Around midnight on October 18, 1999, my daughter, Maggie, with her bright future, was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend in a dorm room on the campus of Kalamazoo College in her hometown. She was supposed to be safe so close to home. But she, and we, her parents, did not know that she was in the most danger when she ended the relationship. He emotionally abused her, but not physically. He insulted her friends and monitored what she did on that small campus. He was angry, and he bought a gun at a local gun store. After snuffing out her brightness, he took his own life.
For 20 years, we have honored Maggie with action. We kept her room just as it was that last night she spent there, with her clothes in the closet, dresser with jewelry, her last paycheck uncashed, shirts and hair ties. And her scent was in that room. It was a place of solace when things got rough, a place to reflect and smell her.
Three years ago, we decided it was time to change her bedroom. We donated clothes, tore up the carpet, painted the walls, laid a new floor and put a few precious things in a box in the closet. But her scent, her smell, is gone. We sit in Maggie’s new room now, watching TV and talking, sometimes about her. We have no grandchildren on our lap to show them Maggie’s childhood memories. We do have our vivid memories of her beautiful spirit.