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I thought it about time to tell folks about how gun violence affected this family and especially my son and of course, the children.

She was a pretty girl.  She had long blonde curly hair.  She was as funny as funny could be.   Cheri could talk with her mouth closed and get the kids to laughing like no body's business.   She was a very insecure person and with good reason.   She had problems.   Oh goodness, Cheri had problems that so many young girls have and it eventually sometimes leads to addiction or prostitution or many other issues but they were dumped on her and for 6 short years, there was a bit of normalcy to her life.  Just a bit.

I met Cheri back in 1998.  She had been with some friends over at my son's house.  He was separated and fighting for his kids at the time.  He had a wife that was just off the rails  and his separation from her was his reolve.  It was not long before Cheri became a regular visitor to his house as she liked to play with the kids when they came over and she and my son had taken a liking to one another.   They were playing cards and she had no problem giving the kids a bath and cooking up a meal or two.
I observed and was pleased at how easy she was with the children and how she never lost patience.  The children were with their Daddy a lot but the Mama hated Cheri.  I always felt it was because Cheri was more of a Mother than the woman who claimed to be a mother.  

There is an ache in my soul for Cheri.  It gets easier but it will never go away.  Cheri and my son decided to get together and start a relationship but the wife and son never bothered getting a divorced.   Neither one of them had a great sense of loyalty to one another and I really wanted them to be divorced but I suspected he was a bit afraid of  another committment.   It is a regret that would become one of his biggest , if not the biggest.  She did not actually move in with him until after the children were taken into state custody due to the abuse by the Mother and he and the Mother had been in a battle for custody for a year or so.   He was out of work again and eventually the state took the kids.  The bio would leave them here, there and yonder, and most of the time, no one had a clue where they were for weeks on end.  That included us and our son.  Cheri had become a fixture and was helping my Father, whose health was failing and she and my son moved in with him.. Kids were dropped off every once in a while.  

One day she had to go to court for some trouble she had gotten into prior to meeting our son.  She had written some bad checks.   She was on probabtion and her payment was twenty dollars.   My son went to pay her probabtion but found out they had locked her up and the fines were much bigger at this point and that is when the local attorney asked him, "How much justice can you afford".   She was sent to a women's prison in South Ga.  Violation of probation is a big deal and she was soooo young   She had also had her demons with not passing her drug test.   Pot showed up in the drug test.  

Our son moved down to south Ga to be near her work camp where he could visit her. We already after all this time had custody of the children.  We knew they would be back and he could work while she pulled her 6 months.   She was always smiling beneath her dark tears and pain.   She would look forward to her visits.  She looked forward to being free.  After several months after her incarceration, they moved back in with my Dad.  She was cleaning, shaving Daddy, working in the yards and always laughing.  She had tried to apply for social security and was diagnosed in the jail with two mental illnesses but they turned her down for social security.   She had bi Polar and another illness.  She also could not have children.  There is a story to that one.
It is a horrible story of when she was seven years old.  I won't got into it except her mental illness was a direct cause to her being abused so much when she was a child.

She thought Jack and me were the greatest things on earth since the invention of fire.
She really did love us.  She never wanted to burden us, and she always was ready to help in any way she could including helping me with veteran issues.   She was very smart.  
The sad story of Cheri is below the fold

 She was very used to jail.   It seemed every time we turned around she didn't have her probabtion money.   He paid and we paid but it was forever ongoing.   My Daddy was in his late seventies.  She really helped him out before she went to jail.

The in jail out of jail for violation of probabtion seemed to have happened three times in this romance.  There was always money and pot in the write ups.   It was always jail time.   She never would come to the house or get out of the car if she had a beer.
She never would step inside the house if she had gotten high in any sort.  Pot was her drug of choice.  I could never tell when our son was smoking.  I really never could. He was pretty attached to weed himself but it didn't come around us or the kids.  Booze was not his thing but Cheri was his addiction.  He loved her with heart and soul.  She was 5  years his junior and they were happy to just play video games, clean carpets, paint houses and she was content to go aside and play hide and seek with the kids.   She loved Christmas and putting the toys together.  She was not a hugger but she was one to say, " I love you" more times than I could count.  My  x daughter in law actually seemed to enjoy Cheri's demise.  The kids were angry with her for years over her ..
 She got what she deserved comments.....No compassion.. No heart.  

When our niece was killed in a car wreck, she was helping the entire family to cope.
She especially helped my Dad.   She cried.   She went to the funeral and she did not even know her but she knew how much that girl meant  to this family.   She wanted to go to church with us and we took her.   I am glad she never saw how hypocritical that church turned out to be.   My son did see it later on.  When the oldest daughter of 9 went into a diabetic coma, she came to the hospital with our son.  She was in the hospital wings.....putting up with nonsense from the bio Mom who decided to show several days after the crisis was over but she never opened her mouth to the bio as she was cursed up and down by her the so called Mama for being with my son at the hospital.   It was a mess.  I asked the bio to leave as she was just causing trouble and did not have custody at that point or a marriage for years...what was the point of having all the trouble?   She left but not before the police had to escort the bio  out for her unruly behavior and mouth.  Cheri never said a word.  
Cheri and our son got a motel room and stayed close by until the 9 year old was out of the hospital.   Of course, the bio Mom went back to her party house and we did not see her for another 6 months.  Neither did the children.  They saw Cheri, and our son but not Mommie Dearest.  She had better things to do than fool with youngins.  

The relationship looked like it had really come to place of committment and there would probably be a divorce and remarriage in the picture.  The VOP's had not happened in a long time.  The year was 2004.   So much had happened in that length of time.  We had adopted the children. She had paid a good bit of her money back to the state.
She was taking care of my Dad.  She was spending time at our new home in Ga and she and our son had moved about 6 doors down in a mobile home partk.  There was one bit of trouble in the relationship.  Our son really, really did not want her to be with her Mother.

 Cheri's parents had abused her when she was young and when she started wanting to be around that Mother or Daddy, she would just leave for several days on end and come back gathering food or whatever for those parents who really did not help her situation at all.  i believe she wanted their acceptance.    Cheri's mother had introduced her to the streets of Atlanta when she was just a mere seven.   Her parents had 9 kids.  Her Mother was abusive and cruel.  Her Mother had damaged her greatly.  I believe she saw her Mother in that bio Mom that was married to our son and there lied many problems because that would later turn out true.  Long after Cheri had come and gone into our lives...we found out how on the mark Cheri was.

  She would accompany us  to visit my Mom in Florida who was dying and it was Cheri who sat in the back row at the funeral saying how pretty Mama looked with tears welled up.     It was at this time in life...she had decided to just go off the beam and started delving into other things as our son objected to her hanging around her family.
I raised a few objections when I saw how any ...ANY contact with her family affected her.  She wanted her own family I am sure, and she wanted children. Two things that would never ever happen.

  It was right after the funeral that she and my son parted ways.   He told her that he just could not go down that disappearing road act that he was accustomed to with his estranged wife.  They would have to work out things alone.   It was just in March before Mother died in April that we watched shock and awe.  She saw me ranting over the Iraq war as I explained how horrible this would be for our men  and women in uniform.   I told her about that Bush was lying and there were no WMD's.  She stood with Jack and me as we called begging not to go to war.    I remember she sat and listened and made calls to stop the war earlier.  I remember how she cried the day we invaded Iraq.  Our son was not that involved but everyday she wanted to know about the War crimes and how bad this man Bush was.   She cared.  She had an absolute about her.   She was part of this family in spirit anyway.

Our son's  granddaddy was getting more feeble and Grandaddy was planing to move in with us.   She called me up and told me she loved us but she had to get her act together.  She told me she loved our son better than anything but he wanted them to separate for while.  I told her she was going to end up doing hard time if she didn't try and get this life on track.  I would help.   Earlier in the year,  I had gone to the jails.  I had talked to probabation officers.  I had tried to file for her social security.  I tried to get her to continue counseling.   I tried but it seemed the cards were always stacked against her.   Always !   She was terrified to open up too much.  She was more terrified of guns.  She would not even watch movies with violence.  It terrified her. She used to tell me how she would go to school in her slip..that no one got her up for school and that is what she wore in just the 1st grade.   The whole system let her down.    

The first of May, She said, " I don't think I can live without ya'll".  I am going to my sister's.  My aunt raised me and I will be OK.   I need to try and get some counseling...I told her to take care and  I hung up the phone.   I heard from her again back in the summer and she wanted to speak to our son who shook his head no as he heard she was living with another guy.   She asked me how he and the kids were.  She rambled a bit and told me she would talk later.   I saw our son drop his head and said, "She is not living with her sister is she"?  I shook my head no.  He just walked to the balcony and said, " Well, we don't need any more drama like the kids's mama".   I love her but I wish her the best.  I knew in time they would go back together and work things out.  He had given her my old  engagement ring.  She had not given it back.  I was sure it would work out.  

The fall came in with cool leaves falling and Thanksgiving was upon us.  Our son had a job with the builder of our home but not steady and his car was broken down.   He was helping out with Daddy and working part time.  He rarely spoke of Cheri until one week and a half before Thanksgiving  and he mentioned that maybe we should invite her over for Turkey day.  I said , " That is up to you".    He said, " Yep I believe I will call her sister and find out how she is doing.  he toyed with that notion but never called.  I never called, and we would have regrets.

Sunday morning came....I for some reason was not going to church and neither was Jack.  The house was quite.  The kids were watching some show on TV.  Our son was downstairs getting ready for the Faclon game. The usual... Watch the pregame, get some Dr. Pepper and Popcorn,and  after grabbing some sandwiches or a plate of dinner   Jack was playing his guitar and I was cooking lunch.  Daddy was napping downstairs.   The phone rang.  That phone call would change us forever.  Everyone of us.

I answered the phone when my x husband's wife asked me if our son knew about Cheri yet.  I had no clue what she was talking about.  My x never called.  It seemed She had received a call that was Cheri's daddy wanting to invite our son to her memorial service.   They did not have our number but had called the only one with that last name in the phone book.   They had just gotten her body from the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, after it being discovered three days ealier in a double murder with multiple gunshot wounds to the head.  I was stunned and in shock.  My mind was trying to grasp the words on the other end of the phone and I could not believe what I was hearing.  I could not accept it.  I said not a word but to say, " No...I don't believe that ".   She gave me the phone number in Bowden Ga.   I called the number and I asked to speak to Cheri's Daddy and he confirmed all that I had been told.  He was beside himself and said he wished she had stayed with us and our son.  I kept saying, " Who, who would do this?
He kept saying he has his idea it was that old boy she was with but she had gotten involved with some rough folks.  I kept staring and shaking.  Oh My God... I had to tell Tony.  I had to tell the whole family.  Oh my God in Heaven !!!

The rest seems like a nightmare and a reality that one never ever gets used to.
Falcons game is a big deal with our son.  The day was raining and cold but the Falcons were playing and all was right with the world with a few glitches here and there for our son.  I called Jack into the living room after hanging up the phone and he knew someting was terribly wrong with me.  I told him.  It was the only time I ever saw one tear slide down his face.  EVER.   He said, " Do you want me to tell him"?  I said, " No.  I will tell him.  I sat down.  He went downstairs and knocked on his apt. door and said,
Your Mom wants to see you.   I think he could tell by the tone to get upstairs.  I mean afterall I knew the Falcons was playing.  He walked up the stairs saying, " What is it know the Falcons are on".  He stood there and looked down at me as I was silent and tears flowing.  They were flowing gently not hysterically but flowing.  I patted the love seat and said, " Sit down".  He was getting a bit panicked.  He said, What..?  what is it?.... Jack stood right there with eyes held tight.  I said, " Cheri was murdered.
With a long stare into  nothingness, I observed in my grief, his bottom lip trembling.  I saw sheer shock and disbelief and more pain than I had ever witnessed as I saw him fall to the floor and moan in disbelief.  No one knows how a parent feels at this particuliar time.  No matter how old they are.  No one ....The pain that grasps the parents of their child in such horror is unmistakeable.   His weeping was not loud but it was the sound of horror.  The kids ran into the living room to see our son in the floor with head on couch, weeping.  The eldest, Brandy was asking what was wrong and it was at this time Jack told them Cheri was gone.   Brandy fell to the floor and almost convulsed.  She had become an almost surrogate to her.  She was crying until full mayhem had broken out.  It was at this time, our son rose to his feet and hugged the children but the emotion was unebelievable.  Jack calmed in the children as much as he could and my Daddy, frail and old was making the pilgrimage up the stairs in wonder of what had happened.  We were not prepared  for gun violence.  We were not prepared for a murder.  We were not prepared for a loss of this magnitude and shock.
We were stricken in horror.  Who, why, when?  All questions and somehow it just didn't matter because she was gone regardless of the answers.  

It was this time we met whatgodmade.  She and a neighbor drove to our house.  Our son had held it together for a span and then had a blender of emotions.. We were terrified.  He was angry, he was feeling guilty for them separating, he was wanting revenge, he was half crazy with pain and the kids were feeling so much as well.  He called her family and they talked for about an hour and he just did not know why this was happening.  There would be counseling sessions.  There would be grief therapy for the kids...Our son would just isolate and not leave that room for months.  We were so concerned at that time.  He bought her a headstone.   I put up a my space for info leading to the arrest and conviction of who did this... After all these years, last year someone from Alabama hit that my space and gave details...Whether accurate or not.
I turned everything over to the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.  Our son said many times she would not be important enough for the authorties to find her killer.  He said, she was on drugs so she was just a number to them.  He said, we will never know.  I kept plugging away with the My Space.  Answers did come after all these years but they never called me back.  Once a year I check.  Every year they tell me it was the wrong place, wrong time, bad people she was with and that is as far as it ever goes.
They tell me they know it was done by the family of the people of where she was living but they just needed more evidence.  When I sent them the info I received....they never ever confirmed or denied but told me the time line and the info looked to be true.  

Alabama man, Georgia woman slain in rural home
By The Associated Press

Authorities questioned several people in the slayings of an Alabama man and a Georgia woman in a rural mobile home near Ranburne, but made no immediate arrests.

Cleburne County Sheriff Joe Jacks said the bodies of Billy Wayne Fordham, 67, the home's owner, and 27-year-old Chenda Cheri Blair of Villa Rica, Ga., were discovered Wednesday in the residence on Cleburne County Road 682.

Coroner Rudy Rooks said both victims had been shot multiple times in the head and may have been dead for at least two days.

Jacks said the motive for the murders was not immediately clear, but several people have been questioned. No charges were immediately filed.

Court records show that Fordham had a criminal history including a felony marijuana conviction in 1992. He was arrested in 2001 on a felony charge of discharging a firearm into an occupied building, but that charge was dismissed by the state earlier this year.

There is no such thing as a war on drugs.. it is a farce.
There is no justice if you are poor
and mental health is a myth if you are poor.
The rest of the story....
The My space is still up as Justice for Cheri
Our son NEVER got involved with another woman.. He declares to this day, this was his true love.
Info is checked once a year by me to find her killers
I have turned what was sent to me to the authorties from My Space.

We still miss her.

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