MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The following is the Victim's Impact Statement written by Catherine Monson. Monson wrote this statement to Judge John Bush prior to the sentencing of Joey Grizzell, the man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of her child, Keller Monson.
To completely articulate the impact that Keller's death has had on my life is overwhelming and, I believe, truly impossible. There are things that as a parent you can't even force yourself to imagine. I was forced to do the unimaginable - I sat in a hospital room and listened to a doctor tell me that my baby was going to die. I cradled my son in my arms as he quietly slipped away from this world.
I went through the agonizing process of making funeral arrangements. I picked out clothes for my one year old to be buried in. I solemnly stood next to my son's lifeless body while he lay in repose at our family's church. I watched them put my baby in the ground.
My son's death consumes me. It encompasses all aspects of my life. My career, my motivation, my focus, my social skills and my ability to be the mother I want to be to the child I have left. She turned three the week before Keller died.
How do you explain to a three year old the finality of death? She still talks about him regularly in such a loving way that only a child can do. I dread the day I have to tell my daughter that someone did this to him, that he didn't just "have an accident and get hurt." As a parent, how do you knowingly destroy all that your child believes is safe, their own home? How do you tell your little girl that the people who are supposed to love you and keep you safe might kill you instead?
This is our reality. This is our emotional prison. I've once stood before you in open Court and attempted to find the words to accurately describe the emotional and physical pain myself and this entire family has been through and fell short. No spoken words will ever be able to encompass all that my son was and all that was taken from us, except for love.
My Keller was love and on February 7, 2013, I lost it. When you lose something, instinct tells you to find it. I don't know if my soul realizes that Keller is lost forever, but it instinctively searches for him and sometimes my soul finds pieces of him. His eyes on a stranger's child's face. His laugh coming from a baby in the grocery store stopping me in my tracks. The way my daughter plays with a child Keller's age. The way my daughter innocently tells people her baby brother is in Heaven. Sweet reminders that he is lost, but not forgotten.
My instincts as a mother demand for me to find my child, they are relentless. My soul will search for him every moment of every day for the rest of my life. I have spent the last three and a half years trying to find peace in Keller's death, but my knowledge of what was done to him that day and the seemingly unapologetic Defendant, makes peace seem like an impossible feat.