"She is gone. She is gone." As I sat on my bed with steady and constant tears running down my face I just couldn't comprehend that Lauren had been murdered. I was laying in bed when Wayne came home. He came in my room and said, "Christin, I need to tell you something." As my stomach started turning, because I knew this could not be good, I sat up. My reply, an urgency of "What, what, what has happened? What is the matter? Is everyone ok?" With tears in his eyes, he replied, "Lauren Hafford has been killed." I thought... no, not possible. This is just a misunderstanding. I told Wayne, yelled to Wayne, "What! Are you sure? Wayne, this isn't true!" As he sat down beside me, consoling me, all I could do was cry. I must have cried a million tears that day. However, the more I cried, the more angry I felt. Then I knew it. That bastard had killed Lauren.
One must understand the background of Lauren to know or try to grasp why somebody would kill this gorgeous twenty-two year old. Lauren had been married for less than a year, separations had already occurred, problems persisted, and she was trying to move on with her life. Would she have gone back to him? That is a question, one may never be able to answer. Why had he done it? What were his reasons? What did he rationalize in his crazy mind that would make it okay to not only commit domestic violence acts on Lauren day in and day out, but ultimately take her life, and then his own? To this day, I don't think I will ever want to visit the place, the place where this occurred --- her workplace. But, I can vividly see, recall, and rethink how this murder-suicide took place.
He had called, and had been asking her to go out to lunch with him, and she had continuously replied with "no's". On Tuesday, April 13, 1999, around 12:00 noon, he came into the unlocked rear security door of the office. As Lauren talked to her sister, Lindsay, on the phone, he silently stood just outside her office cubicle door. He listened. She didn't know he was there, how was she supposed to know? He made no sounds, nor did he greet her, or anyone else in the office. Her back was towards the door. He listened, and then quietly made his way out the back door, again, without making a sound. Before anyone realized or knew it, he had returned. With her ear still to the phone, he silently walked up behind her, placed his hand on her hair, and moved it. She had long, black hair. Without even giving Lauren a chance to turn around, he then shot her in the back of the head with a 9-millimeter handgun. She fell to the floor, her body lifeless. She was dead and the man she once loved and trusted was to blame. He had killed her. As he turned around and began to walk out her office door, he put the gun beside his temple and pulled the trigger. He died several hours later in a hospital.
As a Christian, I know that she is in heaven, but I still have many questions. Did she go too soon? Was this meant to happen? I can only answer with, yes, she went too soon, and no, this was not meant to happen. As I sat in the church, listening to the funeral service, I listened as the preacher preached, "She was a beautiful young lady, taken too young. This was not God's course of action, but the action of a madman who thought he could play God." I will always ponder the reasons for her death, but never understand. I must tell myself that there was a reason..... Maybe He was saving her from years of misery and domestic violence.
As I visit her grave, I remember. As I sit at home, I remember. As I drive down the road, I remember. I remember my dear, dear friend, Lauren. I remember the beauty, the aura she had. I remember the memories, memories so vivid that I feel as if they just happened yesterday. I remember how much I loved her, and how much I will miss her. I remember at who's hands she died. And with that, I must remember how she died, who killed her, and why I, as a friend, can not let domestic violence consume anyone's life as it did Lauren's.
She will not die in vain, her memory will live on, and her death will serve a purpose. She will be used as an example to all who walk in similar footsteps. Lauren was not only to become my dear friend, the one who laughed with me, cried with me, shared with me, talked with me, but she has become an angel, as well. One who can watch over me, protect me, and guide me. I love you, Lauren, and will miss you dearly.
A note from Lauren's mom: Christin and Lauren had known each other for nearly eighteen years. We lived in the same neighborhood for many years, and so they shared many happy times together, both as children and as teenagers. Christin, Lauren and Lindsay spent countless hours together, and were as close as any friends and sisters could ever be. Soon, I hope to post some pictures of Lauren, Christin, and Lindsay together.
This candle burns in memory of Lauren Elizabeth Hafford February 17, 1977 ~ April 13, 1999