I have been a stay-at-home mom, since the birth of our first child, Ian in December, 1991. Ian was born with a rare condition called 'gastroschisis', and spent his first 6 months fighting for his life! After they successfully repaired his defect, we still had to live with the reality that at anytime, his bowl could slip and twist, and we could lose him. As parents, we decided it was more important to focus on our family, and make each day count - as it could be his last. Our family grew by one November 6, 1993, with the addition of our beautiful baby girl, Saskia. Her birth was also traumatic, as I bled out - and she was delivered stillborn! We were both revived, yet a few months later we discovered she was deaf. The ear canal had never formed in her left ear, and she had less than 10% hearing in her right ear.
We doted on our children, doing everything with them - knowing how lucky we were to have them. In August, 1998, our family increased by one more... Kessa arrived, healthy, beautiful like her sister, with no complications.
My father was killed, December 31, 1998 - the only fatality in a 250 car pileup in Michigan. My mother survived the accident, and less than five days after she got out of the hospital, our little family moved from Michigan to California.
Our family was close knit, loving and fun! Our home was constantly filled with children, and the sound of laughter. I worked on the annual Toy Drive with our local Fire Department each year, and voluntarily taught art and worked with the reading program at our elementary school.
December 20, 2011, a young man we had known for over 10 years came into our house, intending to kill us all, and murdered our beloved Saskia.
We were Once the Burkes...