or permission…for how I should feel. I am responding…to the most incredibly painful loss…there is. It is one…that only a parent…who has lost a child…can relate to…and in the circumstances…in which you were...taken from your life...and ours...well…that only makes it…all the more hurtful…because it was...so completely unnecessary…and totally senseless. Because I am your mother…I find…despite my faith…that the words…inexcusable and unforgivable…also...are running around in my head…and in my thoughts.

Perhaps someday…I may feel differently…but I doubt it will be…before I am with you again.

Eternal Rest Grant Unto My Son, O Lord…And Let Your Perpetual Light Shine Upon Him.
May His Soul And All The Souls Of The Faithful Departed…Through The Mercy Of God, Rest In Peace. Amen

To all of our family...and friends... thank you...and may God bless you... for remembering Sal...and us...on this day.

I love you Salvatore…and I pray…that you…are in the company…of our family…and your dear friends…in that far better place. God bless you...at this very exact moment...9:35.

I carry you close...in my heart...and in my thoughts. You are in my prayers...always.
January 23, 2011
Dear Sal…On this eve…of a very special…and sad day…I had a feeling…about what I was watching…and a rationale…crossed my mind…leading me…to thank you now…for sending me…what turns out to be…a very special sign. Just five apart…with twenty four…being the final. I know your intercession…helped.

We were in NY…this weekend…for the wake…of a very dear…childhood friend. She had been sick…for almost two years…and with courage and grace…and the devotion…love…and…support…of her husband…she fought admirably…a very debilitating illness…for two years. She is now…in the place…of God’s promise…and I will pray...that she rests peacefully…and...that her family is blessed…with all the graces needed…while coping with her loss…during this very difficult time.

Stay close to our family…we all love you…and miss you. You are in my prayers…always.
January 19, 2011
Anita and Sal, Our prayers are with you and your family. Know, in your suffering here on earth, that Sal is at peace with Our Lord in heaven. Sal watches over you, his family, every day, each step of the way.
Louie Gaccione (from Madison Street)
January 18, 2011
My Dear Son…Today is Tuesday…week number 260…and the day…I had been waiting for…so that I could…keep my promise to you.

We would have been in court…this morning…while a jury was being selected…in the beginning phase…of our civil trial…that we were told…would take…six to ten days.

Well…we were in court…this morning. The five of us…Dad and I…your two sisters…and your brother…all there in your behalf…to witness…the closing of our litigation…before it even began.

Sal…I was raised…at a time…when your word…was your bond...and so...I do not give mine easily. I remember...when people...had a conscience...and were compassionate…they had integrity…and they were…respectful of others…and quite honorable. It was a time…when you could...relate to people…by using yourself…and your values…as a yardstick…because…those values...were theirs too. I find…that is no longer the case.

It has been...suggested...by some people...that "settlement"...is...to some degree...an admission of guilt... and wrongdoing...despite...how it denies...with its legal phrasing...any liability...for those who are named... ie...the SWAT Officer...and the others...who were also...initially named...in our civil suit...but were later dismissed...from it...by the judge...but whose names...have now reappeared...in this document. But... somehow…as well intentioned...as these people may be...in saying...what they have...I still feel…conflicted…by all of this.

I read the comments…that followed the articles…that have been written…recently...and while many are very supportive…there are others that are critical…and they are made…by people…who didn’t know you…or our family…and yet…in both cases…they want to speak out…and of course…have the right…to do so. But…there are also those…who are…deliberately hateful…and their comments…sad to say…are more telling…of them…and speak volumes...about... who...and what...we have become…as a society.

I am your mother…and at all costs…a mother…protects her children…she fights for them…and she makes sure…no harm comes to them…so while not wanting...to dignify some remarks…with a response…I am sure…there will be those…that I may feel…compelled…to set straight.

I love you Son…I miss you….and I pray for you…always.
January 15, 2011
Dear Son…Because of very recent circumstances…there has once more…been an outpouring of support…for our family...from residents of Fairfax County…who also…understand and appreciate…where we are coming from…in having to make…a terribly difficult decision...which is one...that has me…as you know…torn apart.

I had hoped…that our upcoming day...in court…would present...a long awaited…for lack of a better word…opportunity...to finally...hold them accountable...and shed light on…what we believe...really happened on that night...and that…would then result... in the justice...that you so deserved…and has for these many years...been denied to you…and our family.

We have heard…from family…friends…and strangers…all of them…telling us…we have done...everything we could…that we gave it...our all...but I don’t believe it…and now I will never know…so I will add…regret…to my grief.

Sal…I want you to know…that there are those…as caring…as you were…so...I am using this forum…to thank them…and this kind priest…is one of them.

I love you Sal...and I pray for you always.

Mom


Dear Father Rinaldi…Over the years…I have come to know…on some level…quite a few of the priests…in our diocese... but I don’t think…we...have ever met.

There was a time…when Fr. Fasano…a longtime friend...of our family…brought many...of the young men...who were studying…..for the priesthood…to our home…for what he jokingly referred to…as “marriage 101”…suggesting we be viewed…by them…as a learning tool…in discerning…that the religious vocation…they were being called to…was truly a blessing…a gift to them from God…especially when compared to…the possibility…of being called by Him…to marriage…where an outspoken…non self censoring woman…such as I...in this particular "course"...or any number of other females...of a marrying age... could be their fate…and while she might…provide her husband…with a well deserved…path to sainthood…in certain people’s estimation…after putting up with her…over the years…it was well worth noting…for these young men…who were probably...brought up in much more “sane, and calm” families…to consider…that the Priesthood…to which…they were being called…was a much better…and I say this...with no disrespect intended..."option”…actually...a sacred calling…for them…to best answer. Of course…this was all…in good humor…but I can’t deny…that there is much truth…in humor.

We would sit…around our table…on many weekend nights…often 12 at a time…eating selections...from a menu... influenced…by my Italian/New York…upbringing…in the midst of joking and laughing…while enjoying the company…of our own good friends…as well as…these future priests. As I think back…those are all good memories…of a happier time.

Often my son Sal…who was in high school then…would join us…for a little while… before either…going to do his homework…or some studying. Yes…even on weekends…assignments due on Monday…were always a priority…for him…and he would want to get them done…so that he…might find some time…before the weekend ended…to relax…and see his friends.

I did not mean to go on…what I started out to say…is that I deeply appreciate…your offering Mass…for my Salvatore…and for my family.

Without faith…hope in God's promises…and His grace…I don’t know how...any of us parents…who have lost a child…could go forward.

May God Bless you Father…for your caring soul.

With my gratitude…and prayers.
January 14, 2011
I will say Mass for the repose of the soul of Sal and another Mass for you his family who have been through so much.
I was an associate pastor at OLGC(Vienna), when Sal was killed.
January 14, 2011
Dear Sal,
I often think back to the fun times we had playing soccer as kids in the 80s.

You and are your family have consistently been in my prayers these last few years.

I picture you kicking the ball about with St. Peter. I know all must be well with you and pray your family can find peace as well.

Love,
David
January 14, 2011
Dear Son…I received this note today…and decided...to post it here.

It underscores…a few...of the many... wonderful qualities...that defined you...and that were recognized...and still very much appreciated…by a patient of yours…even after all these years. She also mentions…that she was pleased…to see the blame…finally placed...where it deserves to be.

It touched my heart…that we…your family…are not the only ones…who think about you…pray for you…care about what happened to you…and have not forgotten you.

Subject: Sal
I believe you are Sal's mother, and I want you to know that Sal was our optometrist. I have thought about him countless times over the years since he was killed, and want you to know I was grateful that the county has actually accepted some blame -- finally.
Sal was a personable, likeable and fine young man, who we really enjoyed seeing.
I know this settlement is nothing compared to having Sal here, but just wanted you to know that others care and keep him in our prayers.
Joyce Lisbeth
January 13, 2011 at 1:34 PM

I am thankful...for receiving this note...and may God bless her...for understanding...what a decent young man...we lost...at their hands...and for the compassion...she has expressed for you...and our family...by reaching out to us...with her note.

I love you Sal...I miss you...and evidently...you are remembered..as others...miss you too.

You are in my prayers...always.
January 13, 2011
Sal,
I missed you. Every 1 or 2 weeks, I see one of your patients in Warrenton. We talked of you. Your kindness, smile are remembered. Dr. H.
January 12, 2011
Dear Salvatore...Today…is the 259th Tuesday…just one week away from a court date…and trial…that will not take place.

I beg your forgiveness Son…because I am not able…to go the distance. They call it…settlement. I call it something else…and because of that…my heart…is not settled…and my hope for justice…and my promise to you…have both been compromised.

I believe in my heart…that we would have won in court…but I was told...to consider the risk...of that not happening…and although...I was willing to take that risk...there are always other considerations…that are also important.

Our family has...already been through...almost 5 years...of pain... frustration...disappointments...and…stress...that have also been…a part of this journey…in search of justice…and there was the opinion…that even if we won…the county would appeal…and that would mean…a few more years…and resources…fighting...what could still be…a losing battle.

So until...all those responsible...who permitted that operation…to go forward and set the stage…that resulted in…the loss of your life…finally stand before God…to be judged…it will be near impossible…for me to find peace.

I have learned that justice isn’t blind…her eyes are covered...because she can't bear to see...what keeps happening.

So my son...I hope…I can come to terms…with all that I hold...in my heart.

I love you…I miss you…and I pray for you…always.
January 04, 2011
Dear Son...We are now only two weeks away...from hopefully...keeping my promise to you.

I love you Sal...and you are in my prayers...always.
January 01, 2011
Dear Sal…As today begins…a New Year…I wish you...a Blessed...and...Peaceful one.

Please watch over our family…as we continue...to go forward…seeking the justice…you are owed…and stay close to us…as our court date…is only...a couple of weeks away.

I love you Son…I miss you…and I pray for you…always.
December 31, 2010
Dear Son...Because...the Commonwealth of Virginia Medical Examiner...won't be available...for the court trial... we had to...have her deposed...via a video tape...and so we spent...several hours yesterday...at the attorneys' office...listening to her testimony... as my heart was breaking...over and over.

It is New Year's Eve...and I haven't invested...much of myself...into it... and I don't care...that I haven't. My focus remains…on our court date…and it is…how it is.

Dad’s tired...but still making his pizzas...since the girls...requested them...and are looking forward...to finding them...when they get home.

I however...will be disappointing them. Without meaning to...because my head is elsewhere...I forgot...to buy the prized ARTICHOKES. Since I didn't make them...at Christmas time...due to the fact...that they looked awful...at that time...I told your nieces...I would make them...for New Year's Eve. Had I not forgotten...they would have been...made already. But now it's too late. The stove...has been claimed... and is relegated to Dad...for the duration.

I did give him...the "apprentice" go-fer...head start...so he has...a clean playing field. Luckily for me…since I am also…the clean up crew…he has only..thus far...splashed his revered homemade sauce...all over the stove... the counter...the blender...and...the
floor. He doesn't know...neatness counts. I will consider...the mess...a small miracle...and...count it...as a minor blessing...since he...missed the walls...and...kitchen window shade... that use to be...included as well. There are no bounds...to his stirring technique...which rivals...a frenzied do-it-yourselfer...mixing cement. I hope the..."give me...get me...hand me" orders...I will receive...will be at a minimum...otherwise...as you know...my threshold for orders...can causes a very 'loud" response...and so it will go...and then another tent…will be needed…for our circus.

In a few hours...you would have been.. making...one of your many...phone calls...to me...asking...how Dad was doing...and when "zero hour"...would be.

Sal...I miss you...and your phone calls. I know...we can't turn time back...but I would give...anything…if only I could...to have those "old" years...back. Life...is not the same...and it never will be again.

Cyn will be here...this afternoon... Con arrives...this evening...and Chris will get up...in time to go out. This is not...how we once spent...our special holidays. The confusion... remains...but not...a "mother's joy"...of having all my children... gathered together...under one roof... enjoying each other's company…eating too much…having laughs…playing games…and bringing in…the New Year.

You...are always…in my heart…and in my thoughts…and as this Fifth New Year…without you…is tolled…YOU...will be the first one…that I wish…what I have…always wished...for my children...love...happiness...and peace.

I love you Salvatore…and you are in my prayers…always.
December 25, 2010
Dear Salvatore...I hope this Christmas Day...was a very Blessed...and Joyful one...for you.

I love you...and I miss you.

You are in my prayers...always.
December 24, 2010
My Dear Son…It is now…Four years and Eleven months...as we mark…the Fifth Christmas Eve…without you.

We will be at…the only scheduled morning mass…which is being offered…for you…on this Day of Remembrance…as we come to…month number 59.

As we prepare…for our upcoming court date…I can’t even pretend…to be interested…in Christmas…and all that it involves. Holidays have become bittersweet. As older relatives…have passed on…in a natural progression…and our family grows smaller…it becomes for us…another sad season…filled with wishes…that cannot come true. As I recall…past holidays…I thank God…for blessing us…with so many wonderful and loving relatives…who we now hold…in warm memories…of a better time. With your loss…the sadness…I feel…is beyond words.

We are only able…to get through this holiday…because of your nieces…and your nephews. We cannot…and will not...disappoint or rob them too…of the joys and traditions…that have been…handed down to us…from Nan. She made herself…do what she had to…because of her grandchildren…in spite of a heavy heart…at the tragic loss…of my dear brother...and…I will make myself... follow her example…although…my thoughts…are focused...on why you are not here…and my promise…that I am so hoping to keep.

Cyn came by unexpectedly yesterday. She brought the children…to see Santa…and then stopped in…for a visit…that she was hoping…would allow her…to avoid the rush hour traffic…on her trip back home. She will be back on Sunday…because her children…have to sing…in the choir…at the Christmas morning mass…in their parish church. We will be spending…the Eve and Day…with Con and her family...and you know...how much...you will be missed.

I love you son…and I pray for you…always.
December 18, 2010
Dear Sal…We are now…just one month away…from our trial date.

Yesterday…we did attend the mass…we had offered in your memory…and since traffic…was not a problem…we got to court…45 minutes earlier…than our appointed time. We were the last case…the judge called…and by then…it was well after noon…so court time…is anytime…they finally get to you.

When we got back home…having some…but not all…of our motions…decided as we hoped…we drove…to your resting place…for our visit with you.

Since Dad is limping a bit…it was a little difficult…for him…to secure the Christmas tree…and birthday plant…that we brought to you...but he managed to do so. We saw a floral piece…already there…that Con had brought…for your birthday as well. When we asked her…when she had left it…she told us…she visited you…the day before your birthday…when we had terrible weather...and our first snow. She said she slipped and slid a few times…on the path…and then had a difficult time…trying to get the arrangement…to stay upright…and after a few tries…she gave up…and used the box it came in…as a base. She said she hoped…you were able to be amused…by how much effort…she expended…in trying…not to let…the nasty weather…deter her…from doing…what she set out to do.

Your sisters…and your brother…all love you very much…and yesterday…was not without tears…for them. It always makes me very upset…to think of how much…they too…miss you.

Some of your friends…and ours…sent their prayers…to all of us yesterday…as they wanted us to know…they were thinking of you…on your birthday…with much affection…and that…you…are not forgotten...by them.

I love you son...I carry you close... in my heart...in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
December 17, 2010
Dear Mrs. Culosi,
My heart goes out to you, especially this day ... when so many years ago you held Sal for the first time in your arms.
I was a church for several hours before the sun even came out, and prayed for you and Sal. I have never stopped praying for him, and do so every morning before mass.
A thought came to me, with Christmas approaching ... how Our Lady held her Child in her arms one starry night, and then, in the blink of an eye, she was holding him in her arms at the foot of the cross.
You held your baby Sal as she did, when God first handed him over to you ...... and one day ... you will again hold him in your arms.
This Christmas Season, remember that Sal has obtained many gifts for you .. graces and blessings you will only come to know when once again, you are united with him and you both behold the Face of God together.
This Christmas, no matter what the outcome of the trials here on earth, keep in your heart the Love and Joy that your Son is still showering you with from above. Your gift to him, will be your peace, your prayers, and your continued love for him always ..
marie therese
December 17, 2010
Dearest Son…Today would have been…your 42nd Birthday...but instead of planning...a family dinner…for tonight…as I did five years ago…we are getting ready…to go to court…this morning. I may even have to…miss the scheduled mass…that is being offered…in your memory…on this special day.

Oppositions to Motions…to exclude individual expert testimony…on both sides…theirs and ours…will be heard today...by the judge. I don’t know…who she will allow...or disallow...or if she will rule...on these matters today…I expect so...but then again...much of what…I reasonably expected to happen...did not take place...so I will hope for the best...but prepared for anything.

Timing…the word…that everyone always claims…is everything. I’ve learned…that it’s more…than a quote…or expression…or saying. Every second matters…and every second…carries different possible outcomes. Timing can cause…lives to be forever changed…as it did ours…and as for “time”… it does not …heal all wounds.

All the…what ifs…could and should haves…were not to be. Our journey…from that night…to this point…hasn’t spared any of us...the sadness and tears... which are always…a heartbeat and blink away…as we forge ahead…keeping the faith…that one day…we all will be together again.

I miss you so very much Sal...and I wish you…a very Blessed Birthday…with all my love.

You are always…in my thoughts…in my heart…and in my prayers.
December 14, 2010
Dear Salvatore…Today is Tuesday…and although it is the 255th one…it carries with it…the same grief…and disbelief…as that first one…that changed our family…forever.

Yesterday…we “moms”…had our Christmas lunch date. Of course there were tears…along with the smiles…as we each shared memories…both sad and happy…as we spoke about…"our boys"...You…and Richard...and Vinny. Hopefully all of you...are enjoying each other's company…and experiencing the same joy and happiness…each of you brought…to our lives.

We moms...understand one another…and truly appreciate…each other’s feelings…as no one else can…unless of course…you are also a mom…who knows first hand...what it is…to lose a child.

Our conversation ran the gamut…as we caught up...on each other’s families…and on each of your...collective siblings...as well as...all of your nieces...and your nephews...some of whom...are too young...and will not remember...what terrific uncles...were taken from them. We reminisced too... about old friends...grade school days...and of course…our own innermost thoughts…which always take us back...to each of our…very missed…and dearly loved sons.

They say…that sorrow shared…is half the sorrow…well…that’s not quite true…but it is always…wonderful and very comforting…to get together…with Mrs. L...and Mrs. P...whenever the opportunity presents itself.

This is a particularly difficult week. Friday…is your birthday…and we are expected…to be in court…at 10 am. That means…we may have to…miss the morning mass…that is being offered for you…that day at 8:30.

We shall see…perhaps we can make it…and with God’s help…maybe traffic will be light…but if not…you know…I will be visiting you…as soon as we get back.

I love you son…and we are…getting closer to that promise...and to whatever will be.

With my prayers…always.
November 30, 2010
Dear Son…This was the 5th year…that we had to spend…our Thanksgiving Day… without you…and I don’t expect…any future holidays…or occasions…to be any less heartbreaking...for us.

Today is our Tuesday…it is rainy and gloomy…but my thoughts…are not spurred…by the weather. You are always…on my mind…and as we prepare…for trial…during this same time of year…as when all this insanity began. I am back…to the pounding on the door…and those four words…strung together…to make a sentence…that no parent…should ever have to hear.

Yesterday…I placed an Advent wreath…at your resting place. I lit the first candle…the one symbolizing hope…and of course…the wind blew it out. I tried lighting it again…two more times…because the prayer…that asks...for the wreath to be blessed…was to be said…while the candle…remained lit. I even told you…”c’mon Sal…help me get this to light…and to stay lit.” It went out…both times again. I decided…to pray anyway…and all of a sudden…as I began the prayer…the candle had a flame…and no…it wasn’t a trick candle…and your mother is not…losing it. When I finished the prayer…the flame was so strong…that I had to blow it out…even though...it was still windy. It surprised me…and then I thought…thank you God…and thank you Sal.

It was for me…a special sign…that reinforced my belief…in the immortality of the soul…as life continues in God’s eternity. You heard me…and my faith…tells me…that God hears…what we hold in our hearts.

Those of us…parents…who walk this path…know there are no coincidences…and these special moments…are gifts to us…thanks to God’s mercy and grace…so that...we may be able…to go forward…one day at a time.

Sal…please watch over…your sisters…your brother…your nieces…your nephews…your cousins...and those...that are helping us...to seek justice...in your behalf.

God bless you Sal...you are loved…you are missed…and you are in my prayers…always.
November 24, 2010
Dear Sal…I just got back…from visiting your resting place…after attending today’s morning mass…that was offered…in your name…on this 4 Years and 10 Months...Date of Remembrance.

We have been busy…preparing for our litigation…in the midst…of trying…to get ready…for Thanksgiving Day. Vic came home last night…and I know...she is looking forward...to some well deserved sleep...since she wasn't feeling well last week...in addition to...seeing her high school friends... who are home for Thanksgiving. It seems that every holiday...brings wtih it...coughs and colds. Jen is a little under the weather…but Stef’s love of tomato salad and OJ…seems to work well for her…she’s fine. Cyn and the kids…are due tonight…and will sleep over. Mike will be eleven on Friday...and he wants a Turkey ice cream cake. It was no easy task…trying to...make room for it...in the freezer. I hope I will have met…each one’s expectations…regarding dinner…but when your head…and heart…are focused elsewhere…it’s a challenge to get it done.

How I wish things were not as they are. Nothing comes easy…as we go forward…at a time…that is…has been…for these last 58 months…and always will be…difficult and sad…to get through…because you are not here…with us.

While we thank God…for His other blessings…we especially thank Him for you…as we hold you…in our thoughts…in our hearts…and in our prayers.

I just wish…He would have given us…more time with you.

Rest peacefully son...with my prayers…always
November 18, 2010
My Dear Son…Just 2 months away…as we continue to prepare…in the midst of everything…that this season demands.

While I am going through…all the paperwork…reading their account…of what led to...our family’s devastating loss…and all that has transpired…in its aftermath…my opinion of them is reinforced. Unfortunately...Virtue…Integrity…Intelligence…Honesty…Common Sense…and a Conscience…are not a given.

Sal, you always tried to be fair minded…so I ask myself…if I am I being subjectively judgmental…are my heart and head...rationalizing my own conscience. Truthfully I don’t believe I am. Someday we all will know…what really happened…as each of us…will face God…answer to Him…and have His truth.

In this season of giving thanks…my attention is so divided…and time…is very difficult to manage. So between the reading…I am making a list…of everyone’s dinner expectations…for Thanksgiving…since I don’t want to disappoint...your nieces…and nephews requests. They think Grandma…is still the same Grandma. They are innocent children…and because of them…I try to do…what my head tells me…as my heart breaks...because for me..."everything has changed."

I know it may seem strange…but whenever I go to Wegman’s…as grocery shop I must…my thoughts are always the same. I hear your voice...telling me what a great store…is right in your backyard…and that they have everything. You were so anxious….for me to go there…and see for myself. Who would ever think…that same location…would become their gathering point…prior to what they caused to happen…on that night.

A month from yesterday…will be your birthday…then Christmas…the New Year…and hopefully a promise kept…in addition to...the 5th year Remembrance Day…of what they caused…that should have never taken place.

I love you son…I miss you immeasurably…and I pray for you…always.
November 10, 2010
Dear Sal...Today is our 250th Tuesday. Time...it seems like an eternity...and somehow just seconds ago.

Just 10 more weeks to go...as we prepare for our court date...and of course... the holidays...that we have to get through.

It's crazy...but in the middle of all this...I received a letter...summoning me to jury duty. I called the court...and asked for an extension...after I explained my current situation. The clerk...asked for my assigned jury badge number...looked it up in her computer...and told me...I should ignore the summons...as it was sent to me...in error. I guess that shouldn't be a surprise to me...and it isn't.

I love you Sal...you are never far from my thoughts...always in my heart...and in my prayers.
November 02, 2010
Dear Son…These last two days…are day’s…that have always been…looked forward to by us…for different reasons. You enjoyed Halloween…because it meant…fun and lots of laughs…as you would…get together with friends…for a costume party.

For me...yesterday…All Saint’s Day…has always held special meaning. It is not only...due to our religious beliefs...but because it is also…the date on which…my Dad was born. After morning mass…I sent flowers…to Gramp’s resting place…in remembrance of his birthday…and then last night…we celebrated…with your Brother-in-law…because it was his birthday too.

This morning...the All Soul’s Day Novena began. I have remembered...You...Uncle Sal…my Parents…and other extended family members…in the masses being offered…over the next nine days.

Since it is also Election Day…I went to vote…after I visited you…on this “our Tuesday.” None of the days are good Sal…as I walk the path…to where you are resting…but some…just hit me harder than others. Maybe today…it was because…of all the campaign signs…I kept seeing…as I was driving. In light of all that has happened…and as we begin to prepare…for our court date…reading the name…over and over again…of someone…for whom I have little regard…was very irritating...as it called to mind...too many empty words.

I don’t know who will win this election…but I am hoping…he will be someone…who respects the sanctity of life.

Rest peacefully Son…I love you…and I miss you.

You are always in my heart…in my thoughts…and in my prayers.
October 24, 2010
Dear Salvatore…On this 57th month Remembrance Day...we attended the Noon Mass…that was offered in your memory. There was no lector...on the altar...to announce your name...but we knew…who this mass was for...and so did God.

Yesterday we were at the funeral…of a 92 year old gentleman…who we came to know…because he loved music…as much as your father. His mind was alert…his sense of humor…sweetly mischievous…and the energy in his dancing…and singing…was very admired…by those of us…who had the pleasure...of his company…most every weekend. He became our role model…in many respects…for all the positive adages…on growing older... while managing...to stay young at heart. Once...when someone asked him…what was the worst thing…about getting old…he simply said..."the loneliness."

I suppose…as one outlives…a spouse…relatives…and friends…it does get lonely. When there is no one…with whom…to share the tears…and laughter…of old memories…about the good…and sometimes…not so good experiences…that come to everyone…in a lifetime…it has to be very sad as well. I hope he is now...in the company of all those…who were dear to him…and is happy…and at peace. For the rest of us…we will miss him.

I left fresh flowers…and a small pumpkin…at your resting place today. Soon I will have to leave…an artificial arrangement…because the weather is changing. These crisp… clear days of autumn…while beautiful…continue to break my heart…because this is the season…and weather…that you just loved…and you are not here…to enjoy them. I pray that…it is even more beautiful…in that better place…and that you are happy…and resting peacefully.

I love you Sal…and I miss you. You are in my thoughts…each and every day…and in my heart…and in my prayers…always.
October 18, 2010
Dear Son…We are now...only 3 months away...from keeping the promise…that was made to you.

Every year…for the last four…I have dreaded this season. It is the beginning…of too many memories… the good ones I cherish…the bad…are too painful...and I don’t expect this year…or for that matter…those in the future…to be any better.

You are very loved...and very missed…Sal…and that will not change...no matter how much time passes…so how can anything else change.

As we are getting closer…to all that is ahead…especially the court date…I am mindful…that we are entering…the season of expectation and hope...in many areas…so I too…hope and pray…that God will help me…balance my time…and energy…so that what is in my heart…which is where my primary focus lies…will not be overshadowed…by the other trappings…of this soon to be…holiday season…because the “happy or merry”…no longer mean…what they once did.

Watch over us…all of us…so that…in your behalf…we may make a difference.

God bless you Salvatore…you are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
October 15, 2010
Dear Sal...Today is Friday…Chris’ birthday…and DJO”s homecoming…just as it was…on this day...and date…28 years ago.

At midnight…as soon as it was the 15th…Chris asked me…if I could tell him…the exact time he was born. I told him it was around 8 pm. The “around” didn’t fly with him…and he teased me a bit. He asked again..."what was the exact time?” I think he was testing me…since he believed…this was information…his Mom...would…should…and could… never forget. And there was a time…when that would have been true.

With all that has happened…in these last 4 years and almost 9 months…my focus is elsewhere. I am so torn...and I feel badly about that…because I am…without meaning to…shortchanging your siblings…on many levels.

I told him…I would look…in his baby book. I knew…that you and your sisters…came to the hospital that night…before the scheduled football game…and waited…until he was born. So my 8 pm answer…couldn’t be too far off …and it wasn’t. I looked in his book…and it said 8:09 pm. So I called him…and told him…and apologized…for not being...the Mom he once had. Sensing my upset…he said it was no big deal…but to me…it was…because everything has changed…and my responses…to the once happy times…are no more.

I’m hoping I didn’t upset him too much…as he is a sensitive young man...who reads people well…and this is...an already tough day for him. He too misses you…still doesn’t want to celebrate…and wouldn’t even let me make him a cake.

They have no idea…how much pain…they have caused our family…because of what they set into motion…as they put you at risk…and cost you and us…your precious life.

Sal…watch over your brother…he thinks he is doing ok…but I know what is in his heart.

I love you son…you are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always
October 01, 2010
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Culosi,
Quite by accident, I found this guest book for Sal tonight. I have known about your loss for some time, but did not know how to contact you. I am so sorry about Sal's tragic, senseless and untimely death. While during our time of sharing the apartment in Memphis during our first year of optometry school, Sal and I didn't always see eye to eye -- we often did not hang out with the same friends, and had varying interests -- Sal was a young man so full of potential...I have rarely known anyone so intelligent and talented in all sorts of ways. Sal surprised me when he showed us all that he could sing and play the harmonica; he would write the most romantic notes to his girlfriend from back home; he could skip class and still make grades that put the rest of us to shame. Sal was a man who could likely have reached the stars if given the time to do so. Mrs. Culosi, as a read your journal entries I am reminded of all the times that you and I talked on the phone prior to Sal's arrival in Memphis, me trying to describe the layout of your son's future room and the color of the floors and counter tops so that you could send him with exactly what he needed to be comfortable in his new home. Then -- God bless you -- you would send the most amazing spaghetti sauce home with him after breaks and Sal was always generous enough to share some with me. I am now a mother and my heart breaks for you as I hear the pain in your written words. I am sorry that your son did not have the opportunity to live out his full, rich life. May our Lord give you strength to continue to put one foot in front of the other and bring you at least a glimmer of hope for peace and joy.

Love,
Courtney Gardner Hoffman
September 24, 2010
Dear Son…once again...it is the 24th…Four Years and Eight months...have passed...it is yesterday...and forever...all at the same time.

We attended the mass…offered in your memory…this morning…and afterwards…I visited your resting place…for the second time…this week. Tuesday…when I visited…you name card…was perfectly affixed…to the marble stone…but today…it was missing. Someone had to have yanked it…from its place. This has happened…several times now. I went up to the office…and asked for a replacement card…how I felt…when I saw your name missing...is better left unsaid.

The other times…this has happened…the weather was cited…heavy rains and winds…may have caused the card…to come off. Then animals…were suspect…as they may have brushed against it…causing it to fall off. Even a little child…it was suggested…may have taken it…from its secured placement. I personally think…a two-legged animal...who has no respect…for the sacredness of a cemetery…may have been solely responsible…for such a mean-spirited act.

I was aggravated and infuriated at the same time…not exactly traits to exhibit…when visiting you…and wanting…just to pray. I hope I am wrong…in my initial assessment…and I wish…there were security cameras in place…so that whoever…is of a mind…to do something so petty…and dishonoring…might be found out.

This weekend…your Grandparents…will celebrate…their 70th wedding anniversary. We are fortunate…to still have them...with us. They have lived…a very full life…and are now…both in their nineties. Dad doesn’t say much…but to lose you…a young son…and yet still have both his parents…has to be...difficult to rationalize...and understand.

I wish…you were given…the same chance…at living a long and full life. It just breaks my heart…every time I think of you…on your 37th birthday…as you made a wish…and blew out the candles…on your birthday cake. There was still…so much to experience and enjoy…in your life…and it was…all stolen from you...when they…put you in harm’s way.

This is the time of year…Fall into Winter…that is extra hard…for me...to get through. All the what if’s…started in these seasons…of sports and family gatherings. Your brother’s birthday…a chance encounter…soccer and tennis games…football…Halloween…family dinners...Thanksgiving…the memory of the many phone calls...from you…about Christmas presents...for your nieces and nephews...your birthday…Christmas…New Year’s…and then…the loud knocking on the door…and those four words…leading up to our worst nightmare. Every year…during this time…it get’s harder and harder…to accept. You are very loved...and very missed.

One bright note is…your Godchild is seated number one…this year…on her HS Varsity Tennis team. She is also taking Honors Pre–Calc…and Physics…and AP Statistics. You would be very impressed by…and proud...of her ability...on and off the field. Your nieces and nephews…are all growing up…and you…would have enjoyed…being a part of their world.

I love you son…you are in my thoughts...in my heart...and in my prayers…always.

God bless you Sal.
September 18, 2010
Dear Salvatore…We have been to three funerals…in the last week. Two of them…for women who were elderly…an Aunt…and a dear neighbor. They were both…loving mothers…and they will be missed. The third…was another young man…who was your sister’s classmate…at St. Mike’s and O’Connell. Paying our respect…to his family…was very difficult for me…as I found myself…in the same location…and in the same room…where I was…55 months ago. As I prayed for him…all the painful memories…of having been there before…came flooding back.

I love you son…and I miss you so much.

I will never understand…what plan is served…when parents lose a child.

I am still counting...and now...it is only 4 months away.

You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
August 24, 2010
Dear Sal...Today is Dad’s birthday…the fifth one…our family has spent…without you…as this Date of Remembrance…has fallen…on this 239th Tuesday…which marks…month number 55.

This morning’s mass…was offered…in your memory…and we attended it… receiving communion…along with your sister’s Godmother…who was visiting us this weekend. She and her husband...are like, extended family…and it was wonderful…to spend time with them.

Today is a gray day…it is very gloomy and overcast…and I just got back…from visiting...your resting place. Sal…for me…each time I visit you…is like the first time…so unbelievable...and I keep asking myself…why...and how…did this happen.

I have so many questions…that I know…only God has the answers to…and someday…I trust...I will too.

Before I said some prayers…I picked up the flowers…that were on the ground…around Ryan’s vase…and although they were bent…and broken...I assume...by the deer...putting them back...in her vase...was a momentary distraction... from the ever gnawing questions...that go round in my head.

I love you…and I miss you…Salvatore…and all I can do…is pray for you…and the justice…you are owed.

With my prayers…always
August 18, 2010
My Dear Salvatore...As I continue to mark time...we are now only 5 months away...from our court date.

I hope and pray...that you are at peace...knowing that we are getting closer...to keeping that promise to you.

I was surprised recently…when I came to this page…and found a reflection about you…that was left…by a friend... whose life you had touched. Although he only knew you briefly…and had only learned…of what happened to you…long after it did…he remembered you fondly…as someone worthy of his admiration…for a host of reasons. Having lost…several of his own loved ones…he understood and knew...the heartache and grief...that loss brings...to all of us. He has not forgotten you…and I was...deeply moved by what he wrote.

The actions of those involved…in putting into motion...such an absurd operation...that resulted in what happened to you...will remain forever inexcusable...and indefensible…to those of us…who knew…what a good and caring soul you were.

You are not forgotten Sal...and you are very missed.

God bless you Son...and God bless your friends.

I love you Salvatore...you are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
August 07, 2010
Hi Sal,
I went to Adoration with Michael and Alexandrafor first Friday and we prayed for you there. Death was conquered by death-- what an awesome reality and great comfort! Matthew prays for you by name each night during our grace before meals. Light a candle for us from where you are ---and hold it over our paths-- we need and and we are counting on it.
July 30, 2010
To Sal, Mrs. Culosi, Family, and Friends.
My name is Matthew I was a friend of Sal's through Steve and Scott and only met his parents once I think. We never really got to know each other well but I truly considered him a friend, as friends in today's transient society means many things to many people. To me Sal was inspirational in that he held his family in very high regard, his faith although not terribly overt was obvious to me. He was of strong moral character and serious about his future. I am thankful for being given the opportunity to know him even as little as I had.

I did not hear of his death for almost 2 years after the fact because I had not be in contact with anyone from my old hometown for quite some time. For me this was probably a good thing because my father passed only a week before Sal, and I had lost some of the people closest to me: mother in-law, father in-law, uncle, good friend Bob, and two of my wife's uncles in just the 2 and a half years prior. The pain, the stress and grief I felt throughout those years will never equal that of yours. I hope and pray that you will find the strength to endure and overcome the pain I know you feel daily. I hope it is some comfort that Sal touched people that only knew him briefly and know that he is held in many hearts and thought of fondly daily by those he touched. I truly believe that his soul is a good soul equaled by many but surpassed by few if any. My prayers are with you Sal and family.

A friend
July 24, 2010
Dear Son...Four and a half years today…the 54th month…as I keep counting and marking...this date of Remembrance.

As always Dad and I...attended the mass...offered in your memory. I visited your resting place...and put fresh flowers...in your vase...but I don't know...which will be the first...to destroy them...the intense heat...or the deer. I will see...if they make it to tomorrow...when I visit you again.

I get that sinking feeling...every time…my thoughts...go to that special place..of what might have been…in all this time…had they not stolen your life…and your future…from all of us. Maybe there would have been…the happy milestone occasions…that you deserved…and that parents…and families…would have recalled...as treasured memories…if you would have been...allowed the time...to fulfill...all your dreams... and all your goals. Perhaps…there would have been...an engagement…a wedding…a new home…the starting of a family…experiences that all lend...to the happiness that life can hold…but instead…there are...just masses...and cemetery visits…and lots of tears... for what can never be.

I miss you Sal…and I hurt…for what was denied to you…because of them.

To lose a child…and a sibling…causes family interactions…to be forever changed. The best of intentions…in wanting to meet...each other's needs...at times are strained…without meaning to be…and it is very difficult…to achieve a balance…that addresses everyone’s rightful concerns…but because none of us…are the same people as before…there are hurt feelings…and unfortunatley...disappointments...when we fall short.

I don’t know how my parents…after losing my brother...or any parents…are able to find it in themselves…to focus on anything…after the loss of their child. Of course...the remaining children are as loved…but somehow…it is the one who is gone…who consumes your energy.

Yesterday was Jen’s 10th birthday…and she is quickly becoming…a miniature of her big sisters. Her personality…has been influenced…by each one.…and fortunately…she has the best traits…of both of them…but I can’t help thinking back...to when she was that 5½ year old…whose safe…happy little girl world…was toppled…when we lost you…and she became exposed to...and tried to understand...our sadness…as we did the best we could...to cope…with all that happened. Another of the overwhelming upsets…that a child didn’t need to experience…but did…because of them…and what they caused.

Sal…watch over your sisters…their families…and Chris.

I love you…I miss you…you are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
July 18, 2010
Dear Son...The promise I made to you...is now only six months away.

As I continue to pray to God...I hope all that I hold in my heart…will be heard...and answered by Him.

I love you Salvatore…and I miss you…each and every day.

With my prayers…always.
June 24, 2010
Dear Sal…I just got back…from visiting your resting place…after attending...this morning's mass…that was offered in your memory…on this now...53rd month…Remembrance Day.

I brought fresh flowers…to put in your vase…two days ago…and again today…but soon…I will have to use…artificial ones…even though I don’t like to. The deer ate Tuesday’s flowers…and between them…and the heat…I won’t have much choice…so artificial ones…will have to do…until...the weather...changes again.

As I continue to pray…for the justice…that you are owed…we have just 7 months left…before the frustrating…and difficult journey…we have been on…will find us in court…and hopefully…they…will be held accountable…for what they…unnecessarily caused…to happen…to you…and our family.

Son…I hope…you are resting peacefully…despite all that has gone on…with the slow moving…legal system…and will continue to go on…for just a little while longer.

I miss you each day. You...are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
June 22, 2010
My Dear Son…this is the 230th week…I have visited…your resting place…and the wrongfulness…of what they did…that caused…your life to be stolen from you…and has me…walking the path…to where your are…is always overwhelming to me.

So much time…has passed…and in that time...the proud moments…the joys coming from them…as Dad and I…see the achievements…of your nieces and nephews…realized…and other family milestones reached…they are always bittersweet...and overshadowed…by what our reality is…as we keep going forward…in your behalf.

Now we are a step closer. On June 8th…we were notified…to appear before the court…on Friday, June 18th…for a status hearing…to set a schedule…for the trial…of our civil action…and at that time…the date was “penciled in.”

It became “penned in” yesterday…after everyone involved…had been contacted…and asked to check their schedules…for availability…and since the date…did not conflict…with anyone’s schedule…the judge finalized...Tuesday, January 18, 2011…as the date…on which we begin…to seek the justice…you are owed.

When we get to that date…it will be…only 7 days shy…of the 5th Year Remembrance Day…of our family’s incredible loss…of you...our Salvatore...our very loved son...and brother...as my promise to you…is kept.

It will have taken...3 years…9 months…and 29 days…from when we filed…our civil suit…on Tuesday, March 20, 2007…to get us there…to that Tuesday.

We are told…we may be in court…for an estimated 6 to 10 day trial…which…if it gets to day seven…will have us…looking at the same face…you saw…5 years ago…to the day…on that Tuesday, January 24, 2006…when our nightmare began.

Sal…you know what is in my heart…our Tuesdays…are very special to me…and when I heard the date announced…just knowing it could overlap…to Monday, the 24th…my heart sank…and as I counted back…and realized that January 18th...was a Tuesday…I had to stop myself from screaming…just as I did…when the detectives…pounded on our door…at 3 am…that painfully devastating morning…and then spoke…those four words to me…that I will relive in my head…over and over…and that caused my world to collapse…and changed our family forever.

It has been all in God’s hands…from that moment…and in His time…and it is coming.

I love you Sal…so very much…and none of this…should have ever happened.

I carry you in my heart…and in my prayers…always.
June 20, 2010
Dear Sal…Today is Father’s Day…so when I visited you…this morning…I not only...left flowers for you…because you were...a Godfather...to your brother…as well as...to your niece…but I also…left flowers in Gramps memory…since I can’t visit…his resting place…in person. I pray…that you are both…having a Blessed Father’s Day.

I love you…I miss you…and I wish…we could have had…our family Father’s Day dinner…like we once did...when everyone was present. You wouldn’t believe…how much has changed.

You are in my thoughts…and prayers…always.
June 09, 2010
Dear Son…After I once again…poured out my heart to you…as I prayed…at your resting place yesterday…things may be…finally falling into place.

Today…we are one step closer…to getting our trial date. I received the call…saying we are to be in court…a week from this Friday. My understanding is…the judge will set an upcoming date...and then everyone involved…has to check their schedules…for availability…and if no considerations are needed…we can prepare…to go forward.

It has taken…more than 3 years…and two days shy…of three months…to get to this point. Hopefully the actual date…will not be too far off…or need to be pushed back…because of previous commitments…on the part of those…who need to be present.

I love you Sal…and I miss you…as I keep my promise to you.

You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers...always.
May 31, 2010

Dear Sal...This weekend...I had to miss...both my visit with you...and the Memorial Day Mass...that is celebrated annually...on the grounds...where you are resting…because...we were in New York…for a family birthday. It was good to see everyone…but I always…find it difficult...to miss a visit. That's who I am...

May God’s Perpetual Light…shine on all the men and women…who while serving in our military...made the ultimate sacrifice...while defending and protecting...our freedoms. May they all rest in His Eternal Peace.

May He also Bless...and watch over their families…and all the patriotic and brave soldiers...who are still serving...and protecting…our liberties.

May they...and their sacrifices...never be forgotten.

I love you Son...and you are in my prayers...always.
May 24, 2010
Dear Son...The morning mass I attended…was once again…offered in your memory…on this...4 years and 4 months...Day of Remembrance. Fr. Clark…offered the mass…which was especially meaningful to me…because as a patient of yours... he knew you...on a personal level. I have a special regard for him…as he is a very understanding…and compassionate priest. Watch over him Sal…and keep him in your prayers.

A mother…of one of your classmates…also came to the mass…knowing it was for you…and afterwards…we spoke for about an hour…catching up on the latest happenings…in each of our lives. She is a sweet lady...and has a lovely family. She showed me a picture…of her son’s wedding…and others…of her daughter’s family...as well as...her youngest son’s baby. To remember them as children…and now to see them as parents…makes you wonder…where time goes. I wish…you...would have been...allowed the time…to marry...and become a husband…and then...to start a family. You had a lot to offer…and would have been…a wonderful father. But now…we have all been denied…those joys.

I just finished watching...the final episode…of a TV show…that was a favorite of yours. You told me…it was going to be a hit…and that I should watch it too. Its ending...was upsetting…for me to watch. Its message was...that everyone has a purpose…and people come into our lives…so that we...can all help one another…to learn…to grow…to know love…and to share our goodness with...and when... we are close to the end...we should not forget…any of our experiences…so when the time does come…we will remember…the life we led…and the people we loved...before we can move on…to an eternal destination…in their company…where...we will all be...happy and at peace...forever.

While it was very touching…and hopeful…it still saddened me. It is a very different matter…for those who have lived…a full life…to then go on…to whatever reward…they have earned. But for those…who are young…with a future still well ahead of them…to then be taken…from their life…before living it to the fullest...even on film...it is sad...and in real life...it goes beyond words.

This week...your oldest niece...will be turning nineteen...and it will be another...for me...bittersweet celebration.

Sal...you know what my concerns are... please intercede...however you can…if you can.

I love you…I miss you…you are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
May 18, 2010
My Dear Salvatore…Today is Tuesday…the 225th one…and it is…your oldest nephew’s...12th birthday. I don’t know how time passes…sometimes…it seems to fly by…and other times…it feels like it stands still.

The weather is lousy…and I’m in a bit of a funk. I didn’t get much sleep last night… because I went to bed too late…and got up too early. I have been thinking…about you…when you were 12. That was the year…that you decided to play Tarzan…and was helped home…by your good friend Scott…who was trying to keep you calm…after you had fallen from a height…as you swung from a hanging rope…across a little stream of water…just one too many times. It was shortly before…your sister’s Sweet Sixteen birthday party. You had split open your lip…which required stitches from a plastic surgeon...bruised your shoulder…and hurt you arm and sprained your wrist. I was grateful…that you didn’t break any bones...or worse.

The other day…when I was visiting you…I met the little brother…of the sweet little girl…that is resting…not far from you. He is three…and the cutest bundle of boy energy. He had quite a conversation with me…about his tractor…his VA Tech hat…and a birthday party he went to…and then he asked…why I was there. I told him I was visiting my son…just like he was visiting his sister. While his mom and I were talking…he was running around…and after circling a few times…around the path…he tripped and fell…and scraped his arm. He looked like he wanted to start crying…but when he caught my eye…he shrugged it off. He too reminded me of you…at that age. Thoughts of the little boy…you were…come to mind…in so many ways. I miss you so very much.

This past week was Police Week. I lit vigil candles for Uncle Sal…and Officer Gordon…and prayed for other fallen officers. I have so many mixed emotions…concerning LEO’S. Every time I read a story…like the one this week…about an unnamed officer…who during another late night raid…caused a 7 year old…to be shot and killed…I get sick at heart. All of these happenings…although unrelated to one another…have compiled…and perhaps…have brought me…to an already sensitized place…and so…my funk.

I don’t know why…any of what happened to you…and then to all of us…could not have been avoided. All I do know…is that you were wronged…and I am very heartbroken…just like I know…the families of others…who have also... been wrongfully killed…are heartbroken...and will never be the same again…either.

I love you Son…and you are in my prayers…always.
May 09, 2010
Dearest Salvatore...Today is Mother's Day...the fifth one...spent without you. It's a bittersweet day...and one that is difficult...to get through.

At mass this morning...Father spoke of a mother's role...in her family. He said...she is the nurturer...and the one...who always...wants to spare...her children..from...all of life's many burdens. Some may think...that approach...spoils a child...but it sounded right to me.

I love your sisters...you...and your brother...and I am grateful...to God...for the joys...I have been allowed to experience...because He blessed me...with each of you.

God bless you Son...I miss you...and I wish...we would have...had more time together.

You are in my heart...and in my prayers...always.
May 06, 2010
Dear Son…Your Godchild turned Sweet Sixteen today. How I wish you were here…to see what a bright…gifted…and lovely young lady she is.

Please watch over her…and all of your nieces…and nephews.

I love you Sal…and I miss you.

With my prayers…always.
April 27, 2010
My Dear Son...Today is Tuesday…Number Two Hundred and Twenty-Two…and it also happens to be…the Fifth birthday…I get to have…without you...which just serves to remind me…as though I need reminding…that wishes don’t come true. If they did…I wouldn’t be writing on this site. You’d be here…and all would be right…in our world.

This morning…Dad gave me…beautiful long-stemmed red roses…not his usual bouquet…of colorful “guessing game” flowers…that had numbers assigned to them…and would always become…a math problem for me…to solve. Since they were so lovely…I shortened their stems…so that they...would fit in your vase...and then...I brought them to you…when I visited...your resting place today.

Birthdays lost their meaning…a long time ago…after losing Uncle Sal…and it wasn’t until...you children were born…that they began…to be celebrated again.

But here we are…once more…being reminded…that all the wishes made…on all those blown out candles…don’t come true…and this time...it is because of them.

I love you son...and I miss you.

You are in my prayers...always
April 24, 2010
Dearest Sal…Fr. Clark…a wonderful priest…who was a former patient of yours…said the mass this morning…that was offered in your memory…on this 4 years and 3 months Remembrance date. Dad and I attended…and received communion…in your behalf…and then we brought flowers…to your resting place…on this…another cloudy…rainy…and dreary Saturday.

Dad had intended...to do some yard work...this weekend...but the weather...has changed his plans.
So now…he is in the den…at the computer…doing work for his office.

We are also trying…to find a good time…in which...to have a birthday dinner…with Con…before this weekend…gets away from us. April was always...a hectic month…for our family…since there are...three birthdays to deal with…in addition to Easter…most times.

Since 2006…it has become…a month in which…those family dinners…we once got through…with too much cooking…too much eating...lots of laughter…and even more noise…are wanting...to be forgotten. Of course...for the sake of the children...we can’t let that happen...but they are not...the same celebrations…as we manage...to plod along…doing what we must. I remember…being the pest...with a camera…always wanting that photo…of the candle...on the birthday cake...being wished upon…and then blown out…by the birthday girl...or boy. I have those photos…for every birthday…that each of you had…and I am grateful...to have them. I treasure...the very last one…I have of you…on your 37th birthday…and I carry it with me…in my purse. I miss you son…so very much.

We still haven’t heard...from the Alexandria court…concerning our trial date. We were told…we would most likely...be called in...by the judge...once she received...the notification...on the outcome...of our rehearing appeal…which we believe... she may have received...on or around March 22nd...and then...in a matter of weeks…from receiving the Richmond Appeals Court decision...the judge... would then...assign a trial date... that has...thus far been stayed... pending this Appeal's Court decision. The actual trial…would probably take place...several months…from the time...
in which...we are called into...the Alexandria court.

I guess...it is all...in God’s hands…and...in His time…so...we wait.

I love you Sal…keep watch...over your sisters…your brother...your nieces…and your nephews. God bless you.

With my prayers…always.
April 04, 2010
My Dear Salvatore…I wish you a very Blessed…and Happy Easter…or a Buona Pasqua…which was...the customary greeting…on this particular Sunday morning...when I was growing up.

I would have visited you today…and I don’t feel comfortable…not being able to…but I am not at home. Cyn wasn’t feeling well…so she stayed home…Chris had another commitment…so he had to stay home…and since Vic…didn’t have time off…from UVA…Con and her family…brought Easter to her…by going to the lake…so Dad and I…joined them. It won't be a “complete”...family dinner gathering…as we once knew it…but it will have to do...since we are no longer…that same family.

I did visit…your resting place…on Good Friday. I prayed the rosary…for you…and changed the flowers…in the vase. It was a beautiful spring day…the kind…that you…should have be enjoying outdoors...but instead…it too...has been stolen...from you.

I ask why…what purpose is served…by all that has happened. You were so young…and worked hard…for that bright future…that was still ahead of you. How could this…have been in your path…and ours.

There are days…when the reality…reduces me to a sobbing heap…and then there are the days…where I want to scream out…the anger and contempt…I have for them…and what they caused. Not the kindest of thoughts…on this beautiful sunny day…a day meant to be celebrated…with the joy of knowing…that we have been redeemed.

When I drive down the road…that passes the condo…I can see your driveway…in between the buildings…and I get a sinking feeling…as my thoughts wander…to what happened to you…on that night…and it takes my breath away.

Sal…I pray for you…all the time…but…I still can’t come to terms…with your not having received…the Last Rites…and why…again…because of them. As though what they did…wasn’t enough…they then…were also the cause…for that failure too.

We may…be getting a trial date soon…but …who knows…how that will go. I am not without hope…in seeking the justice…you are owed…but so far…the department…the chief…and the SWAT supervisor…in addition to their policies…protocols…and training…remain dismissed..

I read the cardinal rules...of gun safety…First...all firearms are always loaded…even if they are not…treat them as though they are. Second…never allow the muzzle of your firearm to point toward anything you are not willing to kill or destroy. Point your firearms in a safe direction — one where an unintentional discharge will cause NO HUMAN INJURY and, at most, minor property damage. AKA “the laser rule." Third…until your sights are aligned with your target and you are ready to shoot, keep your finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard, indexed along the frame or slide until you are aligned with your target and you decided to fire. Four…Be sure of your target/threat, backstop, and beyond.

The policy for SWAT…when they are used...was to be at ‘ready gun”…as they coin it…pointing a loaded weapon…at center mass…regardless of what…the risk assessment…indicates about a person...and that...in your case...had no red flags...but they chose anyway...to ignore and disregard…any rules…but their own. God forgive me…but that is inexcusable...and pure nonsense. They are the police…and on a regular basis…they were totally disregarding...the gun safety rules...that apply across the board... for safely handling a gun...and...that if practiced…and respected by them…may have saved you…and us…from our life changing tragedy.

I see them as disgraceful…but it is their disgrace…not ours…as we continue forward… with our promise to you.

And now it is Easter…Our Lord has triumphed over death…and we are a saved people…if only we do His will. I know…one of His commandments…was broken…as a direct result…of what was…permitted…by their protocols…that disregarded your safety…and put you…in harm’s way. I wonder…if they ever think...about their roles...regarding that particular commandment...and what happened that night.

The emperor…and his empire…remain naked…and neither wants to recognize it…nor does the court…in our district…currently want…to set a precedent about it…because then…the rules would change…and all…would be on notice…and have to be clothed.

Sal forgive me…I had not intended…to do any more…than wish you…a peaceful and happy day…but this is where…my heart and my head…lead me…always to what did happen…that shouldn’t have.

I love you Son…I miss you…and I pray for you…always.
March 28, 2010
My Dear Son…We are having…a very quiet...Palm Sunday…as both your sisters…are busy with their children’s activities…and your brother…is still sleeping.

Dad just got back…from spending several days...with his parents. Grandpa isn't doing too well...and Grandma's memory is quite impaired. Dad hadn’t seen them…since your cousin's little girl…was Baptized…and as growing older…is never kind…the time that has elapsed...has certainly…taken its toll on them. Dad was saddened…by what he saw…but is resigned...to what will be…a blessing…when God sees fit. On a happier note…we do have an addition…to the family. Your aunt and uncle…are grandparents again…this time…to a beautiful baby boy.

Before mass this morning…palms were given out…and Dad made his usual…braided crosses…from them. We brought one…to your resting place…and the others…are for your nieces and nephews. We may see them…at Easter…but aren’t quite sure yet…what plans...are in the works.

Nothing is the same...without you…everything has changed…or is about to be changed. It is all too sad…that it is…what it is.

We all love…and miss you…and pray that God blesses you...with continued peace…on this very special day...that begins Holy Week.

You are in my prayers…always.
March 24, 2010
My Dear Salvatore…This morning...I attended the mass...that was being offered...in your name…on this
4 years and 2 months…Remembrance Day.

Where have these 50 months gone? Emotionally...we are still grieving…and that will never end. How could we not...when we have suffered...the devastating loss…of our loving son…and brother…who is no longer here…with us.

Dad…your sisters and brother…each in their own way…do the best they can. Dad tries to focus on work…and those interests…that allow him to cope…with our reality. Your sisters…have the distraction…of family…the raising of their children…their schooling…and their activities…which keep them all...very busy. But I know…that they miss you…and in their quiet moments…they think of you…and they pray for you. Your brother…is trying so hard…to focus his creative energy…on talents…that have been on hold…since our nightmare began. I wish I could…be more supportive…knowing that life...does goes on…but for me…existence goes on…life…as our family knew it…can never be the same.

It has been…3 years and 4 days…since we filed our lawsuit…on March 20th, 2007…and we are still at it. We filed a Petition for Rehearing…on March 5th…and on March 22nd…the day before…Nan’s anniversary…we were notified…that the Richmond Court...denied that petition. I don’t know…how reasonable people…could come to such a decision…given the chain of events…that has led us…to where we are. I only know…that policies…protocols…and training…that allowed…for you…to be put in harms way…must be addressed…precedents need to be set…and responsibility taken.

With God’s help…we keep the faith…and continue to pray.

I love you Sal…I miss you. You are in my prayers…always.
March 19, 2010
My Dear Salvatore Joseph…On this Feast Day of St. Joseph…which is also…your Patronal Feast/Name Day…I pray… that you are resting peacefully…in God’s eternal promise.

When I visited you today…I placed lilies in your vase…because they are the flowers…that are symbolic of St. Joseph...his purity…in his divinely chosen role...as the foster father of Jesus. He is the patron…of a happy death…but I don’t know…if I will ever…be able to embrace that concept…happy and death. I know what it implies…but for those…who grieve the loss…it is difficult to absorb. I pray...that whatever graces… St. Joseph’s intercession may grant…at that sacred moment…were bestowed by him...on you.

I also went and bought…sfingi and zeppole…since they too…are a part of this feast. I wish…we could have celebrated today…in a happier way…sharing each other’s company…over a cup of coffee…and eating the pastry…that is a tradition...on this special day. "If" only...

I hope you...your Uncle Sal…and Grandpa…are all especially blessed today...since you all have…the same middle name…Joseph.

I miss each of you…and hold all of you…in my thoughts…in my heart…and…in my prayers…always.

I love you Son...God bless you.
February 24, 2010
My Dear Son…Today marks month number 49…as I continue...to count the days.

Although I went to church today…I was not able…to have this morning’s mass...offered in your memory…even though…I tried to schedule it...when the book…was first opened…towards the end of last year. I couldn’t get a mass…for Gramps either…and this past Sunday…was year number 9…of his passing.

This is also...the time frame…when you...were in the hospital. It was not a good week then...nor is it one now.

I remember…how sick you felt…on the ride back to VA...from Grandpa's funeral. Shortly after you got home…you went to the Fairfax hospital emergency room…and while you waited…for your name...to be called…your appendix ruptured…and you had to have…an emergency surgery. How could we have known…that the doctor…who operated on you…that night…and whom I believe…botched your surgery…which resulted in...you having to spend... the better part...of that year…unable to work…because of the infection…and pain it caused…along with the additional hospitalizations…would be the same doctor…on call in the ER…on that tragic night…five years later…when the EMS...brought you in…and that…he would be the one…making the declarations…and signing the paperwork…about you. He knew who you were…and that…your information…would be in their data system…but we received no phone call...and no timely notification…was made to our family... either by hospital staff…or the FCPD. Sal…I asked…all the right questions…of them…in 2001…and again in 2006…but they gave me…not one believable...or reasonable answer…either time.

Monday…we were notified…by the Richmond Court of Appeals…that they had dismissed our appeal. No decision was made by them…they just chose…to dismiss it. I don’t understand the legal system…I thought…when you appeal…to a Court of Appeals…and they accept your Briefs…and schedule a date…for an Oral Argument…listen to it...in their courtroom…and then make you wait…almost 4 months…for their decision…and written explanation…it would be…why the appeal…was either…Granted…or…Denied. But a Dismissal…that I do not understand. Perhaps…the buck…doesn’t stop anywhere. Another…in my opinion…unbelievable…and unreasonable response. I don't know...if it can be redressed. But I am not without my questions.

I will…continue to pray…especially during this Lenten season…and offer the disappointments…that add hurt…and insult…to what…we all continue to suffer…as a result…of wanting to trust “systems”…and I...will offer our upsets...as sacrifices to God…for whatever…He thinks…they are worth.

Sal…I love you…I miss you…and…I treasure...all my memories...of you.

We are not going away…and we will see…what continues to unfold.

You…are in my thoughts…in my heart…and in my prayers…always.
February 14, 2010
Dear Sal…I was not able…to visit you…this past Sunday and Tuesday…because of the two unbelievable snow storms…we had…actually blizzards…that brought everything to a halt…including the government.

Today is St. Valentine’s Day…and I am hoping…I can get up the path…to your resting place…so I can just be close…while praying…for my “Sweetheart”…and telling you Son...how much…I love you…and miss you...and hope...that you are happy...and resting peacefully.

I did try...to visit you…on our Tuesday. I even brought a shovel…thinking I could make a path…for myself…but the groundskeepers…had plowed the snow…into huge mountains…that blocked the walk…to your resting place...so…my visit was made…from the road…as I sat in my parked car…and prayed for you.

The forces of nature…make you aware…of what is truly important…and how dependent we truly are…on God’s mercy…and grace…if we are to deal effectively…while coping…with whatever obstacles…are put in our path.

Dad and I...visited you...after the noon mass...we attended today. Dad shoveled…a little of the path…trying to create…a more stable entry point…then I plodded along…in the large footprints…of other visitors…who had made a path…to their loved one. I only fell once…because the snow was deep…and I lost my balance…but I got up…continued on…and made it...to where I wanted…and needed to be…on this special day of love.

I said a prayer for Ryan…then you…and spent a little time…clearing some snow…with a small shovel…I had brought with me. I will have to see…if this Tuesday’s visit…will find me…once again…praying in my parked car…along the roadside…because we are expecting…some more snow.

To pass time today…we went to a movie…and we just got back home. I didn’t know…what I was in for…when we chose…to see…the new Mel Gibson movie.
There were…too many scenes…and situations…that hit close to home.

A young adult child…is shot and killed…actually murdered. The father is…shocked…stunned…grief stricken…angered…and enraged. He needs to know why…what happened…to cause such a loss. His memories and images…of his daughter's childhood…the love and joy…he would no longer have…saying good bye to her…as she lay…on an autopsy table…his having to encounter…callous and indifferent people…who are in powerful positions…and can manipulate situations…to benefit them…while…he is just looking for truth…and justice…in the loss of his child…are parallels…to our own tragedy. The police…rallying around their own…showing them courtesies…the average citizen…would not experience…along with the images of a SWAT team…and lines…attitudes…and dialogue…that were familiar to me…all served to conjure up…my own upsetting memories.

There was a sense of justice…though…as he went after…those who were responsible…for his daughter’s murder…holding them accountable…and he even manages…to win the understanding…of an otherwise bad character…whose guilty conscience…finally wins out…allowing him to redeem himself...as he recognizes evil...and he puts an end…to the ultimate trio…of despicable players...who are at the root…of a conspiracy…involving politics…big business…and the cover ups…that allow corruption…to flourish.

The saving grace…of the movie…was the message of hope…as the father is dying…and envisions his deceased daughter…coming to take him…with her…and in a Hollywood moment…the two are shown…restored to life…reunited…walking happily…arm in arm…to an inferred eternity.

The hope of all parents...who know the grief...of burying a child...is to be with them again...reunited for all eternity. It is...what our faith promises...teaches...and I believe.

They say art imitates life…and while it was just a movie…for me…it was an emotional rollercoaster.

Sal…my promise to you…is not forgotten…as we continue…to wait on Richmond’s response.

I love you Salvatore…I miss you...each...and every day…and I pray for you…always.
January 24, 2010
My Dear Son…This gray…dreary…and... rainy Sunday…is marking...the Fourth Year Remembrance…of a night...that tore apart...all of our lives.

Sal...I am aware of the passage of time…as I have never been before.

Four years of monthly masses…offered in your memory…like the 10:30 one…this morning…that we attended...with very dear...and loyal friends…who have become…treasures to us…and have been…very supportive of us…from the moment…our nightmare began…right to this very day. Other friends have phoned…emailed…prayed…and thought about us…because…YOU...are not forgotten…and so…THIS DAY…is remembered…by them.

Four years of visiting…your resting place...and still...I am not able…to bear the thought…of seeing your name…permanently engraved…on a bronze nameplate. Forgive me Sal…for not coming to terms...with that.

Four years of missing you…each and every day. Four years in which…you have been…my first thought upon waking…and my last thought…as I try to go to sleep. Four years of thinking about you…throughout the day…and all that might have been…if you were still here with us. Four years without your phone calls…or visits. Four years of family holidays…all changed…and now…without much meaning…because you are not here…to complete our family. Four years of reliving…the last time I saw you...and remembering what you said…and the sound of your voice.

Four years of recalling…all of those cherished memories…of happier times…that began…when you were born…and ended…with the pounding on our door…at 3 am...on January 25, 2006…and hearing those four words…that I never imagined…I would ever hear…in my lifetime.

Four years of imagining…what took place…in your last moments…and heartsick…that you were denied…even your Last Rites…because of them. Four years of wishing…that you were here…and not understanding…how and why…their policies...protocols...and training…could allow for this…to have happened. Four years of tears and sadness. Four years of praying…for you…and for the justice…that you are owed.

Four years…of hoping and praying…that you are in a better place…happy…and resting in peace.

Four years…that seem like yesterday…and forever…at the same time.

Four years…that have changed everyone…and everything…in our family. Our lives…will never…ever…be the same again.

I love you Salvatore…and the promise I made to you…Four years ago…is not forgotten...as we are still waiting…on a decision…regarding our Oral Argument…which was presented…on October 28, 2009…before...the 4th Circuit United States Court of Appeals…in Richmond. Our trial date is stayed…pending that decision…but we will go forward…in your behalf…Sal...as soon as we are able.

May God bless you Son…and for all the kindness…and compassion…our friends have shown us…may God bless them too.

You are in my heart…in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
January 01, 2010
Dear Son…We spent New Year’s Eve…with Con…her family…and two of your niece’s friends…and it was as pleasant...as it could be…considering where my heart is.

Cyn will be here today…with her children…so it will be Christmas...all over again…and we will have...another family dinner.

Chris went out last night…to welcome in the New Year…and you know…how I have always felt…about going out on New Year's Eve. To choose to be...in a crowd of strangers...when in fact…family belongs with family…on these holidays…is something I have never understood...or would consider. I well know…how much has changed…but being with family…has always been a priority for me…and so when one of mine...is missing…even if it’s only for an evening…it goes against my values…and I have a hard time...accepting it. He did call at midnight…and so did Cyn…to wish all of us...a Happy New Year.

Last night at midnight…you were the first one…I wished a silent...and Blessed New Year…as I said a prayer for you. You are never...far from my thoughts…and you are always...in my heart.

As I watched your sister…putting all the finishing touches…on getting the food served…it made me realize how very fortunate…and blessed…I am to have the opportunity…to see how caring and helpful…she is…as a daughter. I know she is also...a wonderful wife…and mother...and we are all lucky...to have her. Both your sisters are amazing ladies…and I am proud of them. All of you…my adult children… each in your own way…are a part of the “joy"…that I have experienced…more and more…as I have watched you children…grow and mature…into likable…independent…and contributing members of society. There is no reward greater…than having children…and being there…to see them…raising a family of their own.

It's the same joy I felt…when watching you…as you began to fulfill…the goals you had set for yourself…and I know…there would have been…so many more of life’s milestones…ahead of you…and now…there are just my memories…and tears…as I walk to you…and from you…at your resting place.

I love you Sal…and I am so sorry…that they took from you…and us…all that was still to be.

You are in my heart…in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
December 25, 2009
My Precious Son…I pray...that you are happy...and having a very Blessed Christmas…along with Nan…Gramps…your Uncle Sal…and your dear friends.

I miss you so much Sal…as we all do.

You are a part of each of us…and we all hold you close…in our thoughts…in our hearts…and in our cherished memories...of happier times...when we were all together.

You are always in my prayers. I love you so...

God Bless you Sal.
December 24, 2009
My Dear Salvatore…It’s 3 years and 11 months today…and the fourth Christmas Eve…without you…and without the phone calls…you would start making…to me…throughout the day…to find out…when “they” would be ready. With all that I have left to do…in preparation for tomorrow…my thoughts…are on... those very missed phone calls.

We went to the mass…being offered for you this morning…and then to your resting place. I didn’t get there…on our Tuesday. The snowstorm…that started on Saturday…was presenting a bigger problem…than it did…on the previous Sunday…when I had trudged through…knee-deep snow…trying to stay on the path…that led to you…but was not cleared...by the grounds crew. On Tuesday…we couldn’t get our cars out…and up the non-cleared street…so I had to miss my visit…with you…and I am out of sorts...because of it.

This snow…has taken the wind out of my sails. It had us housebound…and many of the things…I still had to do…didn’t get done…and won’t get done. I have gone through the motions…of these holiday preparations…over the last three years…but this year…although I know…what is expected of me…I have run out of steam. There was a time…when it mattered…having everything ready…on time…not wanting to disappoint anyone…and while I still…don’t want to disappoint anyone…my heart…just isn’t in it anymore…which may not be fair…to others…but it is my reality…and the joy in doing…is no more. There was even a time…when I’d stay up all night…if need be…but I am not inclined…to do that anymore…so it will be...what it is.

We will be at your sister’s on Christmas day…barring an ice storm. I thought we would be there tonight…but they are going...to a 9 pm Mass…and so…I put what I made…back into the fridge. No big deal. I’m tired anyway…and I will use the time…for other matters.

Dad didn’t make…your favorite... holiday “menu” item...today. He will make them…for the New Year…so there will only be…one mess…to deal with…instead of the usual two. Of course…your brother is unhappy…with that decision…since that is...the only homemade food…he looks forward to…and is willing to eat…but I am even more unhappy…because...there are no more phone calls…nothing is the same.

I love you Son…and I miss you.

You...are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
December 17, 2009
Dearest Son…We attended the morning mass…that was being offered for you…in remembrance of this special day. I wish you a Blessed Birthday…in the company of family...and dear friends...in that far better place…of eternal love and peace.

I visited your resting place after mass…and there was a beautiful arrangement of flowers…and a note…left by your sister. I grieve for you…Sal…for your loss of your future…and all...that life still held...for you…and I am additionally saddened...by what your loss…has meant…to your sisters…and your brother. There is an empty spot…in each of them...that has changed who they are...please watch over them...and your nieces...and nephews.

Thanksgiving…over these last four years…has changed for us. While there are still…reasons for being thankful…I find they are sometimes…overlooked…by me…as my focus…on what has happened...to you…and our family...is always in the forefront. Our family gathering…this year…was smaller than before…one of your nieces…was very sick…over her break from school…and so she…and your sister…spent their holiday…at home…trying to get her better. It had us all worried…as she wasn’t responding well…to the antibiotics…but thankfully…your sister…made the right calls…and finally got her…on the road to recovery. The other younger cousins…were so disappointed…at not seeing their aunt…and eldest cousin…when they arrived…for the holiday. The excitement and fun…they had anticipated having…as children do…immediately disappeared…and all because…two relatives…who they could see another time…could not be here…for this occasion. Only a temporary absence…yet it caused their expectations…to be changed.

Sal...you are very loved…and very missed. Your absence…that we live with…each and every day…has created a void…in all of us…and has us…responding differently…to and with…each other...because without you...we are no longer...the same people...or the same family. It is so hard to accept...our "new normal."

I am still trying…to sort out…my feelings and views…about support groups...dealing with mutual losses…in grieving for their children. Sunday night…Dec. 13…was the Worldwide Compassionate Friends…Candle Lighting Evening. I have never attended a regular meeting…which I have been told…are helpful and consoling. This one…the first...I have ever attended...was a “Remembrance” service. I found it…heart wrenching…to see…all these parents…gathered under one roof…united by the greatest loss…a mother or father…can endure. Of course…it was personally sad…emotional…but it was also for me…if this is possible…both…subjectively…and objectively… upsetting. Son…you know…how I am…how I get accused…of wanting to solve… everyone’s problems…not able to just listen…and let them vent…which in some cases…I have been told…is all that was needed. As I looked around the church…recognizing...it was a well intentioned gathering…meant to honor…each of you children…and the bright light…each of you were...and...that you each brought...into our world…no matter your ages…or length of time with us…or circumstance…that took each of you…from your lives and ours…it was also…for me…bordering on cruel or brutal…to see all those moms…and…dads…trying to hold in sobs…chests heaving…tears streaming down faces…and I am sure…having memories…bombarding their brains …along with...the whys…while having to absorb…all the angelic music...and poignant poetry...into their already broken hearts. Maybe some...actually felt relief…allowing themselves…to grieve openly. But for those…who were trying…to control their sorrow…and remain somewhat composed…it was emotional torture…as I saw it. I am not criticizing Sal…I am just ill at ease…with all that suffering…and pain…having to be endured…by parents…because their precious…unique…and irreplaceable children…like you...were also…taken from them.

I received a book…titled Lament For A Son…I’m not quite sure…who sent it to me…but I do thank them. It is written by a father...who lost his 25 year old son. While I haven’t read it completely…and it is a short read…what I have looked at…is quite personal…and so on the mark. The author has my deepest sympathy…and understanding…as I share in…his views…his feelings...and…I know his grief.

I love you Sal…and would have been grateful…if I could have…lit the candles on your cake tonight…and watch you make a wish…as you blew them out.

You are in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
December 17, 2009
Dear Salvatore:
Today, your birthday, will always be engraved in my memory. Happy birthday, love peace and light be with you always. God bless and keep you in his eternal love.
Love Josie
November 27, 2009
Dearest Son…Having you in my life…has been a blessing...and so...I thank God.

I love you…and…I miss you.

With my prayers…always.
November 24, 2009
Dearest Sal…Dad and I…went to the mass…that was being offered…for you…this morning…on this 200th Tuesday…marking this…3 years and 10 months…Remembrance Day.

As I prepare for Thanksgiving…there are tears. While at Wegman’s…I found myself…talking to an older Italian man…from upstate New York…who was visiting…his son…for this “family holiday.” He resembled Gramps…and maybe that’s why…I spoke to him…about how our heritage and traditions…always seem to take center stage…no matter what the holiday menu…should be…and he smiled knowingly…and nodded in agreement. He asked where I was from…and what brought me to VA…recognizing…that my accent…wasn’t local. I explained…and told him…I wish…I had never come here…and then began...to tell him…about you. How could I not…when we were both standing…in front of the artichoke display. He was most sympathetic…and appalled…that such a needless…and senseless undertaking…by them…could cost your life…and was now the reason…for my tears…and sadness. He told me…he lost his wife…this past year…after 60+ years of marriage…and so he too knew…how very difficult…these holidays can be.

There were more tears for me…as I drove down the road…that goes by your condo…and I could see your garage…how happy I would have been…to turn into your street…and have you answer…my knock on your door.

The weather is again dreary…and it all adds…to the somber mood…but the truth is…rain or shine…none of it matters…because that sad empty place…that hole in my heart…is always with me.

There was another tragic happening…and now that family…is grieving. It seems as though…they will never learn…the value of a human life…as they continue to demonstrate..their lack of common sense…proper reasoning…and sound judgment…and it causes me…to question so many things…but I always come back...to the same answer…keep the faith…and… hope and trust…in the power of prayer…because everything…is in God’s hands…and…in His time. I just need…to remember…to focus…on that answer.

I have plenty to do…before this Thursday…and as always…I do whatever I do…while holding you…close in my heart…and in my thoughts. I love you son…and I miss you…so very much.

It’s been a while…so thank you…for that sign today…as I was leaving…your resting place.

God bless you Salvatore.

You are in my prayers…always.
November 07, 2009
I'm very sorry to hear about Sal. I have many memories and pictures. It has been years sinced we'd talked. This breaks my heart !
November 01, 2009
My Dear Son…Last night…was…rainy and dreary…and not a night…for us…to be out driving...and…I am sure…a real disappointment…for all those children…who were…Trick or Treating.

Fortunately…the company…we were with…was lighthearted…and pleasant. Someone...who has an excellent voice…but doesn’t usually sing…Elvis Presley’s…Can’t Help Falling in Love… decided to sing it. The several times…I have…heard it sung…when I’ve been out…always…reduces me to tears…and feelings…of deep sadness…because…that song…triggers in me…so many memories…of you…and happier times. So all I can hear…in my head…whenever that song is sung…is your voice…singing it so beautifully…on the recording…I have…of you…and your brother…from Dad’s 60th birthday…when you sang it…to the cheers and applause…of a very impressed audience…of our friends…who had not been aware…of your talent...and wonderful singing voice...because…you would never…get up in public…when you were in our company…to sing…even if the opportunity...to do so…presented itself. I think…you were just…more quiet…than the rest of us…and...didn't need to be...the focus…of attention. You became…the complete opposite…of that very little boy…who thought…he could grown up…to be Elvis…and who would... sing...at the drop of a hat…only Elvis songs…and then mimic…all of his moves.

I am thankful...that your brother... gave you...the needed push…that night…to join him…at the mic…
and I’m so very grateful…that you did…because the CD...that was recorded…is my special treasure.

As the gentleman sang…last night…I began…to get teary-eyed…thinking…I probably should have…stayed home…and could have…avoided that…unexpected moment…but then…all of a sudden…something inside me…made me…tell Dad…that…I wanted him…to dance with me…and although he did…he looked surprised…by my request. I haven’t wanted to dance…in a long time…for more than…a few reasons…and you know…what they are. But last night…somehow…I felt…that song…was being sung...as a sign…from you…to me…and that...you wanted...to let me know…that you approved…of my reasoning…for going out…in the first place…and then…I felt...an inner voice…that seem to be saying…"tell Dad to dance with you.” I believe…that song...was the message... my "Treat"…from you…on your favorite night.

We will be…wishing your brother-in-law…on this All Saints Day…a Happy 45th Birthday…you know…another occasion…when our family…would have been…all together…under one roof…noisily…and happily...enjoying each other’s company…laughing loudly…and talking over…one another…with the plus…of also…getting to watch…this year…your team…the Yankees…in the series…and listening…to you guys...rehashing…all the bad calls…and missed plays. I would have so loved…for it to be...my reality...tonight.

Today…also would have been…a milestone birthday…for Gramps. All the memories…that may have been made...and now…it can’t ever be…as it might have been…and that hurts.

I pray…that you…Nan...Gramps…and…your Uncle Sal…are somehow…celebrating this day…in each other’s company…in that far better place.

Tomorrow is All Soul’s Day…and I will attend Mass…and receive Communion…for the repose of your souls.

You are loved Sal…and missed…by each of us. I carry you…in my heart…in my thoughts…and in my prayers…always.
October 31, 2009
Dear Son…I haven’t forgotten…how much you enjoyed…this day…Halloween. So while Dad and I…usually…go to see your nieces…go Trick or Treating…and spend the evening…with them…so that...Dad... can eat...their candy...and while we...still plan to go...for a quick visit…we have decided…that this year…we…will go…to a Halloween gathering…with some friends.

My rationale...for abandoning...my usual routine...since it is...out of my “norm”…as much of my life is now…is to view...going out...on this particular evening...as my private protest...made...in your memory and honor…at those...who have caused...to be taken...from you...the fun and delight…you always had…in preparing…for the celebration...of this day…and too…my joy…in hearing you…afterwards...excitedly telling me…how much laughter…your costume choice..and appearance…would create…as you... would make...your party entrance...in the company...of good friends...on Halloween night. So...you...are the reason why...I will go out...on this...a favorite evening...of yours.

We had our 20 minutes…before the three judges…on Wednesday…and par for the course…some of our allocated time…was used up…by their comments…and since…they...don’t stop the clock…their used minutes...are charged…to the overall 20 minutes…and then deducted…from the appealers’…permitted time…which I find quite frankly...in that regard...not…the most equitable…of arrangements... for a forum...as important as this.

Sal…they did seem…to be knowledgeable…about what was presented…to them…by our attorney…although I don’t know…if they actually read…or had clerks…report to them…the substance of our briefs. I can’t imagine…that anyone…who has read…our briefs...would not be appalled…at the actions…that were...so overly excessive...and unnecessarily…undertaken…by the FCPD…that night.

The court…did not…make a determination…then and there…instead…their decision will be...made known to us...over the next weeks…or probably months…since all the holidays…are upcoming…and there will be…court recesses…which may delay further…our notification…of their decision.

So we wait...and hope…that we…will prevail…and look forward…to getting a trial date. It is…in His hands…as I pray…for all…that I hold…in my heart.

Son…please watch over…your sisters…their families...and especially your brother…he loves and misses you…and feels your loss...deeply.

I love you Sal…and I miss you…you are in my thoughts...and...in my prayers…always.
October 24, 2009
Dear Sal…Dad and I…just got back…from attending the mass…that was offered...for your intention...on this 3 years...and 9 months...remembrance day.

We visited your resting place…and as always…I can’t stand the thoughts…that flood my head…as I walk that path. I replay moments…those last moments…visualizing what I did not witness…but intuitively feel…you experienced…at their hands…and then my guilt…for not coming over that night…like I had planned…to bring you...the ice tea pitcher…that I had ordered for you. Maybe…things would have…turned out differently…had I only been there. Phones calls delayed me…and since it was getting late…I thought that I’d just wait…until Wednesday.

“That Wednesday”…that had us…your brother-in-law and I…picking up Dad…at the airport…from a business trip…cut short…because…of what they...had allowed for…and he…had done to you. Then…in sorrow and disbelief…making arrangements…for what I never thought…I’d live to see.

I don’t know how Dad…sat through that flight…half wanting to believe…what I had told him…was the reason…for him…having to return…sooner than planned…all the while…knowing in his heart …that what I didn’t say…and yet…could be heard...in my voice…on that 4am phone call…was something far worse…than…I wanted him to know…as he traveled alone…on that plane.

It all plays…over and over…the memories…thoughts…and images…of things so upsettingly painful…that keep flashing…through my head...because of them...and their reprehensible actions...that put you...my loving son...in harm’s way…and doomed us…to an unbearable grief…known only to parents…who have lost a child.

Here we are…31 months...since filing our suit…and now...going to Richmond…and still...awaiting a trial date…pending their decisions.

Salvatore...you know...what is in my heart...as we go forward...in keeping a promise to you...I just hope and pray...that...you...are resting peacefully.

I love you son…I visit your resting place…I have masses offered…in your memory…I pray for you…I miss you…and I grieve…for you…and the life…they stole from you.

You are in my thoughts…and prayers…always.
October 20, 2009
Dearest Son…One week...from today…this 195th Tuesday…as I keep marking time…we will be going...to Richmond. We will be there…in your name…for an oral argument session…scheduled for Wednesday morning…at…the United States Court of Appeals…for the Fourth Circuit.

You and God…know what is in my heart…as I pray…that lady justice…will not remain blind…to what has become…the status quo…in cases…involving police departments…and their officers. When they…are not…held accountable…despite the over excessive...and unnecessary tactics…they use…while putting those…they are sworn to…protect and serve…in harm’s way…as in our case...we all become at risk.

Sal…keep us in your prayers…as we go forward.

I love you son...you are in my prayers...always
October 15, 2009
Dear Salvatore...Today is your brother's birthday…and he still has no desire...in wanting to acknowledge it. He has not cared…about any…of his last four birthdays…maybe…or more likely… certainly...he quit caring…because the celebrations...they once were…with our entire family…and then again...with his friends…can’t be the same…as before.

Dad and I…have bargained with him…and he has agreed…to indulge us…but I know his heart…isn’t into...going out with us...cutting cake…blowing out candles…and making specific wishes…that can’t come true. But we will…as always…go through the motions.

For me…this is my dreaded season. These next 99 days…starting on the 17th…that led to the interactions…that culminated…with what they caused…and the intertwined memories…of what once was…just a busy beginning…to a happy holiday season…including your birthday…as well as Chris’…and all the occasions…for more than…the daily... routine phone calls…checking on...each other’s plans…and then getting together…now only serves…to heighten the…sadness…and the tears...because of your loss.

When I visited you…Tuesday…I asked you…to watch over…all of us…as we are counting down…to the Richmond Court date…on the 28th. I have no idea…how it will go…given...how it has gone…thus far.

I hope and pray…for the justice…you are owed…but it is apparent…on many levels…that we live…in a world…that is very unfair…and unjust…and that…there are those…who lack a conscience…have no common sense…and…accountability…appears to be...foreign to them.

Sal…these are my observations…and feelings…as I replay…all...that has transpired…in these last…three years…and...eight+ months.

I love you son…and you...will be very missed...tonight...and...always..by each of us.

You...are in my thoughts...and prayers...always.
September 24, 2009
Dearest Son…When I went to the rectory…earlier this year…to request meaningful mass dates...for all of our family members…some of those special dates…were not available. So the mass I wanted offered…for your intention today…on this 3rd year and 8th month remembrance…was actually offered yesterday…so Dad and I attended it…and received our communion...in your memory.

I will also be at mass today…because it is...the 24th…and then I will visit you.

I have had occasion…to go to your favorite market…several times in the last few days…and it is always…difficult to be there. Each time I walk in…I can hear your voice…in my head…so full of excitement…like on the day you phoned me…after you discovered…it was shouting distance…from your front door…and started to rattle off…all the different...varieties of foods they carried…and so much of it…was ready to go…and could be taken home…arriving either still warm or cold…depending on what you bought...and ready to eat and enjoy. That was a big plus…because you were always starving…having often missed lunch…after putting in a full day…at your practices. Another plus…you said it was like…having your mom…right in your backyard… only minus…which was the plus..her input.

I know you couldn’t resist...all the Italian finds…the cold cuts…cheeses…antipasto fixings…and breads…but when you saw the bialys…you were sold. It was a mecca…for everything imaginable...and you said…you couldn’t wait for me…to shop there…because you knew me…and I’m saying this…I would buy everything you like…and either drop it off to you…or have you come by…to pick it up. And I did…and wish I could…still have been able…to continue…to do so.

Who knew then…that the parking lot…of that very market…would become a gathering area…for them…earlier on that night…probably just before…you too…had left that store…having just picked up…your evening dinner.

They have caused us…the greatest of sorrows…and you…and incredible wrong.

That night keeps playing in my head…and it seems to happen...on its own timetable. I need to distract myself…with other thoughts.

Your niece was home…from UVA… this past weekend…in order to get a missed flu shot. But she was sick…and so she couldn’t get it…but she did see another doctor…and he prescribed…yet another antibiotic. She has had 4 tests this week…and I feel badly for her…because it is hard enough to study…when you feel well…but being sick...makes it even worse. The good news is…she loves it there…has a lovely roommate…and they are very compatible. An added bonus…is…it’s not too far from home.

Tonight we are having a cake…with friends...for Dad’s belated birthday. I don’t feel like doing all that I need to…in order to be prepared…because all I can focus on...is today’s date…the 24th.

Yesterday was Bri’s birthday…his parents drove up…to visit him…so Dad and I…went to see them…and to wish him well. I promised him…your favorite…because he likes them too. So later I will make good on that promise.

I love you Sal…and to say I miss you…is an understatement.

Rest well my son. You are in my thoughts…my heart…and my prayers…always.
September 15, 2009
My Dear Salvatore...Tuesday…our special day…now…one hundred and ninety of them…each connected…within my heart...to that first Tuesday…that brought you to me…and then…became the same day…that would take you away.

This particular Tuesday…is a feast day…Our Lady of Sorrows…and recalls…the sorrow…that our Blessed Mother endured…watching her only Son…die on the Cross. I have read…several devotions today…of very moving prayers…citing her intense suffering…during the passion and death of Christ…and referring to the seven swords…that pierced her heart.

I don’t ever recall…taking special notice…of this date before…but here I am…thinking of you…missing you…and grieving for you…and understanding this day…as I never have before.

I love you Sal…and I pray for the grace…and strength...to endure…the suffering…of your loss.

I felt badly…that I was not able...to visit you...on Sunday...and maybe... that is why...I was...and I am feeling...out of sorts. You are resting there...while we…were returning…from Dad's 45th West Point Reunion. The weekend weather...had been rainy...and dreary…but…the company of old friends…was warm...and wonderful. We even visited…with our extended family…on the way up…and…again at the Baptism…of your Aunt’s granddaughter…but in the midst of it all…my thoughts...always race back... to you…my son...who should be out…enjoying life…in the company of your friends…and family. My feelings...are at odds…all the time.

How unjust it is...that those who caused our grief…can go on with their lives…unchanged…while our lives…will never be the same.

Son…you are always in my thoughts…in my heart…and…in my prayers.
August 25, 2009
Dear Sal…Today…it is 3 years and 7 months…as we mark the date…on which...all of our lives…hopes…and dreams…were shattered. I am so aware of time…and…as each month...approaches the 24th…I am right back…to that devastating night...in January.

Only six days ago…we were notified…that the oral argument session…regarding appeals from both plaintiffs (us)…and defendants (them)…before the United States Court of Appeals…for the Fourth Circuit…has been scheduled for Oct. 28…in Richmond. Pending the Court’s decisions…our trial date has been stayed…but nothing can stop...the grief…that we live with...each and every day...because of your loss.

We went to the mass…that was offered for you…this morning…and afterwards…I visited your resting place. Dad and I…were there yesterday too…as we made…our regular Sunday visit. To say we love you dearly…and miss you…immeasurably…is an understatement. I pray you are at peace…and resting in God’s presence.

Today...the 24th…is also Dad’s birthday…the fourth one…without you. We will have dinner out...with those left...in our ever changing family... although...not much holds meaning anymore…because broken hearts...don't lend themselves well...to occasions that all family members...should be at. We try hard...to go through the motions...but it is difficult.

Yesterday…your eldest niece…left for the same college…that you…her mother…her father…and four of her paternal aunts…and two uncles…attended. Your sister knows…how much...Dad and I…will miss her...and so she declined our offer…to help them…make the move... because she said…there would be enough tears…at parting…without us adding to them.

Two nights ago…we had a family dinner…to wish her well. Your brother was performing…and wasn’t able to join us…and neither could Cyn…so it was…just us and them. We get through…as best we can…but nothing is…as it once was…and still should have been.

Dad and I…her parents…and each of her sisters…received...a framed…personalized collage of photographs…from her. She had put together…a very loving…and thoughtful parting gift…for each of us to have…as a memento…of times shared with her…from her infancy…to the present. It was a very time consuming task…on her part…as she wanted to surprise all of us…and had to...secretly go through...album after album...collecting and duplicating pictures…of memorable and precious moments...from her first eighteen years. We will treasure this gift…and so will her parents. Even her younger sisters…understood the visual message…”I love each of you…and I will miss all of you…while I am away.”

Whether it is necessary…understandable…or only temporary…being away from family...is difficult. Even though…she is only…a few hours...or a phone call...away...she will be very missed. When you love your family…you want them close…so that you are able...to see them at will...and that is...how it should be.

How I wish you were here…to watch them grow…and to share with them…all of the…”next chapters”…in their lives…as they gain knowledge…and continue to mature…into young adults.

The bottom line is…I just wish you were here...living your life...the one you worked so hard to achieve...and that you envisioned for yourself... and still able...to be a part...of all of our lives...and for all of us...to be a part of yours.

I love you Son…and I pray for you…always.
August 12, 2009
My Dear Son…It is now the 185th Tuesday…and whether I am approaching or leaving the path to your resting place…with each step...I am in a constant tug of war...with my emotions. On the one hand…I just want to be able to pray…that you are at peace. On the other…I want to rant…and rave…and scream…at all of them…for their part…and indifference…in devising such a reprehensible…and idiotic plan…that resulted in...your life be taken.

Particularly in your circumstances... all I keep thinking is…how dare they…have a policy…that allows a loaded weapon…to be pointed…at someone’s center mass…where there is no margin for error…so therefore…no regard for that person’s safety.

There is so much inside of me…that needs to surface…and be said…to all those…who had a part…in this completely unnecessary…and avoidable…chain of events…that set into motion…the most unforgivable of acts…by one of their SWAT officers; the unprovoked shooting…and killing…of another human being....who was...non-threatening…non-violent…and having never owned a weapon…was unarmed.

All this pain…just to serve a document search warrant.

Sal…they have so wronged you…and our family.

I love you Son…you are always in my prayers.
July 24, 2009
Dearest Sal…It is Friday…the 24th of July…the 42nd month…or 3½ years…since that night…that changed our family…our lives…and...our everything.

Dad and I…attended the morning mass…that was being offered…in your memory today. It has been several months...since I was last able…to reserve the 24th…on the mass schedule...but now…it seems to be back on track.

Last night…we all celebrated Jen’s 9th birthday. Cyn paid us a surprise visit…so all the cousins…were together…and even your brother…was able to show up. He has been in rehearsals…these last few months…and with “opening night” just next week...we weren’t sure…if he could join us…to wish his Godchild…a Happy Birthday. She’s a confident little girl…and was quite content…to have her pictures taken…with her newly prescribed “glasses.” She looks really cute in them.

Sal…it is becoming a rare occasion…to have all three of your siblings…under one roof. I can’t explain…how on the one hand…it warms my heart…to see them together…yet at the same time…I am shattered inside…because...you are not with them.

A mother’s reward…is seeing her children thrive…as they grow and mature...becoming loving…caring… productive adults…and then with God’s blessings…begin to have…families of their own. Your sisters…gave us a wonderful gift…grandchildren…and I was now…truly appreciating…what life is all about…and looking forward…to what would be…in each of my sons’ futures.

I remember Nan saying…as she got older…that after Uncle Sal was taken…along with all her wishes for him...in her quiet moments…her head would fill…with all the memories…she held in her heart…joys and sorrows…that make up a life…and they would play…like “motion pictures” over and over…and the greatest pain…in all of that…was having to live…every single day…without her son. I know…because now…her reality...has become mine...and I understand...both her heart...and her pain...as I live each day...without you.

I wasn't expecting to write this...but I just got an email…the proposed oral arguments session…is scheduled for Oct. 27 – 30…if there are no other conflicts...so how's that...for another reality...on this date...as we keep a promise.

I love you Son…I miss you every moment…and I pray for you...always.
July 04, 2009
Dear Sal…It is July 4th…Independence Day…your sisters are with their families…and your brother…and his girlfriend…just left to meet up with friends.

If you were here…you probably would have called…to ask me…if your sisters...and the kids…were at our house…and then…you would have come by…to say hi…before going out…to either a friend’s BBQ…or maybe…you’d grab a quick bite here…before leaving…to go and watch the fireworks…with friends…and perhaps some of our family.

Our world has changed…and none of the holidays...we once looked forward to celebrating…hold our interest anymore. It is quiet here now...and we are no longer..the hub...for our family gatherings. We still share our love…but the laughter and happiness... are difficult at best…and we all feel the strain.

I see this holiday…differently...than before. Of course…I know…the meaning of this day…and it is more than…the kickoff to summer…and all of its outdoor activities. Now I view it…through wiser eyes…and I am aware…of its deep cost…in pursuit of human rights.

This holiday…celebrating our independence...was started with…a declaration of grievances…against a ruler…while also asserting…the natural truths…that all men are created equal…and are endowed by their Creator…with certain unalienable rights…and among these are…Life…Liberty…and…the Pursuit of Happiness. Rights…that I feel…were taken from you.

There is also the freedom…this day won for us…through the sacrifices of many…and the Declaration…which is the blueprint…for a moral standard…that our country…should strive to achieve…as well as being…a statement of principles…through which our US Constitution…should be interpreted.

In dealing with the DOJ…concerning constitutional violations…I don’t know how they interpreted…or if they applied…this intended statement of principles…or how they came...to their conclusion…I only know…what I was told…and it was…that the bar is set very high…in trying to prove…a violation of one’s rights…and it was determined…that although they were sorry...for your loss…we just didn’t meet their “bar.” Makes you wonder…what does it take…and why there isn’t…required video and audio…when SWAT is used…for routine police work.

I look at the simple…but profound words...the rights they ensure…and the example…they have set out…to be used…as a moral guide…and I pray that…their intended goal…in pursuit of human rights...is realized.

I love you Sal…I miss you…and I can’t believe…how they…have destroyed…all of our lives.

You are always...in my thoughts…and in my prayers.

God bless you Son…and may God continue...to watch over…and bless our country
June 24, 2009
Dear Son...I was at mass this morning…and I received communion…in your memory…as today marks…month number 41…as I continue to count…and miss you…each…and every day.

As I left church…Mr. B handed me a folder. Dad had previously…mentioned to him…that we were…trying to decide…on what best…would be the “something”…we could do...in your name. I wanted it to be…something religious…donated in your memory…to the church.

Sal…I still have not…and probably never will…come to grips with...the fact…that you were denied…the Last Rites…of our Catholic faith…because of…a time issue problem…that was caused…by the delayed notification…we received...from the FCPD…who sent detectives…to knock on our door…more than 5 hours…after their department’s…absurd plan…contributed to…what one of their…veteran SWAT officer’s…unjustly caused to happen.

I view what happened...as not only...a disregard for human life...by them...as they caused you…to be unnecessarily…put in harm’s way...but also…in the aftermath…they disregarded your religious convictions…and spiritual life as well. Even though…you were wearing…a religious medal...and had been…brought to the local hospital…where you were listed…in their information data system…having been a patient there before…and the religion named…on the denomination line…would have told them…you were a Roman Catholic…I believe…you continued to be…of little concern to them. Their main focus…was on one of theirs…and how any repercussions…as a result…of what happened…that night...might affect them…and the department.

I guess I am to believe…that not one officer…had the presence of mind…to have the hospital data bank…checked for your name. Police work in my opinion…when it is sincere…and professional...demands…thinking on your feet…in any situation…and investigating…to get pertinent information. A routine check…of the hospital computer system…was all that was needed…and a priest…who may be called...is usually listed. It is afterall...a hospital setting...and a priest…could have been requested...by one of them. But no priest was called…until I mentioned it…when they came to tell me…at home...but by then…it was not possible…to administer the Last Rites…again…because too much time…had elapsed…in the interim.

I will add that upset...to their list of faults...in failing to serve and protect...your rights. Surely...there must be...some Catholics...on this police force...who were there...and knew about Last Rites. Then again…I probably am expecting too much…from them…as common sense…and routine approaches…had already escaped them…and resulted in…the devastating loss…of your life...on their watch.

I can’t help but feel…that although they swore…an oath…to serve and protect…that oath…mainly applies to them…and certainly…did not apply to you…on any level.

Son…I need to take a breath…and change my focus…because …because.

Back to my previous thought…since you had taken…the name Joseph…on your Confirmation day…and wore your St. Joseph medal…every day since then…right up to that night…I thought…as I've said...in terms of...several different religious items…that might be appropriate...in your memory…but I always came back to…a statue of St. Joseph…as the most fitting.

Well…that folder…contained information…on just such a statue…that is being considered…for a memorial…in memory of our founding pastor…who would always ask…”What is the one thing you should never forget?” The response was…one he instilled in everyone…and for which…he will long be remembered…and the answer was…”that I am a child of God.” And that is what you knew…and always recalled… about Father. Dad and I…will get all the details…and see where they lead us.

These next two weeks…will have us…reading through legal briefs…as we continue…to keep our promise…in seeking the justice…you are owed.

The appeals process moves slowly…summer vacations cause delays…not enough judges…to match the work load…causes delays…recesses cause delays…appointing more judges…causes delays…and by then…it will be Fall… and there may be…the oral arguments…then the winter season…will be upon us…along with the holidays…which also cause delays…so it may be…anytime…between the end of the year…and into the early part of 2010…before the Richmond Court…hands down a decision…and…even that time frame…is uncertain.

With God’s help…prayers…and some patience…we take…one day at a time…as we continue on…in your behalf.

I love you son…you are in my prayers…always
June 21, 2009
Dear Salvatore…I know…how much…it would have meant...to Dad…if he could have…spent some time…having dinner today…with both of his sons…especially since...neither of your sisters…will be able...to be here...this time. So much for a Father’s Day…when there is such heartache.

The possibility…the probability…the eventuality…of you being married…at some point…in your lifetime…and perhaps...having children…and becoming a Dad yourself…was all taken away…from you…and us…
by their reprehensible reasoning…if I could dignify it…by even calling it reasoning…rather than...in my opinion...and more correctly...calling it...their devious mindset...that led…to the devastation…that has caused...all of us…the grief we will carry…for as long as we live...on this earth...because you were stolen from us...by their wrongful and unjustified...excessive use of force tactics.

I have read…that suffering by nature or chance…never seems as painful…as suffering inflicted on us…by the arbitrary will of another…and that the deep pain…that is felt…after the loss…of a loved one…arises from the feeling…that there is...in every individual soul…something which is inexpressible…peculiar to him alone…and is, therefore...absolutely and irretrievably lost. For the present…maybe…but I thank God for our faith…because…although you are not…physically here with us…I carry your spirit...in my heart…and I know that one day…we will be united again…just as we once were…and it will be…for all eternity…because that is God’s promise to us.

Sal...watch over your Father…he internalizes his grief…and his pain runs deep.

I pray that…although you were denied…your future…because of them…I can still…wish you a blessed Father’s Day…in the name...of your two Godchildren.

I love you Son…I miss you…and I pray for you…always.
June 07, 2009
Dear Salvatore…If what happened...1230 days ago…had not happened…today...could have been…a happy milestone…for us…celebrated in the company…of our family…your sisters...your brothers-in-law...you…your brother…your nieces...and…your nephews.

Instead...this day...has found us…just once more…bringing fresh flowers…to your resting place…and saying prayers…for you…and then…silently driving home…with only our memories…of a dearly loved…and loving son.

How could we…have ever imagined…that in a little over 41½ years…from the day…that Dad and I…were married…we would…have you stolen…from your life…and ours.

I have read…that...time is the wisest counselor…at once…the most valuable…and the most perishable…of all our possessions...and…too long…for those who grieve. I sadly…understand this…all too well.

The way we were…in the past…or could have been...in the future...is no longer...part of the equation. Our lives have changed…and that is that.

I love you Sal…I miss you…and I pray for you…always.

God bless you Son.
June 02, 2009
Dear Sal…Today is Tuesday…the 175th one…as I continue to count…and focus my attention...on the passing of time. Although…last month was very busy...full of days…holding what should be…and are…the many joys…life holds...in the midst of it all…I recognize…that I am…just continually marking time…as I miss you...each and every day...and beyond what…my mere words…can express.

We had many reasons…in May…to come together as family…and it only added…to my awareness…of your absence…from us.

We celebrated…three Birthdays…with family…a First Holy Communion…for your niece…who is in 2nd grade…that was followed…by a school sponsored…Reception...for family…and then…our own family dinner. The high school events…that followed…were mainly for parents…and their sons...or daughters…but as grandparents…we were able to attend…three of them…to lend our support…again…as part of…a family.

The Prom…and all its preparation…was the first of the senior activities. Needless to say…Vic looked beautiful…but then again…she is…and that is without bias.

The first event...we attended…was the Baccalaureate Mass…and afterwards…we took your two younger nieces…to brunch…since siblings...were not invited…to the Communion Breakfast…which followed…and only included…parents and seniors.

Fortunately your nieces…are bright students…and were able…to divide their time…efficiently…between academics…and sports. It took discipline…dedication...and effort…on their part…to be able...to maintain...both their academic grades…and their effectiveness…on the playing field. Our hope for them…was that…their willingness to give 100 percent...on and off the field…would serve them well…and not go unnoticed…but in fact…be recognized.

At the Spring Sports Awards…Vic…who was…the Co-Captain…of the Varsity Girls Lacrosse Team…got the Coach’s Award Plaque…citing her leadership qualities…as the player...who had done the most…to foster team play…spirit…and…sportsmanship. Stef had been honored…at the Fall Sports Awards…the previous season. She was a Freshman…and had made the...Varsity Girls Tennis Team…and then got the MVP Trophy…at the end of the season. They are both strong athletes…and like to compete. They have the same type of abilities…that you demonstrated...on the soccer field...when you played. They are selfless...“thinking” players…just like you were.

We went to…the Academic Awards Night…and Dad and I…were very proud…to see Stef…walk across the stage…three times…as she Lettered in Academics…for being on the Principal’s List…all four freshman quarters…and received two Medals of Excellence…one in…Honors Algebra 2/Trig…and the other in…Biology. She has your math abilities…although Dad would say…he had them first. Her parents were thrilled for her…and so were we. Vic is a member of the NHS…but that induction…was last year. I remember…when you too…were inducted into the NHS…and then received the Math Award…at Graduation. I have framed all of your awards.

This Forty-Ninth Commencement Exercise…was once again…at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in DC…and it was very touching. The Salutatorian…and...the Valedictorian…both females…delivered very meaningful…and…eloquent addresses. Fr. Luis gave the Commencement Address…and he gave very wise advice. As an alumna...your sister...was able...to go onto the altar…to present Vic…with her diploma. Vic sat with all the other…NHS Seniors…on the altar...wearing her braided cord…over her robe...signifying her achievement. When you graduated…you also sat on the altar…the Top Ten percent…of the class…which included you…was recognized…and you wore…a NHS blue and gold hood…signifying character…scholarship…leadership…and…service. All the memories…even after twenty-two years...are still very vivid.

Dad and I…sat with the girls…while your sister and brother-in-law…had seats in the alumnus/parents section. Jen and I…lit candles for you…and her Grandmother Pat…at one of the side altars…while Stef held our seats. That Shrine…holds lots of memories…for me…as all four of you...also graduated from there. I have a picture of you…taken at Chris’ graduation…as you were walking…towards the very entrance...that we were standing at…after this Graduation ceremony...was over. Fortunately the expected rain…held off…and we were able…to take pictures…and then we went to…a family dinner. How I wish you were with us…in more than spirit.

When we visited you on Sunday…your name…and the cross…marking your resting place…were gone. I began to check the grass…thinking that the heavy rain…might have caused them...to wash away from the marble. I was upset and angry…at the same time…because I knew…they were quite secure…and that the rain…didn’t seem like a reason…for them to be missing. As I walked down the path…still looking around...I picked up…a piece of paper…intending to discard it properly. As I placed it…in the trash receptacle…I saw your name card…and the cross. My heart sank. I don’t want to believe…that someone would have deliberately…pulled them off the marble…and thrown them away…but there they were. I was relieved to have found them…but disgusted at the thought…of what...could have caused them...to be there.

Dad and I went home…got the necessary items…with which to reattach them…and… visited you again. I can’t imagine…that any person…visiting a loved one…would not have…picked them up…if in fact…they were on the ground…and would not have... thought...to bring them…to the office…for the staff…to deal with.

When I visited you today…everything was as I left it…on Sunday...so I felt reassured.

I love you Sal…and you know...how much you are missed.

You are always...in my heart…in my thoughts…and...in my prayers.
May 24, 2009
Dear Salvatore...Sunday...May 24...the 40th month...yet still like yesterday. This is the second month...I wasn’t able...to have a mass on this date...said for you...because...all of the masses...are being offered for...the Mother’s Day Novena... that began on the 17th...and will end...on Monday the 25th.

However...since this is Memorial Day weekend...there will be a Catholic mass...celebrated on Monday...at Fairfax Memorial...your resting place...so we will attend...in your memory...as we have each year...since 2006.

Loss of loved ones...in the military...is the reason...for this gathering...of so many people. It is especially sad...to see...the many grieving parents...who have lost...their children. I have met some of them...and like our family...their families...are forever changed...and broken-hearted.

Yesterday I received an email...from a friend..who also lost a son...a police officer. He came across a song...on you-tube...entitled “Heaven was needing a Hero”...along with a poem...entitled “When tomorrow starts without me.” by David M. Romano. He said he thought of his son...me...and my mom...since we have all suffered...the loss of a son...and are carrying...or have carried..the same pain and heartache.

As police officers...both...his son...and...my brother...each far too young...lost their lives...while on duty...and since each of them...also served in the armed forces...on this weekend...heroes...come to mind. I listened to the song...as I read the poem...and the crying...just kept happening.

You too were a hero...my hero. Sal...I was...I am...so proud of you...you were beginning...to live the benefits...of your goals...the same goals...that my brother had set...but was denied.

Then...devastation...my brother's loss...untimely... sudden....while working...serving... protecting...and Now again...you...taken...in a moment...by a police officer...who on that night...neither protected...nor was capable of serving...and should not have been working.

I listened...as I said...to the song...and read the poem...and I knew with every tear...and sob...exactly how my friend...feels...and why he sent it.

The lose of a child...is too much to bear...and so we try to share...what touches us...by reaching out to those...who we know...suffer the same pain...hoping to relate...saying we understand...trying to find some way...that will help...each of us...to release all that is bottled-up...deep inside.

There will be many more e-mails for us.

We sent the first briefs to Richmond...yesterday....and will be adding others...as their deadlines approach...so we have been reliving all of it...with each page we read.

We will not forget our promise...Son.

With my love...and prayers...always.
May 18, 2009
My Dear Son...Dad and I...attended the DJO Baccalaureate Mass...this morning...along with your sister and her family...as Vic will soon be graduating. She was chosen...to give the second reading...at the Mass..and did so very well. She is a lovely...and intelligent young lady.

Being in that auditorium...brought back many good memories...of other proud moments...when each of you...MY children...also walked across that stage. The time has gone so quickly...and now...it is the next generation's turn...and so it goes.

We also spent time...with Cyn and her children today. Chris will be 11 tomorrow...and he wanted to go bowling...and out to dinner...so that is what we did.

Sal...please watch over your sisters...their families...and your brother. We all love and miss you...and wish you were here with us...to share these milestone moments...and the insignificant ones too...we just wish you were here.

With my love and prayers...always.
May 14, 2009
I to lost a son ,22 years old. Pray for me as i pray for you
May 10, 2009
Dearest Salvatore...Today is Mother’s Day…and for those Moms...who are still raising their children…or at the very least…are able to see...their grown children thriving…and have yet…to lose their own mothers...this is a day of celebration.

Then there are...those of us…who have already...lost our Moms…and have also…lost a child…and for us…this day has become…just one of the many…another occasion…that hurts deeply…but one…that we must get through....despite the tears...and the sadness.

In attempting...to get on with it...Dad is taking...all of us...Con...her family...and...your brother...out for dinner.. Cyn and her children…won’t be here…but I know she is ok…and…just a phone call away…but there is no phone call…I can receive…or make…that would allow me…to converse with you…and hear your voice…once again.

This is...the fourth Mother’s Day...without you…and…without meaning to slight...your siblings…whom I love dearly…I just want this day…to pass quickly…because it is painful.

I love you Son…and each time…I think…of what they caused…and how you were stolen...from us...those gamut of emotions...fueled…by my outrage…for what happened…have now become…who I am…and…as they well-up…inside me…I feel as though…I could scream…forever.

I miss you Sal…you are loved…and…you are always…in my heart…in my thoughts… and…in my prayers.

I WAS…and...I AM…Proud to be Your Mother. God Bless You...Son.
May 03, 2009
Dear Son…We have had…one bright spot...in an otherwise...very wet...and dreary weekend.

After visiting you today…we went to the noon mass…where your niece Jen…received her First Holy Communion. These last days…had her very excited…about today…and in preparation…for this special day…she decided to quiz me…by asking me…to recite…many of the same prayers…she had to learn. She was anxious to know…if I also knew them. More than once…she told me…that how I say certain prayers…is no longer the way…they are taught…or how she has learned…to say them. Fortunately…she conceded…that what I was taught…way back when...was close enough…to the present edits…and so she was satisfied…that we both…were on the same page…and in good standing.

She looked lovely…and was quite serious…in her reception of this sacrament. Her hands were joined in prayer…all throughout the mass…and she looked like a little statue. Since your brother…is her Baptismal Godfather…he joined us willingly…and spent most of the day…with our family. We went to brunch…and then back to the house…to have cake…take photos…and let Jen open her gifts. She was beaming…being the center of attention…and didn’t want to change…from her dress and veil…into anything else. Of course…she liked every gift…and was giving out...hugs and kisses…as a thank you...which we all welcomed…because her hugs and kisses…can be hard to come by. Chris knew enough…to not raise the question…today...about who her favorite uncle was...or is. He knows the answer…since it is always the same...Uncle Sal…so instead...he was most grateful…for his hug and kiss.

I know how sad…and difficult…he finds it…when we have “family” anything…because you...are not with us. Although he tries to be lighthearted…he misses you…his big brother…or should I say “bruthaaaa”…because these special reasons…to gather together…have become bittersweet...and hard to get through.

These next weeks…will find us…at more family celebrations…as birthdays approach. Your oldest nephew…will be 11…your Godchild…turns 15…her sister…will be 18…and the senior prom…and graduation…are only days away. All of these reasons…and more…add to the heartache…of not having you here.

I love you Sal…I miss you…as we all do…and I carry you…in my thoughts…and in my heart…always.

With my prayers…
April 24, 2009
Dear Salvatore…I wasn’t able…to have a mass offered for you today…in remembrance...of this 39th month... without you. When I scheduled the masses...at the beginning of this year…for the 24th of each month...both the 6:15 and the 8:30…on April 24th…were taken…and the 12 o’clock…had been designated…for “priest's intentions.” I will be attending…this noon mass…anyway...offering my prayers…and my receiving of communion…in your behalf…and afterwards…visiting your resting place.

I just got back…and as I walked up the path…that leads to where my heart lies…I could feel...everything welling up inside me. The sadness…mixed with the anger…for those many reasons…that have caused…this walk to be made. I looked around…and it all gets to me. The grass on the hill...and lawn…surrounding the walkway…that leads me…to where you are…is beautifully green...the sky…a brilliant blue…the sun shining…and the day lovely. It is the time of year…that shouts rebirth…the smell of freshly mowed lawns...budding and leafy trees...colorful flowers blooming...and birds singing. It is the kind of day…although they all are…for a host of reasons...no matter the season…or weather…that gnaws at me…because you are not here…to enjoy your life.

I miss you Sal…and I only hope and pray…that where you are…every day…is peaceful...and perfectly beautiful…and magnificent.

I was given…a lecture…a few days ago…and I mean that in a good way…about the communion of saints…and how we who are here…left behind…for the time being… should call upon…those who are with God…to intercede for us…as we join our prayers…to theirs…in a two-fold purpose. We pray for their souls…and they pray for ours...in what was described…as a very powerful alliance…that will unite all things…for the good. I vacillate…in my acceptance…of this premise…as I see…this crazy world…we are living in. The objectivity…often gets overshadowed…by my subjectivity.

There are many “needs” to be met…for each of us…as those “bumps”…in this journey…keep cropping up…as we seek…the justice…you are owed.

You know what I mean…help all of us…as we continue forward...in your behalf.

Keep watch...over your siblings...your nieces and nephews...and...all of our family.

You are much loved Salvatore…you are always in my heart…and in my prayers.
April 20, 2009
My Dear Son...Today we attended the noon mass...being offered for Vinny...on this first year remembrance...of his loss. It was for some reason…an exceptionally beautiful mass…the music…the solo singer…the explanation of the Gospel.

The homily…on this Divine Mercy Sunday…was given by a priest…I did not know…but it was inspiring…and touched me deeply. He spoke of S = 0. A Nobel prize winner had offered him…this equation…as the meaning to life. Father then explained what it meant…and how it related to the Gospel. He went on to say…that God’s first plan…for mankind…was that life be eternal…perfect…free of any sickness or pain. Then sin came into the world…and it changed…so God in his infinite mercy…gave us his Son…who sacrificed His life…to overcome sin and death…so that we His children…could be saved. We are a blessed people of faith…and even when...we fail God…He can never fail us…because He cannot fail Himself...and so His promises are ours…so long as we have faith…and one day…as He promised...we all will be together again...for eternity.

I wanted to thank him...for such a wonderful talk…and so I approached him…after mass. I told him my name…that I was a parishioner…since the early 70’s…and then proceeded…to tell him…that the mass he just celebrated…was for Vinny…who had been ill…and had passed away…at a young age. I then said…that Vinny had also attended…and graduated from St. Mike’s.

Then I found myself…telling him that I too…had lost a son…who was a St. Mike’s graduate…and he too…was taken much too young. I said you were unjustly killed…by a Fairfax County SWAT officer…and he stopped me…and asked… “what did you say your name is?” When I repeated it…he looked shocked.

He said…you were his eye doctor…and he had been on vacation…when…you were taken…from us. When he got back…he went to your office…to keep an appointment…he had previously made...with you. He told me…he couldn’t believe…what he was told. He said…you were such a nice young man…that you were very kind to him…and that you were…such a good doctor. He also told me…he had been praying for you…and our family…although he did not know us…ever since our tragedy happened. Naturally I became upset…hearing him say…he knew you…and was your patient…and that he thought so highly of you. He said…as he read the newspaper accounts…of what happened...he was totally disgusted. He viewed it as pure nonsense…not deserving belief. By this time…I was holding up others…from greeting him…so I thanked him again…and went back into the church. I walked into the kindergarten teacher…I have known for many years…and she asked if I was ok…so I burst out crying…told her what happened…and she said…I was meant to have my path cross with his. Was it another sign?

I went to get Dad…to introduce him to Father…and Dad told him…where we are in the legal process. I offered that…if all else fails…there is a God. I was shocked when he said…that “God is the Final Judge”…”but justice needs to be served Now…here…on this earth!” Not the usual approach…I expected…but one I welcomed.

I think he is definitely...my kind of priest…down to earth…passionate in his opinions…holds no punches…and he knows…firsthand…who was taken from us…and that is was…and remains…inexcusable.

I intend to speak to him again…and tell him what is in my heart…because I will never forgive them…for what they did…and therefore I have difficulty…saying…let alone meaning…certain words…in a specific prayer. So…maybe…he is the exact priest…I needed to meet…at this point in time...to tell that to...and he is here…now…at our church.

I gave him…a holy card…with your picture on it…and I asked him…to keep you in his prayers.

Sal I love you...and I miss you. You are always in my thoughts...and in my prayers.
April 15, 2009
Dear Sal...After I visited you...on this 168th Tuesday...I went to your favorite market...Wegmans...to buy some more artichokes...so I could stuff them...for your nieces...who...like you...also love them...and can never...get enough of them.

As I walked in...and made my way...to the artichoke display...Tell Her About It...started to play...over the store's PA system. It is...one of the songs...that I can no longer listen to...without crying...and that is because...it sends me back in time...to Dad's 60th birthday party...where you and Chris...sang it together...and brought the house down. All I could think of...and hear in my head...was that recorded duet...of both my sons...sounding great...having fun...and kidding with each other. So as I waited...for the clerk...to bring out...a fresh box of artichokes...I had all to do...to stop myself...from becoming a sobbing heap...and creating a scene.

As I regained my composure...I felt...that you...had sent me a sign. That song...in your "store"...the one you always raved about...telling me that...they had everything...and that...I had to shop there. All these thoughts...running together...in my head...while I was buying...one of your favorite things...to eat. Of course...I like to believe...they all add up...to being a message...from you...to me...telling me...that you are watching...and that you are near.

I love you son...and I thank you.

With my prayers...always.
April 13, 2009
My Dear Son…Easter Season…is a time for rejoicing…in Christ’s Resurrection...and His triumph...over sin and death…and while I am grateful…for the gift of faith…and I do believe…that someday…we will be together again…for now…in this fourth Easter holiday...without you...I remain heartbroken.

Your sisters…their families…your brother…Dad…and a cousin…all managed to get through another “family” dinner…and despite all the preparations…distractions… visitors…and even a few “amusing and laughable” moments…there is always…that empty place…in each of our hearts…that resounds with thoughts…of you…and those happier times…that we shared together. Now…there is…the very real pain…of continuing on…without our Sal.

We love you…we miss you...and we grieve for you...your absence…is hard to bear.

I hope…you had…a Joyous and Blessed Easter Day…with Nan...Gramps...Uncle Sal…and your own dear friends.

God bless you…and each of them.

You are always…in my heart…and in my prayers.
April 05, 2009
Dearest Salvatore…Today is Palm Sunday…and I pray…you are experiencing…a Blessed and Peaceful day…as this 6th Sunday of Lent…that begins Holy Week...is once more…upon us.

For me…it continues to be...and probably will remain...a season...that will always...cause me...to go back in time…recalling...all that transpired…in that third month...those three years ago...as I learned…during this very season…what and who…was responsible…for that delayed notification…which then prevented you...from receiving...the Last Rites...of our Catholic faith. Forgiving them…is not happening. So I only hope…that God...will forgive...me.

The last time…although who could have imagined...
it would be the “last time”…we would be spending…Palm Sunday with you...was in March 2005. That was
48 months ago...10 months before…all of our lives…were destroyed…and here we are…a fourth Easter season…grieving…and missing you.

Dad and I…visited you this morning…before going to Mass. I placed...a small braided palm cross…at your resting place. I know Dad…will be making new ones…with the palms…we received at Church…so there will be another left…when I visit again…on our Tuesday.

Sal…nothing is the same…while there are the necessities…we must address…what we are really doing…in those spare moments…is just…trying to cope…filling time…with distractions…while crumbling inside.

There is still no progress…lots of words…being readied…but no definitive timeline…as to when…or even how…any of it…may be decided. But there is...our promise to you.

My faith…is only in God…and in His time…as I continue to pray.

All my love…Son…and…always my prayers.

Mom
March 24, 2009
My Dear Son...This morning…the 8:30 mass…was offered...in your memory…as the 38th month…or 165th Tuesday…without you…continues to mark…the passing of time.

For families…like ours…who have been…forever changed…by the unjust…and unnecessary loss…of our young adult children…even though time…marches on…it is meaningless. It cannot heal…all wounds…and it was not…on our children's side…as each of you…
were taken from us…much too soon…nor does it…ease the pain
we parents...carry in our hearts…as we mourn…and grieve...for
you.

Salvatore...Richard…Vinny...Laura ...Mike…you all had…so much to offer…if only each of you…was not…robbed… of your lives…and us…
of time with you.

Son…your niece…was also…at the mass…today. During the Lenten season…her second grade class…is assigned to attend…the weekly Tuesday mass…and today…another 24th…falling on a Tuesday…
there she was…kneeling like a little angel…with her hands…perfectly joined together…in reverent prayer. She will be making...her First Communion in May…and Sister’s efforts…at getting the children ready…for that day…are apparent…as their conduct and attention…
at mass…is very respectful.

Sal…I have recently…had other parents…who live in our county…contact me…sharing their heartaches…feelings of frustration…anger...and…disbelief… after experiencing and learning…how the system fails...those…who have unnecessarily…suffered the loss…
of a child…at the hands…of law enforcement. The unjust taking…of another’s life…appears meaningless…or of little value…to them…and the system…seems to foster that…because there are seldom…if any…consequences…for their actions…that have resulted…in the loss…of our loved ones lives.

So what to do. We already share a common bond…and we want to prevent…other families…from experiencing our pain. In time…we expect…to make a difference…and since there is strength…in numbers…we shall see…and then…take our lead…from others…who have given us…an example…of where to begin.

I love you Sal…you are always in my thoughts…and in my prayers.
March 19, 2009
To My…Salvatore Joseph...Yesterday...March 18th... was the Feast Day of St. Salvatore. I had actually forgotten...about it...since I only...became aware of this Saint...last year...while reading a site...about Catholic saints. I had never heard anything…about a
St. Salvatore…prior to that…but in reading about him…it struck me…
as more than a coincidence…to learn…that he had healed the blind. While you share…the same first name...and your interests and profession…dealt with correcting eye problems…my main reason...for giving you…what I always thought…was a beautiful name...was to keep a promise I made...long before you were born...that if I was ever fortunate enough...to someday have a son…I would name him Salvatore…in memory of my wonderful…big brother…who was killed…in that other…sudden…untimely…and tragic way. So...Salvatore…my Son…I wish you a Belated Happy Name Day.

I haven’t forgotten...this day…St. Joseph’s Feast Day. His name…is the one you took…as your Confirmation name…so…how could I ever forget this day. Gramps…your Uncle…for whom you were named…your Father…and your Brother…all have Joseph…as a middle name…even a dear little boy…has the same middle name…so it has a special place…in my heart.

Our heritage…connects us to this day...because we all know…if it weren’t for San Giuseppe…Grandma Annie...would have missed... boarding the ship...to America. How many times…did we all hear…the story…of her encounter…with him. As if…just being of Italian Catholic background…and being raised…to observe this day…with prayers…petitions…and traditional foods…wouldn’t be enough…to honor his role…in our lives.

I have read…that this feast day…began in Sicily…in the Middle Ages…when there was a terrible drought. The people…were beginning to die…from starvation…and decided to pray to St. Joseph…to send rain for their crops. He sent it again today…too…causing me to…consider it…and influencing me…to abandon…my planned visit with you. They promised…if he sent rain…they would celebrate…with a yearly feast in his honor…where they would feed anyone who came…particularly the poor. I guess…since St. Joseph…was the main provider…for the Holy Family…it was fitting…that he would be the “provider”…invoked in their need…and the needs of others. The rain did come…the drought…and their starvation ended…and the tradition of the bountiful…though meatless…St. Joseph’s table…and the feeding of the less fortunate…along with honoring him…spread from there.

I went with Mrs. P this morning...to buy some Sfingi de San Giuseppe. I hadn’t realized that you could get them…in VA…so I was pleasantly surprised. I can remember Grandpa buying them...and…St. Joseph's Zeppole…every year on this day…because it was…the only time…they were made. I think they…originated in Calabria…and they are today…pretty much what they were then…puffs filled with cream…a cherry…and pieces of glazed orange…the exception being…they're over priced now. When you were little…you only liked the custard...and your finger…would always become the stick…for an impromptu custard lolli-pop.

There is also St. Joseph’s bread…which I remember…being somewhat sweet. We would eat…minestrone soup on this day…not one of your favorites…as a boy. The fava beans held importance…because they represent…the famine’s only available food…at the time…since they can grow…in very little water. So in remembrance…of that difficult time…our families…who still held onto the traditions…in honor St. Joseph…served a similar variety of foods…on this day…which for the most part…have now been…forgotten about…by this next generation.

I wanted to place a Lily plant...at your resting place today...another symbol in honor of St. Joseph...and because…it is also…your name day...but I got sidelined...on three counts...I didn't see a Lily plant at the store...it is raining quite steadily (a blessing from St. Joseph?)...and lastly...walking isn't too comfortable…because I have pinched something...in my lower back. But I'd have toughed it out...if only I'd found the plant. Maybe I will see one by the weekend.

Happy "Middle Name" Day…Son...and I find it hopeful…to remember that… among his many titles…St. Joseph…is the patron saint…of social justice.

I love you...Salvatore Joseph…you are missed…and you...are always…in my heart...and in my prayers.
March 14, 2009
My Dear Salvatore...As I read a post…left by a caring young lady...
who once knew you...at UVA...saying what a nice guy you were…
and that she was impressed…to learn…that you...had become...an optometrist…and then horribly saddened…to hear...you were taken from us...my head began to flood…with all I hold inside…and now I
will end up venting. She…only recently…found out what happened…and couldn’t make sense of it. We are living with this reality…for a little over three years…there is no sense…to what happened.

Son…none of us…or anyone…who learns of what happened…to you…and our family…can make sense of it. Those who loved…and knew
you personally…will never understand…how anyone…who ever met you…could possibly think…there was a need…to expose you…to such a potential for violence.

Along with their motives...it was…and will remain…a reprehensibly senseless act…on the part…of a very misguided…police department…that caused your life…to be needlessly stolen…from you…and us…as they are led by a county…that shirks its responsibilities…to be accountable…to its residents. Both should be shameful…for the role…they have played…before…during…and…in the aftermath…of your life be taken.

I want you to know...they...once more...remain unconscionable.

While it is not surprising...given all this time...with them doing virtually nothing...to be accountable…it is nevertheless...a continued and sad commentary...to know...that there are...those...who seem incapable... devoid even...of the traits…characteristics…and qualities needed...to show any remorse...for what was done...by them...that caused our heartache…and the same is applicable...to those who employ them.

There are the perfunctory...going through the motion...words...but they don't sound genuine...or sincere. It is more like...a bad script being delivered...by equally bad actors.

Well...I must not be too critical... one must take things…from whence they come...and they are after all...a pitiable imitation...of who we are called to be…and have no clue...it appears...about what it means..to treat others...as you would want...to be treated...and that my Son... began with how they treated you...and continues...with how...we are being treated...by them.

I was not intending...to write what I did…Sal…but here I am…after reading...the young lady’s comment…on making sense of any of it.

She also mentioned a conversation...she and I had...which rang a bell...and jogged my memory. She recalled what was said...and
made me remember too. You know me...and some things never change. We are who we are...then and now. I still think...I need
to mother everyone. Well at least...she was sweet enough...to not
be offended...by my unsolicited advice...but instead...listened and remembered it.

I hope she will know...that I appreciate her kind words...and I thank her...for remembering you...as the good-hearted...and decent young man...that you were...and that you remained.

As always...I will pray...and God knows...what is in my heart.

Son...I miss you...more than mere words...can express.

With my love...and prayers...always.
February 28, 2009
Dear Mrs. Culosi,
I knew Sal at UVA, he lived in the same apt complex as I did and was friends with my sister and I. I also saw him socially after graduating before I moved out of the area. One time I called your house to speak with Sal and you answered. I mentioned I had hosted a party the night before. You told me that I should be a responsible host and make sure that people weren't drinking too much. That always stayed with me and I took your advice from there. I just wanted to let you know that I remembered your words and thought to myself that Sal had a very good mother who loved him a lot. Sal told many stories about his little brother and funny things he taught him to say. I did not know Sal well but it was easy to see that he was someone who didn't have a bad bone in his body and only had kindness in his heart. Since I had lost touch with Sal so many years ago, I was very impressed to hear he had become an optometrist. Then of course I was horribly saddened to hear that he has passed away. It is just now that I found out what happened. I really can't make sense of it, but I do believe that the attention you have brought to Sal's injustice will prevent someone else's death. I am moved by the love you express to Sal in your posts. Stay strong in your love for Sal and in your faith. and my heart goes out to your family.
Sincerely,
Amy Novell
February 24, 2009
My Dear Son…Once again…it’s the 24th…and a Tuesday…marking this…"37th Month Remembrance"…of all that has happened…that pains us deeply...and continues to happen...as we seek the justice you are owed.

We attended the morning mass…being offered for you today. I am writing…what I remember…of one of today’s readings…hoping I can adapt to…and place my confidence in…what was said.

I listened as these words were read…and this is what I recall. When you come to serve the Lord…stand in justice and fear…prepare yourself for trials. Be sincere of heart…and steadfast in time of adversity…wait on God with patience…forsake Him not…accept what befalls you…when sorrowful be steadfast…in crushing misfortune be patient…trust God…and He will help you…He will direct your way. There was more…but that is what spoke to me.

Today is also...“Shrove Tuesday”…the day of confessions and feasting…before the Lenten season of fasting…begins tomorrow…on Ash Wednesday. I may not feast…but I must confess...my visits...with you...are always painful. I can’t accept seeing your name…on that marble slab. I walk that path…saying prayers with each step…but knowing the moment I see that wall…every emotion there is…will explode inside me…wanting to be wailed…out of me…in earth shattering screams. My thoughts about the circumstances…that have caused us…to be here…just take over…and I become enraged…by trying to follow...the mindset…that was used…by them…which led to their reprehensible actions…that stole you from your life…and ours. The hurt…happens every time.

Today…as I approached…the walkway…I saw that...the statue of the kneeling stone angel…that sits…in front of your flowers container…had been knocked over…by yesterday’s wind…and the head…had rolled away…from the body. As I knelt…to pick up the pieces…I couldn’t help but think…the wrong head had rolled. For what happened on their watch…that night…it should have been…their heads…and several of them...that rolled. Not a kind thought…but as
I admit…I run a gamut of emotions…that I believe to be understandable…and justifiable…which never would have surfaced…and would have been avoidable…where they are concerned…since I once held…those who are…sworn to protect and serve…in high regard. All it would have taken…was common sense…and concern…
for your safety…too. So much for confession son.

It was 37 days…after your 37th birthday…when our family…was destroyed…and here we are…in this 37th month…still without the justice…you are owed. Sal…you would never believe…how unconscionable…they have behaved…toward us. After causing
our tragedy…they dragged out…for nearly 12 full months…our agony…each day… turning into weeks…then months…as we anticipated…some explanation…from them…as to why…and how…this could have happened. We weren’t even shown the courtesy…of being given their report…ahead of its release…to the community at large.

My thoughts…dart from one time frame…to another. The Lenten season…brings up the memories…of my finding out why…we were not informed…in enough time…to have you receive…the Last Rites…of our Catholic faith. I guess…the power of authority… circling…and their blue wall…took priority…before your soul…eternal life…and notifying us…of their inexcusable wrongdoing.

It has been reported…recently…that their integrity…and honor…is suspect...because of a cheating scandal. There are many reader comments…that address…distrust...disgust…and contempt…for this police department…and its administrators. I too...have many thoughts concerning them…so a part of me…understands…what is being expressed…by others.

We shall see…maybe they walk away…unscathed once more…although as county residents…become less tolerant…of FCPD abuses…the general consensus…will likely grow…more unfavorable.
It may be…just a matter of time…son…before they truly appreciate…how civilian oversight…and changes…we would like to see…that they may be unwilling to adopt…are also necessary. They report…changes to risk threat assessments...but that only scratches the surface…in a very flawed system.

I have also read comments…concerning systems that fail…in the investigative and charging stage…that fail at trial…at post-trial…and during the appellate process. Blame is not only placed on ground-level guys…but on the people who put in place…the policies…that allow tragic circumstances…to occur…which is why…they also…need
to be held accountable. Some of these comments…are already applicable…to your loss to us…while other of these observations…may remain to be seen.

I listened to the Levy’s statement…about the unsolved…till now…
eight year old murder…of their daughter Chandra. They said the recent news…is bittersweet…because they have…and will continue…to live their reality…which includes sadness…grief…and a lifetime of anguish…as they think of their daughter 24/7…and do not have her anymore. When the charge is finalized…against the person…who caused their grief…they say…they will have a sense of justice…and that at least is something. I wish…I did not have the experience…of having to understand…what the Levy’s expressed.

I miss you Salvatore…I love you…and you are…always in my thoughts…and in my prayers.
February 15, 2009
Thinking of you and the journey you are on that is long and painful. I'm sending a big hug to you.
February 14, 2009
My Dear Salvatore...I pray...that you...are having...a Blessed St. Valentine's Day...aware of...how much...you are loved...missed...and cherished...by each of us...as we carry...precious memories of you... close...in our hearts.

When we visited...your resting place today...I placed...Five Unbroken Valentine Hearts...into your flowers...in remembrance...of this special day...of "Professed Love." As I looked at them...my reality checked in...

The truth is...since the moment...that knocking...came to our door...and we were told...that you were taken from us..."our hearts" have been broken...and shattered...and the pieces...went with you...and will remain with you...until...we are...all together...again.

I love you Son...and I wish...you were here...to spend this day...with a someone special...enjoying...what life...may have held for you...if only...they didn't cause...what we...all...have been...made...to suffer.

God Bless You Sal...with my prayers...
February 14, 2009
Dear Mrs. Culosi,

SWEET HEART OF JESUS,
OUR HEAVENLY VALENTINE,
MAKE OUR HEARTS LIKE UNTO THINE!

It was six years ago today that my sister was buried unto the earth and lifted up into our Lord's Arms. This day has a special day in my heart that I treasure ..........

I wish you LOVE and JOY
that I feel with the PEACE
that has come from my Trust in
the Divine Mercy of JESUS.

Today, begin, not to mourn your son
but to feel the loving grace He is pouring into YOUR HEART this Valentines Day, and every day!

The greatest gift you can give to your son, is to live each day for him, sharing your joy and love with your family ..... and witnessing to all the strength and peace that that only God can give you.

May you feel the comforting love
from above on this Valentines Day ...

love always, marie therese
February 01, 2009
Sal...It was a very exciting game...and they had the lead...for most
of it...but then towards the end...they were losing...and I began to doubt...if they could win.

With little time left...for playing...I said a few prayers...and asked you..to intercede for them...if you could...and with seconds to
go...the Hail Mary's helped...and so did you.

I just got a call...from Sophie...and she said...she too knew...that
you...were pulling for them...and that is why...they won.

To me...it is another sign...that you are close...watching...and listening.

I love you Sal...and I miss you.

With my prayers...always.
February 01, 2009
Dear Son...You didn't get to watch...and enjoy...the '06 victory...of
the team...you so loved...and rooted for...ever since you were a boy...and although...I don't understand the rules...or the calls...
and I never quite know...who has the ball...when there is a pass thrown...or fumble recovered...I will...in your memory...watch...and cheer...for your team...in their second go...for this title...in the three years...that you have been...absent from our lives.

All my love...and always...my prayers.
January 24, 2009
Dearest Son…This morning…we attended the mass…being offered…
for the...repose of your soul…on this “Third Year” remembrance…of that Tuesday…that brought us…the devastating news…that would change our lives…forever.

Several of our...very special...and... dear friends…also made the effort…to come to the mass…caring to support us...on this...very painful day.

Con’s friend…Nancy...who was so helpful...to us…from the very beginning…was also there.

Mrs. L... has become…very dear to me…as we share a bond…and know…each other’s…heartache. She too... grieves...for her son…Richard…just as I do…for you.

After mass…I picked up the flowers…I had ordered…and we visited…your resting place. Mrs. L…left beautiful pink tulips…for you…and Con…who had been there earlier…left a lovely basket…and a note for you. We shed tears...and prayed for you.

Mrs. H…and Bri...called the other day...each letting me know…in their own way…that you were…on their mind.

I received an email…from your friend David…telling me…he was saying…the rosary for you…on this special day…and that we…are in his thoughts…and prayers…too. He is a loyal friend…with a caring soul...and...you are not forgotten...by him.

I also heard from...Ryan’s mom…who unfortunately…knows all too well…what it means…to lose a child. She said…we are in her thoughts…and hopes that…our fond memories…and the deep love…we feel for you…will get us through…this difficult day.

Your Aunt…also visited her church…to pray for you…and us. Michael offered us…his deepest condolences…on this very sad day…and said…they will do…all they can…to find justice…for you.

Deb also sent an email… saying two dates…are etched…in her brain…1/24 and 4/16. Losing Tommy...is another heartbreaking memory. Tracy…was in the area…and came by…to pay a visit…knowing what today is. She is another…good soul.

I just got a call...from Cyn...she wanted to know...how I was doing. How could I be doing? I lost a part of myself...and until we can be together again...nothing...will fill... the emptiness I feel.

Chris was lecturing me...I know he is heartbroken too...and while...
I don't mean to be...a source of concern...for him...and though...he does not...raise the issue often...he is upset with me...because...I
am still wearing black. I guess...that is just how I feel...inside. Another part...of of my joy...has been taken from me...for a second time.

Steve also phoned...he and Anthony...were going to visit you... tonight.

I keep watching the clock...and 9:35...is approaching...the very time...on this date...that turned our world...upside down.

I was surprised...in coming to this site...that even a stranger…left a post…for you and us…remembering this date…and saying...that he doesn't know why...but he thinks of you…and Uncle Sal…often.

Maybe...I know why. It must be...because a very merciful and loving God…purposefully…places caring people…in our path…to help bolster us…so that we are able...to receive the graces...their kindness earns...which...in turn…gives us the strength…to get through…our grief…one day...at a time.

I know…there are…many people...thinking of you…today…and
I am grateful…that you...are not forgotten...by them.

We are very blessed...to have such...friends...in our lives.

I pray…that you are resting peacefully…in the company…of family…
and your own…dear friends…who were...also...called home…much
too soon.

We all love you…and miss you…beyond words.

Sal…stay close to…Uncle Sal…Nan…and Gramps…and know…that you…are always…in my heart…and…in my thoughts.

God Bless You…Salvatore.

With my prayers...always.
January 22, 2009
Dear Mrs. Culosi & family,
I think about your son and his uncle often. I don't know why. I see that the third anniversary of Dr. Sal's death is approaching. I'm sure that the time has done nothing to ease your agony. Thank you for the kind words on Trooper Sal's page. I'm hoping this note finds you, and finds you well.
January 20, 2009
My Dear Son...Today is the 156th Tuesday...

It is also Inauguration Day...and all the reporters...praised how smooth...and easy...a transition it was...as one presidency ended
...and another began.

As the word transition...meaning a passage or change...from one place to another...kept being used...in all the TV coverage...I
found myself thinking...that we...you...me...our family...have also transitioned...but for us...it has not been...a smooth...or easy change...just one...that has hurt...each of us...forever.

We all love...and miss you Sal...and not having you with us...is the hardest thing to accept.

Keep watch over us...as we continue forward...in keeping our promise to you.

I carry you...in my heart...my thoughts...and my prayers...always.
January 06, 2009
Dear Sal…Today…is the Feast of the Epiphany…which ends the Christmastide…the twelve days of Christmas…and our…third Christmas…without you.

The season began…with the revelation of Christ…to Israel…in His Birth…on Christmas Day...and ended…with the revelation of Christ…to the Gentiles…the Magi…who brought Him gifts…at Epiphany.

I remember that Nan…would wait until this day…”Little Christmas”… before taking down our Christmas tree. I too...have waited for today…to take down the tree…at your resting place.

Last night…your brother was watching…the movie “Ghost.” I walked in…close to the end. We both ended up crying…he said...“the scene was sad”…and while it was…I know his heart...and what he was feeling...was for you. My own tears were not…because of a Hollywood script either…they were for my reality…which no longer includes…the presence of…my very loved son. We all carry...the pain...of your loss. We miss you so much.

Well Sal…the wait is on…anywhere from 3 to 6 months…and perhaps…beyond.

I can only hope…that Christ…who was revealed…to the Wise Men…
is also revealed to…and received by…three other wise men…and my prayer is...that they will have...their own epiphany...understanding and recognizing...why...accountability is necessary...since they...will be...the ones...reviewing and judging...our appeal...as we seek the justice...you are owed.

I love you Son…and I miss you beyond words.

With my prayers…always.
January 01, 2009
Dearest Salvatore…A New Year…2009…distancing us further…from the night our world collapsed…while bringing us…yet closer…to the time…when we will…be with you…again.

We spent the Eve…with your sister…brother-in-law…and…your nieces. There was the usual…too much food…and lots of commotion…as “the Barones” arrived…bringing with us…all the chaos…and confusion…that we create…so easily. After several trips…to unload the car…things took on…the calm…of their family’s routine.

I am getting slower…in accomplishing…all that I once did. I thought…
I would get...to the Struffoli...Butter Ball cookies…and…Egg Nog...via Chris...in his continuing role...as the "EN" maker. As I ran out of time…I had to take a pass…but as Cyn put it…”Mom needs to let go…she feels incomplete in the “Mom” family traditions role…minus those three staples…that usually are prepared…and play a part…in defining our holiday menu. Mom, let it go!” But since I am a die hard… perhaps today…I will attempt…two of the three overlooked "staples."

As for feeling “incomplete”…I can accept falling short…in certain areas…of the holiday fare…but without you here…there is an unbearable void…in our lives…and I…along with our family…will remain incomplete…until we are together again.

While waiting for midnight…we watched old movies of the girls…remembering how little and adorable they were…and recognizing…how quickly…the time goes by. Con and Steve…looked like kids…themselves. The audio…that was recorded…as everyone got together…was bedlam…but in a good way. There was footage…of
a squeaky-voiced Christopher…Cyn looking slim and trim…Dad with more hair…and less girth…me…not quite as gray…and YOU…young…handsome…and healthy...sitting quietly…with your whole life…and bright future...ahead of you.

Although…it was footage…of your nieces 1996 birthdays…Con had made a cake for you…because…you had just been accepted…into Optometry College. There were only…fleeting glimpses of you…
as the focus…was on the children. But these were…some of the happier occasions…with all our family…intact...gathered with friends…and enjoying life…as we knew it…then. I watched…with a heavy heart…but with loving memories of you.

We also played some board games…pre-midnight…and then your Godchild…wanted to play cards. It was enjoyable…but not like…it could have…would have…and should have been…if you were with
us…or at least…at the other end…of a 12 AM phone call…as we would…exchange wishes…for a Happy New Year.

Today…we would all…be having a family dinner…instead…we visited you…at your resting place…after we attended Mass.

When I got home last night…I found an email…from one of your friends. It is comforting to know…that the memory...of your friendship…is still the reason…for their holiday greetings…thoughts…and prayers…for our family. May God Bless him...and his family...for continuing to care.

We won’t be in court…this week…as we were expecting to be…instead…an order…re our interlocutory appeal…is going before the court…in anticipation…of having it go forward…to Richmond. Since the officer…who unjustly took your life…is also appealing…his summary judgment denial…the request...to have the trail stayed…pending exhaustion of these appeals…has once again…put everything on hold...except…my mourning…and grieving…for you.

So this New Year…is still the same old…same old…no resolutions...for what happened… just my resolve…to hang in there…with the promise to you…that we will do…whatever we must…for as long as it takes…until…

Rest peacefully my Son...I love you…I miss you…and I carry you close...in my heart...and in my thoughts.

With my prayers…always.
December 29, 2008
Today…December 28th… is the Remembrance Day…of the Massacre
of the Holy Innocents…and...the Feast of the Holy Family.

We remember that...King Herod…ordered all male children…in Bethlehem…who were under the age of two…to be slain…because Herod thought…his throne would be threatened…by the newborn king.

I listen...and all I can do...is think of you...my own male child...

Then the homily suggests…that as Christian families…we imitate the same…holy affection…spirit of service…and the mutual desire...for each others’ happiness…that existed between Joseph and Mary. We should be...a model of human virtues…ready to carry out...God’s will exactly.

Again I hear the words...but a model of human virtues...well son...
I am finding those...hard to come by...and carrying out God's will...
I do not believe...that God's will...had anything to do...with what happened.

We are due in court...again...next Friday...and that is my focus... during this holy season...of birth...hope...love...peace...and...
promise.

I have read that...trials in life...keep you strong...that sorrows...keep you human...and life...keeps you humble.Well maybe so...but it is...my love for you...and...promise to you...that keeps me going forward...in your behalf.

There are so many unresolved issues...and conflicting emotions...I just pray that God...knows my heart...and allows me...the mercy...of His patience.

I love you Sal...and I miss you.

With my prayers...always.
December 25, 2008
Dear Sal…It is a quarter to three…that sounds like…one of Dad’s…favorite Sinatra tunes…and like the song…there is no one here…as I take a kitchen break…except your photos…and me.

So while it is momentarily quiet…and since tomorrow…will be very busy…I want to wish you…a…Merry Christmas…but there is nothing “merry” about it. I will wish you…instead…a…Blessed Christmas. I pray that you are happy…resting in peace…in the company of…Nan…Gramps…and…Uncle Sal.

We were at Con & Steve’s…earlier…and we got home at one. Dad made his pizzas…in her house…because I have a disaster at ours. Too much prep…cooking…wrapping gifts…changing beds for company…answering phones…package deliveries…almost constant interruptions…and I take…longer and longer…to get things done…and on top of it all…my heart isn’t in any of it. My thoughts keep turning to you…so I go from one task…to another…without accomplishing as much as I should.

We will visit you...later today…after mass…and then…it’s.back home…to finish preparing our family dinner…while waiting for Cyn...and her children…to arrive.

I love you son…and I miss you.

With my prayers…always.
December 24, 2008
Dearest Son…It is Christmas Eve…35 months…since that January night. It seems like an eternity…but the pain remains fresh.

I keep picturing you…walking through the door…grabbing a few shrimp cakes…eating some of Dad’s pizza...with that contented grin on your face…and then…making off with a couple of them…for you
and your friends…while asking…who’s coming to dinner tomorrow…and what time will we eat.

I guess...for them…their family holidays…remain relatively...and fortunately...unchanged…but...for us...it is another story.

It is a constant struggle…to get through…these particular days. Beginning with Thanksgiving…through your birthday…the Christmas season…and the remembrance...of that night…it all becomes…one heartbreaking memory…after another.

We will be…at the Mass…that is being offered for you…this morning. Then we will visit your resting place…as we have done...for the past...2 years and 11 months.

When we visited you…last Sunday…we placed...a small decorated Christmas tree…along side… the advent wreath…the poinsettia…and the beautiful basket of flowers…that Con left for you…on your birthday.

I looked at everything…that was on the walkway…in front of your resting place…and I thought for a moment…that maybe…we were taking up…too much floor space…but thank God…there are...only unmarked sites…near you...so for the time being…I don’t think...it
is a problem.

I read the note...your sister left …it was simply stated…that she loves you...and thinks of you...each day.

When I reflect…on how…each of your siblings…has been affected…by your loss…my heartbreak multiplies. Your sisters…and brother…try to carry on as they must…but I know…how deeply hurt...and sad…they are…because you are gone…from their lives.

There are no more…phone calls from you…to share a joke…or ask…how the kids are doing…or inquire about what is going on. No more…just dropping by…or coming over…just because.

The ordinary...interactions among family…the pride and joy felt…
and the security of knowing…and taking for granted...that there is
an adult brother…that can be depended on…and once was…has now been denied…to each of them…and to us. Why…because of…the over the top response…that was brought to you…by those…who are sworn…to protect and serve.

I have a very difficult time…dealing with…the unreasonableness…of their actions...that allowed...for what happened.

I will try to get through this holiday…but it is a challenge. I want to go to sleep…and wake up…from this awful nightmare.

I love you son…I miss you…and I pray for you…always.
December 17, 2008
To My Precious Son…Salvatore…On This Very Special Day...

I will be at mass…this morning…and receiving communion…for your intention…and…in remembrance of…your…Fortieth…birthday…which should have been…a loving celebration…with family…and friends...of a Happy…Milestone…Passage.

While Dad and I…were visiting…your resting place…we saw Tania…who was bringing you…a birthday balloon. She is a lovely girl…with a kind soul…and I wish the best for her. As we spoke…catching up…on what has been happening…in each of our lives…a large bird…appeared…and flew over us. As I looked up…I told Tania…I hadn’t seen…what I take as…signs…in quite a while…but today…on your birthday…you sent me a sign…and I thank you…for this gift.

Son…you were the fulfillment…of a promise…I made…a long time ago…to another Salvatore…your uncle…and namesake...and I thank God...for allowing me...to honor that promise...by sending you...to me.
I have loved you…from the start. You were a blessing…a gift…my pride…and…my joy. The first son…at that time…of an only son…who would carry on…your father’s…family name.

I heard…your first heartbeat…and felt...the first kick…of my left-footed...soccer player.

I counted…your tiny fingers...and toes…and looked into...your big brown eyes…and wished for you…my beautiful boy…all the good things...in life.

I thought…there would be…plenty of time…to still tell you…the many things…I wanted you to know…and that are now…left unsaid.

All I can do…is hope…and pray...that someday...we will be…together again.

Son…you have left…a trail of memories…on my heart…and my love is…forever…with you.

My prayer is…as Father said at mass…that you are…in Light…Happy…and…Resting...in God’s Reward…of…Eternal Peace.

Happy Birthday Sal. I will relive…the special meaning…of this day…every year…for as long…as I am here.

You are loved…and missed…by all of us.

With my prayers…always.
December 17, 2008
My Dear Salvatore…You began your third decade…in 1998…and although…it ended...on Jan 24, 2006…today is the eve…of when…it should have been...ending…as your fourth decade…would have begun…if not for them.

Today…was a rainy…gloomy one. Perhaps that…along with…everything else I feel…caused the…acutely sad mood…I am in.

This afternoon…I went to a card store…and looked through...40th Birthday greetings…and found one…with a plush green football field…on the front…that was designating…the “40” yard line…with an arrow pointing ahead…toward the end zone. Inside it said…don’t worry…
you still have…plenty of time left…on the clock. Happy Birthday.

Your love of football…would have made it…an appropriate…and light-hearted sentiment…while teasing you…about turning 40…instead…
as I read…the words…tears…went streaming down my face. Those last two birthdays…that would have led…to this one…were stolen from you…and us. So...there are…no more...decades...of joy...and...
of celebration. I walked…to the back of the aisle…and tried to compose myself. I did manage…to silently…cry my way…through the serious…“Son”…birthday cards. I bought three…to leave at your resting place…when I visit you…tomorrow.

When I got home…there were two emails…that I immediately opened. One from Mr. Gordon…saying…the Bereaved Parents…Candle Lighting Ceremony…went well…and was…very moving. Your picture…as well as his son…Mike’s…was flashed…onto the screen…as your name…and his…was read aloud. He said…"our sons…will never be forgotten…as this ceremony…serves to keep…memories of them...alive"…and that…I know…is the hope…of every parent…who has…lost a child. We want to hear…their names spoken…daily...and for them…to be remembered.

The second email…was from Cyn. She sent…the link…to a memorial site…that is on youtube…of her twenty-four year old friend...Valerie Miller Elliott …who had melanoma…and recently…was called back home…to God.

It is a very touching…yet uplifting tribute…to her. She loved life…and it captures it all…from her infancy…to milestone events…with family and friends…good times…her vacations…friendships…things she so enjoyed…and then…to her one year marriage…and honeymoon…and finally…her illness. More tears…

She had a deeply…rooted faith…and was truly…a good person. She loved to travel…visited many countries…enjoyed the people…and customs…and saw the goodness…in them. She was very charitable…caring…and loving. There was even…a book of sorts…that she wrote…entitled…“What I Want.” She illustrated it…with simple…but good…and interesting…drawings…as well as…written text…explaining...how she viewed life…her values..and what was....important to her. More tears…

Valerie helped your sister…during our tragedy…by accompanying her…to northern VA...and caring…for your nephews…and niece…so that Cyn...could be here…with us.

May God bless…and reward Valerie…for all her selfless acts…of caring...and kindness…to others.

After watching the video…and listening…to all the beautiful… religious hymns…that were Valerie’s favorites…and underscored...the photos…again the tears…for her…and for you…followed by…the whys.

I tried to distract myself…from feeling so sad…and decided…to read…the online news.

It wasn’t about to happen…another heartbroken parent…John Walsh…host of...America’s Most Wanted…was recounting the story…of his son…Adam…killed in 1981…at the age of six. You were twelve and a half then…and I remember this tragedy vividly.

Now…after 27 years…of torturing themselves…with questions…about who…would commit…such an evil act…the family…has finally…been given justice. The police department…in his county…had mishandled…and botched…the investigation...from the start. Mrs. Walsh…who didn’t want…her son’s death...to be in vain…took their tragedy…and founded an organization…to find missing...and exploited children…and in turn…helped the police…to recognize…that their handling…of cases like theirs…were lacking…in investigative techniques…and procedures.
Today…the Walsh family...can trust…that Adam...didn’t die in vain…and the police department…by changing the way…they do business…in looking for missing children…after what happened in Adam's case...is an acknowledgement…to the family…that the police know…how inept they were...in their investigation...of the Walsh case.

Mr. Walsh’s message…spoke to me…we parents...who lose children…to violent acts…should not let...their loss of life…be in vain. We need to advocate for them…it’s about justice…and not giving up hope…and sometimes…we the parents…are the best…and last hope…to get justice...for our loved ones...and ourselves.

We are in the process...of seeking justice…and I feel…what Mr. Walsh...has felt.

So my son…this has been…another difficult day.

I love you Sal…I miss you…and we don’t have…27 years.
December 14, 2008
Dearest Son...Tonight...at 7 pm...in their respective time zones... bereaved parents around the world...in memory…of their deceased children...went outside...looked towards heaven...lit a candle...and said aloud…the name…of their child…who has gone...back home...to God.

I just did...along with a prayer...while lighting candles...for you... Dr. Salvatore Joseph Culosi...my brother...NYS Trooper Salvatore Joseph Embarrato...your school friends...Richard Godwin Livingston...Vincent Anthony Puritano...Laura Kathleen Coleman Kulp...and...Chicago Police Officer... Michael Patrick Gordon.

I also remembered...the little ones...Ryan Marie Boykin...two infants...Pauline's son...Faith Huempfner...and those children...whose names...are only known...to God.

Each of you...precious...young…adult children…and little ones...is loved...missed... and...carried in the hearts...thoughts...and...cherised memories...of your families...who are...forever changed...by your absences.

Each of you...is remembered...and will...never be forgotten...by family…friends…and all those…whose lives…you have touched.

With my love...and prayers...always.
December 09, 2008
My Dear Son...It is now...150 Tuesdays...and although I know...that it is…what it is...the reality...to not have you...in our lives...on a daily basis…eats at me…and defies reason.

The other day...a friend...called my attention...to a song entitled... Spirit of a Storm...by Kenny Chesney. This friend...that I have never met…in person...has also lost...a precious...young adult son...and fate...has allowed...our paths...to cross. He said...he feels...what the lyrics express...and thought…I might...also relate to them. Strange how parents...who have...the same heartaches...just instinctively know...each other's...pain and inner feelings. Then again...maybe it's not so strange...because as parents...we all love our children...we are protective of them...and never...would allow...any of them...to be harmed...and yet...here we all are.

You know...I am far from a country music fan...but this song...touched me deeply. All of the raw emotions...that I hold inside...while trying to cope…with all that I feel…sometimes...better than other times...began to surface...and I cried...and cried...and cried.

Sal...the gamut of emotions...that are welled up...inside of me... because of all...that has happened...and is...continuing to happen...
as I watch...observe...and listen…to them…is near impossible…to put into words.

I am left…with this perception. It appears…that those who are present...and are representing others...remain indifferent…to your unjust killing…for which…those others…the officer…and his department…are responsible. I sense…it is seen…as going on too long…this seeking of justice. It seems to be...a great inconvenience…an annoyance…to them…and they wish…we would…just go away.

I too wish...that...you...were here...with us...and that this...would not be taking place...but you are not here...as they are...with their families...and this...is.

It is unbelievable…that human beings…can so distance themselves…from the loss...pain…and suffering…they have caused others…and for which…they are responsible. They have…destroyed our family...but…they just don’t care.

I ask myself…where…is their moral compass…and just how callous…must one become…in deferring to...just doing a job...whether in defense of…or having been…proactive…as reasons…for attempting to…walk away from…your wrongful death…with the hope...of not having to assume...the responsibility…for your unjust killing.

My friend…asked me…to tell him…what my thoughts were…after listening….to Spirit of a Storm. He now knows…what I try…to hold inside.

I have the makings…of a “perfect storm.”

I went to mass…yesterday…a holy day…the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. There were candles...within a blue glass…in front of…our Blessed Mother”s statue. So I lit several…for you…my brother...my parents...as well as...Richard...Vinny...Mike...and... Laura. I also prayed...for some...very special intentions.

Son...we will learn more…this coming week…as this...legal...roller coaster ride...keeps our frustrations...and emotional levels...high. Help us...as we go forward...doing what we must.

I love you Sal…and I hold you close…each moment.

With my prayers...always.
December 06, 2008
Dear Salvatore...I said a rosary...this morning...while waiting...outside the courtroom...and I am grateful...that at this appearance...we were blessed...with a favorable decision.

A step in the right direction...as we keep our promise to you.

You are loved...and you are missed.

With my prayers...always.
November 30, 2008
Dear Son…Today is the first Sunday of Advent…the beginning of the liturgical year…so I placed an Advent wreath…with four candles…at your resting place. I lit the first candle…which is called…the Candle
of Promise…and said a prayer…for you…before the rain…put it out. I will continue…to light…each consecutive candle…the Candle of Light…the Candle of Joy…and…the Candle of Love…over the next three Sundays...during this season…of preparation…for the coming of Christ…at Christmas. On Christmas Eve…I will light…the white candle…which I will place in the center…and is the Christ Candle…which stands for Purity. I am reminded…that this is a time of…repentance…prayer…fasting...and Confession...a "little Lent"...so I will observe...
the season...in your behalf.

When we got home…Dad decided to put up the tree. It was not done…as patiently or meticulously…as you had done it…but it was up. I will attempt…to spread the branches…a little more evenly…when I get a chance…as I take your lead.

We also hung…your framed diplomas and license certificate…on a memory wall. I know…if I have my way…this wall is the first…of several…that will be adorned…with many of the…handcrafted things…that your creativity…inspired.

Your accomplishments…your talents…pictures…and memories of you…I will cherish…and honor…for that is all…that I am left with…because of them.

I miss you...I love you.

With my prayers...always.
November 27, 2008
To My Very Loved Salvatore...although today will be a busy one...I will keep you close...in my thoughts...and in my heart...as I always do.

Thanksgiving...such mixed emotions...your Godchild...lettered in tennis...got the MVP trophy...and made the Principal's List...for academics...with A+ in every subject. Her sisters...also received...excellent report cards...and I am proud...of all of them. So I know...I still have much...to be thankful for...and...I don't want to...overlook that...but since your loss...I don't feel very thankful.

Friday is Nan's birthday...I have a mass for her...and...there is also...a memorial service for Laura...that I will attend.

Friday...Dec. 5...we will be...in court again. I can't believe...what they are...seeking. Our family...will never be...the same...again...and they... want to...go on...with their lives...as usual...as if...nothing of consequence happened...but it did.

We live...in a very...indifferent world...it is...sick...and...it is...sad.

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving...Son. Stay close...to your grandparents...and...your uncle.

With my love...and prayers...always.
November 24, 2008
My Dear Salvatore…I received communion...at the 8:30 am mass... this morning…that was offered...for the repose of your soul...on
this...2 years and 10 months..."Remembrance Date."

Yesterday…when Dad and I…visited you…we returned the angel…
and replaced the flowers…at your resting place. Twice a year…the groundskeepers…request the removal…of all mementos…and flowers…from each location…in order…to ready the landscape…for the approaching seasons. While I don’t like artificial flowers…I have had to adapt… since the real ones…don’t last the night…now that…the cold weather...is here…but for…"today"…marking this 34th month…of our harsh reality…there will be...fresh flowers.

As I start…to prepare for Thanksgiving…and am trying…to make adjustments…for a normal menu…first course…I was "guilted into"…"what do you mean…you’re not making gravy?"…by the McD’s kid…then he added…"if your 'favorite' wanted it"…and knowing that…what he said…was true…I had to…reconsider…and so…gravy it will be.
Cyn is staying home...sitting this one out…for a number of reasons. When I told Chris…it would only be...us…and Con’s family…at dinner…he said…it didn’t matter to him…and when I challenged him…for his indifference…because it would have been…an opportunity…to see them...he said…"Mom…how many times…do I have to tell you… 'family gatherings’…aren’t the same…so what does it matter…when they…just make me sad." I try...to find the words…to comfort him…but there aren’t any. All I can do…is go through the motions…and that is all…any of us can do…and it is…sad.

So here we are…all of us…sharing a nightmare…that none of us…can awaken from.

We all love you Sal…and we all miss you. We are all thankful…to have had you…in our lives…and that is why...we are all…so saddened…because…we all know…who…and… what…was taken from us.

With my love…and prayers…always.
November 17, 2008
My Dear Son…Dad and I…were at…the 10:30 Mass…this morning…and as always…you were…in my thoughts. I was listening…to the gospel…about the talents…and how…two of the servants...by doing something…with their talents…earned more of them…which were then…given back to the master…who was pleased…with the results...and rewarded them.

The deeper message…is…that we…become pleasing to God…as we reach out…to others…by sharing…the greatest treasure…He…has given…to us…which is…His word…His gospel…and His message of salvation. We share it…by letting it...go out...into the world…through our…actions…and…deeds.

Since those talents…come in many forms…and my connection…to any lesson…is always you…I began to think…about all you accomplished…in your short life. You excelled…in many areas…as you grew…from a boy…to a young man…but it was…your intelligence…your education…and subsequent profession…that allowed you…to interact with people…and affect…their lives…with more than…the obvious.

We received...so many...sympathy cards...with letters...and notes...
from so many...of your patients... telling us...about the...compassion... understanding...kindness...concern and...generosity...that was...shown to them...by you.

You treated them…because of your knowledge…as their doctor…but your humaneness…decency…and patience…in giving each…the time…to truly listen…to their concerns…that part of you…that made you…treat others…as you…would want to be treated…were your true talents…and you shared…that part of yourself…reflecting His message…and it was received…by them…as they all…had a story…about you…that they...wanted us...to know about. Those cards…touched us deeply…so I believe…they also…must have been…pleasing to God.

The homily…addressed the liturgical year…as it draws to a close…Father also…spoke about…the so-called…last things. He said…the saints…summed it up…simply…life is short…death is certain…judgment is inevitable…and justice…WILL BE SATISFIED...by God...in the world to come.

A thought...I will hold onto...as I continue to pray.

With my love...and prayers...always.
November 02, 2008
To My Loving Salvatore…Eternal rest...grant unto him...O Lord…may your perpetual light...shine upon him…and may his soul…and all the souls…of the faithful departed…through the mercy of God…rest in peace. Amen

On this…All Souls Day…and one day after...Grandpa’s…All Saints Day birthday…I pray…that you…as well as…our other loved ones…are at peace…sharing in God’s promise.

We just returned home…after attending 10:30 Mass…receiving Communion...and visiting you…as we do…every Sunday.

Today’s homily…addressed...the afterlife…the reasons for purgatory…God’s mercy…the need…in behalf…of our beloved deceased…for the faithful on earth…to pray...make sacrifices…be charitable…and…have masses said…for the repose...of the souls…of our dearly departed. All the areas…that Father spoke of…in his message…affect me deeply. I understand…the reasoning…the application…but I wish…I didn’t need to.

This weekend…was a busy one. It was Homecoming...for DJO…with a pep rally…football game…and dance. Both your nieces…went to the dance…and looked lovely. Since it was also…your sister’s…25 Year…HS Reunion Weekend….we sat for Jen…and took her out…to dinner. I just realized…that when…your Godchild graduates DJO…in 2012…it will also be…your…25 year reunion. Your nieces and nephews…are growing up…learning…and becoming…interesting young people. I know you would be…enjoying them.

I just had a visit…from a dear neighbor...who watched you grow... from a boy...to a young man...along with...her own sons. I probably…monopolized…the visit…with my rantings…but she is a mom…and understands...how I feel…besides…she misses you too.

Just got…another motion…sent to us…for our input. So…we will be…back at it...in your behalf...and keeping...a promise.

All my love…and prayers…always.
October 24, 2008
Dear Son…Although…I had...a noon mass…scheduled for you...today…on this…2 years and 9 months…“Date” of Remembrance...I find the word “Anniversary”…sticks in my throat…since I always think…of an anniversary…as a word…that should only imply…the marking of...a happy occasion.

There needs to be...a different word…to describe…those times…that mark the dates...that devastate...and overwhelm...families...and cause their lives...to be changed...forever.

Back to where I started…before my analyzing a word…sidetracked me...so…since the noon mass…had to be cancelled…I went to the... morning mass…in your memory…received Communion…and prayed for your intention. All the future masses…will be scheduled…at the customary times…so hopefully... they…cannot be cancelled.

The deer…ate the flowers again…because I forgot…the repellent in the car…and I…well you know…how I feel…about having to walk that path…at all…and twice…in one visit…so…the deer…God’s creatures…had flowers to eat.

This is the season…you so enjoyed…all the upcoming holidays…you looked forward to…and everything about them…starting with...the getting you in the spirit…store decorations…where you worked…the crisp weather…bright colorful days…getting together with friends… watching baseball...football…basketball games…Halloween parties…Thanksgiving…your Birthday…this one…would have been…your 40th…the one they say…"Life Begins At"...then Christmas…and the New Year…with all its…hopes... expectations…and always…resolutions.

This is also…the season…that is extremely difficult…for our family. I think of you…walking through the door…as you would be looking at me…while shaking your head…and biting your lip...as the Halloween Witch…on our door…would cackle…sensing…someone standing there. I would say…the kids…get a kick…out of the decorations…I put out…season to season…but your look…would always say…“yeah Mom…right!” You knew me…all too well.

That would be followed…at the appropriate time…with questions from you…asking what was on…the Thanksgiving menu…as though it ever changed…which it didn’t…and once you heard…Antipasto…Gravy with Macaroni and Meatballs…you were in your comfort zone…it didn’t matter...if I made...lasagna…or ravioli…or manicotti…or baked ziti…you preferred...regular macaroni…so it was always made…especially for you…in addition…to one of the other pastas…then came…what you…really wanted to hear…“Stuffed Artichokes”…the Turkey…and all the trimmings…they were just a given…and then…the truly important question…you’d ask…“HOW MANY?” Artichokes. My response was always…“TOO MANY!”…but that only reassured you…that...you’d be taking some home. How I miss the phone calls…and the questions.

Then it would be…what can I get the kids…for Christmas…any ideas…but of course…you always came up…with your own. Your birthday…would be celebrated…twice…once with family…and then friends. We would have all…celebrated this “Milestone” one…together. Dad and I…would have invited…everyone…to a surprise 40th for you…on this special birthday. If only the clock…could be turned back.

Well…I haven’t done…any major decorating…since January 24, 2006…but yesterday…I did buy flowers…and a small pumpkin…and put them…outside our door.

This is the beginning…of your season…and I must…remember that…by celebrating it…for you. I am trying…Sal.

I just brought…Fall leaves…the cling and gel type…to Jen…and helped her…put them…on the windows…that frame…her front door. She was the boss…of what direction…they would be falling…and how the colors…should be balanced. She was pleased…when she was finished…and it looked…really cute.

Mrs. L...called yesterday…while I was out…hoping we could...pay a visit…to your…resting place…and say some prayers…for both “our boys.” When she wasn’t able...to reach me...she went...on her own. It was very kind of her…but then...she is a…very special lady…who is caring…and she loves…and misses…her son Richard...in the same way…that I love…and miss you.

God Bless You...Sal...and each...of your...St. Michael schoolmates...
Richard...Vinny...and...Laura.

With my prayers…always.
October 20, 2008
To My Loving Son…It is 1000 days…today…and still the seconds…when I heard…those incredibly painful words…spoken to me…in those devastating moments.

Friday…I went to your resting place. Afterwards…having been prompted…to address the…long over-due issue…of the…marker…which I had…on hold…I finally did. I had wanted…to leave it…until everything else…was resolved. It was suggested…that my many... inexplicable reasons…for delaying it…were almost dishonoring. One... of my truths...is…I have a difficult time…reading those bronzed names…and dates…belonging to…such young people…parents' children...who shouldn't be there...it hurts…and...I don’t want to…see your name…in that final form…added to that wall…either...although I know…it must be. Please forgive me…for all…my reasons…and how I think.

This past week…we received a copy…of their summary judgment…citing why…they think…the charges…in our suit…against the officer…should be dismissed. We have a few weeks…to respond to them…and then a decision…by the judge…will be made. At that point…the appeal process…will begin…perhaps from “both” sides. Once again...it will begin...another holiday season...of court dates.

I keep thinking...next...they will expect...an apology from us…in your behalf…for…"being"…and…in his line…of fire. Sal…I am appalled…that a life...can be unjustly taken…and it means…nothing to them. It is as though...they have a license...to do whatever...to not recognize...the need...to change their tactics...and then...to justify their actions...and to assume no responsibility...for what they caused. It is incredible... and I don't understand them.

As we go forward…I will continue to pray.

Sal…please watch over Dad…your Sisters…their Families…and...your Brother.

I love you…with all my heart…and I…miss you…beyond words…you are always…in my thoughts.

God Bless You…my Precious Son.

With my prayers...always.
October 12, 2008
My Dear Son...Although Chris’ birthday is Wednesday…and because he will be working…both day and evening…I asked him...to pick a place for dinner…we could go to... today…so that...we could all be together…to wish him...an early Happy Birthday. Initially he said NO!… but when I pressed the issue…he got annoyed...and said an irritated...FINE!…let’s all go…where “brutha” is…afterall…he was always…a part of family dinners. Seeing…the look on my face…at his response…he felt a need to explain…and then proceeded…to pour out…what he usually…keeps bottled up inside…and it was…and is...so heartbreaking…because I know exactly…how he feels…and why he feels…as he does.

Sal…without you...everything falls short. Those responsible…for destroying our family…couldn’t care any less…about us…and the pain…they have caused…each member…of our family…to live with each day…and although I try…I can’t imagine…what kind of beings…whether by... their acts of commission…or omission…in that chain of command…could have allowed…such an excessive plan…to go forward…the end result…of which…disregarded your safety…and unnecessarily took you…from your life…and ours.

These next days…and months…are especially difficult. They blatantly…bring to mind… all the events…that were put into motion…leading to what happened. In addition…this is the season...of family holidays…your birthday…Christmas and New Year…all constant reminders...of what…has been taken…from our family…and why…we will never be...the same again.

Last night…a man sang…Garth Brooks'…The Dance…your song…one that we all thought…you sang…better than Garth. I wanted to…get up and leave…but I sat there…absorbing the lyrics...silently crying...hoping no one would notice…as my insides…were holding back…the sobs.

I guess…I haven’t come too far…in the grieving process…but then…I don’t expect…I ever will.

Please watch over Chris…he is working…in an area…that you had suggested…he consider…when you began…your practice…and where…he could have been…a help to you. He said he regrets…not taking your advice…because if he would have…he could have had…more time with you. I know he feels badly…about disregarding your offer.

Fortunately…he has…come full circle…and everyone in the office…seems to like him…and I think…he is enjoying…what he is doing. I’d like to think…you had some influence…in the circumstances…that led to this position.

We just got back…from dinner…all of us wished him…a Happy Birthday…and by some strange “coincidence”…Robin... happened to be there. She visited with us...for a while…had a picture taken with Chris…and it was…as though…she was meant...to be there…perhaps…once again...that too…was your influence...and a little sign...for me...that it was ok...that I had pressed...the Birthday dinner issue...with him...one more time.

God bless you Salvatore…you are so loved…and missed.

You are in my every thought…and always in my prayers.
September 24, 2008
My Dear Son…It is 975 days…or 139 weeks…or 2 years and 8 months…it is forever…and yet…a split second ago…as I count…each day…thinking of you…missing you…and wishing you were here…to enjoy your life.

I visited your resting place…yesterday…our Tuesday…and today I attended Mass…and received communion…for your intention.

Sal…the walk up that path…doesn’t get any easier…and turning from you…to walk away…is even more difficult…because to leave you…in that place…is something I never…could have imagined…occurring…in my lifetime. I don’t know…when or if…I will ever…come to terms…with what “is”…because of them.

I know…the stages of grief…and at some point…in the healing process…instead of mourning…one is expected…to begin celebrating…the life...of their loved one. I am aware…of all you have given us…the wonderful memories…of love…laughter…joy…and the pride…in your many accomplishments. I know…this should be…the focus…but until there is…a resolution…for all that has happened…that focus is blurred...and I live…walking a fine line…trying to balance…what was…what is…and…what will be.

Watch over Dad…I know what he faced yesterday…was not easy for him.

We love you Sal…and will do...whatever is necessary…in your behalf.

Rest well…my son…you are always…in my thoughts…and in my heart.

With my prayers...
September 17, 2008
Dear Salvatore…Yesterday…Sept. 15th…was the feast day...of Mary...Mother of Sorrows. I attended mass…offering my prayers and communion…for other mothers…who have also...suffered the loss...of their precious children.

Nan...Bonnie...Peggy...Carol...June...Janice...Cheri...all of us know...the pain and sorrow...of having our boys...taken from their lives...and ours...much too soon.

There are also...the younger mothers...Julie...Pauline...Norma..who have their own... special "little" angels...watching over them...from Heaven.

We all take...one day at a time...but none of us...will ever be the same.

Father’s homily spoke of…the pain and suffering…of our Blessed Mother…as her heart was pierced...seven times…because of the specific events…that were either...revealed to her…or that she witnessed…as Christ’s life unfolded. As a mother…she suffered all that was done…to her Son. He said she knows…the pain…that those of us…who have also...lost our sons…carry deep within our hearts. He said...mothers who bear...such crosses…should unite their suffering…with hers and Christ’s…for the good…in redemption…of others. I hear the words…and recognize...how daunting…a challenge…we are asked to consider.

Dad and I…attended a Cato forum…on Thursday. A thoughtful…articulate…young mayor…shared his horrific experience…in explaining what happened…to his family…that in fact…could happen…to anyone. He was insightful…in his understanding…of what needs…to be addressed…as these wrongful incidents…are happening more…and more. In our case…it was like…preaching to the choir…because we know…first hand…what can be lost.

Everyone is speaking of change…at this season of the year…and change…is what is needed…in our law enforcement departments…in their policies…in their tactics…and in their training programs. Routine interactions…with non-threatening persons…should not...be handled by SWAT teams. SWAT teams were formed…to respond to highly dangerous situations…terrorists…hostage takers…violent offenders…who are menacing…and a threat to others. They should not…be sent out…for routine matters. The police must be competent…in their investigations…before embarking…on so called SWAT “raids”… that can endanger…not only the innocent…but those that are non-threats…because…excessive force…leaves no room for error. As citizens…we should feel…safe and secure…both in our homes…and in our person…when engaged by those…who are sworn…to protect and serve. This is the message...that was addressed...time will tell…if this message is received.

Friday was court day. Again…we wait…as they prepare…for a summary judgment. The legal system…takes many…twists and turns. Our complaint…their response...our response…their response…our motion…their motion…and so it goes…round and round…and of course…there are always…the appeals.

On Sunday…we went to offer…our condolences…to Fr. VanderWoude…and his family. His father…gave up his life…while saving his son…in what was…a tragic circumstance. Laying down one’s life…for another… is a complete act of love. I know he…is resting in God’s peace…a recipient of God’s promise…for his selfless act. I pray…that his family…receives abundant graces…as they cope…with such a…sudden and difficult loss.

Time cheated a lot of us...Son…and there are…so many things…I hold in my heart…that I wish…I could have told you.

Sal…please watch over…your brother. He hasn’t been…feeling well. We all keep…passing around…the change of weather…and allergy induced…symptoms of the season.

We all love…and miss you. You are always…in my thoughts…and in my
prayers.
September 09, 2008
My Dear Son…I got a call from the rectory…the two noon masses…I had scheduled…for both Sept. 24th and Oct. 24th…have been cancelled. We have recently…downsized the number of priests…at our parish…so with that…goes the additional noon mass. I have had to…reschedule them…for Feb. 24th and March 24th of 2009.

Sal...this 137th week…will find us…back at it…on Friday.

We are all doing…whatever we must…to forge ahead...and how much we love…and miss you...is what...keeps us focused.

You...are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
August 24, 2008
My Dearest Salvatore…Today is Dad’s birthday…you know…another family occasion…when we all...would have been together…teasing and laughing…taking pictures…eating a special meal…one of Dad’s choosing…and having him...throw us all...off key...as he always...felt the need...to harmonize...as we all sang...Happy Birthday to him...but now…because of your loss…we suffer the pain…of your absence from us…and try to rush…the day away…because…all of those special “family” days…are no more.

We attended the 10:30 mass…offered in your memory…this morning…as we mark…the 2 years and 7 months...you have been gone from us. We prayed at your resting place…and as always…when we leave…a part of us…remains there…with you.

The last two times…I visited you…your niece was with me. She insisted each time…on carrying the container of water…along with the flowers…for Uncle Sal. She opened the flower food…poured it into the vase…along with the water…then she arranged the flowers… adding her note card…to the center of them. We said some prayers…and as we started to leave…she asked…if she could…tap the chimes…and spin the wind-catcher cross…and of course she did both. Whenever she is asked…by your brother… particularly when he finishes…playing a game with her…and is fishing for a compliment…about who her favorite uncle is…she never misses a beat…her answer is always…UNCLE SAL. We all miss you.

We finally received…what we were waiting for. It took eight months…and unfortunately…it was…what I expected.

Dad…the eternal…half-full-glass guy…was more than disappointed. Given the circumstances…of what took place…it is hard to accept…that in good conscience…someone could reason…that they are not…to be accountable…for their parts in…what they allowed…to go forward…that set the scene…for what has…brought us…to this day.

I have said it many times…that our grieving...due to your loss…could have…would have…and should have…been avoidable…if only one…of the many persons…in the decision making process...listened to that inner voice.

I have read that…it is a court of law…not a court of justice…and given…that it might be true…it is a sad commentary…and may perpetuate...a cycle of…disappointments...in a system…with many flaws.

The words...realist... skeptic...cynic...are blurring...as I try...to absorb all...that has happened...and is continuing...to happen.

So…once again…my dear Son...we continue forward…doing whatever we must…as we try…to keep our promise...to you.

Sal...you are loved…you are missed…you are in our hearts…and in our thoughts... always.

With my prayers...
August 14, 2008
Dearest Son…Last night…Dad and I…had the opportunity…to help support a musician friend…by attending his first appearance…at a local Russian restaurant. We went…but my real motivation for going…was YOU…because it was…an establishment…you had been to…on occasion...and often said to us…that we should go there…because it was mostly frequented…by people our age…who liked to sing…and you thought…we would enjoy ourselves. I felt by going…I was honoring you somehow…in doing something…you had suggested…that we do.

We were having...a pleasant evening…until a man began to sing… Presley's...Can't Help Falling In Love...your song...the one you did... so well...my eyes filled with tears...as thoughts of you...my young son…who should have been…the one...who was out…enjoying his evening...singing with friends...as you often did…turned into flashbacks...of all...that has happened…that has taken you… from your life…and us…to where we are now…in your behalf.

Before we left…I found myself…wanting to have…some tangible keepsake…with which to fill...in some small way...the emptiness...I was feeling...after having been...where…you had been…because I don’t know…if I will…or even can…go back there again.

I was moved...to ask an employee…if I could purchase something…a memento…and although she said yes…I felt compelled…to tell her... why I asked. She listened…was touched…and very sympathetic. She wrapped...and handed me...what I had requested...but didn't want to...take my money. I insisted…and she…knowing it would be…a losing battle…under the circumstances...understood...and accepted it.

The Butterscotch…was had for you…I miss you so very much.

With my love…and prayers…always.
August 13, 2008
My Dear Salvatore...This weekend...we all went to NJ…for an early celebration...of Grandpa’s 90th birthday…and a baby shower...for your cousin’s first baby. We had a good time...a loud time…with over three dozen family members…gathered under one roof…thanks to the gracious hospitality…of your aunt and uncle.

There were many laughs…funny memories about growing up…in that taken for granted…but priceless upbringing…in our neighborhood…that led us…to become who we are…and for which…we are all very grateful…because we had those lessons...taught with love...to pass
onto...our own children.

We poked fun…as we recalled expressions…used by our older aunts…who have passed on. They were still being...our source of love…and laughter. We saw photos…of our relatives’ newest grandchildren…all of them beautiful…and that is the truth. I guess it is…in the genes. So there were…great memories shared…in wonderful company…and delicious Italian food...and desserts.

Of course there was also…the goofing…boys being boys…in the form…of your young nephews. Chris managed to…correct them…again and again…and they were…none the worse for his efforts. It was comforting….to be with family...although the 8½ hour…return car trip…for Con…and the 5½ hour ride…for us…is another story.

A very dear cousin…pointed out a painting...that was hanging…in the banquet hall foyer. It is the same painting…that I have in the kitchen…the one with the cherubs…who have the big eyes…that remind me of you. I hadn’t noticed it initially…but she did…and she knew…because she too is a sensitive soul…that it holds special meaning to me. I took it to be…a little sign from you…that you were with us in spirit.

Your brother was trying hard…to keep it together. He gets melancholy…being with family…because he misses…having his ally…YOU…with him...and us...to share in those occasions.

We spoke of you…about where we are…in the process…of our seeking justice…in your behalf…how deplorable it all was...and is… and there are always...in those paused moments…between conversations…with our extended family…that we each recognize…a need for silence…to gain composure...because those moments...are so painful…to recall…and since we all care…about one another’s hurts…we don’t want to…cause a time of joy…to send us...abruptly back…into our sad reality.

Today I visited...your resting place...with your niece. She wrote a card for you...with a picture of a heart...and some x's and o's...carried the flowers...she helped to pick out...for you...and said prayers for you.

Please watch over...your nieces...nephews...sisters...and brother.

I love you son…we all missed you…and we pray for you.
July 26, 2008
Dear Anita: Tonight we had our 25 year reunion from St. Mike's. We met at Kilroy's. We read Sal's entry in Ellen F, her diary from 4th grade. These reunions bring back memories of everyone. As we grow we all wondered how everyone turned out. Sal was missed tonight.
July 24, 2008
Dearest Son…Last night…on Jen’s 8th birthday…the requested dinner was…"Grandma’s gravy…macaroni…and meatballs”…so I obliged. Although…I must admit…since my focus is elsewhere…I don’t enjoy cooking anymore…so I seldom do.

Dad and I just got back…from receiving communion…at the 8:30 mass…that was offered...in your memory today…on this 30th month...marking the 2½ years…that have taken…the heart and soul…out of our lives.

After mass…I took your SCO diploma...to be framed…finally…but not quite. I meant to have it done...when you first received it…but so much…was going on...at that time…besides…you said…you had needed it…in its original state…in order to make duplicate copies…before it was dry mounted…and framed.

I added to the delay…as I was busy…with Gramps...who was in need of assistance...and when he passed away…I became down-hearted…had I done enough…did I make the right decisions. He seemed well enough…to come home on Friday…Saturday, I was told…he wasn’t doing well…and told to call…whatever family needed to know…and Wednesday he was gone. When we returned...from his funeral…you were sick…and had to have...an emergency surgery...for a ruptured appendix...which was apparently botched...causing you to be...post-operatively sidelined...for the better part…of the year after graduation…with follow-up doctor’s appointments…mega doses of powerful antibiotics…terrible allergic side effects…and emergency room visits…hospital tests…and stays…while trying to find out…the cause of the problems…that none of the specialists…could point to…yet…were causing you…so much pain and suffering. My instincts…incompetence…on the part of the young surgeon…but you gave him…the benefit of the doubt.

There were also…the normal hectic family concerns. Cyn was doing her best…to hold things together…while raising her family…and dealing with…their health issues…which are…an ongoing concern…for us.

There was time consumed…volunteering…as Chris rehearsed and excelled…in his high school plays…partaking in all…his senior year activities…preparing for his graduation…your decision to move…into your own apartment…which didn’t set well with me…since I felt…you needed to get better…before expending energy…on a move. There were also…other reasons…for the loss of time.

Finally…we were trying to assist you…with your decisions…concerning your professional opportunities…and of course…lending advice…re the pros and cons…of purchasing…and then furnishing…your first place…while you were still feeling…less than well physically…but you were excited and happy…to get on with your life.

Then we were all…blind-sided…by Con’s medical emergency…and all that it necessitated. Our family was frantic…for those two years…having our hearts…in our throats…but you…were my personal calm…the reassuring voice of reason…my son…who would always be there…for all of us…and me...to depend on. You are so very loved…and missed…by me...for so many reasons...Sal.

And then…when I thought it was ok…to breathe again…Con was doing well…with some follow-ups planned…Cyn was hanging in…your life was falling into place…Chris was in college…but having doubts…about what he really…wanted to do…all of it…just chalked up to…life’s ups and downs. Thank God there were…the pleasant distractions…grandchildren.

God was good…and things were going along…and just when I was believing…after we had weathered several storms…that the worst was behind us…January 24th, 2006 dawned.

I wish there was a way…to erase time.

Back to…your diploma being framed…the not quite...is because…I didn’t have the ribbon…that was needed…signifying the school colors…that are meant…to be placed…at an angle…at the top of the diploma…when it is framed. So I phoned SCO…and a very gracious woman…is mailing some ribbon...to me. So much…for getting done...with what I thought…would be an easy…though long overdue…task.

I have been trying…to organize a room…with anything and everything…pertaining to your life…but I take two steps forward…and many steps backwards.

We have not updated your justice site…in sixteen months…and on this 2½ year anniversary…we were hopeful…to do just that...even though…Dad and I find it very painful…to keep revisiting…what was done…and what was not done…that allowed for all...that happened to you...and has brought us...to this day.

We recognize the need to address…what we have learned…through our own investigating…but we are still determining…what will be…the best way…to convey our findings…to others.

You are always...in my heart...and in my thoughts...my precious son.

With my love…and prayers…always.
July 04, 2008
Dearest Son...Another family holiday...spent quietly...after visiting your resting place.

We left flowers...that were red...whilte...and blue...said a prayer for you...and told you again...how much you are loved...and missed.

Every day...without you... is a heartache.

You are always...in my heart...in my thoughts...and in my prayers.
June 27, 2008
Dearest Sal,
The last few days of June are upon us, marking the end of the Month Of the Sacred Heart .... the Heart pierced with Love, and Pouring out Grace and Mercy beyond our comprehension.
As a shepherd gathers in his sheep, so has Our Lord gathered you into His fold.
May those you left behind take comfort in Our Lord's own words:
'MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE,
AND I KNOW THEM,
AND THEY FOLLOW ME.
AND I GIVE THEM ETERNAL LIFE,
AND THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH;
NEITHER SHALL ANYONE SNATCH
THEM OUT OF MY HAND!
MY FATHER,
WHO HAS GIVEN THEM TO ME,
IS GREATER THAN ALL;
AND NO ONE
IS ABLE TO SNATCH THEM OUT
OF MY FATHERS HAND."
(John 10:27-29)
Sal, Our Lord is Only Love ....
a Love that soothes all wounds.
Dear Lord,
Please Open the Hearts of those so wounded ....
that once more, they can feel
the Joy felt when abandoning their sorrows in Your Most Sacred Heart.
Always and Prayerfully,
Marie Therese
June 24, 2008
My Dear Son…Dad and I...attended the Mass this morning…being offered...in your memory…on this Tuesday...the 24th day…of month number 29.

I try very hard…each day…to do what is expected of me…but I end each day…having accomplished very little…because…because.

Everything is being tested…my faith…my patience…my expectations…my tolerance. I find myself…composing letters in my head…of all that I hold in my heart…wanting to read them aloud…to all those…who had a part…in turning our world...upside down...and inside out.

I try to hold on to every memory…treasuring each image…but then…I also remember that night…when they came to our door…and everything...that has transpired since…right up to this moment…of waiting. I can’t forget…and they probably...don’t want to remember.

It has again…been pointed out to me…that I don’t smile…I’m negative…and on my way...to bitter. I think I am holding up…just fine…under the circumstances. Only another mother…who has mourned…for her child…can understand…how hard it is...to breathe…sleep…think…focus…and feel sane. As for smiling…you do that…when you have a happy heart…negative...and on my way to bitter…well…should I be expected…to be otherwise…given that my precious son…had his life stolen…from him and our family…for no reason…other than the misguided application...of policies and protocols…that demanded closer supervision. Couple that with the arrogant attitudes…that discounted your safety…and you have the recipe…for what became our nightmare.

Only other moms…who have also... lost their children…can understand...how changed you become. I look at the word ”lost”…if that is even…the correct word…to describe what has happened…to our beloved children…and I’m coming to the realization…that those of us…who are left to mourn…for our dear children…we…are the ones…who are really “lost.”

I love you Salvatore…I miss you…and I pray for you…always..
June 15, 2008
Dear Salvatore…Today is the third Father’s Day…without you. Another in the list…of special days...that we want...to go by quickly...because our broken hearts…find them…all the more hurtful.

I remember writing…that Stef was your only Godchild…neglecting to include your brother. What was I thinking…as I can picture you... carrying him into Church…on his Baptism day…when you were only 14 yrs. old. You even had pictures taken…of you with him...and your sisters…at the Convent altar. How proud you looked…as you held...that little brother of yours. He was your first Godchild…and when you were 26…Stef became your second…at her Baptism. So you have two Godchildren...one of each…a boy and a girl…who were received…into our Catholic faith...as you became...Godfather to each of them... in the sacrament of Baptism.

Since this is a day...to honor all Fathers...it becomes a day…for honoring you too…as their "God-Father." God bless you Sal.

We are attending...a noon Mass today…being said…by a newly ordained priest…and a plenary indulgence will be granted…because it is his first mass…at his...and our…home parish. I will remember...all our young sons...in prayer...and I will offer my Communion today…for You…my Dad…and my own Godfather.

I wish you a blessed “God-Father’s Day” son…kiss Grandpa for me…and know each of you…is very loved…and very missed.

With my prayers always...
June 10, 2008
My Dear Son…It is now…one hundred and twenty-four weeks…the 124th Tuesday. I look at that number…and for me...the 1 shouts...January...and the 24...the day of the month...on which your life...was ended...as well as mine. Everything and anything…brings you to mind…it is a constant…for me.

I know other mothers…who have also lost…their wonderful young sons…and our thoughts...feelings…and emotions…follow the same path. While we are all unique beings…we are far more alike…in our grief…than we are different. We are heartbroken…and...for as long as we live…we know...this is...how we will remain.

We all hope…that our children…are happy…resting in peace…and not witness…to the pain…we feel…as a result…of being separated…from each of you…because...we do not…want to cause…your peace and happiness...to be disturbed…by our upset…and tears.

Please forgive us…if we are not…bearing our crosses…as God…would want us to. Although His grace…should be sufficient...to sustain us...we are…unbelievably inconsolable...because our hearts…long for our children.

Sal…Richard…Vinny…you were all…young men...but to us...you will always be..."our precious boys”…“our loving sons”…who were called back home…far too soon…and much too young.

I hope and pray…that you are all together…enjoying boyhood memories…while renewing your friendships…in that far better place.

God bless each of you…you are all in my prayers.

I love you Salvatore…I miss you more...and more...with each day.
June 04, 2008
Dear Salvatore…Forty-four years ago…on this date…only then…it was on a Wednesday…Dad graduated from West Point…and tonight…your Godchild graduates…from elementary school.

The ceremony will take place in church…and as vice president…of her 8th grade class…she will do a reading from the altar. Any awards to be received…will not be announced…until this evening. She is a very gifted student…so we will see how it goes.

This is our 123rd Tuesday…once more...a bittersweet occasion…for us…as we go through…the motions of celebration…which in reality…and unfairly…have been reduced to…a charade. These life events…are meant to be joyous…but we are doing good…if we just manage…to get through them…without tears.

Your brother...dreads family gatherings. He finds them too painful…because he no longer has…you…his “brutha”…to share them with. He idolized you…and he hurts…because of your loss. I try to tell him…I know…as we all do…how he feels…but it doesn’t lessen the grief…for him…or us. The truth is…life for us…will never be the same…as it was.

We just got back from the graduation. Chris sat in the balcony…and played camera man for us...filming Stef...each time she was called up…for another award. She got awards...in several categories…I only remember a few…one for Overall General Excellence...in every subject…Excellence in Religion…Excellence in AP Algebra...General Excellence in the Presidential Fitness Award…Student Body Award…Perfect Attendance…and some others I can’t recall. She is truly a bright young lady...and when she got the algebra award...there were tears...because she is...like her "Godfather."

As I’ve asked before…please watch over her…and all of your nieces and nephews.

We all love...and miss you...so very much.

With my prayers…always.
May 24, 2008
Dearest Son…This is Memorial Day Weekend…when families will gather…to enjoy the beginning…of the summer season. There will be parades…graduations…reunions…and the anticipation…of family vacations. Weather permitting…pools will open up…there will be picnics…and barbecues…all of the occasions…that families…with "normal" lives...look forward to enjoying together.

But it is mainly…a time to remember…and honor…our war veterans…who served heroically…and gave their lives…to protect our freedoms. Some…who had been there…and done that…and managed to come home…will visit war memorials…place flags at graves…and attend commemorative masses…for those they served with…who didn’t make it home. Rolling Thunder…will never let us forget…that our POW’s and MIA’s…from every war…still must be accounted for…and returned to their families.

This beginning...of the summer season…contrasts…the real reason…for Memorial Day Weekend. May God bless all of our servicemen.

We attended Mass...and received Communion…in your memory…as today is Saturday…May 24th…the 28th month… I still can’t believe it.

Every time...I visit your resting place…it is like the first time…and all the emotions…come flooding in. It will always be this way…I know.

I watched 20/20 last night…about people wronged…who managed…to get on with their lives…and were able...to find forgiveness…for their wrongdoers…only after the end…of their grieving process…which hinged on those…who wronged them…becoming accountable...being confronted…and made to take responsibility…for what they caused.

These people...must be very blessed…by God’s grace…if they are able to forgive…those who stole a life from them. I understand the reasons…why forgiveness is important…but you were...and are…important too…and a grief process…ending…I can’t believe…that will ever happen...for me. Anyway…there are some wrongs…that can only be forgiven…by God.
.
How I wish…you were here…and that we…were not...one of the families…that has to live...with our "new normal"...that makes gathering together…a sad occasion for us...because of your absence...especially on this Memorial Day…since…Monday…is your niece’s…17th birthday...and our family...should have all been together...watching her...blow out the candles...on her "Banana Cake"...your favorite...as she made a wish.

I love you son…I miss you so…

Rest in peace.

With my prayers…always.
May 22, 2008
To My Dear Son…Tonight…May 21...our family gathered in church…to watch…as your Godchild received...the sacrament of Confirmation. She took the name Clare…honoring St. Clare…founder of the Order of Poor Clares…and whose name means “bright/brilliant”…just like our Stef. Your eldest niece…her big sister…was her sponsor.

I found it interesting…that St. Clare is also the patron saint…of eyes and eye disease. I’d like to think…the choosing of this name…in some special way...may have been influenced by you…and your profession.

I know…if you were here…you would have left work early…to be able to join us.

Watch over her Sal…as well as...your other nieces and nephews.

I love you…I miss you…and I saw the signs you sent me today.

With my prayers…always
May 13, 2008
Dearest Sal, Our Lady's tears fall upon you and your family. Why is it, that on this Feast day Of Our Lady of Fatima there is still so much sadness and sorrow?
She has sheltered you in her arms and lifted you up to the bosom of her Son.
Looking to the Bible, perhaps these will be comforting words to those to whom you have left behind .....
'AND YE NOW THEREFORE HAVE SORROW: BUT I WILL SEE YOU AGAIN, AND YOUR HEART SHALL REJOICE, AND YOUR JOY NO MAN TAKETH AWAY FROM YOU.
JOHN 16:22

And, on this Feast Day of Our Lady,
dearest Sal .... I know you would want to give you mother words of comfort and healing. Smile down, as she reads this prayer sent from you:

MY MOTHER, MY CONFIDENCE
O Mary Immaculate,
the precious name of Mother of Confidence,
with which we honor Thee,
fills our hearts to overflowing with the sweetest consolation
and moves us to hope for every blessing from Thee.
If such a title has been given to Thee, it is a sure sign that no one has recourse to Thee in vain.
Accept, therefore,
with a mother's love our devout homage,
as we earnestly beseech Thee to be gracious unto us in our every need.
Above all do we pray Thee to make us live in constant union with Thee and Thy Divine Son Jesus.
With Thee as our guide,
we are certain that we shall ever walk in the right way;
in such wise that it will be our happy lot hear Thee say on the last day of our life those words of comfort:
"Come then,
my good and faithful servant,
enter thou into the joy of the Lord."
Amen.
May 12, 2008
Dear Salvatore: Your mom is enduring something that very few mom's can. I pray for her, you and your family every day.
Love Josie
May 11, 2008
Dearest Son...This is the third Mother's Day...that I have to face... without giving in...to the rage I feel...for what was done to you.

Mass and communion...buying flowers...visiting your resting place... and praying...will get me through...the first...few hours...of today. Then I will spend...the remainder of this day...wanting...and
waiting...for it to be over.

Everytime...someone says the perfunctory...Happy Mother's Day...I die inside.

I am blessed...to have your sisters...and brother...but without you...my family is incomplete...and it is...an incredibly painful reality...that I live with...my son stolen...from his life...from his siblings...and from us. It should never...have happened.

Sal...we will keep our promise.

With my love...and prayers.
May 10, 2008
My Dear Salvatore...Today...I was surfing the net…just trying to distract myself...from thinking…about tomorrow’s special day. A day that may find…those fortunate others...spending time…in the company…of their mothers. How I wish…we were as fortunate.

While scrolling…I came across a site…that had contributors…voicing their unfounded opinions...and unsubstantiated conclusions…without any reservations…as to whether or not…what they said was true.

It is sad…that wanting to have...one's statements in print…no matter how wrong they may be…does not deter one…from hateful…judgmental…and slanderous remarks. I guess I have found…some more unnamed souls…to pity…and pray for.

I know…I should find...a more productive distraction…but at the moment…and for all the moments... in my future...my focus is…what it is...and what it will...continue to be...you.

I love you…I miss you…you are in my every thought…and prayer.

Rest in peace...son.
May 06, 2008
My Dear Son...Today…your only Godchild...had her 14th birthday...we were there to celebrate...I try...but it is always difficult. I think of you...her Uncle...and Godfather...not being there...and I ache inside.

In two weeks...she will receive...the sacrament of Confirmation...her sister will be her Godmother...and next month...she graduates...from grade school.

All the happy times...when we would...could...and should...have all been together...enjoying family moments...are no longer possible.

I miss you...I pray for you...you are always in my heart...and on my mind.

I love you...
April 27, 2008
My Precious Son...Dad managed to surprise me this evening...he took me out for a birthday dinner...and when I walked into the restaurant...your sisters...their families...and your brother...were waiting for me. I really had no clue.

How I wish...you could have been there too.

I miss you Salvatore...
April 24, 2008
Dearest Salvatore…We have now marked…the 27th month…without your physical presence…in our lives. Spiritually…and emotionally…we will never be apart…because the bond…is love…and that will never pass away.

I just came home…after attending the Mass…that was offered…this morning…in your memory.

When I visited...your resting place…and after praying for you…and little Ryan Marie…I was looking…for some signs...of our boys. As I began to leave…I looked up…and I saw two birds…flying near to each other…and over the mausoleum. It crossed my mind…that there needed to be…one more. The sky was clear…a beautiful blue…and as I continued to look up…it was empty. I lost heart for a moment…no further sign…and then from nowhere…not a tree…or a bush…a third bird…just was there…like a tag-along…flying fast…to catch up…to the other two birds. I walked down the path…feeling that…I should say...believing…that you three boys…gave me my sign…and that you are...all together.

The last four...of these months…have been spent…waiting…and we are told...it is inappropriate…for us…to ask of anyone…the obvious questions…pertinent to this…open-ended…wait.

So we will...rely on patience…one of your virtues. If we must wait…then wait…we will…and we shall be here…for as long…as this waiting…takes. You know me…I didn’t say we’d like the wait…but we are not going away.

In the meantime…I have been reading…little sayings…and profound thoughts…about justice…that are attributed…to insightful persons. The statement that…justice delayed…is justice denied…or...when justice is denied anywhere…it is denied everywhere…or that peace and justice…are two sides…of the same coin…and finally…the place of justice…is a hallowed place. These particular thoughts…ring especially true…to me...and what I come away with…is that justice…and its peace...rests in God’s hands…and in His time.

I love you my son…with my prayers...
April 24, 2008
Dearest Son…Today...April 23rd... was a day full of emotions...this morning there was sadness...all of us were in tears…at the funeral Mass…for our dear Vinny. Dad and I…know exactly how his parents feel…and Con and Cyn…were brokenhearted for Charlie…because they know...all too well…the pain he is now feeling…and will continue to feel…just as they did and still do…because of your loss.

He loved his brother…as his brother loved him…he was proud of his brother…as his brother was of him…and I am sure…he had expected…he and his brother…would grow old together. Sheer will…and a lot of grace…holding back a flood of tears…got him through the eulogy. It was the same way…Con got through yours. These feelings and expectations…are the same…that your siblings…felt…and still feel…about you.

I know his parents…were hurt further…watching their remaining son…suffering the loss of his brother…even as he spoke of him…on that altar. I know…because I’ve been there. The images of Con…on the altar…speaking of you…then Cyn's words at the cemetery…and Chris carrying your casket…those are images…that will never be erased…from my memory. Even now...I cannot read…Con’s eulogy for you…without sobbing…as though it is not enough…to lose the one child…but then…to have your remaining children…so terribly devastated by that loss…compounds the piling on of heartaches... that parents have to absorb.

With illness…you are told…“he is at peace now,”…“he is no longer suffering,”…while true…along with the many words of comfort…well meaning friends…attempt to express…in trying to console bereaved family…the bottom line is…there is no consolation. All parents…want their children…to be allowed to live…healthy and productive lives…for a long time…and when that is taken from them…there are no words…to make sense of why…these crosses had to come to them. Children are their families future…their joy…and while I know…there is this “plan”…I am struggling…with its merit. God help all of us.

I do have to recognize…that although this was a sad occasion… it also was the bridge…in revisiting with old friends…and it led to soul searching…and insightful conversations…about our faith.

I am so proud…of the boys…now young men…many of them fathers…the girls…young women…who are now…wives and mothers…and were there…to pay their respect…and show their love…for their friend…Vinny. The last time I saw some of them…was when those same reasons…brought them together…for you. They are all…good human beings…from loving families…so I trust…that there is hope…and that they will instill…in their own families…the values…that they were raised with…as children.

Tonight the emotion was…joy...as your oldest niece…was inducted into…the National Honor Society. It brought back…the memories of your induction…when you crossed the same stage...in the same auditorium...to receive your pin...symbolizing...scholarship...
service...leadership...and character. You managed to include...all of those qualities...into your life...and we pray...that Vic...will embrace them...in her life too. It was a proud moment...for your sister and brother-in-law...just as it was...for Dad and I...so long ago...and now...we got to experience it again...as grandparents. God is good...

So we end this day...countering our sorrow...with a blessing.

Love you son…wish you could have been here…to share tonight.

I miss you so...with my prayers...always
April 20, 2008
My Dear Son…this has been a particularly sad week…and they don’t seem to end.

Two of my very dear friends...and their families…have suffered tremendous losses…as an infant…and a young man…were both…called back home to God.

As we search our faith for answers...there is no question about our belief...that they are both resting now…perfected…and in His glorious peace.

Each gave their all…as they carried their cross. I am sure…that they will be rewarded…and that many mercies…will be bestowed on others…as a direct result...of what they…endured.

Of course…they had the love…prayers…and support…of family and friends…but it was still terribly heartbreaking…to once again…relate to parents…as they watched and hoped…for a different outcome.

Salvatore…I hope…that you and Richard…were there…to welcome Vinny…along with Kay…as she cradled…baby Faith Maria...in her loving arms.

God bless each of you…and watch over all of us…who love and miss you.

With my love…and prayers.
April 08, 2008
Dearest Salvatore…Nineteen years ago today…the memories are very vivid…of my handsome twenty year old son…offering me his arm…while escorting me…down the church aisle...on your sister’s wedding day.

We had unexpectedly...lost Nan two years earlier…and I was hurting...that she didn’t live to see this day…my first child getting married…her namesake…the little granddaughter…that had been through so much…and who owned Nan’s heart.

As the memories of my Mom…flashed into my head as we walked…I was trying to hold back tears…and you…sensing my upset…patted my hand...held me tighter to you…and whispered to me…”it’s ok Mom…hold onto me.” Sal…you were my rock then…and I always counted on you…to be there…for me…for your sisters and brother…and now…you are not here...for any of us...to hold onto.

I can see you jumping up…snatching at the garter…getting it...but then giving it up to another…since it was your other sister...who caught the bouquet.

You asked me to dance…the only reason I didn’t…was because they were playing… the father and daughter dance…”Daddy’s Little Girl.” Somehow…it didn’t matter to you…you just wanted to dance with me...maybe you thought...since Dad was dancing with your sister...someone should have been dancing...with Mom...and you were going to be...my someone...now…I have lost the joy… it would have been…if you had the opportunity to marry…and I could have danced…the mother and son dance…with my very loved…“tuxedo-ed” boy…on his special day.

But…here we are…on this 115th Tuesday…as I continue to visit you…at your resting place…and “justice”…well...the powers that be…they cause it…to just crawl.

We keep our faith...in God…His mercy...His justice…and...in His time…it will be served.

We know you are in His care…and we will be with you…someday.

I didn’t wake up this morning…thinking I would be writing this…but these are my days now…you are always in my thoughts…and each day…holds special...and loving memories...of you.

I love you, son. With my prayers…always.
March 30, 2008
My Dear Son...I was thinking of going today...to the closing service...for Divine Mercy Sunday... but as usual...my best intentions... never seem to be realized.

Instead Dad and I...did a couple of favors...for some very dear friends. Both prompted by...events that are inevitable...and terribly sad.

Sal...when the time comes...be there to welcome an old friend.

May God grant to all of us...who are suffering on many levels...His Divine Mercy...as we continue to trust in Him.

I love you Sal...with my prayers...
March 26, 2008
Dearest Sal .... Is everyone excited up there? Divine Mercy Sunday is almost upon up us, and those of us down here ...wait for the floodgates of God's Mercy to flood us with His grace and forgiveness.
Sal, shine some grace down here as well, for those grieving so sorrowfully for you. Let them know you are where God has asked you to be at this time. I am not sure why God called you, but I did ask my sister, who is a novice with the Poor Clares. Here is her answer:

" Here is a sample of God's plan. This is a true story. A young woman in her twenties was a nurse helping the sick at Padre Pio's hospital. She had a brilliant future and was pious/beautiful/learned. She contracted a deadly illness and died. Everyone asked Padre Pio 'why'? He replied, 'You don't understand God's plan. IT was a favor to her. God foresaw the future. HE SPARED THE GIRL BY TAKING HER NOW!' Padre said something to the effect that she was going to embark on a future where her soul would have been in grave peril and maybe even lost ... it would be a terrible tragedy that would befall her soul and her .. God spared her by taking her to Himself at the time she was very holy."

Sal, if you can speak to Padre Pio, ask him to intercede for you and console your family. Let their hearts mend, let them feel God's love so overwhelmingly that they will feel the joy you feel now!
Let them live the lives God has willed them to, in praise and thanksgiving to Him, and in the joy of knowing that the loving Divine Mercy of God is so unfathomable that we cannot comprehend the Love He has shown YOU, your family, your friends, and all of us in this earthly exile. We cannot understand everything now, but we can place our Trust in JESUS.
I continue to pray for you every day
and during the consecration at daily mass, always whisper your name!
God Bless!
March 24, 2008
Dearest Son…As you know…this time of the year...the Easter season…Holy Week…is especially upsetting for me…coupled with the anniversary of losing Nan…and now today...the 24th again…Easter Monday…marks the 26th month…that we are without you. Tomorrow…Tuesday…the 113th one…will make it 2 years…2 months…and 2 days…since my world fell apart. I know I sound…loopy…I’m not…amazingly enough…it is just that...I am so aware of time…and its passing.

I attended noon mass today…in your memory…and then visited you again…as I will also do tomorrow…my Tuesday thing.

The tulips are surviving…maybe deer don’t eat tulips. I know they love roses…it took several weeks…of finding rose stems…before I realized Bambi…and his family…are ”all gourmets.” I also bought...a new chime for you…and I tried to hang it on the tree…but I was not able to. I wonder if you were watching somehow…and perhaps found it amusing. Between holding the chime loop on the branch…and trying to secure it with the pliers…I managed to pinch my finger…drop the pliers on my foot…and take some bark off the tree. My intentions were good…but I gave up after 20 minutes of repetitive incompetence. So now I am forced...to ask for Dad’s help…and you know...asking for help...is not my thing. See…it involves you…so I swallow hard…and ask.

We had a quiet Easter…just the four of us…but at least…Chris joined us…and actually ate…no McDonalds this time…maybe it was one of God’s lesser miracles. We missed all the usual family noise…and confusion…so this time...I had no one to point to…for my inability…to get out of the kitchen…at a reasonable time. I guess it must just be…me.

All that’s left to do now…is parcel out the leftovers…while wishing...I was still having to...divide by three.

You are always in my thoughts…all my love…
March 23, 2008
My Dear Salvatore...Today is Easter Sunday...and it is also twenty one years ago today...that Nan was called to her eternal reward. How I hope and pray...that all of you are together...sharing and enjoying... each other's company.

Nan and Gramps loved you so much...and they were so very proud of you. You were only eighteen...when Nan left us...and you were just beginning your journey...as a young adult. They had been there enjoying you...when you were just a boy...and were looking forward...to more proud moments...from you...as you entered college.

Sal..I know it was hard work...and you sacrificed much...to reach your goals...and it breaks my heart... when I think of all it took..and in a moment you were gone.

Then I think about Nan...I know that Nan was hoping for you...all the good things that life can hold... just as she hoped them...for her own Sal…but it also ended too soon.

My brother was a wonderful human being...maybe that's why God wanted him back...and his loss took a great toll on my parents...and now I understand why...even more than I did before.

I thank God that neither Nan nor Gramps...were here...to grieve and mourn...your loss...their grandson...another Salvatore.

The Easter season...will always cause me great pain...I know who I am...how deeply I feel...and I am back at square one...because it was during Holy Week...in 2006…that I found out why…we weren't called to the ER...and therefore denied the opportunity…to call a priest...so that you could be anointed. I will never...never...never...get past this.

Who were they...to circumvent us at such a critical time...the focus should have been on you...and our family...instead...it was all about them….the very ones...that caused the unnecessary taking of your life.

I know this is the season of forgiveness and renewal...but all it does...is open up floodgates for me...and my recollections of how everything they did...then...as well as now...was...is...and remains... unforgivable.

I know what it is...that God expects of me...but it isn't happening. They took you...from your life and ours...and it was and is wrong...of them...to have caused that to happen...they know that...and so does everyone else. I sound like a broken record...but that is because I am broken...hearted.

Sal forgive me for my upset...kiss Nan for me...and stay close to our family there and here.

I wasn’t able to post this earlier…so now we are back from mass…and also from visiting you. The little angel chime...that I had wrapped around a branch…of the small tree near your resting place…is now missing… I don’t know if it was the wind that took it…and I did search the area…or if someone visiting another grave…may not be as respectful as one might expect…then again …I guess it's par for the course...there are many without a conscience.

We have had the ultimate loss…so I should get over the little irritations…but when it comes to you…I find that impossible.

I love you...and I wish you a Blessed Easter...my son.
March 21, 2008
Salvatore - Happy Easter with our Lord - If justice is not done in this plane it surely will be done in the next.
March 21, 2008
Sal,

Easter approaches and despite my prayers, I fear justice will elude us. To sound so negative during a time of year that is about pentinence, fasting and celebrating the resurrection of our lord is troubling for me. I simply can't get past that the Fairfax County officials, and they certainly know who they are, are so unrepentant!!!!!( I guess retirement makes it easy for them) in turning a blind eye to a very obvious case of Manslaughter. I try to forgive Sal - but I simply can't. How can I forgive when they're strategy is to hope we simply go away. NEVER!
March 19, 2008
To My Dear Son…today is Spy Wednesday of Holy Week…as we also celebrate...the feast day of St. Joseph...your patron saint…whose name you chose…when receiving the sacrament of Confirmation…and so I wish you a Blessed “Name Day.”

In reading about Saints…I just learned that March 18th…was the feast day of St. Salvatore…so you have two consecutive “Names Day” patrons. I never knew there was a St. Salvatore…I only knew the name...to mean Savior…in Italian.

I will be at Mass this morning…in remembrance of St. Joseph…who is described in Scripture…as a compassionate…caring man…who was obedient…righteous…faithful…and honorable. He is also the patron saint…of the dying…of the universal church…of fathers…of carpenters…and of social justice.

Although I am aware…of many of St. Joseph’s titles…somehow…the one about social justice…was foreign to me…so I decided to read...the church’s teachings on the subject…and what led them…to bestow that title…on St. Joseph.

The explanation is one that I believe in…there is an inherent dignity of the human person…starting from conception through natural death…and that the sanctity of human life…since we are made in God’s image and likeness…must be valued infinitely…as we revere the lives…of all human beings…as children of God…and therefore…every life…should be treated equally…fairly…and justly…because to do otherwise…is wrong.

St. Joseph demonstrated his value for human life…as he safeguarded and protected Mary…and then the Holy Child…from those who would have killed them. He cared for the Holy Family…by providing for their needs…sheltering them…and keeping them from harm. He treated Mary with dignity and respect…even at a time…when he considered quietly divorcing her…since she was with child. The custom would have been…to stone her to death…for being an unfaithful woman…to her betrothed. Joseph’s understanding and compassion…his just and fair treatment…in accepting Mary and her child…translates his concern for others…and so…he is the social justice advocate.

When you were in grade school...preparing to receive the sacrament of Confirmation…it was a requirement…that you write an essay…about the Saint...whose name you chose to carry…and why you selected that Saint. I don’t know if I have that essay saved…or if it was sent to the bishop…prior to his conferring the sacrament on the confirmandi…so that he would be able to randomly question…some of the children at the service…nevertheless…you know me…if it was able to be saved…I probably do have it somewhere…and it would be a gift…if I could find it…and read what you wrote.

There isn’t much that you children did…in marking the “milestone” moments…that I didn’t value and keep. I guess...that’s why Dad thinks…I need to “downsize.” But I can’t bear to part with my memories…from pre-school to optometry college…all of your drawings…poems…hand made gifts…school pictures…report cards…ribbons…patches…awards… trophies…diplomas…yearbooks… licenses...your “doctor” tools…anything and everything…holds a special place in my heart.

Sal…for how you were treated…and for all you suffered…I pray that St. Joseph…as the patron saint of social justice…hears us…as we pray to him…asking for his blessings…as we seek his intercession…in your behalf.

In hindsight…I realize how wise it was…that you chose the name…Joseph.

When I visit you today…I will bring a Lily plant…in St. Joseph’s honor…since it is a symbol of his purity.

I love you…my Salvatore Joseph…and I miss you so much.

With my prayers…always…
March 16, 2008
My Precious Salvatore…Another Palm Sunday is being celebrated today…how I wish we could all be together…as we were in the past…but now…for us… the holy/holidays...are no longer the same. Our traditions...are falling by the wayside. Your loss...has changed so many things for us…because...we are no longer...the same people. Each of us…has been drastically affected…by what we carry in our hearts…as a result...of what the FCPD...caused to happen…to you…and our family.

Palms are the symbol of welcoming and peace…but I feel no peace…as Holy Week begins…I find that I have not…nor do I ever expect to…come to terms...with what they did...the fact…that their unjust actions…not only took your life…but in delaying us in the notification…of your passing…they also cost you... to be unable…to receive the Last Rites…of our Catholic faith. They have wronged you…and our family…beyond words.

Dad will make the braided crosses…from the blessed palms…that the children have come to expect…but the family gathering…for one reason or another…will not happen today.

After Mass...we will place a palm...in the flower arrangement...that we will take...to your resting place. I pray that...what the palm symbolizes…is what you experienced…when you were welcomed back...to your eternal home…along with the promise...of a perpetual light shining upon you…and that through the mercy of God…you are resting in peace.

I miss you...and think of you all the time. I get that sinking fluttering feeling…in the pit of my being…each time...I focus on what was done to you…because of them.

We are still waiting...for a written opinion from the judge…we were told on Dec. 14th… that it wouldn’t come in two weeks…but it also wouldn’t take months…yet it has now been... more than three months…so I will trust God…as I continue to wait…

I love you son…and I wish you a Blessed Palm Sunday.
March 09, 2008
You are in our prayers and hearts everyday.
February 24, 2008
To My Beloved Son…I apologize…for being unable…to schedule a mass for you…on this date…marking the 25th month…of my mourning your loss. Nevertheless…I will in my heart…offer my prayers…my attendance at mass this morning…and my receiving of communion…in your memory…and for your intention.

Sal…we have had…two more loved ones…suddenly taken from our family. Join us…in praying for them…so that...we may help them...in making their way…to that peaceful…and loving place...of our eternal reward.

We still have not received any word…although we have been waiting…for over two months…regarding an opinion…that is due us. Also…there is nothing…at the moment…that suggests any intention…to address…what should be of concern…to anyone...who has a conscience…regarding was has happened...and is...ongoing...so I infer…that there are those...who haven’t any. It may be…that I am wrong…but I have not found a reason…to believe otherwise.

I will trust…that with God’s help…and since...it is…all in His hands…one day at a time…is how we must... proceed.

Keep us in your prayers…all of us…as we continue to go forward…seeking the justice you are owed.

I love you Salvatore…I miss you…I pray for you…always.

You were...and are...my heart and soul...
February 14, 2008
Dear Salvatore…Today is St. Valentine’s Day…the day for...Hearts and Cupid…declarations of love…hopefully…everlasting. It is punctuated with…the receiving of sentimental and romantic cards…flowers…candy…a dinner at a special restaurant…gifts…and promises of commitment…as so many young people…choose today to become engaged.

I had a mass…said in your memory…this morning...and again offered my communion for your intention. When I left church...I brought flowers to your resting place…told you how much I love you…miss you…and will continue…to commit to the promise I made to you.

So…my son…today…as always…know that I carry you in my heart… as I wish you a blessed…and…happy…St. Valentine’s Day.

Love...Hugs...Kisses...and always..my Prayers.

xo
February 10, 2008
Dearest Son...Today is the first Sunday of Lent.

It is the season...once again...when we observe the traditions of...prayer...fasting...and almsgiving.


As I was reading...a religious article...it struck me that alms-giving...although it is a sign...of our care...for those in need...and an expression...of our gratitude...for all that God has given to us...we should also...do works of charity...and promote justice...which are integral elements...of the Christian way of life.

Sal...I pray all the time...fasting is relatively easy...and caring for others...that is...what we have all learned...by family example.

When I read the words...promote justice...it resounded in my brain.

We are all God's children...so the justice most likely...is aimed at treating everyone...with the same respect...and concern...each of us deserves...from one another... because we are human beings...made in the image...and likeness of God.

It is so sad...that many of us...are not able...to recognize how...we fall short...in that area.

In your memory...because I am so grateful to God...for giving you to us...and allowing me to be your mother...I am going to make a conscious effort..."to do" what is asked of us...and I will...with all of the others...continue to do our collective best...in seeking the justice...owed to you...to us...and to those...who live in Fairfax County.

Tomorrow we are at it again...as we continue one step...at a time.

With my love and prayers...you are always with me.
February 10, 2008
Dearest Sal,
Words written here cannot express the prayers I offer up to you every morning while I say the rosary, and when I attend daily mass.
Know that you are thought of, prayed for, and loved throughout eternity. On special days I pray for your mother as well.
Only God knows why, but I adopted you as my 'spiritual son' two years ago .... You will be forever in my heart ......
I know you were a Good Man, I could see it in your eyes on the few occasions I met you.
Remember what St. Paul said, it is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me .... could it be HE who I saw in your eyes? (smile)
ALL WHO READ THIS REMEMBER, SAL IS UNDER OUR LADY'S MANTLE AND SHE IS LEADING HIM TO HER SON.
So continue to smile, to love, and to pray!
January 24, 2008
Dear Sal: Thinking of our classmate today and always.
January 24, 2008
Dearest Son...

Our loss is Heaven's gain...

I pray that your are resting...in God's eternal peace...on this...your Second Anniversary...in the company of family...who were there to greet you...and are watching over you...for me...until we can be reunited again.

I love you Salvatore...you were and are...my beautiful boy...who grew to be my handsome...gifted...and loving son...who should have had... so many more years...to share your talents...for the benefit of others.
I was...and I am...so proud of you...for being a kind...caring...and compassionate human being.

God bless you Salvatore.
January 23, 2008
My Precious Salvatore...Tomorrow is Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008…it is the second anniversary...of that day…that I wish had never dawned.

In the morning…there is an 8:30 Mass…being offered for your intention. Family…and a few friends…yours and ours…have said they would attend…in your memory. Afterwards…we will visit your resting place.

I am numb…two years Sal…it breaks our hearts. Dad…your sisters…and brother…we all are hurting. The memories of that day…are carried by each of us…forever in our souls.

I visited you today…just to spend a few private moments…your sister must have been there…before me…she left flowers…and a note. Her words to you…tugged at my heart…she hoped you were resting in peace…the peace…that we as a family…have yet to find…and probably never will…because you have been taken from us.

Aunt Cookie called today…she knows our pain…and sends us her love…a very dear…and thoughtful cousin…sent us a card…she is also…having a Mass said for you. We even got a card…from your 8th grade Math teacher…and her husband...with a note…saying they are thinking of you…and us…as this day approaches. Family and friends…are a great source…of comfort and support…and we are blessed…to have them in our lives.

I know there are many…who will be thinking of you…and us…tomorrow. They all know…what your loss…has meant to our family. Each of them…who knew and valued you…also share in your loss.

You are very missed…very loved…and remembered each day.

With my prayers…
January 22, 2008
Dear Salvatore…It is 1 year…11 months…and 30 days…and today is the l04th Tuesday…two years of Tuesdays.

The daytime hours on my “Tuesdays”…are the hours that…I think of you as alive and well…all day into early evening…just as you were…on that final Tuesday. Daytime also recalls...the happy Tuesday…the one on which...you were born. It is strange though…because it is also…when I visit...your resting place. Then as the Tuesday hours...pass into night…it becomes my painful Tuesday…the day that would change...all of us...forever. My evening Tuesdays...since you were taken from us…these are…and will continue to be…the saddest.

Everything comes at once…your birthday…the holidays…and shortly…this second year without you…I miss you so much.

They will never realize…how much pain…they have caused.

You are always…in my thoughts…my prayers…and in my heart.

I love you, son.
January 01, 2008
My Dear Son...Today is...the 101st Tuesday…New Year’s Day…the beginning of 2008.

I don't know…what this year…will hold for us...as I didn't know…what 2006 would hold...but we will go forward...doing what we must.

My hope is for God’s mercy…justice…and the keeping…of all of my promise…to you.

We attended the 11 am Mass today…I prayed for...what I prayed for then...my children...grandchildren ...family...and friends…their health…happiness…safekeeping…and peace…that is always my prayer.

We spent the Eve at Con’s. The girls sang karaoke…Jen was signing autographs…in her Hannah Montana wig…Stef was her manager…Vic…the ever-embarrassed teen…sang a duet with a date…and even your sister…and brother-in-law…got in the act. Dad tried…but…for Mr. S…the music was “not his cup of tea.”

I had a view…of your pictures…that Con keeps...in her kitchen…and my thoughts…were of you…and how much you are missed…and what a good singing voice you had…and how much… you would have enjoyed your nieces antics…and how cheated…we all are…because…because…because.

Cyn and Chris called at midnight…and we indulged Stef…Taboo earlier…and then cards…from 1:30 to 2:45…of course…there was the non-stop eating...by some of us…actually…only by…one of us.

We get through...what we must…but it is not the same…and I am expected...by some…to come to terms…with all of it…but I never will.

So…Sal…2008…and I keep counting.

I love you…I pray for you…and I hold you close in my heart.
December 30, 2007
Dearest Son…Tomorrow at midnight we will welcome in the New Year…Dad will spend the better part of the day…making the pizzas everyone looks forward to…and I’ll fill in…with all the other “traditional” foods…that we have come to expect…during this season. Chris has appointed himself the official “Eggnog” maker…he does a good job of it…and I am grateful for his help…because it’s one less thing that I have to do.

We saw one of your friends...a few nights ago…and he was reminiscing...about past holidays. He said you would call him….as soon as you would leave our house…and tell him...“come over…I got the pizzas.” He asked if Dad was going to make them this holiday…and when he was told yes…he asked if we could save him some…I think he wants to have a few slices for you…I believe it’s his way of staying connected to you…and the good memories of those times...of course...we will see to it...that he gets...what you were always happy...to share with him.

We will go through the same old…same old…but it’s not the same…there is always the emptiness…you…are not here. Sal…this is so painful and difficult…and all of it…for no good reason. We tell ourselves...God has a plan…in His time we will understand…we need to trust Him…I thought I always did…I trusted Him to keep my children healthy and safe…but…here we are.

I know He is testing me…us…and while I am trying to hang in there…all I keep seeing is more heartaches…our relatives are dealing with very serious concerns …our friends families are facing illness…young couples are dealing with difficult decisions and uncertainty…it goes on and on…and my heart breaks for all of them…life is too unfair…and He is the only one we can turn to…so I pray that He hears all of us…and that we are up to His test.

I will wish you a Happy New Year at midnight…while I miss you with all my being…I love you Sal…you are always in my thoughts.
December 25, 2007
To My…Precious…Treasured…and Cherished…Salvatore…

My prayer for you this Christmas Day…is that you have found...and are living…the message of this blessed season...its Promises and Truth…the HOPE...of everlasting life…the JOY…of being with God…and reunited with our family…who have already made their journey…and have been waiting for us…the LOVE…that is Perfect and Infinite…and the PEACE and calm…of ETERNITY...where there is only Good.

I miss you each day…as we all do…and I wish you a Blessed Christmas...stay close to Uncle Sal…Nan…and Gramps. You are all held in my heart.

With my prayers…and always… my love.
December 24, 2007
My Dear Son...We attended...another Mass for you...this morning...it is Christmas Eve...month number 23...without you…and tomorrow…is the 100th Tuesday...that I will have spent...visiting your resting place…in addition to it being the 25th...the 2nd Christmas Day…you are absent from us.

Numbers…always numbers…counting and marking…the passage of time…a part of the grieving process…or is it a conscious decision…trying to hold onto the moments…being continually aware of them…not wanting to accept the reality…that time is distance…and it keeps adding up…separating us further…from one another…but then…I know...you will never be…more than a heartbeat…from me…because…that is where I keep you…always in my heart. I will not allow time…to become the great divider…

Sal…I forgot to tell you…that Dad …also gave you…a very special gift…on your birthday.

At mass that morning…I watched him get up quickly…walk to the center aisle… and be the first to receive communion…then he walked to the outside of the altar…and announced...that he was going to sing…for his son…and he did.

He sang beautifully…the Ave Maria…there was no music…the church was quiet…it was just his voice…hitting every note…from the bottom of his heart…for you.

He was offering back...a talent…given to him…by God…and he used it…in song...in your behalf.

He loves you…and he misses you.

He doesn’t say much...the great internalizer…but he is consumed…by the unreasonable...and unwarranted…decisions that were made...that night...for which…his logical mind set...will not...because it can not…allow him to find sense in. The undertaking of such implausible actions...that cost all of us…this inexcusable…and overwhelmingly painful loss…will never be…understandable.

Our Christmas will be different…we will be alone…your sisters else-where..and your brother…I am sure…is not particularly thrilled…about being here…holding down the fort…by himself…with Mom and Dad.

Son…on those occasions…when holidays and girlfriends…took you away from our family…even for a few hours…when you would return…I would always be told…that “Sal couldn’t wait to get back home”…and then the reasons why.

You would either be missing…something I had cooked…that wasn’t being served…where you were…or…the thought that...there was more going on…at our house…with your siblings…their families…or the unexpected visits…from old friends…who just happened to drop in…in addition to...our usual noisy interactions…that would create the excitement…and laughter…that you enjoyed being a part of…and never wanted to be absent from…all contributed to the…”Sal couldn’t wait to get back home” remarks.

Now we are the ones…wanting you back home…missing you…enduring your absence.

We all love you Sal…
December 18, 2007
Sal-
During this time in 2004 I played pool with you and your whole family at the Fast Eddies Xmas party. I can't believe the opportunity to do that again has been taken from us.

My Prayers,

Bill Hyland
Reno, NV
December 17, 2007
To My Precious…and Very Loved…Salvatore…

Today would have been…your 39th Birthday…you know…the one that precedes…the one that…“they” say...life begins at.

We will be at the 8:30 mass...that is being offered…in your memory…and then we will visit you...at your resting place.

We have just returned from mass...and once again I was upset…with those who neglected to say your name...and announce…that this mass was for you. It took every ounce of control I could muster…to NOT lambaste the lector…instead…and completely out of character for me…I decided to offer up every grace…that God must have been bestowing on me…at that moment…because my gut inclination...was to let that lector have it…however…and this is the only reason…I can credit…for my not going into a lather at the lector…I decided to swallow hard...not act on my impulse…and asked God…to divert those graces to you…and that…my dear son…is my gift to you.

Knowing me as you do…and how much each of you children mean to me…my having no tolerance…to see any of you…being slighted in any way…let alone dealing with all the wrong…unjust treatment shown to you…I think you know…what it took for me…to ask for…that gift of grace…for you.

Several friends came to the mass…Mrs. L not only came to mass…she also accompanied...Dad and I…to your resting place. She and I…know what it means…to have our wonderful…young sons…taken from their lives…and ours…in a sudden…tragic…and devastating way. Sal…you and Rich…need to help both of us…get through this…we aren’t as strong…as we think.

We had a nice visit afterwards…talking about our boys…our other children…our grandchildren…what good uncles…each of you were…to your nieces and nephews…our motherly insights…as to what good dads…you could have each been…if only that was allowed to unfold…and many of our good memories. You both are very missed…and very loved by your families.

Sophie remembered...and had a mass said for you…on Saturday…the Casey”s sent us a card…telling us we are often thought of…by them…but today especially…and remembering you …with fond memories…and their prayers.

Sal...Jen called...her little boy also shares this birthdate...with you...please watch over him...and her family too.

I know all of your friends will be thinking of you…and as I have said before…you…and our family…are very blessed…because we do have…not only family…but dear…and good friends…who care…about all of us…and remember…and pray for us.

It hurts me so…that you are not here…you should have had… so many more years...for birthdays.

I love you… and I will make a wish for you…

You are always with me…
December 16, 2007
Dearest Salvatore…Last year there was no celebration of Christmas in our home. We went to Church…but it was a quiet time for our family…as we all relived the special memories of Christmas 2005…the ones we will remember forever…because it was the last Christmas with you.

I still can’t...and probably will never…find these seasons of "family" gathering in celebration…anything more than a period of time…that I dread…and want to have pass as quickly as possible. I have no desire to put up a tree…to decorate…ask Dad to fuss with outdoor lights…to send cards...all of it…are things of the past.

The memories of that final Christmas together…and you laughing so hard…at that word game we all played…are forever seared into my heart…those memories will be cherished always.

Now we are here again…the second time…it is the third week of Advent…and the season continues to be sad…meaningless…I don’t mean religiously, Sal…but because of all that has happened…and the ongoing need for it to continue to be addressed…has left me with little interest…or room…for the energy needed… in preparation…anticipation…the getting it all done…that is part of this season…none of it matters…or so I thought.

Then...a few days ago…after once again listening to…and being disgusted by…inane questions and answers…I had an epiphany…and felt compelled to…in your behalf…since you so looked forward to holidays…to allow myself…in your memory…to use things that you would have…in preparing…and getting into…the spirit of the season.

I heard my inner voice…and it told me to allow…you…your life and interests…to be the reason…in a positive way…for going through…not empty motions…but loving effort…the same effort...you would have expended…in celebrating this holy season.

It is a small step…that I am taking…but I will not allow them…to take another moment from you…as this season…that you loved…is only days away.

I took out your “first tree” today…the one you had just bought...in order to begin your own traditions…as you decorated your condo. I am using your tree…and whatever Christmas decorations…you had started to collect…as my catharsis...in celebrating as you would have. I didn’t realize when Aunt Cookie…took the tree down for us...since you hadn’t gotten around to it yet…that it was so perfect.

The Santa’s…that you had on your fireplace mantle…the garland… the poinsettia…the Christmas house…the snowman and snowlady…the candles…the Santa kneeling at the Christ child…your stable and Nativity set…and the red boot…for the candy canes…they are all...lending to the intended joy of this season. I will add a few ornaments to the tree…that I bought with you in mind…and I know they would have amused you.

I will not ignore the message of Advent…I will not let what they caused to happen to you…to further rob you…and us…of one more Christmas.

I love you…my son...and miss you…you are always in my heart.

With my prayers,
December 07, 2007
Dearest Son…Today our family was asked to answer questions…it was polite…aimed at their concerns…not necessarily ours.

How much we love you…miss you…have been grieving your loss…the fact that we are no longer able to see you…speak to you…enjoy your company…interact with you…ask your advice or opinion…depend on you…know that you are either a phone call or short drive away…was not considered…perhaps as relevant to them. Then again maybe that is a given in their estimation…so they don’t go there…it does not serve their purpose.

Each of us has been profoundly affected by what has happened…to you… because it has also happened to us…your family. They don’t know how your nieces have responded…sad…upset…fearful…
unsettled...watching their mother grieve…while trying to sort out what children should not have to be dealing with…the violent and unnecessary death…of a beloved uncle. They have no idea...what your sisters…or brother…are experiencing and coping with. Each is careful not to exhibit their pain…trying to protect me…dad…each other…we are all inwardly collapsing…as we force ourselves through sheer will…not to cave. I know my family…I am their mother…and I see through all of it.

You know what is in each of our hearts…it would have been in yours for us…if any of us were lost to you.

How we all love and miss you…for all those reasons and more…is immeasurable…

With my prayers and love…always.
.
November 27, 2007
Dear Culosi Family: We continue to pray for you all and hold you and Sal in our thoughts and prayers always. I know what a tremendous loss this is to all of you and nothing or no one can take away the emptiness. We pray you find peace in your heart and knowing God and Sal are together watching over all of you.
November 26, 2007
Mr and Mrs Culosi, If you start up a fund to pay legal expenses, please post it, so those of us familiar with the case, or those of us who went to St. Michael's with Constance, Cynthia or Sal, can at least donate for a worthy cause. It's the least we can do.
November 24, 2007
My Dear Salvatore…today we will attend the 5 o’clock Mass…being offered in your memory...this 22nd month…marking what should have never been allowed...to happen...to you.

I ask myself…how is it possible for time to pass…and yet seem to be standing still…as I hear those words...over and over...in my head. Those words…spoken to me on that incredible night…that turned our world...into the nightmare...it has become. Those words...that will never leave me. The grief I feel...is devastating…just as it was...on that night.

These seasons of family gatherings…will never be the same. No matter how I try...to do what is necessary…my thoughts are always of you.

My son shouldn’t be gone…that is my truth…and it hurts.

Cyn and her children...were not able to be with us...this Thanksgiving…although Con and her family…Chris and a friend…Anthony…Dad…and I...did share a “festivas” of sorts.

You would have struck pay dirt…more artichokes than eaters. Stef called dibs…on the ones I did prepare…but I still have six more…that need to be stuffed…and they would have gone to you. How I wish you were here…so that I could surprise you…by driving to your condo…with a Tupperware filled with your favorites…after I finished making them.

Sal…I find myself more and more…in disbelief...of what I continue to see…hear…read…even my expectations... of who should be...fair-minded people…are disappointing. Those who did not know you personally…are at a disadvantage...as they are apt to believe the printed words…which take liberties…are misleading in content…and allow those who are gullible…to make inaccurate assumptions...and erroneous conclusions.

The rest of us who know otherwise…are incredulous…at the ability some have…of not acknowledging…what is apparent...to anyone who can think logically.

I find it frustrating…and inexcusable…that wrongness…appears to be viewed as meaningless...by some people…and therefore…its consequences escape them. Their intentions are obvious...they minimize…distort…ignore…and exonerate…their responsibility for what...has happened to you…and our family.

Maybe it is deceiving one’s self…and not ignorance…that is bliss.

We keep praying…and trusting in God…His plan...and we must rely on Him.

I love you Sal…I miss you...you are always in my heart.
November 22, 2007
The second Thanksgiving without you…so how can I be thankful in light of what happened to you…I search my soul…and since I cannot go back in time…and undo what has shattered our family…I can only thank God that you ever lived…and for allowing us to have you in our family. We were blessed by your presence in so many ways…although for not nearly as long as I would have hoped.

You were a beautiful boy…and I relive and cherish all the moments that I hold in my heart of those times…from the Army nurse handing my infant son to me…right on through to your young adulthood…and I was so looking forward…to many more years of watching you mature…and experience all that life still held for you.

I am grateful for your sisters and brother…your nieces and nephews…your Dad’s concern for our family…and for the support of our extended family…and friends…as they keep us close in their thoughts and prayers…during this painful time in our lives.

I am also grateful for our lawyers... and their untiring efforts…in seeking the justice you are owed.

I will pray that God blesses each and every one of them.

Sal…the world is not the same…the changes that have taken place…even in the time that you have been gone…are shameful. It is as though everyone has gone mad…as human beings have become indifferent to one another…and respect for life has been devalued.

I will go through all the motions today…for the sake of the children…but I will be anguishing inside as I look at your chair at the table…and hear your voice in my head…asking me as you always did…"are the artichokes ready?”

I miss you my son…I love you.
November 20, 2007
My Dear Son...it is Tuesday...week number ninety five...as we await another decision...on our journey for justice.

We are hopeful...but there are no guarantees...only God's plan for what will be.

Salvatore...watch over all of us...and do what you can...in behalf of my prayer intention.

I love you and miss you.
November 16, 2007
Dear Sal: thinking of you this month of nov. of remembrance for all the souls.
November 02, 2007
Dearest Salvatore...I attended the All Soul's Day Mass...being offered today at St. Michael's…in remembrance of all those…who have been called back home by God.

I offered my Communion in memory of You...Uncle Sal...Nan...and Gramps.

In his homily…Father said that life is changed...not ended...that love lives in the soul...and the soul never dies.

I have to make myself focus on that truth... because it is the only way… to accept all the pain...that comes from no longer having…you…and the others we love...present...in our physical lives.

Being separated…from those we love so dearly…makes it nearly impossible...to be objective...when subjectively...we are devastated...by the crosses we carry...and only with the grace of God…and our faith...in His promise…that we will be reunited again someday...are we able to continue on...one day at a time…waiting for that “someday.” It is just so overwhelming difficult…to keep that focus.

I visited your resting place a little while ago…my broken heart aches…as I approach the path…while I am there…and as I leave you…it is always the same…my "new normal"...didn't have to be.

My reality is…my heart will remain broken…until we are together again.

You are loved...and you are…and were...loving...and so our souls keep us close.

I carry you in my thoughts…my memories…my heart…and my prayers…always.

With all my love...son.
October 24, 2007
My Dearest Salvatore…It is the twenty-fourth again…a dreary…rainy…Wednesday…and month number 21…without you.

I attended the Mass being said for you this morning…received Communion…knelt before the Blessed Mother…and poured out my heart to her.

As I drive to your resting place…week after week…I am overcome…with what has become my world…my perfectly fine...healthy…young son…is no more…in this life…and that stark reality…takes my breath away. There is an emptiness…in the pit of my stomach…and it will never leave. It is a though…my insides…have been torn from me. I feel hollow.

I have listened these last weeks…to what has been said…by those with average intelligence…by those with a more cultivated intellect…and by truly learned and erudite persons…in support of their understanding...and conclusions…and it has caused me...by comparison...to come away with...an even greater confidence…for trusting in my own insights…and instincts. Everyone has an agenda…but not everyone’s agenda is unbiased...or principled. People lack the virtues...they should aspire to…and that is a sad fact.

I would say I am disappointed in them…but I don’t know that I am. Man will always have the capacity to fall short…and fail…and so he does.

I will continue to pray…and keep my faith in God.

Son…help us to make the right decisions…as we continue on.

I love you…
October 13, 2007
Dearest Son… Monday will mark…the quarter century…for your brother.

How quickly the time has gone…since you were so happy…at becoming his big brother.

We do not celebrate any more…we just go through the motions…as we will this evening…at a family dinner…to wish Chris…a _ _ _ _ _ Birthday…the second one…we have had to experience…without you being with us. I know what is in his heart...and who he will be thinking of...as he makes a wish...while blowing out the candles on his cake.

There will be no kidding…between brothers…or funny cards that you have doctored…or words of wisdom…from you to him…and sometimes…I know…all the time…with commentary…from me…to both you boys.

He misses you Sal…and there isn’t anything…I can do for him…except watch…and hurt…for all that has been taken from him…by your loss.

Keep him in your prayers…and watch over him…as he tries to cope with his feelings.

We all love you…and will hold close…our memories of past birthdays…when we were all together.

With my prayers…and always...my love.
October 03, 2007
My Dearest Salvatore…Dad, Con, Cyn, Chris and I…were all there for you yesterday.

I wondered…as I recalled…what had been said…as I heard…what was being said…if all of us in that room…were living on the same planet.

It is unimaginable…supposedly professional officers...who are given charge of citizens’ safety…were unable to invest themselves…in what they were about to undertake…on that tragic night.

A thorough investigation…afterwards…was not in the game plan…so many “it’s not my job” attitudes. To treat what happened…with more concern for one of their own…and minimal concern…for what caused…what happened to you…flies in the face of decency.

A few tried to administer to you…after it happened…but later...all their attitudes became the same.

The “buck” stopping somewhere…is a fallacy. They are all taught…and led by their own…Sgt. Schultz. Don’t ask…Don’t tell.

It was all so avoidable…but their own…ulterior motives…have brought us here.

Honor and integrity …have been laid to rest…they have circled the wagons.

We all love you dearly...Sal...and were proud...to be there...in your behalf.

Rest easy...we miss you...and hold you in our hearts.
October 02, 2007
My Dear Son…last week…did not present…the opportunity…I had asked for. God had other plans…and now…the 88th Tuesday…will deliver that face…one that I will look into...in your behalf…so that another part…of my promise to you…will be kept.

It’s strange…but as I look at the two eights…I am reminded of the symbol for infinity…“without end"...and that is how I view…the heartache I feel…because of your loss…it too…will be “without end.”

Our family…will be there for you... today…and he will see you…in each of us.

I love you Sal.

With my prayers…
September 24, 2007
Dearest Son…I have become acutely aware of time...since I am constantly marking it.

I go from Tuesday to Tuesday…week to week…month to month...counting...and now it is the 20th month…without you.

The reality of what has happened…and how it happened...just gnaws at me.

Last Tuesday…the 86th one…I kept another part of my promise.

I looked into his face…the face that set my grief…our family’s grief…into motion.

I hope...he was able…to see you…reflected...through my eyes…and theirs.

No amount of sorrow…could ever change what was done.

I could not…and did not…acknowledge…his attempted overture…of contrition.

God…will have to…help all of us.

This noon…there is a Mass for you…I will receive…and offer…my Communion…for you…and I will ask…that this week…presents another opportunity…to look again…in your behalf…at yet another face.

Salvatore…pray with us…and for us…as we continue…in your memory.

You are so loved…and missed.
September 17, 2007
Dearest Salvatore…This week-end…we had the opportunity…to enjoy the company of family…some that we haven’t seen in person…since they were last here…lending us their support and comfort...during those overwhelmingly tragic days…when you were taken from us.

There were three special occasions taking place…Grandpa’s 89th birthday…and two weddings…both cousins…one on Dad’s father’s side…and one on my mom’s side.

It was good to visit with Grandma and Grandpa…they both looked well…and seemed happy. I even managed…to tease Grandpa…into singing some Italian songs…and we now have…that memory…on tape. Grandma Marie’s sister…brother…and brother-in-law…as well as…some nephews and a niece…celebrated the birthday with us. Your Aunt and Uncle were gracious hosts…along with your cousin…as always…the food was delicious…and the company enjoyable.

Everyone was careful…to tip-toe around burning questions…regarding what has been happening…these last several weeks. Since we never told your grandparents…about you…we were very careful…in our response…for sure though…all of our extended family…shares in our incredible loss.

We were only able to attend…one of the weddings…since they were both…on the same day…at the same time. It would have been nice…if we could have…at least…made the church for one…and the reception for the other…but the distance between them…did not permit that.

I did call my family…and left messages…congratulating them…and offering our best wishes…to the bride and groom.

Again…everyone was glad that we attended…the wedding we were able to make…but they all know…how broken-hearted we are…how much stress we are under…and how we are always thinking of you.

All I can say is…thank God…we have such loving...caring relatives... who understand…our loss…and so…they keep all of us…in their thoughts…and prayers

This week...will find us…once again…asking…listening… My silent thoughts…will probably…explode inside of me…how avoidable…this could have…should have…and would have been…if only they cared…used common sense…and recognized…that life is precious…unique…irreplaceable…and not theirs to take…haphazardly…and without justification…

I love you…my son…you are always in my heart.
September 02, 2007
Dearest Salvatore…Dad and I watched two of your nieces this Labor Day week-end…the other was with your sister and brother-in-law at a soccer tournament in PA. Her team played hard…but were out of their league…they lost two…tied two…and Stef almost had a left-footed winning goal… but because she had hurt her ankle earlier...the kick just wasn’t strong enough. I remember how your left foot…would rarely miss…

I spent most of my Saturday in the car…driving from one location to another…picking up and dropping off…Dad took over in the evening…there was a friend’s sweet sixteen party...Vic looked lovely…and she had a good time ...Con expends a lot of energy for her children...so does Cyn…your two sisters are wonderful mothers…God bless them.

DJO played their first season game…on Saturday…against Ireton…Vic is part of the spirit club…and although she wore her blue and gray…painted her face…and cheered loudly…victory escaped your alma mater. Maybe next time…they will even the score.

Jen spent her time being a pretend chef…and waitress…preparing her fake foods…and then serving them to me…for my five star approval…we also played board games…she always wins…and since she loves doing her victory chant and dance…of course she should win…although when playing with her sisters…she has proven to be a good sport at losing too.

Tuesday will find us once again listening…for the remainder of the week…to more of what was seen or not…on that night…that changed all of our lives forever.

These are very trying days...but we will do what we must…in our efforts for you…watch over all of us…as we continue to go forward…

We also need a special favor on Thursday…one just never knows…

We are praying for Bri…Vin...Norma…and our extended family…keep all of them in your prayers too.

I love you Sal…I miss you…I think of you all the time…you are always in my heart.
August 24, 2007
My precious Son…it is now...19 months without you…the 24th again…and today is Dad’s 65th birthday…how could we have ever imagined this…what would have been...a milestone celebration for our family…is painfully overshadowed...by our tremendous loss…

I know...how your father is hurting...we all bear an awful feeling of emptiness…it never leaves…I can’t even say...it is just below the surface…because it isn’t…it is front and center…the fact is…every one of us…feels the pain of your loss…because our very loved son…and brother…has been taken from us.

Sal…you have always held…and continue to hold…a very special place…in each of our hearts…words fail to express…how deeply we suffer your loss.

Last week…was a very anticipated one…Dad and I were there for you…and we witnessed man’s frailties…as we began asking questions…in search of honest answers.

We sat through difficult days…listening to…the first of many…as each recalled…his part…in what resulted…in the loss of your life.

There was…at least…one soul with a conscience…in a specific area...and what he said…allowed me to know…that God had answered…one of my prayers.

I have been very upset…about your not receiving…the last rites of our faith…due to their failure…to notify us…in a timely manner. I was hoping...and praying…that there may have been…just one person…present that night…that might have had…enough compassion…to acknowledge the need…in that very moment…for a prayer…for your soul.

The soul I mentioned…said he was a Catholic…and he recognized the solemnity of the moment…as he stood silently watching…he said he was offering prayers…for you…as well as…the officer…and these are my words…who broke God’s fifth commandment…on that very night.

I thanked him…at least in your final moments…God heard those prayers...being said for you.

I have made a promise…I will never forget this officer’s name…I will keep him in my prayers…and I will ask God to watch over him...and keep him safe.

Son…we will continue to listen…and be your ears… to watch…and be your eyes…and to question…and be your voice.

May God bless us all… as we go through this very difficult….but necessary process…in hoping to learn…in your behalf…why…and how this happened.

With my Love and Concern Always…
August 09, 2007
My Dear Son...tomorrow...will give us...the third opportunity...to be present...in your behalf...and...we will be there.

I ask you...Uncle Sal...Nan...and Gramps...to pray...that God's mercy and justice...will sustain us...each time...we take another step forward...in your name.

God bless you Sal...I miss you...my brother...and my parents...each and every day.

With all my love...and prayers.
July 24, 2007
Dearest Son…it is the eighteenth month…that you have been absent from us…and every day has been...and continues to be...very difficult…

We celebrated Jen’s 7th birthday yesterday…and you would have been… and should have been…there…with all of us…instead…we eat our hearts out...because our family is without you.

Dad and I will be at the 8:30 am Mass…that is being said for you today…it is again the 24th…and a Tuesday… I find I loathe the number 24…especially when it falls on a Tuesday.

I watched Jen today…so she came with me to get flowers…to bring to you. She insisted on getting a long stemmed red rose…from HER…for “Uncle Sal.” She was very particular…about the one she picked out for you. She wrote a card to you…saying she loves you…and attached it to the rose stem…with a rubber band…and placed it into the vase. She turned around…walked up to where you are resting…blessed herself…and then asked me...if she could say the Hail Mary...for Uncle Sal. I think she was wondering if it was an okay prayer to say for you. She said that it is the prayer she likes…and knows by heart…so she prayed it...for you...loud and clear. She is such a sweetheart... and I know you heard her.

Tomorrow…the 25th… I will attend the noon Mass…I am having it said for Richard…as it will mark the one year anniversary…of his tragic accident. I will pray for him…and his family…

Sal you are always in my heart…my thoughts…and my prayers.

Rest well…you are loved…and missed...by all of us.
July 22, 2007
My Dear Salvatore…This morning Dad and I attended the DJO Reunion Memorial Mass for the Class of 1987…it was held in the upper gym…and was celebrated by Father David Hudgins…one of two priests ordained from your class. His homily was energetic...he spoke of the importance of truly loving one another... because that is how we demonstrate our love for God.

I was told that Father Christopher Murphy… the other classmate who became a priest…offered the opening blessing…as well as a prayer for the six classmates...who could only be there in spirit and memory...at the evening gathering on Saturday.

The background for the evening...was the playing of...the Senior Variety Night Show video... that took place more than twenty years ago. There was also a display of photographs...showing classmates and memories from the past…and kind words were spoken in remembering each of them.

We met and spoke to Norma’s brother...Willie, and his lovely wife…they were sorry for your loss...when we went out into the hall…Kelly Franks introduced herself to us…she is married to another classmate…Jeff Faga…she said that BJ was her best friend in high school…and then told us...how very sorry she was for your loss. I asked how BJ was...and Kelly said BJ is now going to law school. John Sliwinski also offered us his sincere condolences…he must have been a nice boy in high school…because he seemed so genuinely touched by your loss…and twenty years doesn’t truly change one’s demeanor. I introduced myself to Bob Cole…after I asked Brad what his name was. Bob told me you and he were teammates…when you both played DJO Basketball. He also said you both shared the stage…in the roll of Danny Zuko... singing/miming “Summer Nights...” in the Senior Year Variety Show. Of the two performances he said…one featured you and BJ…and the other…he and Tiero Davis. He was also saddened by your loss. Dennis Callahan and his wife introduced themselves to us…they are a very nice couple….and they assured us of their prayers for you and our family. Another young man offered us his condolences…he said he heard the sad news while he was working in Japan…and he was so sorry…he now lives in Greenwich, Conn. with his wife and children…but I can’t remember his name. Before we left….we spoke with the two Laura’s that attended St. Michael's with you...in addition to O'Connell. Laura Schreiner is now living in Cyn’s area…she is married…has two children…and just became a principal of a school. She looked wonderful…and remembered you fondly. Laura Guli introduced us to her husband…she has recently married and lives in Texas…she said you were like a member of her family…a brother…you were both always crossing paths…as the result of having spent so many years of schooling together…even UVA. She hugged me…and told me how sorry she was…and what a great guy you were. She said that you were the reason...compounded by Richard’s loss…that this reunion took on so much more importance...than it might have. She said she even credits you…with the marriage of two former grade school friends…Patrick and Marcia…because they reacquainted as a result of your loss.

The week-end weather was absolutely beautiful…old friends enjoyed catching up on twenty years worth of living…there were lots of young children…how I wish it was in your future to have been there with a family of your own…

I gave the CD that Dad put together... with recordings from both you and Rich…to several of your classmates. Dad made a label for it…with the photos of two very handsome...and gifted young men…You and Rich...both of you are in everyone’s prayers, memories and hearts.

We left the reunion...proud to have been there in memory of you and Rich... we thanked Brad for doing such a great job…and then drove over to visit you.

Watch over all of your friends Sal…family and friends...that's what's important and irreplaceable...and now your friends...are the families...that are raising the next generation…and this is not the same world...that all of you knew...when you were growing up…

I love you son…and I miss you so much…
July 19, 2007
Dearest Son…while I am not versed in the legal protocols, and don’t fully know where lines are able to be drawn…I was grateful yesterday that Dad and I were allowed to be included…in your behalf...and as I promised you…to take every opportunity that presents itself to be there for you…as another small hurdle was traversed...and we came away with some prayers answered. We know we will be praying into eternity…but for the time at hand…we will be storming the heavens with petitions for guidance and fairness as we forge ahead in our quest for justice. It is going to take some time…and the ticking has begun…as it is slowly falling into place now…

This weekend is the celebration of your 20th year high school reunion. We will attend the memorial Mass being celebrated in memory of you…Richard...and four other classmates who have also left their families much too soon.

One of your classmates came to the house on Monday to say hello. I didn’t recognize him at first…although I had seen him about eighteen months ago…he has just returned from Iraq…he looked different because of a close cropped haircut…he was thinner...I was trying to figure out who he was because I knew he looked familiar…but he had to tell me who he was…and I was pleasantly surprised…it was Brad. I hugged him… kissed him…and was so happy he was home safe and sound. We visited for a little…and he told me he had just come from DJO…finalizing plans for the reunion. He said when he walked out of church crying…after saying a last good bye to you...he was filled with wanting to get involved with reuniting old friends…and so he volunteered to get the ball rolling on the reunion. He asked me if he could mention in his opening welcome…the good that came…in recognizing the value of friendship…that was initiated by the sadness of losing an old friend…you. I have always been fond of Brad and he touched my heart with his sincerity. I will see him again on Sunday morning at the Mass…and as I look at him…I will see a part of you… as I recall the last time…a happier time…when we were all in each other’s company…it was at the DJO senior Baccalaureate Mass… and afterwards Dad and I went to the Communion breakfast with the two of you.

I love you son…and I wish it was you who was going to the reunion…to enjoy…reminisce…and be with old friends…

With my prayers…
July 04, 2007
Dearest Salvatore -- Everyone just left...at first no one was going to spend the 4th with us because of other plans...or maybe it was because we all find being together and without you...too difficult.

But you know me...I was prepared just in case there was a change of heart...and after all was said and done we were ten at the table.

Chris had center stage...Dad managed to grill/char/undercook the burgers all at the same time...he is talented...the hot dogs barely survived and the Italian sausage was slightly crispy/crunchy...but he did have to do it all in the pouring rain so I guess he gets a pass.

We enjoyed our usual loud (caused by us) gathering...your sister, brother-in-law, your nieces, your cousin, his girlfriend, your brother, Dad and yours truly...the only ones missing were Cyn and her children and you.

I am waiting for the first dishwasher load to finish before I can continue to clear up the kitchen...so I am sitting here looking at your picture that I have tucked in the corner of the frame of the Angel painting.

It's just me and you Sal...and the tears that I will cry forever.

I visited you yesterday...and I watered the red, white and blue flowers Dad and I brought to you on Sunday. There were several people visiting their loved one who is resting very near to you. They asked me if I was visiting my husband...and when I said no...my 37 year old son...and explained the circumstances...they were very sorry for your loss. They too are mourning a 35 year old wife and mother of a young child. It is so unfair that such young people are taken from their lives and ours.

I listened to Elizabeth Edwards talk about the loss of her 16 year son who was killed in a car accident...I live exactly what she expressed so eloquently...we are mothers who have lost children... and that is the common denominator...the bond we share although we do not know each other personally...is a mother's love for her child...it unites those of us who have had this devastating cross thrust upon us as a result of losing our unique and precious child ...and in our grieving we experience the same emotions...thoughts...feelings... and therefore we know each other's heart and pain.

Son, watch over us as we go forward in your behalf. You matter and we have an obligation to continue our parenting in your name.

With all my love...
June 24, 2007
Dearest Son…We attended the 7:45 am Mass for you this morning…marking the 17th month without you…there are no words to adequately describe our painful reality…it is impossible to accept, understand, and explain what the loss of a child means to a parent…unless of course…you are another parent who has experienced the same loss…only then can you relate to the waves of emotional upheaval that come from everywhere and yet out of nowhere…and then you are bowled over...and that becomes your daily existence.

We are no longer the same individuals we once were…your loss to us has impacted our family on so many levels…nothing matters anymore…there is no longer the excitement or anticipation we once experienced at those times when our family gatherings included you…no more spontaneous phone calls to share a thought, or a joke, lend advice, or ask for your opinion…all the times and things that were once taken for granted…as though they would never end…have been denied to us…now there is an emptiness…a less than half-hearted attempt to carry on in what is called a “new normal”...that is the buzz word bereaved families are to adopt…but there is nothing normal about the negligence and senselessness that cost you and us your life…it is all out of order…children should bury parents…not the other way around.

I am not able to fully express my feelings on the subject of what took place on Jan. 24, 2006…or immediately thereafter…but you Son, know firsthand what is in my heart…and I will never let go of it…all the old clichés take on new meaning in the aftermath of what has taken place. I am disgusted at all that failed you.

Sal watch over all of us…especially your brother…although he tries to put up a brave front…he truly has been deeply affected by your loss…he loves and misses you enormously…and none of us can begin to fill the void that has been left by your absence from his life...keep him in your sight and prayers.

I think of you every moment of every day…and I miss you each of those moments…I love you with all my heart…you are in my every prayer...rest well, Son.
June 17, 2007
Dearest Salvatore...Another unhappy Father's Day for Dad...we are left to visit you...no more of the "normal" celebrations for our family...everything changed for all of us on Jan. 24, 2006.

I guess all those instrumental in what happened to you…are celebrating this day with what is the status quo for them...perhaps visiting “their fathers” or being surrounded by “their children”...it must be nice for them...being able to get on with their lives...putting things behind them...I wonder if they have any twangs of conscience for what they caused...your loss…and ours…the pain...unbearable sorrow… and overwhelming grief that we live with everyday…maybe...time will tell...if not...knowing someday we all will face our maker may give them pause for thought...and I take some consolation in knowing that day will eventually come…for each of them…judgment day…God’s justice will be meted out…no one of us is immune.

We left flowers for you today wishing you a Happy Godfather's Day from Stef...your only Godchild. She has many gifts Sal... just like you had…she is extremely intelligent, especially in math…she is a little powerhouse athletically…another “thinking” soccer player…she is very competitive in a good way…she is not a hot shot, bragger or show-off…reminds me of you…she is a team player…and is more often than not successful in her endeavors. She can even dance… and has a clever wit… she is also quite logical in her thinking and can even do the rubik’s cube…chip off the old Godfather. You can be very proud of her Sal…please watch over her...as well as your other nieces and nephews.

God bless you son…
June 03, 2007
Dearest Son...yesterday was a day full of hope...our first opportunity to sit in court in your behalf…a morning prayer was answered...our request granted…and we are thankful to all of you for your support...as we wait for delivery.

The afternoon was frustrating…while we were greeted with courtesy, politeness and understanding…and we were offered sincere sympathy for your loss…the reality is…we live in an imperfect world…with a self-absorbed society....benefit of doubt goes invariably to the other guy…so in the end the laws are there for their protection…not ours…and the one who is wronged gets wronged again…it hurts…it disappoints…honestly, it enrages me.

Laws and statutes, are what they are…and have stringent interpretation and criteria...they are nearly impossible to apply effectively…the key is to have protocols and policies in place with built in safeguards…they would encompass serious penalties for violations which should act as deterrents that would impact all those who feel impervious…inculpable…of punishment….so that they won’t act in a way that can harm others…to the point of even taking someone’s life…because they would know that their silent wall of protection and immunity...once available to them...will no longer provide the impunity that was previously a shelter they could hide behind. They would be held accountable for their misdeeds. For now that seems not to be the case…

We will try again another day…we all will continue to ask for your prayers…and we too will pray for God’s guidance as we continue forward.

All my love Sal, as I begin to keep my promise to you…
May 28, 2007
My Son…today…Monday, May 28…we are observing another Memorial Day…the one day a year…set aside as a holiday… for everyone to reflect on…in honor and remembrance of all those brave deceased military men and women who fought for our country in every war…paying the ultimate price to ensure our freedoms…may God Bless all of them for their service.

There was a Memorial Mass offered today by Bishop Loverde on the grounds where you are resting…it was not only offered in behalf of lost veterans…but for the repose of the souls of the faithful departed interred at FMP…as well as other family members who have gone before us and are interred at other distant sacred sites…the Bishop wanted us to be mindful of our faith…as a believing people…to trust in God’s promise that one day we all would be reunited with our loved ones again…body and soul…for all of eternity… that those who have gone before us are now at rest…he said some were now free from illness and disease…some no longer suffering the pain of old age…others free from the violence they suffered…all were now at peace in God’s presence…I hear all the words…I believe that we were not made for this earthly world…I know we were made for the next…God’s Heaven…believing…trusting…knowing…I live in hope…one day at a time.

Dad, Cyn and I attended the Mass in memory of all those who gave their lives in behalf of our country…in memory of my brother who served during the Korean Police Action…although he was stateside for his time in the Army and came home safe and sound…you have always known what his loss meant to our family…and how he was lost to us...as he protected and served as a Trooper of the NYS Police. I prayed for him...his fellow servicemen...his fellow law enforcement officers... Nan and Gramps...some dear and special souls...and for you…always for you son.

As a little boy…no more than three…you would always say in your wide-eyed excited way…as if to share a warning with me…“mommy, there are two most dangerous things,” and then you would proceed to tell me…each time they were the same two…one of which was being a soldier…I guess you were in hearing distance whenever we spoke of Dad’s classmates who had barely started to live before they lost their lives in Vietnam. I thought of them…so young…so far from home…in a hostile environment…I think of you…so young…in front of your home...where it should have been safe…I think of my brother…covering a shift for a fellow trooper…on what was to be his own scheduled day off...losing young loved ones…shockingly…suddenly…changes and impacts everyone and everything from that day forward…your precious, unique lives…have by your absences… forever changed the world of those whose lives you have touched…we have all been blessed to have had each of you in our lives…and so we honor your memory by never forgetting any of you…as we continue to love, miss and carry each of you in our hearts.

May each of you rest in God’s eternal peace and for those who mourn…God help us to carry our cross.

Salvatore, stay close to your Uncle Sal, Nan and Gramps…my love to all of you…with my prayers…
May 27, 2007
My Dear Son...the niece that made you an uncle for the first time turned 16 today. She is a beautiful young lady and I know you were proud of her and rightfully so...she is intelligent, athletic, witty and delightful.

Dad and I had a birthday dinner with your sister, brother-in-law, your three nieces, your brother, cousin, his girlfriend, and your sister Cyn's two youngest children.

We had a nice time enjoying each others company...but we are all aware of how it should have been...you should be with us...and so it is bittersweet and will always be that way.

We all feel your loss on a daily basis...and your name is always mentioned...it is as though you are just on your way to join us at any minute...but our reality is otherwise.

We all love you and wish we could still be enjoying your company...Dad and I have been babysitting Cyn's two children this weekend and we will all be visiting you after Sunday Mass.

Your are in my prayers...love you and miss you...
May 24, 2007
Dearest Son…it is now May 24th, 2007…the 16th month without you …soon Dad and I will know if the asking and praying we have done…and will continue to do… will provide us with God’s help in our quest for answers to the questions that we have had from moment one of this nightmare…answers that we believe are owed to our family…as we suffer your loss...nothing will ever be the same for us.

I keep reliving that awful night when they came to the door…the words they were saying…I couldn’t believe what was being told to me…my son was gone…and the reasons why...how they could have caused something so terribly wrong to happen...was and is incredible.

I try to remember how much respect I have always had for law enforcement officers…but that memory is fading…the handling or lack thereof…in both what was the basis for this unbelievable outcome and the way in which our victim family has been ignored by them in the aftermath of this tragedy…has left me disillusioned and disgusted …and without any sign of remorse or concern for us …their lives go on while ours remain suspended in time…

I think of you constantly, you are always on my mind…there is never a moment when I am not acutely aware of your separation from us. Not having the ability to see you again, or speak to you, to hear your voice and have conversations with you has left an empty place inside each of us.

We have a noon Mass being offered for you today and I will receive and offer my Communion for you…just like always… and each time…until we can be together again.

Please pray that we will be given what we are again requesting…we love you Salvatore and you will not be forgotten...we will be your voice...she may be blind but she is not deaf.

You are loved and missed…
May 13, 2007
Dearest Salvatore...

Last night all of us were at a very dear friend's wedding...and...while we all were so happy for them...and... everything was lovely...the bride beautiful...the company, music, food...all terrific...and... while your sisters, brother and brother-in-law were enjoying each others company...and...while Dad and I watched them interacting...and
feeling the pride and joy that parents experience when just observing adult children at a happy occasion...there was and always will be the sadness of your absence from us...there is always an emptiness...that hole in our hearts...that will remain there forever...because you have been taken from all of us.

You are loved and missed so very much.

Everyday without you breaks my heart...and today... the second Mother's Day that I must visit you at your resting place...because of what they caused to happen to you and our family...I cannot receive your phone call wishing me a happy day... or hear your voice as you ask "what time is dinner?"...or read the humorous card that always managed to poke fun at my "motherly ways"...but never without a clever and wittier handwritten comment from you on how I should and could improve...and yes...always signed with your love...nor can I see you handsome face...or get a hug and kiss from you...we can no longer share your company as a family...our family is no longer the same...it is all too painful...what I feel is only known to those mothers who also grieve the loss of a child...none of us will ever be at peace...until we all meet again.

I love you son, and I am proud to be your mother.

You are in my heart...always.
May 08, 2007
My Dearly Loved Son…

One year ago today, May 8th… a police station ambush…by a young man suffering from mental illness… cost the FCPD to lose one of its officers… while critically wounding another…who would also be lost nine days later… in what was a very sad day for their department.

I was sorry then… as I am now… for the families who lost their loved ones.

Today, Tuesday, as I was visiting your resting place…I thought to visit the resting place of one of the officers who eventually lost his life because of that assault. I said a prayer for him and his family in addition to saying a prayer for the female officer who died that day and is interred at a different location.

I remembered wondering then… only three and a half months after you were taken from your life and ours…if their loss of two unique and precious lives…fellow officers…that the FCPD was mourning…would cause them to relate to and feel the same pain we felt… pain caused by them in an earlier loss…yours…grief and pain not caused by an individual who evidently had mental problems…but by a veteran SWAT officer who should have been well trained in handling his weapon safely…and, by a system that allowed for this unnecessary act to take place...which then resulted in the taking of your life… it should have never happened…and finally…the lack of befitting consequences against the SWAT officer for his unforgivable and inexcusable actions…in my opinion…that resulted in the loss of another unique and precious life…yours.

We wait…maybe not all pain is equal in their eyes…and if that is a belief they hold…I pity them…if it is not…then they should be forthcoming and compliant to what we have asked of them…once again.

The young man who was disturbed and caused such violence at the FCPD…also had his life ended that May 8th day… Justice was served…and all those affected could mourn and then try to begin a healing process.

Salvatore… you and our family are also owed justice…so we wait for our questions to be answered…giving them yet another opportunity to tap into their humaneness and to see where their consciences will lead them…while I pray… for the families and officers who suffered the loss of their life one year ago.

Son…I love you…I miss you…I pray for you.
May 07, 2007
Today was your godchild's 13th birthday. Our family spent a part of the day at George Mason University watching her receive a SAT/ACT State Award for High Honors...Grades 7-8...Commonwealth of Virginia-Fairfax... presented by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth. She is a very bright and competitive young lady...her abilities in math are similar to yours...you would have been a very proud Uncle and Godfather...watching her walk across the stage with such grace and presence to accept her certificate...made Dad and I...as well as her parents...appreciate the good moments...she is similar to you in her ability to grasp math concepts...I know how proud of her you would have been...and I believe you are... Sal, watch over all of your nieces and nephews...keep them safe...as I wish you could have been...we live in a very changed world and although today we experienced one of the joys...we know all too well the sadness that contrasts those blessed moments.

Remember Bri, Vin and Mrs. A...as we pray for you...all of you gathered in God's eternal home need to pray for them, their families and us.

You are always in my heart...
April 24, 2007
My dear Salvatore, it is April 24th… one year, three months and one day…the 65th week…on a Tuesday once again… as I continue to record each day of your loss to us…the moments are engraved in my heart...I miss you so much…

I attended Mass in your memory this morning and I received communion as always… I pray…I keep asking God WHY…are parents and families truly drawn closer to Him when faced with whatever crosses we are called to carry in this life… is that because there IS no one else to whom we can turn…I don’t understand the need for all the pain, grief and suffering many of us are called to. I find it senseless…I have been taught that when there is suffering, the ones who suffer the pain, loss, grief, are ever more closely united to God because He values the suffering which then can be united to Christ’s suffering and offered up for some greater good. I would have hoped that Christ’s Passion, being divinely perfect, would have been enough…and I know it was…so why the need for more suffering…I have no answer and I would be dishonest if I said I understand this reasoning. I must rely on the wisdom of others and my hope that my faith will see me through all that I do not understand and find so difficult to accept…as I continue to ask WHY…

I have found getting through the last two Lenten seasons quite difficult…I am so aware of injustices, man’s cruelty to one another and the evil that causes such pain in the world…it is just a very depressing reality that keeps raising its ugly head...and in this particular season it is all the more apparent...in light of our own circumstances, the VA Tech incident, the war...it is too much to digest.
I was not able to participate in as many of the Holy Week services as I had intended…you brother got sick and my plans changed…Dad and I did attend the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass at the Cathedral…actually it was a first for us.

On Good Friday, we went to a Share The Light Of Jesus Prayer Service delivered by the students at St. Michael’s… Stef, your niece/godchild, read from the altar and did so very poised and reverently…I tried to keep the silence from 1 to 3 but wasn’t as successful as I had hoped…I know you are thinking that it would have been a minor miracle if I had been able to remain quiet for that length of time…you know your mom… Dad and I also went to a 3 pm service at St. Andrew’s where we listened to a very insightful explanation on what God expects from us and why He sacrificed so much to save us. We were able to kiss the feet of Christ on the cross and receive Communion again. In your memory I also kissed the side opposite to where the lance pierced the heart of our Lord…the place where you were mortally wounded…

Holy Saturday brought us a second surprise visit from Father and the Bishop. They were very kind to take time from their busy schedules to come and see us once again.

Easter Sunday we went to Mass, Communion and brought an Easter lily to you when we visited your resting place. Chris was running a very high fever, and since one of Con’s girls was already not feeling too well she decided it would be best to stay home. Cyn came with her children who were disappointed that they wouldn’t be seeing their cousins...Chris stayed in bed too sick to do anything but sleep. It was a different holiday than we have had in the past when all of you would be here with us and the house would be filled with noise, confusion, laughter and Easter basket candy and cellophane straw all over the floors. We didn’t realize then how fortunate we were to have all the chaos of a family holiday… it was the norm for us…who could have thought that our lives would be so drastically changed forever because of what they caused to happen to you and our family.

Last Sunday, April 15th, was the second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday. I had prayed the Divine Mercy from Good Friday and on Sunday we went to the closing Devotion. All of our intentions were in your behalf. I keep asking for some small sign that you are at peace…on the way out of church a man raised an umbrella that had angels all around the border of the fabric. They were the same angels that have always reminded me of you, the ones with the big eyes, like yours, looking up towards Heaven I hope it was a sign…I have never seen an umbrella like this one and I probably should have asked the man where he got it, but I hesitated, very unlike me. He got into his car and drove away. Maybe if I ever get a second opportunity…I will ask.

This past Sunday, the 22nd, we visited you and brought you two straws with three colored, taped and cut out flowers on each. Your little niece Jen, had made them and asked me to bring them to Uncle Sal for her. So they are in the tulips along with the fuzzy bunny ears and her printed note to you…telling you that she loves and misses you.

In the evening Dad and I went to Holy Transfiguration Melkite Catholic Church to offer our condolences to one of the families that lost their beautiful young daughter in the VA.Tech tragedy. My heart knows what they are going through and I will keep them as well as the other families who have lost loved ones, and are grieving because of another avoidable and senseless act, in my thoughts and prayers. I like to think that you and Rich have made these young people welcome in their true and eternal home…but all of you must never forget how much your families wish you could still be here with us….you are all loved, missed and will never be forgotten…we parents all look forward to the day when we will be reunited with you, our children, once again.

Son, you are always on my mind and in my heart…

With my love and prayers,
April 08, 2007
Dearest son...I pray you are having a Blessed and Peaceful Easter...I want to tell you how I/we spent the beginning of Holy Week and I will...but right now I am too emotionally and physically tired to attempt it...so for the moment know that you are always in my thoughts, heart and prayers.

Watch over your siblings...your loss is very painful for them...

Sal, you are loved and missed by all of us...not much holds meaning since you've been taken from our family.

All My Love,
April 01, 2007
Today is April 1st, Palm Sunday. It is the day we celebrate Our Lord’s triumphant acceptance by His disciples with open arms and signs of peace…the calm before the storm of betrayal… Holy Week…leading to the ultimate and Divine sacrifice offered to God on behalf of humanity…Christ’s Crucifixion and Death…and then with His Resurrection…the promise of eternal life for all His children.

I remember when I was young the tradition, of this special day, was to attend Mass and received blessed palms. Since we all lived in close proximity to one another, we would then go to each relatives’ house, and to close friends as well, and bring a palm, as a peace offering extended from one family to another for any past misunderstandings or disagreements that might have strained their relationship with one another in the previous year. It served many purposes…it was a sign of respect…or appreciation…or apology. It was a gesture that reinforced unity and mended many hearts. Afterwards, we would go to the cemetery to visit and remember lost loved ones. It was a different world then…people reached out to one another.

Last year’s Holy Week was……the only thing I could focus on was the fact that you were gone.

After weeks without any information from the FCPD, I went on my own to the hospital in search of answers. I requested your records; initially being given someone else’s, which caused me additional upset until I realized they had given me the wrong file and I returned it to them…they checked more carefully and then gave me the correct one… yours.

I finally became aware of what preceded your not being able to receive the Last Rites of our faith…time. It was because of people who either through ignorance of, or indifference to others’ beliefs and values and their apparent disregard for the dignity of a human life and the person’s soul, had also circumvented our family’s rights to be immediately informed of what had happened to you at their hands. This will never rest well with me.

The gesture of palms I offered as a youngster in behalf of my family to forgive and forget past hurts and injustices between people; that made everything better…are no longer available to my adult reasoning. My son, I have become jaded by the events of this past year…how could I not be.

We visited with you today, as we do every Sunday…Dad made you a Cross from blessed palm that we left in the Tulips…we cried…we prayed…we hope for justice in your name…we love you…we miss you…we are forever changed…

Rest well my precious son…you are remembered…you are loved.
March 25, 2007
Dearest Salvatore...14 months yesterday...Dad and I had to go to NY for the Baptism of two beautiful twin baby boys. My dear friends' daughter and son-in-law became the proud parents of the sweetest little bundles of joy.

Seeing the babies called to mind all the wonderful milestones I knew their parents would experience in raising them. I had been there and done that...while raising you. God blesses parents by sending our little "miracles" to us...to love, nurture and enjoy. Those little guys are very loved by Him because He gave them to such a caring mother and father. I wish for them all the happiness I recall when looking back on your childhood.

It was a pleasure to be in their company, and to spend some time with friends that I consider to be extended family...it was all good.

I asked Dad to light some candles for you while we were at the ceremony...I am sorry I wasn't able to visit you on the 24th before we left...but I went to Mass with dear friends on Saturday night and I did say a Rosary and offered my Communion for you...and yours was the first place I went to when I got back.

You are always in my thoughts and in my heart. I love you so.
March 23, 2007
Salvatore, today marks the 20th anniversary of Nan being reunited with her beloved son...your uncle. I know how happy she is to be with him, because she suffered his loss for so many years...I know I too will be as happy as she when I am again reunited with you.

Nan and Gramps had a special love and pride when it came to you...not just because you carried Uncle Sal's name, but because they saw all the special talents you had even as a youngster. They saw promise...

Gramps and Nan would drive down often to watch you play soccer and even managed to see a few select tournament games. They enjoyed seeing you set up plays, (it was always a thinking game for you, not just kick and run) you had grace on the field, that awesome left foot had Gramps calling you crazy legs Hirsch, scoring most of the goals, or at worst assisting on them, being a team player, you were never a hot shot (it wasnt't your style even as a boy), they relished it all. They knew you were gifted as a student but more importantly to them, they valued knowing that you got along with your sisters and didn't give me much to complain about. You were a good boy. They got a kick out of you when you would entertain everyone with your singing and dancing a la Elvis, they were your biggest fans and you loved performing for them.

When Chris came along you willingly abdicated your position as "King" as he took center stage and became a carbon copy of you as a little boy. You enjoyed him as much as they had enjoyed you. I know how much you loved your brother and I am so saddened that Chris had to lose his big brother and best friend. He misses you so much.

I know Nan and Gramps are watching over you...they loved their grandchildren with a passion.

Stay close to my brother, he was the best of us, that is why I gave you his name. I knew it would be an honor to carry it in his memory, and you did just fine.

I love you Sal, I look to the day when I will be as happy as my mother is...she with her son and me with mine.

You are in my heart always...with my love and prayers.
March 23, 2007
I remember Sal so fondly. I met him while we were both at a concert one night, and we remained acquaintances. We used to discuss so much about the Catholic Church and my "wayward" ways because I preferred to be counseled by the Jesuit priests. He had such a stong belief, and when I saw him after I came back from Italy, his first question was had I gone to the Vatican. Sal was such a fun guy - kareoke, dancing, jokes, cute emails - that it was hard to ever get mad at him. He was a great optometrist, and was so proud of his achievement. He was an awesome big brother, always looking out for his little brother, as unobviously as possible. The world lost a great guy, but I know our loss is Heaven's gain.
I send my prayers to the Culosi family. Peace be with you.
March 21, 2007
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
March 20, 2007
My dearest Salvatore, today is the 60th Tuesday I have walked the path to your resting place...it is and will always be an incredibly heartbreaking walk.

Today is also the day that we have begun our journey for justice in your behalf...and I have not given up the hope that all Fairfax County residents will eventually be safer as a result of our cause.

I ask you and all of our loved ones that are with you, to come together to support through prayer all of the efforts that are being expended as we seek the answers that we have been denied from the very beginning of this tragedy.

Son, you know what is in each of our hearts, and with God's help we will all do our best to be your voice.

With my love and prayers.
March 19, 2007
Son...today is Monday...March 19th...it is the feast day on which we remember to honor St. Joseph.

Since it is his name that you chose for Confirmation...I hope and pray that you too are having a Happy St. Joseph's Day.

Please watch over all of us, we need your intercession.

I miss you so much...God Bless you...all my love.
February 26, 2007
Sal, you remember... ask and you shall receive...ask for good things for Bri.

I love you son.
February 24, 2007
My dearest Salvatore, it is month number 13...or…a year and a month...396 days…however I count it…I am aware of your absence every moment…thoughts of you flash into my mind from morning to night sparking memories…a melody or picture calls to mind happier times when you were here with us… I speak to you silently, in thoughts that I hope you can hear…all of what I am experiencing are constant reminders that you have been taken from us...the passage of time is not easing the pain of your loss…it never will.

We have asked them to give us information that is rightfully owed to us... but we still have not been given that information.

I pray that God will nudge the consciences of those that are in a position to provide this information, to do so...I know too that we are all imperfect beings...so perhaps they will not respond and we will continue to be on the receiving end of having insult added once again to not just injury...but to the tragic taking of your life...

I know it is what it is...but that does not make it any more bearable...your loss and the circumstances that caused it are incredibly wrong…they have allowed for God’s fifth commandment to be broken. Each in his own way contributed to this outcome…they were not provoked by you, you did not pose a threat of any kind to anyone, it was not self defense on their part, you were not an enemy in a war zone, you had no weapon, never even owned one…this was an over the top unjustified killing.

I need to see their faces…look them in the eye…and let they understand the pain that they have caused our family by this unwarranted taking of your life.

Our family will continue to seek justice in your name... the justice that is owed to you, to us, and to all the residents of Fairfax County.

You know my heart Son…and my promise.

God bless you…all my love always…
February 14, 2007
Dad worked from home today, so I asked him to come with me on my Tuesday visit…we may have an ice storm by Wednesday and I wanted to make sure that you were not without your Valentine flowers from us.

Going to your resting place is very painful…I hate that I have to walk up a path that is leading me to my worst nightmare…dealing with the reality that when I get to the end…that is where you are…just inches away from me on the other side of the marble closure...my thoughts race...my heart is broken and it will never mend…I love you my son.

What has happened to you and our family is so wrong…you should be here with us…how could they have let this happen.

Every time I leave and walk back to the car, I am filled with sadness and rage…sad because I am leaving you in a place that should have been so many, many years into your future and certainly never in my lifetime…and angry at the circumstances that allowed for this heartache.

I am in a tug of war with myself. I miss you so very much.

You are in my every thought and prayer…God bless you son...
January 30, 2007
Last year January 30th was on a Monday…your burial day... it would be the final time that our family and friends would be able to see you, say their good-byes for now, go to Church for your Funeral Mass and then to your resting place.

Your sister Constance, had written from her heart, her memories of you… and managed to get through your eulogy…what you meant to her that she never got the chance to tell you personally...especially when you were there for her and provided the encouragement and support she needed when she was having to face a very serious and difficult surgery… you now know…your big sister valued your opinions and calm…she loved and loves you dearly.

Chris held back tears as he read on the altar at his best friend and big brother’s funeral mass…you two had a special bond…you had such faith and confidence in him and he loved to make you laugh…he still tells me you were the only one who would ever cut him some slack…he misses you so much…

Cynthia spoke spontaneously and eloquently at your graveside…she noted that you had been called home on the feast day of St. Francis de Sales whose message was... that one should “Live Christ.” She said you had done that… because you were a good person… your last words to her shortly before this happened were “Cyn, just pour water over and over his head and he’ll be fine…it will be alright.” Days earlier, Matthew her two-year old had gotten something in his eyes and was screaming in pain…she had called you and you calmed her, told her what to do and assured her that everything would be fine…and it was.

It struck Cyn that while our cousin, Fr. Anthony was pouring the holy water over the head of your casket that it was cleansing and making fine what was painful for all of us to witness. She said she felt your words speaking to her again…"pour water over and over his head and he’ll be fine….it will be alright.” Only this time she wasn’t thinking of Matthew…it was you that she needed to know would be fine and alright. Cyn knew how upset I was that you had not received the Last Rites of our Church because of the delay in notifying us…and what she shared with us that day was comforting to consider. She said while you were here you helped people with their earthly vision…now through your loss you had given us heavenly vision… you had made us look into our hearts and relationship with God and that was your legacy to us.

She shared her thoughts with everyone present and she insightfully gave all of us there a meaningful understanding of how what had so wrongfully and unjustly happened to you must have been viewed by God…in her opinion…as not so unlike His own son’s death…a shocking, traumatic, wrongful death… and had paved the way for great mercy from God… and the waters of your Baptism in Christ which were now being poured over you again, were washing away, cleansing and making you fine…sanctifying your entrance and acceptance into God’s kingdom…you were His child first... before becoming ours… and He loved you…with an infinite love…and for what you suffered…He welcomed you home…Cyn holds you in prayer and in her heart always.


For Dad and me, that day and all to follow...devastation, heartbreak and pain…there are no words….

I remember thinking that morning, that this would be, on earth, the last day that I would be able to look at you…my handsome son…touch you…and kiss you... and whisper in you ear and tell you all that I held in my heart…things that I thought I would still have time to tell you… they were not to be… now all I could say in those last moments was…I love you Sal, I am so proud of you, I am blessed to have been your mother, you were a loving son, a good boy and a caring young man, you had a tender heart… I am so sorry that this happened to you and that you had to suffer all that they did to you… I will miss you, and hold you close in my heart and prayers always, until we can be together again forever. Don’t be afraid…God loves you and Uncle Sal, Nan and Gramps are there to meet you…

Sal, I could never have imagined that when I held you as a little baby and whispered in your ear, then, all my hopes and dreams for you, that…someday in my lifetime…I would be laying you to rest…doing for the last time what I had done the first time when I looked at you and whispered words…. Then it was about joys…and now sorrows…

I thanked God then for giving me a son and now he had taken you back much too soon. I will ask Him “why” everyday until I join you…and then I will ask Him again.

May God forgive all of us for where we fall short of what He expects from us…

Eternal rest grant unto his soul O Lord, May the perpetual light shine upon him, may his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen

I love you Salvatore…
January 24, 2007
Today is January 24, 2007. It is your First Anniversary in Heaven.

It is also the Feast Day of St. Francis de Sales, and the day on which, one year ago, you were taken back by God to your heavenly and eternal reward.

I may be searching for anything I can grasp at…but I find that your personality and disposition reflects some of what I have read about this Saint. He had a gentle character and spirit, and was the saint whose perennial meekness and sunny disposition won for him the title of “Gentleman Saint.”

How many times have I mentioned your own quiet, laid-back, easy-going nature…you were a gentleman too… your name is even contained in the first three letters of the town he was from…de “SALes.” Just some coincidental observations…

This morning’s Mass was in your memory and I offered my Communion for you, and I included two of your classmates in my prayer…I knew you wouldn’t mind…

Family and several dear friends attended the Mass and it was more than appreciated by us…there are many caring people that have sent cards, made phone calls and have thought of you and us today…may God bless them for their compassion…you are not forgotten.

This is a very difficult day for our family and those that hold you in their hearts…I hope you are experiencing as much “happiness and peace” as we are “sadness and heartache”…only then might we understand what it is to be in God’s promised eternity.

I read this poem by “author unknown” so it is okay to post…and it expresses how I feel.

I Do Not Need A Special Day

I do not need a special day
To bring you to my mind.
The days I do not think of you
Are very hard to find.

Each morning when I awake
I know that you are gone.
And no one knows the heartache
As I try to carry on.

My heart still aches with sadness
And secret tears still flow.
What it meant to lose you, Sal
No one will ever know.

My thoughts are always with you,
Your place no one can fill.
In life I loved you dearly,
In death I love you still.
.
There will always be heartache,
And often a silent tear,
But always a precious memory
Of the days when you were here.

If tears could make a staircase,
And heartaches make a lane,
I’d walk the path to Heaven
And bring you home again.

I hold you close within my heart,
And there you will remain
To walk with me throughout life
Until we meet again.

You are my first thought in the morning and my last one at night…

With all my love and prayers…
January 23, 2007
I have visited the cemetery every Tuesday for the past year…today was number 52…time seems to have stood still and yet it has flown by…what feels like yesterday also feels like forever…the sadness, pain and welling up of grief comes in spurts and then tidal waves…a parent’s grief is overwhelmingly unpredictable…

Some think since it’s been a year, that it is long enough and now things should start to return to some kind of normal.

I don’t know that my heart will allow that to happen ...it isn’t because I don’t understand the need to go forward…it is because of the circumstances that took your life…

No parent should ever have to bury a child. It is not the normal order…even when children are terminally ill, and suffering, a parent will live in the hope of a remission, or of finding a new effective drug or treatment, or pray for a miracle before rationalizing letting go and even after that happens, they will never get over the loss. You may tell yourself that at least the loss in such circumstances although very painful, ended the suffering and pain the child was enduring and now he/she is with God…but that doesn’t help you to cope with the grief of mourning the loss of a child.

I don’t know that a parent can put a time frame on mourning or grieving when they have lost a child…no matter the age…and perhaps the older the offspring the more pain is realized. I am not dismissing the loss of an infant or young child as any less of a loss…I only offer that the longer you have as a parent to see your child flourish, achieve and contribute to society, the more hurtful it is to see that come to an unnecessary end…especially when it never should have happened.

You, Sal, weren’t suffering from a painful disease that was terminal, you weren’t in a fatal car accident, there was no airplane crash, sports accident, daring escapade on your part that led to your death…you were a healthy, vital, young adult who was entitled to your future. In one moment you were standing, talking, alive…and in the next moment you had your life wrongfully taken by no less than a police officer, one who is sworn to protect and serve the community and instead took your life without any provocation.

The reasons given by the FCPD in their explanation of what happened that cost you and us your life make no sense to me…

My inner voice says over and over, this should not have happened…but it did…and I am told by some that I am obsessed with your loss…unavailable to my other children…unforgiving and should rely on God to help me to forgive…recognizing that I will see you again one day...that my faith and relationship with God is being tested…I hear their words and opinions…I am not there yet and may never be….

I make no excuses or apologies for myself, Sal…I am sad and I am angry.

I went to Mass and Communion this morning, then to the florist, and finally to your resting place. I prayed, cried and asked God for answers.

I am your mother…and you my son were given to me to love, nurture, and protect…there was no age restriction, statute of limitations, or expiration date attached to my love…as I loved you here on earth, along with your sisters and brother, so too, I will continue to love you in eternity…all of you are always in my heart.

I am going to Perpetual Adoration soon…I want to spend the time in pray, that I was denied having with you…when you were facing your final moments one year ago tonight…I will pray that you are at peace in God’s presence…with our other loved ones who have gone before you…

I miss you so very much, my dear son.
January 21, 2007
Today is Sunday, Jan. 21st, 2007. It is the last Sunday before the 24th.

One year ago on the last Sunday before the 24th we had what was to become our last conversation. It was a brief exchange but it is seared into my memory…I had called Chris, and he was at your place, so I asked him to put you on the phone. I could hear you in the background as Chris told me you were busy because you were entertaining friends. I did the mother thing, ignored Chris’ running interference, and insisted on speaking to you, and of course, you came to the phone. You assured me you would do what I asked of you and as you hurried off the phone I said I love you Sal and you said I love you too Mom, and hung up.

I missed the opportunity to speak to you on that Monday; then I thought well I’ll call him on Tuesday after he gets home from work…

As I was about to call you that night I got an incoming call, first from one friend and then another. I managed to stay on the phone for quite some time with an old girlfriend I hadn’t spoken to in several years. As she asked for everyone, I told her about Con’s surgery, Cyn’s children, Chris’ ambitions, Dad’s work, etc. We did a lot of catching up on her family and ours.

I didn’t remember what I had said about you until she reminded me a few months after your loss when I called her to tell her what had happened on the very night she and I had last spoken. I guess after that I was grieving and although I thought I was on top of things, I was only focused on what happened and why…I wanted and needed answers that I wasn’t getting.

She and I had been on the phone that Tuesday night at about the same time that you must have been facing you final moments…and she remembers asking me during our conversation then, how you were doing and what I said… she said I had replied, “Sal’s the only one I’m not worried about at the moment,” and then I proceeded to tell her… he’s become an eye doctor; he graduated from UVA in ’91 with a BA in Economics and worked in an office for a while but he didn’t like it, so he decided to go back to school for a year at GMU to get his pre-requisites in the sciences that were required for entry into optometry college; he then graduated in 2000, had his appendix rupture in ‘01 and a botched surgery had sidelined him for almost one full year, he was seen by all kinds of doctors who were trying to find other reasons for his painful and prolonged recovery from his surgery, every test ruled out other reasons being the cause, so it went back to a sloppy surgery that may not have flushed out all the poisons in his system from the bad appendix, and his system may have been trying to fight abscesses that never were quite detectable, so he was put on mega doses of antibiotics that after they were used to treat him, he was told by the doctors that he would never be able to take them again because they were maxed out in his system, even the scan that required iodine caused him severe allergic reactions so he could never have iodine tracer again, they said his overall good health and youth were instrumental in his ability to finally fight the infection…but thank God that was hopefully behind him and he now was finally working and enjoying his profession, had moved out, was buying furniture and seemed content, settling in to his new life and enjoying his bachelorhood for the time being.”

After she reminded me of everything I touched upon, I did remember saying it all… and maybe I was saying it to her at the exact time when your life was being …

Sal, had I overlooked you, was I too comfortable in my joy at seeing you finally feeling better and your goals being realized? I ask myself over and over…why God, why? We had already lost one Salvatore, did we need to lose another…

And now I’m to swallow that the reason you lost your life is because someone was not fatigued as first suggested, but was clumsy and had anxiety (the definition is painful uneasiness of mind usually over an anticipated ill). There was no reason for them to come at you as they did…and they have come to that realization.

We knew from the beginning of this injustice that there was no reason for this excessive act. An “uneasiness” of mind from an experienced officer because he is anticipating an ill…from no less than a low risk, non-violent, optometrist, who had no criminal record or had ever owned a weapon. Sal, you were never a threat of any kind to them or anyone…you were a decent guy. The “absence” of malice on the part of the officer was also cited. Malice is the desire to cause injury or distress to another. Just what was the thinking on the part of one who is uneasy because he is anticipating ill? Is he pre-disposed in wanting to get him before I expect him to get me? That mentality has no place on a police force.

Then too, there is for consideration, the rules and procedures that are inconsistent and leave plenty of room for screw-ups; and let’s not forget those in charge who were irresponsible in their oversight, and then there were the poor judgment calls and of course that leads to no one is really at fault, but somehow everyone is really at fault… everyone but you…non-violent, posing no threat, never having owned a weapon, compliant, just standing there in your stocking feet, without even a jacket on (I can’t get that image out of my head) probably wondering in those split seconds what was happening…and then your are shot …

Sal, what they did to you, pains me…then I get to live with the aftermath...the bottom line is that they are all still here, they may or may not have learned from their mistakes, but it was at your expense and ours…it is you who has paid the ULTIMATE PRICE WITH THE LOSS OF YOUR PRECIOUS LIFE at their hands.

Their poor policies, protocols, training, irresponsible supervisory officers, misguided use of SWAT personnel, lack of common sense…all attributed to what we are all suffering because of them.

Add to that the circumventing of a grand jury, the lack of information in more than 11 months from the FCPD regarding your unjust shooting and killing by a SWAT officer they refused to name, the appeal by Bullock that has challenged his pitiful reprimand given what he has done…it all sickens me.

Our family has been forever changed because we have to face the future without YOU, SON…YOUR SIBLINGS WITHOUT THEIR BROTHER…YOUR NIECES AND NEPHEWS WITHOUT THEIR UNCLE.

It plays in my head over and over…the injustice done to you and us.

I pray that God will understand my heart…I love you Sal and I hope God will forgive me for what I think of them.
January 16, 2007
It is Tuesday, Jan. 16th, 2007, week number 51… I will continue to count the hours, days, weeks, months and years…until we are together again… my precious son.

January 11th,…almost one year since you were wrongfully and unjustly shot and killed by an officer whose name we had to learn from a newspaper…the Fairfax County Police Department has finally and officially released the name of the officer who has taken your life and with it destroyed a number of other lives in our family.

He is MPO Deval Bullock, a 17 year veteran of the Police Department, 5 years in the Street Crimes Unit and 7 years experience as a SWAT Unit officer. He is considered one of their most experienced officers in the Tactical Section. I don’t know what that implies for the other officers in that section…

A report was released by Chief Rohrer, to the community and us almost simultaneously. It is an account of what they have investigated; the findings, and recommendations concerning what they call your unintentional police shooting.

I wonder if they could have their findings recommend to God…that since this was unintentional, perhaps He could redefine your loss and let you return to us.

For the sake of other families, I pray that the areas they have mentioned in their report, in addition to some other needed changes, also be considered and will be implemented...and in good faith in your name and memory.

Son, they have no clue how over reactive they were in regard to you… it was shamefully, unprofessional and irresponsibly poor police work…and in my opinion there should be reprimands up and down the chain of command in addition to consequences for this officer befitting what he did to you.

You by their definition were the “first fatal unintentional shooting by a Fairfax County police officer in the history of their Department” to have your life taken in such a way…my words…a blatantly, inexcusable and incredulous way… so there is no precedent as suggested on which to base the reprimand given this officer because of other disciplinary action in similar incidents.

There were no previous “SIMILAR INCIDENTS” and hopefully there never will be again.

I love you my son, I miss you and I am heartsick that you were sacrificed in this way… they, all those involved in the events leading to this outcome, will have to ask God for His forgiveness…they will never have mine.

I am sure those who are parents too, would also feel as I do if they were to walk in my shoes.

You are in my every thought, in my prayers and in my heart…always.

With all my love…
January 05, 2007
Sal, it is Friday, Jan. 5th, 2007, the beginning of a new year…a year that has me counting each day and not wanting to reach the 24th because that is the last day that you would spend here on earth just one year ago.

The holidays are over…they were painful as every day is…I don’t even know how I got through them…I went through all the rote motions and prepared as best as I could…but my heart was never in any of it…my heart is with you…

Holidays are never the same after the loss of a loved one…time does not heal as we are led to believe…and although life goes on, there is an emptiness that you must live with and through…it is just so unpredictable…the welling up inside of sadness and grief that you cannot hold back...it continues to overwhelm and pain…I feel my heart physically ache...maybe that is what is meant by a broken heart...

I received a note from Cousin Anthony that I probably should have shared earlier but I’m not exactly at the top of my game lately...

I am posting it hoping that others might find some comfort in it…others who have also gone through the holidays without you; others who may have lost immediate members of their own families…

This is the note and homily of caring and understanding….

Dear Anita and Sal,
Last weekend I was invited to preside and preach at a Mass at one of our Archdiocesan cemeteries. It is an annual Mass of Remembrance for people who have lost loved ones in the past year. I thought I would share my homily with you in the hope that it may bring you some consolation on what I believe and know will be a difficult Christmas for you. Please don't think me presumptuous.
Know that all of you will be in my prayers in a special way during this season. May the Light that is Christ shatter the darkness of your pain and fill you with peace!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

HOMILY
MASS OF REMEMBRANCE
(Gethsemane Cemetery)

Not far from where we gather this morning, hundreds—even thousands—of people are busy about getting ready for Christmas. Some may be looking for the perfect gift or the perfect tree; others may be at home baking or decorating or maybe even writing out their holiday cards. Some do it all with a sense of joy and anticipation; others, perhaps, out of a sense of duty, waiting for it all to be over. For us who are here to remember our beloved dead, however, these days leading up to Christmas may be very different. Having lost a parent, a spouse, a child, or a friend we find ourselves dreading these days and thinking about the empty place at the dinner table or the gift that we will not buy this year. Even during this season of good cheer, these feelings of emptiness and sadness do not go away; in fact they may even be more profound. We light our houses and deck the halls, but even the brightest tinsel and garland cannot mask our grief and loneliness for the one we have lost to death. But this doesn't mean that Christmas holds no meaning for us. For what we celebrate during these weeks is not simply the birth of a miraculous child who lived and died and rose again. In a very real way, we celebrate the birth of hope - the hope which allows Isaiah to remain on the mountain, confident that God will come even in the midst of exile; the hope that Jesus shared with us by reminding us that we share in his resurrection.

It is truly tragic that people are made to feel that the commemoration of Christ’s birth cannot speak to them in their grief or sadness. How ironic that the birth of Him whose life was spent bringing consolation to those who mourned - speaking words of comfort and hope to those faltering under the burdens of life - holds no meaning for those who continue to experience these things because we have forgotten the real meaning and power of the angels' tidings - angels who went not to palaces of kings and rulers, not to the well-heeled and well-fed, but to shepherds. That is to say, to the poor, the lonely, and those who felt life had all but lost its meaning.

The custom of the Christmas crib originated in Italy with St. Francis of Assisi at a time when people had forgotten that their God was one with them in their loneliness and pain. Francis recreated the familiar scene of Christ's birth with cows and sheep, shepherds, and a helpless infant not so much to have a Christmas pageant as to remind the people of the circumstances into which their Savor was born - circumstances not unlike their own. The custom of setting up the Christmas crib, then. is not so much to reproduce the birth of Christ but rather to create that event in the midst of what is happening today for the Incarnation-God taking on flesh in Jesus-is a present reality, not a past event Each year and at each moment and into whatever circumstances we are dealing with, God is breaking into our world.

So, my brothers and sisters, the challenge of this season for all believing people but more especially for you who have suffered the loss of one dear to you, is not to recreate what we think of as the warmth and coziness of the stable in Bethlehem - not to worry about the perfect tree or gift or cookies - but to recognize that the power and beauty of Christmas is the ability it has to give us hope in our sadness and a sense of the nearness of God in our loneliness-it reminds us that God continues to break in. The Word became flesh and makes his dwelling in us, in you and me, here and now. And that Word offers us a hope beyond anything we've ever experienced.

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I read the words…I know deeply the truth they are meant to awaken in me… and in each of us...I thank God for the good fortune of giving us a very loving, caring and supportive family.

We are blessed with compassionate, loyal friends that have become extended family. All of them share in your loss…our loss…I have heard from some of your patients…they too will not and have not forgotten you…I know there are good people in our lives and they have been placed there for a reason and I am so grateful for each of them.

I am hopeful as the homily reminds us to be…that I will with God’s help… be able to keep my promise to you, my precious son.

I love you with all my heart…you are in my prayers.
December 31, 2006
My dear son, last year at this time, New Year’s Eve 2005, we hoped that 2006 would be a more peaceful year for our world.

I wished for health and happiness for my children, grandchildren, family and friends...but the new year brought an incredulous tragedy, overwhelming loss, inconsolable sadness, profound grief and the pain and heartache of a parent's worst nightmare.

I remember mentioning to you at our holiday dinner that Dad had cancelled my TiVo in favor of some other system and since I wasn’t ok with it and wanted the old system back, you had told me to call you if I wanted you to come over to reinstall it…I was not happy trying to figure out how to use the new system and Dad was having a problem in setting up the phone connection so it could go back to accept the old system…you knew how technically challenged I was and I had barely mastered the old one so I was of no help... as Dad became more and more impatient in trying to deal with a code that wasn’t working…I called you and you came to the rescue.

On what was to be your first day off in a number of weeks and having to catch up on your own errands, you managed to come over in mid-afternoon. You told me you had been called in to work and put in several hours because one of your covering doctors wasn’t going to be available as planned. So your errands were put aside, your full day off was cut in half, and you came over…you patiently dealt with the problem of that dumb code, the phone call to the network that took forever and even gave me a refresher lesson in how to use it so that I wouldn’t have to involve Dad in what had become a source of irritation to him. I was always aware of the amount of patience you had and how calm and thorough you were in addressing whatever was the problem of the moment…you certainly didn’t inherit that trait from either Dad or me…that came from your uncle.

Although we had a family dinner and spoke several times after the New Year, I think that was one of the last times I saw you because your schedule was hectic and at that same time I had several appointments to keep and I was juggling a million other things. I did speak with you on the Sunday before…, I asked you to cash your Birthday/Christmas check so my checkbook wouldn’t get messed up, and you told me you were quite busy at the office and had not had the opportunity to get to the bank yet, but that you would take care of it.

I wanted to call you on Monday but I didn’t want to bother you at work, so I thought maybe Tuesday, but then I hesitated again and thought I’d catch up with you on Wednesday… I regret that sooo much…I had bought you the ice tea pitcher you wanted and I was going to tell you and then bring it to you but I never got the chance. It was Jan. 24th and…your world and ours stopped...and an unforgivable nightmare began and it will never end.

I am dreading these days in January that are leading up to what I will carry in my broken heart forever. I don’t know how Nan survived the loss of Uncle Sal…I guess she did what I do…hold on to every image and memory of you that is locked in my mind…think about conversations and things you said and how your voice sounded...picturing your smile, remembering your laugh and how you always teased me about some of the words I “New Yorked” and your bemused expression whenever Chris and I interacted which always ended up with me getting nowhere with him because he was so funny and no one could stay in a serious mode...then those memories cause you to be jolted into this nightmare; tearing at your heart with the overwhelming reality… and then, without warning, you go to pieces, cry bitterly and scream, dying inside when you are alone because you are suppose to stay strong for everyone else’s sake… it’s hard trying to get through one moment at a time…there is no end to the pain a mother feels for the loss of her child…and no one except another parent who has suffered that loss will ever understand the unbearable grief…

I love you son...words cannot even begin to express what your absence from our lives means to me and our family.

As I watch Dad, Con, Cyn when she is here, and Chris try to cope and carry on, and knowing what is in my heart, I don’t know what to say or avoid saying to them… we all had our world turn inside out and upside down.

I walk a fine line wanting to include you, your name, your memory in every aspect of our lives because that is what I do all day long in my own life…but I don’t want to hurt our family anymore than they are already hurting…so I try to say very little of what is on my mind and stored in my heart…flashbacks of your life from infancy to the present pop in and out of my head…and each image causes a rush of emotions...there is and was no justification for them to put into motion the events that took your future and ours.

At midnight tonight, I will once again hope for your happiness…and I will miss you and the hug and kiss I would have given you while wishing you a happy new year, even if had to be a day late.

God knows our family’s new years will not be happy from now on…and 2007 will be the first year we will mark without you, our beloved Salvatore…because of over the top use of excessive force by those who did not take care with your safety and cost you and us your precious life.

I love you, I grieve for you and I pray for you, always.
December 27, 2006
Salvatore, the day before yesterday was Christmas…we went to Mass, received communion and then visited the cemetery. The bulletin that was given out at church had a beautiful picture of the Nativity scene on its cover…I took an extra one and left the picture near the Christmas tree that is at your resting place. As we were leaving we met Tania who had also come to visit you and we tried to comfort each other in the hope of finding the courage to face the day without you. We all miss you so very much.

Yesterday was Dec. 26th, the first day of the twelve days of Christmas which will end on Jan. 6th, the feast of the Epiphany. That is the day I will take down the decorations of Christmas that I have brought to you, and store forever in my heart all the happy memories of the previous year when we didn’t know that Christmas 2005 would be the last Christmas we would ever spend together as a family.

The stores have had Christmas decorations up for quite a while now and just seeing them, hearing Christmas music being played, the gray, cold days, and the buying of presents for the family were constant triggers for memories. I’d find myself in the middle of an aisle just wanting to sob and scream. I wanted to tell everyone, strangers, what happened to you because of a lack of judgment on the part of a police department that exhibited no common sense but instead left plenty of room for the over-reacting that led to our tragedy. If they could only know what it is to have someone of their own stolen from their lives in such an incredulous way perhaps then they would understand how devastatingly heartbroken we all are because of them.

Holidays are always happy and sad...the children bring joy; but the losses endured by our family of loved ones who are missed are an ever present reminder of how we wish things were still like before.

We all remember last year when Tania threw away the bottom of the artichoke into the clean garbage bag. You startled her by leaping up from your seat in a mad dash to retrieve the prized heart. You had us all laughing when you said you were using the 5 second rule and took "the best part, the artichoke heart," out of the trash bag, looked it over, made a judgment call…short of kissing it up to God, and ate it. Tania was slightly appalled but apologetic for not knowing that she made a major error in artichoke appreciation. The fact that you and the others had already raised artichoke worship to a new plateau only energized you and enhanced your focus as you savored your reward. I guess you had to be there…

After dinner, I remember how hard you were laughing with your sisters, brother and brother-in-law…you could hardly catch your breath and your eyes were tearing... what a fun time we were all having as we played that goofy word game you had gotten. I was finding such joy in watching all my children enjoying each others company and I never could have imagined there wouldn’t be other Christmas gatherings when we wouldn't be together to enjoy each others company over and over again.

When you left that night, and I insisted that you take the food that I had already packed for you…you were true to form…you only wanted to know if I had included any extra left over artichokes and Dad’s pizza in your doggie bag…of course I had... and that started the buzz among your nieces and sisters....oh sure he's not the favorite child, nooo....but always lovingly...you were special to each of us for our own reasons.

As a Christmas remembrance in your honor, your friend David is having a Mass said for you on Tuesday, Jan. 2, at Saint Benedict in Richmond. Every Christmas card and telephone call from family and friends that we received either contained a note, or the spoken words, of compassion and concern, rooted in the love they feel for you and our family as they share in our sorrow as we faced this first Christmas without you. Sophie and George made a memorial donation to the National Arbor Day Foundation in your name, and as a tribute, 20 trees will be planted in the Gallatin National Forest near Yellowstone National Park as a living monument to your memory.

I just received a beautiful note from Cousin Anthony…he was invited to preside over and preach at an annual Mass of Remembrance at one of his Archdiocesan cemeteries. He was addressing all the people who have lost a loved one in the past year and are facing their own first Christmas without that loved one… and he has shared his homily with us. I intend to post it and e-mail it to other families I know who are also grieving their loss. It is especially comforting at this season of Christmas and I thank him from the bottom of my heart for sending it to us… His parents, Aunt Anne and Uncle Pat, raised a wonderful son and I know they are watching over him. His siblings and their families, as well as all of his extended family, are all blessed to have him in their lives.

I am deeply touched by family, your friends and ours as they continue to show their love for you and our family in so many supportive ways as we cope with your loss; a loss that has affected all of us near and far. We are all fortunate to have such wonderful, caring people touch our lives and for them I am most grateful. I pray that God’s will bless all of them with his abundant graces.

My faith tells me you are in a better place, happy and at peace...I know I should find some comfort in that...but I must be selfish, a hard sell…because I want you happy and at peace here with all of us even if it is not the best place. It is the place where we are and all of us could be together, enjoying all of our ups and being supportive of one another in all of our downs...we are a family like any other, and to have you taken from us in a moment by a senseless act...when seconds before you were a young, healthy man, full of hopes and dreams...is devastating...and now we are left to grieve and mourn your loss...the pain you suffered, we too are suffering. I will be reading Cousin Anthony’s words over and over…again and again…

Sal, you are never more than a thought away, I carry you in my heart, I love you, I miss you and I pray for you, my dear son. You are in my soul…and I will do all I can to keep my promise...

God bless and keep you until we can be reunited.
December 25, 2006
Month number Eleven, Sunday, Dec. 24th, and it is also Christmas Eve 2006.

We had another Mass said for you at 9 am, received communion and brought a Poinsettia to your resting place. Last week I decorated a small Christmas tree that was set into a red boot...I put gold ornaments on it and miniature Nativity figures and placed it at the base of where you are resting. I also brought you an Advent wreath and have lit one candle at a time each Sunday when I visited you, said a prayer, blew out the flame and died inside.

Today I found a Christmas card that Dad left for you. He had written in it and his heartfelt words expressing his grief in dealing with the reality of your loss broke my heart. He had visited you yesterday and spent time without me there so that he could just be with you privately. Sal, we all are suffering your loss.

I think of those that caused this tragedy, and I get angry that they are able to enjoy the company of those they care about, every day of this past year, weekends, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, including Easter, Thanksgiving and now Christmas Eve, Day and New Year’s Eve and Day, with their families and loved ones…while we have spent the days of this past year, weekends, months, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and now Christmas Eve and Day, and New Year’s Eve and Day all without you, mourning our loss of a precious son.

We go to the cemetery to visit our loved son because he no longer can be here with us because of them.

Last Christmas Eve you had called several times from work to ask if Dad had started to make the pizzas, then again to ask when they would be ready, then again to make sure they were done and finally you showed up anxious to start eating, which you did just as they came out of the oven, and then took three of them with you so you could share them with your buddies. How you loved Dad’s homemade pizza…although you never were available to learn how to make them because you were always either at work, or was it that you were feeding Dad’s ego because he was the Master and you didn’t want to rain on his parade so you never quite involved yourself in the process, only the outcome.

I did not decorate this year, just couldn’t do it…but I did put blue lights on the railing outside and four candles with blue lights in the living room windows. I was told by a very kind retired Chicago Asst. Police Chief that (also lost his son) the blue light is a sign that bereaved parents use to honor the memory of a lost child. I have four, one for you, Uncle Sal, the Chief’s son and your friend Richard. None of you will ever be forgotten.

Sal, I am numb, all of my actions are just empty motions…this is so terribly sad and difficult to try to mark the season…it is not the same without you…how could it ever be again.

I love you Salvatore, you are in my every thought, and I carry you always in my heart.

I pray you are having a Blessed Christmas and that you are with our other loved ones who have gone before you.

Each of you is loved and missed...May God Bless all of you.

All my love...
December 17, 2006
Today is Sunday, December 17th, 2006. I can still say last year at this time we celebrated your 37th birthday, not knowing then that it would be the final time we would be able to call upon your birthday as a “last year at this time” date. The days are getting closer to when I have no last year recollections of any happiness…soon it will only be the pain and grief that will be anniversaries of the terrible tragedy of having you unjustly taken from your life and ours.

I remember vividly a December 17th, in l968 that fell on a Tuesday, and at 3:39 pm on that wonderful day your Dad and I became the proud parents of our third child and first son. Dad was handed a beautiful, alert, wide-eyed, l0 pound, 23 inches tall, baby boy…and he was beaming. It was you, our Salvatore. The nurses were so excited by your size that they asked if we would like to “guess how much he weighs.” I wasn’t up for guessing so they told us you were the largest baby the DeWitt Army Hospital at Fort Belvoir, Va. had seen in its nursery in a very long time.

We took you home to two big sisters who were thrilled to treat you like a real life baby doll. At 3 ½ and 2 ½, Constance and Cynthia welcomed you like a little king. You were special from the beginning. You were the first son of an only son to carry on the family name, and your grand aunts and uncle were delighted that you were to be their legacy. You were barely three days old when we packed the car and headed for New York to introduce you to your grandparents and relatives gathered there for the holidays.

As babies go, you were relatively easy…you ate well, slept well and the 7 pm routine of bathing and putting the girls to bed was uninterrupted by your arrival. Your toddling years were spent asserting your “boy” traits. You were very active; you walked at 9 months and constantly climbed out of the playpen in pursuit of adventures…but you were always very amusing. I didn’t send your sisters to pre-school, but you loved going when I sent you. Rhymes and songs that had marching steps were always your favorite activity.

In grade school, you did well academically, enjoyed sports and played well enough (you had that awesome left foot) to make a very fine select soccer team. You provided us with more ribbons, patches and trophies than we knew what to do with. Your personality always allowed for you to make friends easily and you valued and kept them into adulthood. I never had to badger you to do your homework and you always found time to study. I was a grateful mom.

The first year in high school you tried out for the football team as a quarterback and broke your finger during the first game…that ended football. When we told you we were having another baby you were happy that perhaps the score would even up. Two sisters to one brother was not ideal. On Homecoming night in 1982 when it was announced on the loudspeaker that you had a baby brother, you were more than pleased despite the age difference. Your side had won! You played soccer, basketball and again excelled academically. I thought everyone made the Honor and Merit Societies as well as the academic lists…your sisters had, so when you did I wasn’t surprised. You had a creative side which was seen in your ability to draw and you wrote beautiful poetry. Your singing voice was wonderful and even as a teenager you weren’t shy about singing and dancing in the Variety Show and did so opposite your “first love,” a sweet and pretty little blonde named BJ. You took her to the Jr. and Sr. proms, dated the first year of college and managed to always hold a special place for her in your life. There were other girls; you were a good looking, polite young man and several of them were very special to you.

When you graduated all four times, you managed to make us very proud. You won the four year excellence in math medal in HS, managed to complete UVA in four years even though you changed your major, and did well in Optometry College, attested to by your grades and fellow doctors. Proud of you is what we were and are...although I don’t know if you realized it. We as a family are not banner wavers, or braggers. We love our children and took most of what each of you did accomplish as ordinary. This is one of the things that troubles me…I don’t know if any of you realized how proud I was to have you as my children. I love you son, as I love each of your siblings.

Today, in remembrance of your “would have been” Happy 38th Birthday, our family, those who can make it, will attend the noon mass and receive communion as our gift for your intentions. Then we will spend some time visiting you at your resting place.

I pray that you know what is in my heart. My Tuesday’s child…you were full of grace, which is a virtue coming from God and virtues are commendable qualities…and you had so many.

God loaned you to me for such a short time…I know what has been taken from me and I want you to know that I do…I don’t know what happens to birthdays…maybe you stop counting because there is no time with God…but I will continue to count for as long as I am here for what should have been another birthday for you…your day to make another wish…

With my prayers and all my love, my dearly missed son!
November 27, 2006
Dear Sal,
I never had the honor of knowing or meeting you except through the writings of your mother. I know she is both a victim and a survivor and is split between two different cultures - Civilians and Police. Stay close to her and watch over her. Visit her in her dreams to let her know you are close by and watching over her. I am a member of Bereaved Parents of the USA and a National Conference will be held in 2007 in a suburb just outside Chicago. It is a gathering where parents who have lost children from across this Country meet and attend seminars and all have one thing in common, we have lost a child, young or old, they are still our children. Maybe we will meet one day at one of these gatherings. I can tell just by her love for you and her brother that she lost many years ago, she is a wonderful, caring person of not only her family members, but of people in general. She does not deserve all the grief she has been living with. My thoughts are with her and her loved ones.
November 03, 2006
My dear son, Oct. 31st, Nov. 1st and Nov. 2nd are three days that will always have a special place in my heart for reasons other than the obvious.

I have visited you on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. I cannot bear to stay away especially on Tuesdays…and this one was Halloween. A holiday that you so enjoyed…I remember last year you were so excited about the costume you intended to wear at the party you would be attending with friends. You wouldn’t tell me what it was but you were having a grand time putting the final touches on what you said would be so out of character for you. It was bittersweet when I found the costume neatly stored in a plastic bag when I was emptying out your closet…I’m sure everyone had a good laugh when they saw you and knowing you that was the reaction you were seeking. Enjoying laughter and a sense of humor…two things you appreciated.

Wednesday, was Gramps birthday…so All Saints Day was always celebrated by us in addition to it being a holy day of obligation. At Mass the homily pointed out that this day is in commemoration of all the souls, now saints, who are in Heaven. I think of my brother, mother, father and now you…and I hope you are all there together.

Thursday was All Souls Day. Years ago I would go to Church and light candles and say prayers in memory of my grandparents, aunts and uncles. In some way it was okay because they were old when then passed away. Then when we lost Uncle Sal it wasn’t okay anymore …then Nan…then Gramps…my immediate family was all but gone…and now to have to include you is too much…I miss them…but missing you…there are no words to tell you what I feel…

I don’t need special days…to remind me…to pray…to attend Mass…to think of each of you…they and you are always in my thoughts…I love you son, and I am so terribly sorry that we were not allowed to have many more years together…this is too unbelievably painful.

May God’s Perpetual Light Shine Upon You and May You Rest in His Eternal Peace.

You are with me always…
October 25, 2006
Dear Anita, I just wanted to come by for a visit to the guestbook to read the entries and think about Sal with you. Darby
October 24, 2006
Nine months, Sal…the same amount of time I counted as I carried you, my third child, and looked forward in anticipation of what it would mean to hopefully give birth to a son and the joy it could bring...

I would finally be able to keep my promise to my brother and name my son after him...

God sent you and I gave you what I considered to be a beautiful name, your uncle’s name, Salvatore.

It was always my intention to keep his memory alive by telling my children, you and your sisters and now your brother, about their uncle and even though none of you could ever know him personally, I knew my son would be blessed if he could even be just a little like his uncle and you were more than a little like him…

Two different reasons for counting …hope and joy… and now without you… devastation and grief…

Dad and I attended the Mass offered for you this morning, another Tuesday, Oct. 24th , and we received our Holy Communion in remembrance of you, our dear son. We all love and miss you so very much.

We were in New York this weekend attending two memorial reunions. Cousin Anthony said Mass at Most Precious Blood Church for all the deceased members of Nan’s family. The names were read aloud as a candle was lit in each one’s memory. There have been so many losses and yours was one of the most recent.

We saw many of our relatives who had come to Virginia in January when you were stolen from us. They came then to show their respect, say a prayer for you as well as to say good-bye…and to offer their condolences to us. It was comforting to see them again as they are a very loving, caring and supportive extended family who shares in each others pain and loss.

Unfortunately we were unable to join everyone for a family luncheon as we had to be in Albany by early evening.

We were driving upstate in order to attend the 12th Annual Tribute Weekend for the Families of New York State Troopers Killed under Tragic Circumstances.

We attended this year in remembrance of the 45th anniversary marking our family’s first heartache, the loss of Uncle Sal.

Dad and I arrived in time to have dinner on Saturday night with the other families of fallen troopers. There was a Sunday morning candle ceremony at the Trooper Academy and we lit a candle in recognition and honor of your namesake and my dear brother.

Superintendent Wayne E. and Mrs. Bennett are a caring and sincere couple who do their utmost to support a program for the surviving families of fallen troopers. It is a great undertaking that recognizes the need to provide the deserved emotional assistance and community in which our grieving families can share with one another what has become our common bond. Losing our loved ones… these fine and decent young men who have made the ultimate sacrifice in swearing an oath to protect and serve their communities…has made us one family.

I told the Superintendent of my “now”… having lost two precious Salvatores…and being on both sides…as a survivor and victim family. He was very kind, dismayed by what should never have been the end result of the circumstances, offered his condolences and his assistance if I felt he could be of any help.

In recognition of Uncle Sal, whom he did not know personally, he told me he had looked at his picture many times (as it was and is displayed on a wall) while visiting in the Tarrytown barracks and always commented on what an impressive figure Sal was in his Trooper uniform. How unfortunate he never had the opportunity to know him, as Sal was a person who had intelligence, integrity and empathy and would have risen far in the ranks of law enforcement. He was an asset to the NYS Police and a dedicated Trooper…just as your profession made you an asset to all those you served in Northern VA and valued by everyone whose lives you touched.


There was a motivational speaker who addressed families need for a “new-norm” while taking one moment at a time in our grief. I spoke to him about you and all my feelings…he was generous with his time and suggested two books that I should read that he felt would be helpful. I intend to do that.

I have special favors to ask of you and you know what they are and for whom they are intended…please watch over all of those you care about as they face their own challenges. I know you will… your caring nature will not allow for less.

I love you…I miss you…I pray for you…

God bless you my loving son.

You are with me each moment… as I stay the course…
October 17, 2006
My dear son, October 17th is a date that will be carried in my heart for as long as I live. One year ago today, and only two days after your brother’s birthday, a plan of deception was conceived and initiated that would end for you and us a future of well deserved hopes and dreams.

As I try to get through one day at a time, it becomes exceedingly difficult. I find myself asking how could anyone in order to gain another’s trust be so willing to live a lie and then in so doing become the catalyst for an inexcusable loss of life and the pain that a grieving family suffers. How…?

Sal, there are so many unanswered questions. And it appears that even after all this time no one has felt the obligation or recognized the need to give us the answers that are owed to us.

These last months have been excruciating and I know the next three will be even worse. I am living in the past, present and future interchangeably as my thoughts race from one time frame to the other.

I try to recall what you were doing last year at this time and what you were looking forward to (telling us that you were shopping for a much needed new car because the trips from home to work in both Manassas and Warrenton were adding so much mileage and taking a toll on your current car; you were still trying to furnish your condo; asking what you should get Chris for his birthday; what were the kids going to be for Halloween; had we started to decide where we would be for the upcoming holidays, home or at Con’s, was Cyn coming; and did I know what the children might want for Christmas…you enjoyed giving and liked taking the time to give thought to what you wanted to give to each one)…

Then I am back to what is happening now; what has become my new unwanted norm; having masses said for you, visiting your resting place, writing words on cards telling you what is in my heart, missing you, looking at pictures of you as a baby and so many of you with your sisters, photos of you with Santa, films of you playing sports as a youngster (you had an awesome left foot on the soccer field), high school footage of Variety Night when you sang Summer Nights like Travolta, film of Family Holiday Dinners that Dad always liked to document (thanks to him I at least have proof that I did cook), photos of you holding Chris not only as your baby brother but as your Godchild at his Baptism, playing with him, taking him for bike rides, Graduations, Proms, moments of life... I have your pictures everywhere…and then there are all the pictures that are stored in my memory. The very last photos I have of you are from your 37th birthday; you were blowing out the candles on your cake. I have three frames, in one you were looking at the cake and your expression says you were thinking of what to wish for (remember we can read “face”), in the second you are blowing out the candles and in the third you look like “ok, I held up my end now serve the cake…” and… always we continue to wait for those elusive answers…


In this next three month period I know I will hold on to every memory I can of the previous year at this time. Before long as Jan.24th approaches, I will no longer be able to look back to a previous year when I would have been able to say... last year at this time Sal was…

I miss so many things…seeing you, hearing your voice, talking to you, depending on you to keep an eye on your brother, telling you to drive carefully and giving you weather updates, hearing you cough and reminding you to see a doctor before the cough could get worse, being the overbearing mom, never censoring my stream of consciousness that I felt I should share and did, probably giving too much opinionated advice and always to a son that was a lot more tolerant and forgiving than my relentlessness deserved.

Sal, I was finding so much joy these last years in watching you as you matured and began to enjoy your success and life. You had a goal, you worked hard, and you had so much more to give of yourself. You made all of us proud. I love you son…you are always with me.

God Bless You!
September 24, 2006
September 24, 2006


My dear Salvatore…Sunday mornings usually find us at the 7:45 am or 9:00 am Mass; but today we attended the 12:00 pm Mass because it was being offered in your memory. It is Sunday, September 24th, month number eight without you.

We have been told by well-meaning souls that we must get on with our lives; get past what has happened… to put it behind us… Do people not understand that our children are our lives and one has been taken unjustly…there is no getting on with, getting past or putting behind anything…how could there be. We have had a child stolen from us and robbed of his life, our son, who was loved and loving, our future and our legacy. There are no words to offer…there is only prayer.

In the past, every time we attended Mass and received Holy Communion, we always asked God to watch over our children, grandchildren, family and friends… We never considered that as parents, in our lifetime, we would be burying one of our children and attending and receiving in “memory” of that so loved child. Salvatore, I know Dad, your sisters, your brother, right down the line to your little niece Jen feels the loss of your presence and grieves in their own way… (Jen wants to color or draw pictures for you and tells me to bring them to “Uncle Sal” in addition to asking some very difficult questions, ones that I wish I could answer or actually knew the answers to. The more childlike questions are usually centered around her wanting the reassurance of knowing that you are still here even though we cannot see you...she wants to know if you can see her and what she is doing in kindergarten, at soccer or…and if you are happy; she has a very understanding and compassionate nature for such a little girl and she misses you)…as your mother, losing you and then watching the rest of my family suffer the pain of what happened to you and what your loss has meant to each of them; coupled and dealing with the reality that we will not see you again in this life, is physically, emotionally and spiritually overwhelming for me as I know it is for them too.

The heartbreaking, life altering sadness imposed on our family as a result of having you unjustly torn from your life and ours, because of the injustice meted out to you and us by this incomprehensible and devastating act, cannot even begin to be imagined, (if they even chose to care) by those that caused this unnecessary result. My precious son, you have been terribly wronged and have paid the most unforgivable price. My heart truly aches each time I think of what you suffered.

I promise I will do whatever it will take to be your voice in seeking the justice you deserve and are owed.

Sal, please pray for all of us as we deal with our pain and grief…we are all, including your friends and ours, forever changed and saddened by your absence and will carry our cherished memories of you and your loving and caring spirit in our hearts always.

As I was told by a friend of yours, you often said in wanting to make the best of any situation…. “It’s all good”…and that is what you were and are…all good.

I pray for you, I miss you and I love you my son!

God Bless You!
August 25, 2006
August 24, 2006

My dear son, today, Thursday, marks the seventh month without you. We again had a mass offered in your memory and received communion in your behalf. Dad goes to daily mass and communion for you ever since you were taken from us and I know that today will be especially hard for him as it is also his birthday.

We would have had a family dinner this weekend (with all the laughs and chaos and crowded seating and the confusion caused by all of us as well as your younger nephews and nieces -- you know the gatherings where we would all agree that we needed to "put a tent on this circus," or where Steve would say we should have mounted a camera years ago in the corner of the ceiling to record our family and then sell it as a sitcom) and all of you would have come to celebrate Dad's birthday as well as Matthew's who will be three on Saturday. Dad would have his usual seat at the head of the table (his most appreciated gift would always be the pleasure of having his family gathered around him) where he couldn't get up to lend me a hand -- I'd have been kidded about being "Antoinette...," and teased about there not being enough variety and quantity to eat -- Chris would have had everyone in stitches with his antics and views on life from his perspective, while you would have been biting your lip to keep from laughing too much and encouraging his sense of humor (you were his biggest and best audience and always got a big kick out of your kid brother) -- your sisters would be rolling their eyes in disbelief of our loud Italian family. The kids would be perpetual motion, running, jumping and climbing everywhere and by evening the living room would look like a tornado came through strewing toys all over the place -- I'd be telling you to "wait" as you would be getting ready to leave because I would want you to take some food home (you would..., but not before telling me that you were wanting to eat healthier and planning to use the excercise equipment you had gotten at Christmas...then you would say ok, just a little macaroni, a few meatballs and do you have any extra artichokes) -- as you would have one foot out the door you would look at me and ask, "mom, when are you going to take care of your knee..." Those were the good times even though we would be exhausted from the energy expended by all the interactions of the day. I would give anything to have you sitting across the table from Con, (trading those knowing glances with one another and reading each others facial expressions as if to say, how did we two end up in this crazy family) if only I could turn back time. I haven't had a holiday or family dinner in our dining room since you've been gone. I can't bear to look at the chair you always sat in and see it empty.

Sal, I've always thought of myself as a person who could handle whatever life had in store for me. As time passes I recognize how wrong I was. I find myself counting the footsteps it takes to get to where you are resting. With each step I am dying inside with thoughts of how much I hate what was done to you and I know I will never be able to forgive those whose actions caused your life to be taken and our family to be destroyed. I beg God to give me the strength to deal with all that still has to come our way as we seek the justice you deserve. I get to where you are and I kiss the marble with your name on it and I tell you how I love you and wish that you weren't taken from us but out somewhere having a good time on this another beautiful sunny summer day. I say how sorry I am that this was allowed to happen to you. I have always prayed to the Sacred Heart, placing my trust in Him as I asked Him to watch over my children and family...to keep them safe. When I think of your final moments, the confusion, terror and pain you felt...my grief is overwhelming and unpredictable. While I pray for you and share my thoughts with you I am sad and angry at the same time. I kiss your name again, press my cheek to the marble, crying and sobbing because I am sick at heart having to leave you in that place. I can't believe that this has happened. I get in the car and find a need to scream...trying to release the pain and hurt I feel because this should not have happened to you and to our family...I expect I will do this forever because I am heartbroken and nothing can change that.

Salvatore, I pray that my upset isn't disturbing your peace and I do try to control my emotions but in those moments when I am alone...Please forgive me.

You should be living and enjoying your life, doing what you loved to do and worked so hard to achieve, using your knowledge to care for your patients in your professional capacity and sharing with our family and your friends the gift of your presence in our lives.

Sal, you are loved and missed. You are my first thought when I awake and my last one at night. You are in my heart, thoughts and prayers always.

God bless you son!
August 08, 2006
During the course of Salvatore's funeral a classmate's mother handed me this letter from her son. I am posting it on this site just as it was written.


Dear Mr. and Mrs. Culosi and family,

I want to express my deepest sympathies for the loss of your son and my friend, Sal. I am terribly saddened and angered by what has happened and can only imagine the suffering that your family is going through. I’ll pray that God helps you deal with it one day at a time.

Although it has been quite some time since I last spoke with Sal, I want you to know that he touched my life and was a true friend during the most impressionable years. I will miss him dearly. Sal was one of the few friends in my life that I can honestly say I looked up to. He was admirable in so many ways, that I know many of his peers saw him as a role model. It was an honor to know him and be a part of his life. He will live on in my heart and memories.

As you may recall, I attended St. Michael's and Bishop O'Connell with Sal and enjoyed his friendship throughout those memorable years. Together, we played soccer; we both played the clarinet, and later dabbled in karate and football. We shared many of the same interests and most importantly, we could have each other keeled over in laughter at any given moment. I always found it hard to believe that such a gifted person could also be so funny! Putting aside the fact that he was a great student, terrific athlete, and could solve the Rubik's Cube in less than five minutes, it was his great personality that stood out foremost in my mind. His kind-heartedness, good-natured style, and sense of humor put smiles on the faces of many.

With college and careers taking us in different directions as well as adding a sizable distance between us, I regret having lost touch with Sal over the last few years. I had always planned on eventually giving him a spontaneous phone call to catch up and see how he's been doing. Now, I realize that I have missed out on this opportunity. I have learned a valuable lesson from this however; and that is to keep in contact with the people I care about.

I remember your family as being strong and supportive of one another and I am confident that you will find the strength and fortitude to move forward with your lives. My family and I will pray that this happens. .....and offer your family our love and support in any way possible. Please call us anytime for anything at all.

I wish you all that is good during these extremely difficult times.

Richard Livingston


I found this letter very touching because it not only spoke of both a young boy and teen's memories of my son, but of his sensitivity in valuing and expressing what that friendship meant and now recalled. It held a special place in my heart from the beginning and now it has become even more endearing to me....you see Richard was called back home July 25th, also a Tuesday, six months and one day after Salvatore was taken from us.

Richard, a handsome, caring and newly engaged young man, had just started a business in New Orleans to help clear trees and debris in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. While he was cutting branches from a tree at a home, he accidentally came into contact with a live wire. When I heard of his loss, it was like losing Sal all over again. The shocking and sudden loss of another young man with hopes and dreams and his whole future ahead of him... another family having to face incredulous, devastating and heartbreaking circumstances…

Richard was going to pray for us and have Sal live on in his heart and memories...I know he did and would have continued to...now I will do what he intended by praying for and carrying him along with Salvatore in my heart and memories.

I ask anyone who comes to this page to remember Sal, to also say a prayer for Richard. Just as Sal, Richard was and is loved by his family and valued by all those whose lives he touched. It's incom-prehensible that such sad and tragic circumstances befell two friends within such a short span of time.

My prayer for our kind and decent young men is that God bless them, and keep them in His care so they may once again enjoy each others friendship in that far better place. I pray that Salvatore and Richard watch over each of us as we all try to, as Richard said, "deal with it one day at a time," until we all are united again.

Each life is precious, unique and irreplaceable and we are all honored, privileged and grateful to have had Salvatore and Richard in our lives.

God bless,
July 29, 2006
Hi anita and family,
I am thinking of your son all week since we lost another one of our classmates Rich to a tragic accident. I am just heartbroken for these young men and a life cut short .The sadness I am feeling I am sure is felt by all the loved ones around these St Mike's famlies. January is also special to my heart because my father Nelson died on Jan 29. 2003. It was also the year my daughter was born. He never had the chance to meet her.
July 27, 2006
Anita & Sal.

I am so sorry for your loss and I know the pain you experience every day with the loss of your son. If one loses a wife he is called a widower, if you lose your husband you are a widow, if you lose both parents you are an orphan, but when you lose a child it is so terrible that there is no word for it. Keep up your fight and keep your son's name alive. Why this horrible occurance had to happen to a pro police family is beyond me. Sal will always be remembered by those that love him and I hope he keeps watch over you and protects you
July 24, 2006

My precious son, today is July 24th. It has now been 182 days...26 weeks...6 months...and there is not a second, minute or hour that passes when I do not think of you. Oh Sal, how I miss you.

I read in the hope of finding some comforting words to cling to although I know there will never be any comfort. Your absence is a constant source of pain. I will grieve for you for as long as you are gone. It is said that when you bury your parents, you bury your past – but when you bury your child, you bury your future. What happiness and hopes were taken from you and our family. You were our golden child, entitled to your future and we your family should have been allowed to enjoy that future with you.

I saw this written on a reflection for someone’s deceased loved one. "When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight." My sorrow is that. I weep my son, because you were, still are and will always be that delight. This poem entitled the Invisible Cord rings true to me.

We are connected, my child (son) and I,
By an "Invisible Cord" not seen by the eye.

It's not like the cord that connects us 'til birth
This cord can't be seen by any on earth.

This cord does its work right from the start
It binds us together attached at the heart.

I know that it's there. Though no one can see
The "Invisible Cord" from my child (son) to me.

The strength of this cord is hard to describe
It can't be destroyed, it can't be denied.

It's stronger than any cord man could create
It withstands any test, can hold any weight.

And though you are gone, and not here with me
The cord is still there, though no one can see.

It pulls at my heart, I am bruised...I am sore
But this cord is my lifeline like never before.

I am thankful that God connects us this way
A child (son) and his mother, death can't take it away.

I love you and you are always in my thoughts and heart.

There was a mass for you this morning and Dad and I received communion in your behalf.

We love you Salvatore and we will continue to seek the justice owed to you.

May God's perpetual light shine upon you and may you rest in His eternal peace.

Happy Anniversary in Heaven.
June 30, 2006
Sal and Anita,
The 24th of each month serves as a painful reminder of Sal's death but every day continues to hold special thoughts of him with each day, each memory being different. He, his life and tragic death have had such an impact on those of us who loved him. One of the Elvis songs I heard Sal sing at Chuckie Cheese's many years ago came on the radio on my drive home a few days ago and those same raw emotions of January 25th (the day I learned of his death) were right there on the surface. Time has not eased the pain. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you and for some eventual justice for Sal.
With respect and affection,
Jeanne Hackman
June 29, 2006
Culosi Family,

I am so sorry for your loss. I just heard about it today and am very shocked by the news. I was in Sal's class at SCO, and I am heart broken to hear about his death. I will keep you, and Sal, in my thoughts.

Sincerely,
Michele Presley, OD
June 29, 2006
Dear Culosi Family: I continue to pray for all of you as you deal with the pain and loss of your son/brother/friend. I want you to know not a day goes by that I dont think of you all and the impact this has had on your lives. Please know that while I may not be in verbal contact with you all that my thoughts, prayers and love are with you all and if I can anything at all...I am here. May God Bless You all and continue to carry you through this senseless death of Sal.
Warmly, Maria Wilharm
June 24, 2006

This morning, Saturday June 24, we attended a Mass offered for our beloved son Salvatore and received Communion in his honor and memory as it is the five month anniversary of his untimely and outrageous loss.

We have not updated our "justice" site because we do not want to jump ahead with conflicting assumptions or statements made by us that may be considered inaccurate and outdated should investigative results be made known to us in the interim.

We all are carrying this cross with the most unspeakable pain - Sal was our shining star, a precious son and brother, and we loved him with all of our being.

We ask you to keep our family in your thoughts and pray that our loving Salvatore's death will not be forgotten but remembered for the incredulous act that it was and is.

Again, our deepest appreciation to all those who continue to monitor and support these sites looking for updates that we hoped we could have provided in a timelier manner.

May God send His blessings, graces and mercies to each of you.

With our most sincere appreciation and affection.
May 26, 2006
I am truly sorry for your loss. I met Sal when he was a student at UVA. He was a very kind person with a great sense of humor. I have nothing but fond memories of him. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.
May 24, 2006
Today, May 24th, marks the fourth month of our immeasurable sorrow for the loss of our son Salvatore.

We had a mass offered for him this morning and received communion in his memory.

I went to the cemetary to be near his grave so I could feel that he is only inches away from me even though he is always with me as I carry him in my every thought, prayer and always in my heart. I know he is in a better place but it is very difficult not having him physically with us.

We recognize how very blessed our son was to have so many friends who valued him and miss him as we do and that is what we lean on to find strength as we bear this cross.

Our family thanks all of you for your contribution to and monitoring of this site and for keeping Salvatore and all of us in your thoughts and prayers.

I don't have addresses for many of you so please once again know that we are very grateful for the kind and comforting words you have offered to us. Your sentiments about Sal are what keeps us knowing that we must seek justice for him and we thank you for your good wishes and support as we go forward.

With our heartfelt appreciation,