My baby parade continued. In October we found out Heather was expecting. I was scared for her. We all were. If anyone deserved a miracle, it was Heather. I had no doubt God chose the right parents for Kyle. I was in awe of the way she loved and protected that baby. Just imagine how scary it would be to deal with feeding tubes, gagging and endless doctor visits. Not to mention the constant fear of not knowing how long your child would live. Yet here she was this amazing young woman making it all look so easy.
Joan was scared. I think she was more frightened than Heather and Matt were. Joan wanted more than anything for Heather to experience what it was like to have a healthy baby.
I will never forget the afternoon, I was at Joan’s house and Heather called. All the testing had been done. Joan answered the phone and just started crying. I panicked and started to cry. The baby is 100% healthy, she screamed. We both ran into Joan’s bedroom and sat on the bed and cried. Once the news sunk in we immediately started planning the baby shower. Wishes do come true was the theme. Ten days later we found out the baby was a boy. It was a difficult pregnancy, on Heather. The baby was fine. She had a cyst on her ovary that caused extreme pain and injured an abdominal muscle. It was going to be a long couple of months.
Was I dreaming or had it really been five years since the trial ended. Julia was five. She would be starting school in the fall. It seemed so unreal. What had I done for the last five years? It was like a dream. I had started a business, finished school, became a NOVA board member and became very active in the organization and politics. Not to mention my family was expanding by leaps and bounds. Why did it all seem like a dream? I felt like I was on the ceiling looking down and not really participating in any of the life that was happening.
When the envelope appeared in my mailbox from the state victims advocate office, it was real. Jimmy Galione was applying for parole. He had been sentenced to five to ten years. It could not happen. He could not be released. I called my NOVA advocate and asked what we could do to stop his release. Our only recourse was to write letters to the parole board. We were not allowed to appear at any of the meetings. I was scared. I was in no way shape or form emotionally ready to even fathom the idea of him free. I hated Judge Heckler. All the feelings I had at the sentencing came flooding back. We all wrote our letters. There was nothing else we could do. We waited.
March brought more baby news. Jill was expecting again. The news came just in time to soften the blow of the sixth anniversary of David’s death.
Time was beginning to soften the pain around the edges. I was remembering more of the happy memories with my brother and dwelling less on the horror of his death. I still had my moments and could not control the images of that night when they snuck up on me out of no where. I did my best to get past these moments.
Heather called to tell me her water had broken. I met her at the hospital. She seemed nervous, very nervous. Her labor had barely started so I knew it would be a long night. Visitors came and went throughout the day. I was staying. Matt’s sister, Dawn did not have children and had never experienced the joy of seeing a baby born. I was excited for her. I had the nagging feeling that I needed to be there so I stayed. I sat in the waiting room and worried. We knew the baby was healthy but I loved Heather like my own daughter and I was worried. The nurses were kind enough to allow me into the room to visit. Matt, Dawn and I talked, laughed and did every thing we could do to pass time. Heather was comfortable and sleeping. Then the craziest thing happened. Matt became extremely ill and had to be taken down to the emergency room. Dawn went with him. He was admitted and stuck. Once we received the news of Matt being admitted Heather’s labor started to progress quickly. I was able to stand in for him. Something told me not to leave that hospital. I was so happy I could be there for Heather.
When I saw the chord wrapped around the baby’s neck. I froze. Please God do not do this to her, I begged him. The doctor shot me a warning look. Do not say anything I read in his eyes. I prayed so hard. I found myself assisting in removing the chord from the baby’s neck.
On July 13, 2005 Ryan Andrew Schoell was born. He was blue and his lips were bright red from his lack of oxygen. He recovered within seconds and was crying. I looked out the huge window and up at the beautiful morning sky and thanked God and David.
The picture of Heather holding that gorgeous little baby was magical. He was perfect. Within minutes of his birth the room filled with friends and family. It was another great moment that would be etched in my memory forever.
I enjoyed spending time with Matt’s mother Maryanne and his sister Dawn decorating the nursery. Heather shared with me she did not want to go back to work and leave the baby. I offered to move in and care for him. I had seriously been planning my great escape and now I was committed. I had resigned myself to the fact that I was leaving with the clothes on my back and what little else I could carry.
One afternoon shortly after my decision was made there was some pushing and shoving and terrible screaming. It was about the amount of time I had been spending with Heather. The next afternoon I called Birna (she had a truck) and my girls and within two hours I was moved in with Heather and Matt. My life was once again my own. I was so relieved. I felt safe for the first time in years. I had to come up with a plan, a life plan, but for now I just wanted to relax.
Shortly after moving in with Heather and Matt I received the news my brother Frank and his wife Cheryl were expecting. I was thrilled!
I had so many grand children and my brother Frank, only four years younger than me, had no children of his own. He had Andrew and Alexis his step children and to put it lightly he adored them and they where more than enough for him. I was really proud of the way he fell in love with those kids. He already was a great Daddy.
This baby was due the week David died. I was not comfortable with that thought to tell you the truth. I thought again about what Allyson had said and I felt better about the date. David was sending these babies to us from heaven and whenever God decided to have Frank and Cheryl's baby enter the world would be just fine.
I was still feeling the joy of this news when the letter arrived from the parole board. Jimmy Galione was going to be released from prison. I was devastated. What was the parole board thinking? Our letters were not good enough? We didn’t deserve just a little more peace in our lives? Would he get out and kill again and put some other family through the nightmare we were enduring? Would he or his family harass us again? I had so many questions. Would it finally be the time for the district attorney’s office to act on the other arrests? I was quite sure Galione would not cooperate with them. Why would he do the right thing?
I left it up to my daughter Joan to stay in touch with the police. I could no longer handle the rejection. She was working with the Bristol Borough police now so I hoped she would be able to get some answers.
It was that day I decided to write this book. I had kept a journal so I took it out and read each page. I read all of the newspaper articles, my daughter Jill had kept so meticulously. I acquired the court documents. It was painful and slow going at first and then the words came. The words came in intervals, sometimes pages at a time and at other times, merely sentences.
I wondered who, from our family would be the first to run into Galione. I hoped it would not be my son.
I called his parole officer. I wanted to know the conditions of his release. One of the conditions was, if he were to run into any family member or friend of David, he was to immediately leave.
Of course, it was my son who ran into him first. My son was in the Uni-Mart, a small convenience store, in Bristol. When Galione saw my son in the store, he turned around and left. At least he did what he was supposed to do. Would it continue?
It was really an awful thing to think but I almost wished he would hurt someone else so he had to go back to prison. My real self would never wish that pain on another family. I could not control my thoughts. I was just so frustrated with the justice system. People that wrote bad checks got longer sentences than this murderer.
I busied myself with NOVA, talk all the courses and did the training I needed to do to be able to help others. I joined the speaker’s bureau. The first time I spoke in front of a group it was excruciating. I could not control my emotions as I told my story, but I got through the speech. The group was kind and invited me back to speak again. It took three speaking engagements before I was able to maintain my composure.
I enjoyed informing the Bucks County Communities of the services NOVA offered and was surprised at how many people had no idea such an organization existed. I really enjoyed meeting people too. It was so comforting when they would come up to me afterward's and say, I remember that story. I remember your brother.
I was terrified to go anywhere in Bristol alone. I did not want to run into anyone from the Galione or Reeves families. I stuck to visiting homes. I tried to stay out of public places unless I had someone with me.
In October my nephew, Tony was involved in a car accident. My sister’s son was sixteen years old. He and his friends where at football practice and decided afterwards to go to Taco Bell. Driving down Route 13 towards Bristol Borough Tony’s friend lost control of the car and crashed into a bridge embankment. The friend was killed instantly. Two others were in critical condition. All I could think of as I looked around the hallway in that hospital was no, this was not going to happen to us again. Another one of the boys died. My heart broke for their families. I knew the look in their eyes. I felt there pain.
I was so worried about my sister. If baby Tony (yes we all called him that ) did not make it through this my sister would never, ever recover. Tony had many injuries the worst being a
broken neck. I was allowed to see him briefly, before they transported him to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. He was alert and able to talk which gave me great hope.
He improved quickly and was doing well. His football days were over and I know that was sad for him. I was so thankful to God that not only was he alive, he was not paralyzed. I worried about him emotionally. He had just lost two close friends.
My sister did not deserve this fear. Tony was only sixteen. These were good kids. There had been no alcohol or reckless driving involved. I felt selfish for feeling sorry for Tony and my family, when two others where burying their young sons. I refused to become obsesses with dark feelings. It was a long recovery, but Tony would be fine. He had to be.
That fall I was asked to co-chair NOVA’s largest fundraiser of the year. It was so exciting to work on the committee and then see the Galaxy Art Show and Sale come to life on opening night. The show was a success and raised much needed funds for the agency. I knew why I was involved with the organization so it was interesting to find out why others were. Some had tragic stories and others just wanted to help. Why did it take a tragedy for me to want to help? I promised myself I would never allow that to happen again. I would always be involved in something that involved helping my community.
The holidays arrived once again as they do every year. I was getting excited and anticipating the birth of Jill and Kevin’s new baby. I was praying constantly for my brother and Cheryl’s little one.
Another New Year's Eve came and went. As usual, and unfortunately as I expected no new arrests were made.
My pity party was interrupted this year. On January 11, 2006 Avery Paige Timm entered our family. She was very tiny. Avery had a double hernia that required surgery. When I handed that tiny little girl over to a nurse at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, I nearly passed out. I cried and Jill cried. I prayed so hard and hoped God wasn’t sick of hearing me.
Avery came out of the surgery fine. As far as Jill and I, I doubt we will ever recover.
Julia turned six. It was a bad year for Julia. Her Mommy left and my son was now a single father. I can say I have never been so proud of him. His heart was broken; he really loved his wife but he also loved his kids. I was in awe as I watched him handle the day to day stresses of raising two little ones alone.
Another year since the trial ended. I was really losing hope. I was just going to be forced to live in a world were murderers were allowed to walk free. My strength to fight was gone. I was angry with myself for not beating down the district attorneys door. I was not putting any pressure on the police. I was thinking of doing all of this and more but I did nothing.
A letter arrived from the parole board. Jerry Reeves was requesting parole. I wondered if writing a letter even mattered. I decided I had to try. I felt like I had to force my family to write letters. We all wrote them and waited.
Another April arrived. Another ecumenical service was held at the park and unfortunately there where many new victims and their families. I tried to think of the positive things in my life. A lot had changed in seven years. A lot happened that David should have been part of. How could I help but be angry?
On May 8, 2006, Baron Von Streibig was born. I was once again blessed to be right there as he took his first breath. I had my doubts, over the years. Would I would ever witness my brother Frank holding his very own child? The moment was amazing. I could feel David’s presence in the room. I could hear him saying, Spanky you did it! He would have loved this day.