Hello, my name is Karen Sparks. I am a survivor of filicide. On November 1, 2015, my beautiful children, daughter Reagan (9) and son, Grant (8), were murdered by their father, who then took his own life and burned down our house, leaving a suicide note blaming me. He had no history of mental illness. But he revealed his true identity - a psychopath and monster. He couldn't stand the fact that I'd had enough of his manipulation, lies, verbal and mental abuse and decided to remove my children from his narcissistic control after eleven years of marriage and file for divorce. He murdered my beautiful babies to get revenge on me.
My breath, my beating heart...my true loves were taken from me.
In an instant, my world was over. My children were dead. The loves of my life were gone forever. Reagan and Grant weren't given a choice to live out their lives; he chose for them.
Stripped of my identity, I found myself staring at an empty void. Was my life pointless? Meaningless? Who was I… who were my children? Would anyone remember them if I was gone? Why didn't I leave earlier...protect my babies? Why didn't I die instead of them? Where was God, who was supposed to protect my children in all of this?
I was a dead woman walking. My family intervened and checked me into a residential treatment facility for trauma, a "crazy house," so I thought before I entered, which proved to be the vehicle I needed. There, I was forced to stare into the void of the aftermath and my loneliness. I had to go deep, to groan, scream, and face the darkness. The deaths of Reagan and Grant and years of gaslighting and manipulation by my then-husband had turned me into someone I didn't recognize. The process provided by the staff and friendships with residents at this facility slowly helped me to begin my healing process.
I still scream into my pillow, cry in my car, yell at people I love, and at God. But, I can say that I know God loves me and I have my faith and other outlets like running when the spiral of despair rears its ugly head. I find joy in unexpected places. I do laugh, thanks to friends. That's why I'm writing this book. I want to tell the world about my children and share my journey. I am far from a perfect mom or person. I don't claim to have all the answers, nor is this a self-help or guidebook. I'm not seeking the spotlight, but I know my purpose now is to be open and honest, telling our story in its raw and real form.
Reagan and Grant are not physically with me, but they are always with me and they are instruments of God's voice deep within my spirit. They cheer me on and have helped me understand that my purpose is to choose to get out of bed and pursue hope. They weren't given the choice to live, so I choose to live and finish our race. This is now where I find my breath and my reason and my purpose. They are still my reason. R&G loved helping others - they had a heart for people, and when I feel like I can't make it through another day, or without losing it in the middle of the kid's section in Target, or write this book because I don't know what I'm doing - I hear them telling me, "Mom, you have to tell our story because it will help someone."
I don't want to let them down a second time. Choosing hope is overwhelming most days. But, I know my kids wouldn't want me to quit. They weren't quitters. And for me to quit would mean they would die a second death. So, I choose to keep running our race because one day my beautiful babies will be there cheering for me as I cross that final finish line and I hold them in my arms for eternity. Until then, I know that our love never ends, and I choose hope. I pray this book provides some encouragement on your journey.
"There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still."
- Corrie Ten Boom
Article published in UK Magazine called Take A Break. November 28, 2019
Copyright ©2019 by Karen Sparks. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be produced or used in any manner without written permission of the copyright owner. The following excerpt is copyrighted material, The Eleven Year Burn. Any distribution or use beyond this site is strictly prohibited without the expressed written consent of Karen Sparks.
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