How do I really feel? I feel like I am so insignificant that people can do whatever they want to me because I don’t matter and they won’t have to pay for what they have done and the damage it has caused.
I wrote a letter to the editor to the Ogden Standard Examiner on 11/1 in response to their opinion article the weekend after sentencing. You can read what I sent at the bottom of this. I never did hear back. I want to be as honest as possible with my feelings about things. Why? Because I want to help others going through these horrible things and I don’t think that I can unless I can be sincere and to be sincere I obviously need to be brutally honest. So here goes.
How I felt after sentencing, and how I felt people thought of us:
Marilee is the vicim, that is how it feels. Poor Marilee and the Gardner’s. The Gardner’s adopted this poor infant whose father had committed suicide before she was even born. They have tried oh, so hard to help her. They have sent her to numerous treatment facilities and she has been like this since she was five. But don’t worry things are looking up and Marilee is even running some therapy groups in her detention facility Yay!!! I don’t know what to tell you unforgiving, ungrateful victims. I mean the Gardner’s, they are praying for you, they pray for you every night.
My response to the Gardners: (and only mine, I don’t speak for others)
Well for starters I don’t need your prayers. Your apology is about 16 months late and doesn’t mean sh&* to me. Why did you wait so long to apologize? Probably because you needed to protect your money as well as your daughters defense.. So since those two things were a priority when the person who killed my daughter was your responsibility I will never forgive you. You don’t get my forgiveness. I don’t care about getting the Heavenly Father’s Forgiveness, so don’t try throwing that in my face either.
You had two chances to show sorrow towards me, apologize for what happened and say you are sorry that our lives were destroyed. As a man of faith you should have given your apology on 6/30/2016, but apparently there are special rules to apologizing if money and a criminal investigation are involved. The second time was on sentencing day, the tears were there and maybe I could have accepted your sincere apology at that time, but what we got sounded like and probably was a sacrament prayer.
If the words don’t match the emotions you are wasting my time. I am also insulted that you would assume a prayer was appropriate, you don’t know what my faith is and my faith doesn’t matter because I haven’t caused this. You can pray in private, that is the appropriate place for your prayers, but I ask that you don’t pray for me. If you can’t apologize when you should you are the one who needs the prayers, so pray hard for yourself.
To the Editor:
My name is Jocelyn and I am Maddison Haan’s mother. Madi was one of the two young adults killed by Marilee Gardner on 6/30/2016. I generally avoid reading comments on articles involving my daughters death, but the comments on these articles have been repeatedly brought up to me since last Saturday and I have heard that some people have said that the families were harsh on Marilee.
I am not sure how people think we should be treating Ms. Gardner, and in my opinion victims like ourselves should not have to justify how they feel . This act destroyed us, this has been my worst nightmare, and with that being said I don’t feel that what I stated was harsh. I am going to include exactly word for word what I said. I support both families and all members of both families for what they did say. That is a very personal gut wrenching experience, besides that we were not given much direction and no one reviewed what we had written prior to each of us speaking. The Sunday article said that we were void of sympathy, I feel like many others who have handled this case have been void of sympathy for us and besides that this was about Madi and Tyler and the impact it has had on us, not about us having sympathy for Ms. Gardner.
Here is what I said and I do not in the least bit believe that this is harsh, what this is happens to be my reality.
What Madi Missed
Family statement released 6/30/2016
Today our family lost our beautiful blue eyed girl with a heart of gold. She had big ambitions, loved music, enjoyed going to Bear Lake with her grandparents, and was a kind and loving soul. She accomplished a lot in her 20 years but now the world will never know the good she could have accomplished because she was taken from us too soon. We are grateful for the 20 years we had with her and thankful for the outpour of love and prayers for our families as we process this new reality for us, a world without her.
As we mourn for Madi we also see and feel many people mourning with us. We also mourn the loss of her friend who lost his life in the accident and for his family and their loss. We are sorry for your loss. In our sorrow, in time, we will find forgiveness for the driver that caused this senseless act that forever changed many lives. Our hearts also go out to her family.
I started with the statement from that day 6/30/2016, I saw this yesterday for the first time since that day and started to reflect on it a bit. I still have not written my victim impact statement for Wednesday, I am really struggling, not because of the words, but because I am so disappointed in so many people and I do not know how to make my statement not be full of rage. Every time I start it goes immediately to my most angry place and I don’t honestly at this point think it is the time to share that, I feel off guard and that I am not ready. But one thing I can say that I have learned from this is that life doesn’t care if you are ready and some people seem to care even less than life does.
What Madi Missed
Looking at the statement that Madi’s uncle Lee wrote that day I got stuck on Bear Lake of all things. It just stood out, I started thinking about how my parents took my other two children to Bear Lake the week after Madi’s funeral. And I remembered how it felt when I met them there a few days later, it felt empty, it felt sad, it felt forced and unnatural because we were missing someone who should have been there and who would have been there so I decided to make a list of what Madi missed.
Madi missed a balloon release in hers and Tyler’s honor
Madi missed my birthday, and only by two days, yes Madi was killed two days before my birthday
Madi missed the family dinner at my cousin Jessie’s and Nikki’s house the Sunday after she was killed and she missed seeing their dog Norman the Newfie who is always a favorite with my kids
Madi missed her funeral and the Cage the Elephant concert that she had bought tickets for that happened to be on that same night
Madi missed the 4th of July
Madi missed the trip to Bear Lake the week after her funeral and several trips since then
Madi missed her cousin Jamie’s wedding, which I also missed because I couldn’t put one foot in front of the other that soon after her death
Madi missed her cousin Talia’s wedding
Madi missed her first day at Weber State University
Madi missed her Grandpa’s birthday
Madi missed Halloween which is always our families favorite
Madi missed Thanksgiving
Madi missed mine and Zoey’s Christmas trip to Vegas, although we wouldn’t have been there if we had still had Madi. We literally went and hid away because neither of us were ready to face a Christmas without her
Madi missed New Years
Madi missed her brother Diego’s 15th Birthday dinner
Madi missed her sister Zoey’s 18th Birthday and our trip to the Natural History museum of Utah and the Spaghetti factory
Madi missed her Grandma’s Birthday
Madi missed our family paint night
Madi missed Bark in the Park, this was a shared honor for her, but she still missed it
Madi missed her 21st Birthday, the one she had talked about so much in the four weeks between her birthday and when she was killed
Madi missed the horrible anniversary date of when she was killed, but we did not and I do not have or want a picture of this
Madi missed my birthday again and I spent some of it at her headstone because the two days prior was the anniversary date of her death and an overwhelming amount of flowers and gifts had been left to adorn her grave
Madi missed when her brother Diego bought his first car
Madi missed her cousin Taylor’s wedding
Madi missed her Uncle Jason’s Wedding and our big family trip to New England that we had been planning for the two years prior to her death.
Madi missed the sleepover at Uncle Lee’s new house with Zoey and her cousin Audrie
Madi missed getting our new puppy Leo, something she would have been so happy about and she missed all of the picture taking she would have done with Leo, Moo-Shoo and Flash, no one takes doggy pictures quite like Madi did
Madi missed shopping trips, going out to eat, going to see movies, looking for a new apartment with Zoey and me. She missed school, friends, concerts, tattoos, holidays. She missed the trips to Mesquite with her Grandparents and Zoey and Diego. She missed a lot, she missed too much.
This is a long list, but this is only a portion of what Madi missed. What we missed is Madi. She should have been with us through all of these things and more. When I look at the pictures we have taken since she has been gone it is plain to see what we missed and what we will always miss…. we miss Madi and she can’t be in our pictures anymore. Our pictures will always be without Madi and I think that says it all.