#JusticeForPrince

 

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My son Prince would have been three years old today, if his father had not murdered him.

 

Prince was born on July 1, 2011. I remember the day he was born as if it was yesterday, but sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago. The first time the doctors put him on my chest, his big brown eyes looked directly into mine. I was meeting him for the first time, but it was as if I had known him my entire life.

For those who do not know my story, Prince was murdered on October 20th 2012 when his father drowned him during his fourth court ordered unsupervised visitation when he was only 15 months old. Two weeks after my son was born, I learned that the man I thought I loved was not at all the man he had portrayed. After fleeing his home with my two-week-old son, I began the hardest fight of my life in Family Court.

Currently, my son’s father (whom I call “Lucifer” or “Luc”) is awaiting trial for capital murder in Prince William County, VA. In addition to the medical examiner ruling that my son died of drowning, the police discovered that Luc took out over $580,000 in life insurance on Prince before killing him.

 

Living Well After Tragedy:

 I have often heard that the best revenge is a life well lived. This seems especially true when an angry psychopath who seems determined to tear out your soul is the source of your pain. I would be lying if I didn’t admit to you that this sort of “revenge” was part of what got me out of bed in the weeks after my son’s murder.   I should also admit that I have had my fair share of days when getting out of bed was plain impossible.

Just the other day, while I was dropping off my daughter in the church nursery, a kind woman asked me, “Are you happy?” She asked me this with tears in her eyes as she remembered the mornings when my son would bounce into the room, ready to play with the cars and eat cheerios with the rest of the children. While I responded with a simple “yes”, I thought about her question for some time afterward.

“Am I happy? Or am I still just trying to be happy as some sort of revenge to exact upon my son’s killer?” I thought about this for the better part of the day, and I welcomed the reflection that this question caused for me. As I went through the day, I realized that the reason I choose to be happy has changed since those initial days after my son was killed. I am now happy, but my happiness is now for my son, despite his killer.

I have a good life, but I will always have a hole in my heart. The conflicting emotions of being capable of happiness, but at the same time feeling a nagging pain is something I have found hard to explain. It is possible that only those who have faced such a tremendous loss could understand.

Several months ago, my father was talking to a friend about what happened to my son. He explained it well when he said, “It is like there is a huge stain on your carpet, and no matter how much you scrub the spot – it never goes away. You can put furniture on top of it, but you will always know that it is still there.” There is never going to be a day when I think what happened to Prince is okay. The hole in my heart is never going away, just like that permanent stain on my father’s metaphorical carpet.

If losing my child didn’t put a hole in my heart, I am not sure how healthy a person I would be. If someone had asked me in the days after my son was murdered if I thought I would ever be happy again, I would have said that happiness was impossible. Now, I would tell that same person that happiness can live along side of sadness.

 

Prince’s Legacy:

On this day, I choose to celebrate my son’s short life and his important legacy. Since my son died, I have spoken to many parents who have lived and continue to live through tremendous pain and tragedy. Many of them tell me that my story is the worst that they have ever heard. I still hold firm, however, that pain is relative. Mine is no worse than the next person – it is just a different kind of pain.

Before my son came into my life, I was consumed by my “first world” problems. I spent a lot of time being unhappy about things that now seem completely trivial. Since my son, I think I am a happier person for having known this sort of tragedy and for having known how it feels to hit rock bottom. I have also become the type of person who believes that many times what you think is someone else’s problem will eventually become your own.

Lately, many people have asked me why I continue this blog now that I am no longer in the throws of a custody war. There are several reasons I continue to write. I continue to write because:

…I promised my son that I would finish the job he started, and continue to raise awareness about Civil Rights abuses against children in our country.

…I want to spread hope to other families in crisis.

…I want to be a part of the change, so that no other child has to suffer the way my son did – and that no other parent has to bury his or her child the way I had to bury mine.

Happy Birthday Mr. Prince:

Prince only lived to celebrate one birthday aside from the day he was born. I am so thankful that I took him to the beach, and let him play in the sand on his big day. On his birthday, I remember he woke up in a great mood. He wasn’t walking yet, but he loved to crawl. One of his favorite things to do was to crawl down long hotel hallways and greet all the other guests. We spent a large part of that day following Prince down halls, and watching him beam with happiness.

This year, I am taking my daughter to that same beach. I would give anything to have Prince here with us. As I am sitting on the beach, I will try to imagine a world where there aren’t people who kill their children. In that world, my son would still be here. I will also try to imagine a world where all people care as much about children as I do. I will imagine what things could be like if everyone stood up against the gaping holes in our system that continue to fail our children.

This world I imagine is the world I want for my daughter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. What a beautiful tribute! Thank you for continuing to share your story and speak up on behalf of children.

  2. Dan Keeler says:

    Holy heartbreaking story. I pray you find all the peace and healing you deserve, and that Luc suffers for his sins. So sorry for your loss, but proud of how you have chosen to live your life and honor Prince.

  3. EllyMae Haverstick says:

    You are so strong. And don’t let Lucifer take away your sunshine as well as your precious son. Seek Prince’s justice and know that he is looking down on you and his Big sister with loving eyes and glistening wings. Peace be with you and prayers for your inner comfort. God be with you.

  4. I was referred to your page by your friend Doyin. I read his blog regularly. I am so glad that I visited. My heart goes out to you. I can not imagine going through what you have but I applaud you for putting your story out there for others. You are obviously a very strong woman. I hope God continues to bless you in your life. Prince is now your guardian angel watching down on you.

  5. Thank you for posting this! I pray for you and all parents out there. God knows your love and wants you to know his.

  6. katrisha says:

    Prayers for your continued happiness in your remembrance. I am thinking of you.

  7. heather says:

    Thank you for your story. I live in Baltimore and remember when it hit the news. It broke my heart that the courts so blatantly failed to protect your child. I hope that you are able to get justice for your son. I hope you continue to find happiness in your life even in the midst of such loss. It makes mothers like me hug my children just a little closer.

  8. I am so moved by your story and so heartsick for your loss. I cannot imagine the grief you must endure. Thank you for sharing your story and keeping Prince’s memory alive by advocating for children.

  9. Breanna says:

    July 16, 2012 was the end of my world!!! My son was also murdered by his father and we are awaiting trial currently I understand your pain and would never wish this on anyone!!! My son was 6 weeks from turning five…. I wish I had answers as to why but I can’t fathom a good reason!!!! Hope trial is fast and just for you and your son!!!

    • cappuccinoqueen says:

      I am so sorry for your loss. I am sure our kids are playing together in heaven. And don’t let it be the end of your life. Your son now lives on in you!

  10. I’m sending you hugs and love, you’ve experienced so much, I’m deeply sorry for your loss and what you’ve experienced. Peace to you

  11. H M Scott says:

    God bless you for having the courage and the heart to turn your tragedy into a blessing for others. I’ve been in a custody battle for over a year with no end in sight. However, my battle seems trivial now compared to your own personal hell. Happy Birthday to Prince. I know he’s smiling down on you and he will always be with you, heart and soul. That’s something no one can ever take away from you. You’re in my prayers. Have a great day at the beach.

  12. Jessica says:

    What an incredible mom you are. I commend your strength and wisdom and thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry for your loss and appreciate the work you are doing for your son and other children.

  13. Thank you for sharing your story and continuing to bring awareness to abuse and custody issues. My heart breaks for you. Just know there are total strangers sending love and well wishes to you and your entire family.

  14. Katie Gonzalez says:

    Your story reminds me that our children are only on loan to us from God…that we spend our days learning together and finding the joys that he has laid out for us. Your son should never have died at his fathers hands….but the time he spent here with you was well spent. May you find joy in every day.

  15. Happy birthday to sweet Prince in Heaven! Thanks for sharing your compassion and courage to make a much needed change. I remember reading your story long before luc robbed your son of his right to live and I was already in shock at the court system. I am amazed at your courage and look forward to hearing more to come from you.

    Donna

  16. Christine says:

    Wow. You are simply an amazing person. You are inspiring. I thank Daddy doin work for sharing this. You give me a whole new perspective on life and the important things vs the frivolous. Thank you for being a voice for those who don’t always have a voice. I hope Prince’s story continues to reach and touch people’s lives. May he live on forever in out hearts and minds. ♡♡

  17. Francesca Perez says:

    Happy Birthday Sweet boy, You are the biggest star in the sky! I read your story, and I am sending your mother lots and lots of love, what a strong woman, watch over her and your sister. Kiss them goodnight each night! Kisses to you!!!!

  18. Stephanie says:

    This is truly inspiring. The world you imagine is the same one I do. I hope you enjoy your day at the beach with your daughter. If you need helping changing the world, I would be happy to help do what I can! God Bless.

  19. Tracy Perkins says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. You put so many of my feelings into words. I understand the kind of man you are talking about, I am currently fighting in Family and Criminal Courts to protect my children. Your words and just being are like balm to my soul. Happy Birthday little Prince, we will always remember you and look forward to meeting you in Heaven xo

  20. Social Worker says:

    I am sorry for your loss. It is mind numbing and wretched much like the destruction we read about near and far away. Hopefully when you reach out there will be good friends and professional counselor who can walk this stone path with you. We pray for you and your family.

  21. Daniel Perez says:

    Prince is up in heaven, watching over you always. I felt so much love, strength and inspiration while reading your blog. Thank you for sharing. Happy Birthday Prince.

  22. Jo Anna Iruegas says:

    Your strength and courage speak volumes of your character. The steadfast ways you continue to move forward are the reasons you will always inspire others. You will always be Prince’s mommy, because he lives on. Its a testament to your daughter of the strength she was born from. Thank you for your courage as your light empowers orhers. Words could not do justice to express my sorrow of your loss. Prince knows you are forever his mommy and the unconditional love you have for him. Happy Birthday Prince.

  23. Abby Smas says:

    Oh, bless your heart. I am so terribly sorry for your loss, for your suffering, for the world that lost Prince, and sorry for Prince who died at the hands of his own father. My two brothers died in separate accidents, which crushed my mother for years. Long after, I asked her how she was able to ever come back to the world from that dark despair. Well, for one thing – she had me! But what really changed was that she began to look at it in a different way: “I began to be happy that I had them at all. I began to celebrate their presence in my life, what they added to it, instead of focusing on my own sadness. I stopped thinking about ME, and I was happy about my boys.” Thank you for sharing your story. Happy Birthday, Prince.

  24. This was a great read and brought many thoughts to my mind. I’m so happy that you can reach out to others and use something that caused you such great pain to look at life so differently. You are blessed and I pray that God allows you to make a difference in someone’s life. May He continue to give you the strength to go on. Thank you for sharing

  25. That is the most beautiful, moving thing, I’ve read in a long time. Keep strong mama. Your son will be missed. But perhaps, through you, his legacy will be to save other children.

  26. Each time I read what you post, I think of this quote by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross,
    “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

    Your light shines in so many amazing ways! It is wonderfully contagious!
    Thank you,
    Ann

  27. Jessica says:

    I heard about your blog through Daddy Doin Work…. I have a heart full of love and joy for you and your daughter! I cannot imagine your life and what you have experienced but I want you to know that hearing your strength and outlook gives me and others the strength to get through every day too knowing that I am blessed, as are you Prince sounds like a wonderful boy and you now have such a special angel watching over you!!! xxxxxxx

  28. Oscar Hugo says:

    Bravo on your recent post regarding the Gender Wars.

    The Judges and Attorneys want the conflict. So I reproach anyone, male or female who makes it gender specific.
    As for “Judges are people too, I would have to disagree haha.” They are flawed beings, especially in family court, because they are given godlike, unconstitutional powers over others. This alters their thinking about life and children.
    Absolute Power corrupts absolutely.

    Oscar Hugo….

    • cappuccinoqueen says:

      Oscar, I completely agree that many of them feel godlike and this is a problem. There are no checks and balances so abuse of power goes unchecked.

  29. Charlene says:

    I was given your name by someone who heard my story and thought of you. My ex spouse whom I believe is a narcissistic sociopath just tried submerging and holding my son’s head under water in a pool repeatedly against my son’s will. My son cried out “stop, you’re hurting me” and yet would be called a baby and submerged again. I took the kids to the cops, to a DV shelter, to CPS, and to their counselors where they all heard my children’s stories firsthand. My son has bravely told the story over and over again yet not one professional has been able to help me where it matters, to write a letter for me, and share what they heard to the judge since children dont have a voice in court. I have a similar judge as you had too. He didn’t even read my declaration before our emergency hearing, and spent his time rolling his eyes, making gripes and acting like he didn’t even want to be there. My kids were granted temporary supervised visits with my ex’s brother which isn’t right but I’m trying to tell myself it will be okay otherwise I would lose my mind. This is already my 2nd sleepless night and I am writing this to you at 4am. I am so sorry this happened to you, and you have not one murderer, but all those who were involved yet did nothing to protect your child are murderers also. I hope the truth shines.

    • cappuccinoqueen says:

      Charlene, I am so sorry you are going through this nightmare. Know that you aren’t alone girl. Many Parents out there are struggling in this system right beside you. Though I am no longer in it, I will continue to fight to fix it for kids just like your son. Hang in there mama.

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