Butler County's great daily newspaper

When the holidays hurt

December 7, 2019 Letters to the Editor

Since my first Christmas without my son Johnny Baglier who was kidnapped and murdered on Nov. 9, 1996, I have never been quite as excited about the holiday season. There is an overriding sense of sadness that is associated with time of year due to his death.

The excitement of the season was Johnny, he put the Merry in Christmas and the happy in birthday.

His body was still not discovered during our first Thanksgiving and into Christmas. I knew in my heart that he was dead but prayed so hard to God to bring him home, a prayer in which he answered my prayers..His body was positively identified on New Year’s Day by state trooper Ray Melder. We were finally able to give him a Christian burial

That holiday I was a no-show, I didn’t put up a tree or buy any gifts. My body was fractured. The second Christmas was not much better, but we had an exchange student living with us, so I had to put a smile on my face and go through the motions. It wasn’t until the third year that I felt I had to at least pretend to be jolly hohoho.

I did my shopping online as going into the stores and hearing song such as “I’ll be home for Christmas or any Christmas music for that matter made me sob.

Close friends hosted the holiday dinner that year. Yes even after three years I was as still broken.

Even though it has been many years since my son was murdered, there is still a deep ache that will never be filled only a person who has lost a child can understand. I don’t mean to be unsympathetic to those of you who have experienced other losses, your pain is also great, but the death of a child is so very different.

My pain is something I will live with the rest of my life, but it has softened and is now manageable thanks to time my good friends and my faith in God. I have had to rebuild a new life for myself, and now with the help of Smokey and Bandit, my 6-pound Pomereanian service dog. We do a lot of volunteer work together especially for children and people with some mental issues.

This Christmas Day I was invited to the Methodist church for its holiday meal. Bandit will attend and then we will go to Butler Hospital to visit patients and employees as well. Putting a smile on other peoples’ faces gives me comfort.

I wish each and everyone a healthy and as happy as you can be holiday season.

Judi Baglier. Butler