CNN just reported that Patsy Ramsey died of cancer in the early hours of this morning. I can't imagine what her life has been like since the death of her daughter, Jon Benet, in 1997.
Count me among the ever-growing number who believe Patsy had nothing to do with Jon Benet's murder. Nothing, in my opinion, could be worse than to lose a child under those circumstances; Patsy's pain must have been unbearable. I understand that suspicion must always fall first upon those in the family, those closest to the victim, but to have had to deal with so much suspicion and notoriety on top of the loss of a beloved child is beyond my imagination.
In the weeks after Jon Benet's murder, when it was the subject of continuous speculation on TV newscasts, most of the adults I knew were caught up in the story and hungry for new information. We "tsk-tsked" about the beauty pageant aspect of it, and we speculated about the guilt or innocence of all the various parties to the story. We felt sad about the little girl who died, but our thoughts quickly moved on to our desire for justice. We wanted to know who did it, and we wanted that person to pay for it.
I didn't think too much about how children might be reacting to all those news stories until one day when I walked through my daughter's livingroom and found my eight-year-old grandson sitting on the floor in front of the TV set. He was watching the news about Jon Benet with interest and obvious concern. As the news reporter moved on to another topic, my grandson looked up at me with hurt in his eyes and slowly shook his head. "She was just six years old," he said. "You know? That's somebody I could have married."
Rest in peace, Jon Benet. Your mama's with you now.