Moment By Moment

Over the last few years – since the sentencing really — I have learned to give family members their space, even when I feel the need to talk to them, even when I really want to know that they are okay. I have learned my needs do not outweigh theirs. Hence when I went to send out “Merry Christmas” notes this week I deleted the one to a family member who has needed to put distance between us. And to my surprise I got a note from that family member, all on her own, a great Christmas present.

This family member was in need of chatting, processing the negative affect that infamous day is still having on many of our lives. I prayed I would have the right words. Prayed hard.

So I wrote: I know the positive stuff/outlook/attitude is a challenge at times. I stumble each week and tears often drip from my eyes many days of the week, often many times of the day. But the duration of the love drops that fall from my eyes is shorter, most days. But you are right “…nothing has been the same or even normal for 6 years.” I know the selfish people took joy from our lives… evident by this empty house I sit in, evident by the fact that my daughters and I have not spoken in year and 7 months.”

I thought to myself, nothing will ever be the same. It can’t be. Our E-man is gone.

I know we, this entire family, have a big whole in our hearts, souls and lives. Our family is now so disjointed, spread to all of the corners of the US and we are no longer tight. Add to this that many of my loved ones are not dealing with the death, let alone dealing well with the loss of such a positive part of all of our lives. But as I allow the love to stream down my face, as I wipe the love that drips from my eyes… I have chosen to do my best to not let those selfish people take more and more and more and more. They have taken enough from me, from us all.

I fake it ‘till I make it.
I am still faking it.
But there are now moments, moments that are added side by side now, that help me find the joys in the moments I am in. Temporary/limited … yes, but they are moments our boy encourages.

It was then she asked me if I was able to take a call. So I gave her my phone number (I think she was glad it had not changed) and two hours 29 minutes later we hung up. Tears were shared. Heck, the moment I heard her voice the tears began. She sounded good. We caught up. We re-ran through many things and clarity was gained for her. And some for me, too. Apologies were made. Apologies were accepted. Encouragement of more healing was given.

This life my son’s family and friends are now living is not a life we had thought we would be living. But it is a life that we must be lived. It is a life we must find a way to live. Find a way to put one foot in front of the other. Find a why to honor our loved one while not letting the selfish bastards continue to victimize any of us. I wish this progression in all who love my son, Ethan and all who have been touched by his story.


6 Years and Counting

Mind-full Conversation …

                                                    a continuing set of chats

It is not cruel and unusual punishment to keep him locked away in that institution nor his sister-wife. I hate it when folks forget how inhumane the Orange Blob’s treatment of you was (and of others).

I love it how the cops call here the “Swife”.

It is comical, isn’t it Lovie.


So, momma….

Yes, Lovie.

After all those interviews  she looked up to the sky … Did they get all the information they needed … to help the families of some of his first victims?

No Lovie. It seems there is still some more interest in getting more out of him.

So they think what he has told them has some merit?

It seems so.

Are there industry standards for how much they can get with this plea bargain?
No, each plea bargain is written specific to the criminal.

Will they keep you informed of progress?

Yes, Lovie. After all, they would not have made the leaps and bounds in these cases if your murder had not provided them with the DNA. Plus, the facts are so similar they seem to mergeinto one big case. They keep me up to date, I insist on it. Heck, I email them on your birth date, your death date and now the death date of the two others.

Sept. 8th, marks 6 years since my son, Ethan JD Kline Walton was robbed of his life and other horrendous acts were played out on other family members of mine. My “Mind-full Conversation” are things I would say to my son, as if her were still here, allowing me to share information with others as well.

When giving of ourselves is too much – for others

It happened again, just the other day — it was suggested that I “stop going onto those pages and stop helping others who are grieving because it is keeping you living in the past.” Like my grief is holding me back. Like my learning to live with my grief and helping to lead others out of a very dark place — that I had gotten to after the murder of my son — is a bad thing.

I shake my head, more at myself than anyone, at questioning, for a moment, if the lady who suggested this was right.

As I questioned myself and my own path over the last, nearly, 6 years. I began looking at my interaction with others. I will admit I even compared my interactions, a bit, with her’s. Now this is a church going, God loving person who is active in her church. So, I was surprised this came from her, on one hand, but … then again she has not suffered a heaven sent child loss – first hand – as I have. She has only been on the shirttail of it all since that 8th day of September 2010.

I have found that I think she, and many others possibly (because this has been said to me by a couple of other well meaning, loving folks) forgotten that in 1 Peter 4:10-11 we are told:

 As each has received a gift, [we are to] use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s     varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—[should do so] in order that in everything [we do] God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. 

After all, I openly admit that I couldn’t have made it this far without the strength of something bigger then myself. But maybe I missed effectively conveying this to those around me whom my grief still bothers, to those around me who are at a loss because my grief still hurts them.

Maybe they think I can turn my grief on and off like a light switch.
Maybe they think it would be easier to deal with me if I was not so open about my grief, open about my learning to live on this altered path, open about taking x-y- and z steps to regain what I can of me (the me that was here before the murder of my son)?

Then I find myself looking at Galatians 5:13-14:
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

For many who know me, are coming to know me through this blog, the Hearts For Bereaved page (a private group page on Facebook), and one-on-one contact like the recent blessing of answering the phone, at my day job, to a wife who is reeling from the unexpected death of her husband – I am a loving person. I am a ‘Pay It Forward’ person. It has been my nature since I was born. It is ingrained in me to give so much, let alone it goes along with my personal faith.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been things (and people) that have happened in my life that have tried to break that loving kindhearted spirit within me. There have even been times I thought “that” might have won. But, alas, today, today I can say – those forces have not won. I have. And it is because of the strength I have gained from my faith which tells me at my weakest the strength comes from God.

I am reminded in Proverbs11:25: Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. The reality is I have been blessed. I have not been nice and loving and kind and caring to others to better my place in the eye of the Lord. In turn, allowing myself to continue to be kind has helped me. It has “watered” my soul, as it is promised in Proverbs 11:25.

I am not blind to Philippians 2:1-5 in which we are encouraged to not be selfish if we feel encouragement from our relationship with Jesus. So if there is any encouragement in Christ, (which I have) any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit (which I have), any affection and sympathy (which I have), complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit (which I do not), but in humility count others more significant than yourselves (which I have be faulted by others for doing). Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others….

I am reminded that …we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

When one of us suffers a deep personal loss of a child or a husband, wife, sibling or friend we should not be alone in our grief at all times. That is not how it was meant to be. We need others to lead us, by example, by encouragement and sometimes by the hand — out of the darkness and down the new, bumpy path we are now thrust upon to travel. And that is what I am doing when I help others who walk, stumble and fall on the same or nearly same path I am now navigating.

I am sorry my grief has not dissipated and has not gone away – because it seems, even nearly 6 years later, my grief is still too much for others. I am sorry my grief brings pain to others. But I am better than I was, even if they don’t see it. I am healthier because I am able to share this grief aloud with others. I am healthier because I am able to be the shoulder for others. I am stronger in my faith, as well, as I do not question the helping position I have been put in (just wish others saw it that way too).

My Bleeding Heart


My heart bleeds
As my son was due 25 years ago today
He waited two days
He was born on the 21st of May.
He was taken from us all 19 years and 110 days later.

I still wish we had all had more time together.

His murder has changed oh so many lives.

We are no longer the people we were the day before his murder.

The brutality
The shock
The anger
The hatred
The confusion
The loss of trust
The loss of security
The loss of family affected by all of the above ….

It stings my heart no less then twice a year.
(His Birthday date and his Death Date.)
But usually a lot, lot more!

(c) Kathleen Kline

Finally, Breathing & Regaining a Little Bit More of Me

It’s been a long time…
A long time since I have felt relaxed enough and at peace enough to do something….
Something that makes me happy to the core…
To create something
To create something out of nothing
Or create something out of the beginning ideas of another.
Something I have done
Something my son knew made me happy.
Something I did for him.
Something I have done for others.
Something I was able to share with my Ethan, and his siblings.
      He and his sister, Kayla, challenged each other (when they were 10 and 8 respectively)           and they used to get 12 stitches per inch, hand sewing.
Today, as I begin cutting fabric for a quilt
I do so with a tear and a smile.A tear as the murderer almost soured my heart and soul so much that he almost took this         artistic form of expression away from me
A tear because I know why I stopped
A selfish tear because I miss my Ethan
A tear because I am glad my mind, heart and soul have a thick enough scab to allow me to         begin again.

It’s another step in … the healing direction.

Things you can’t say in court, but it sure would be fun to…

Your honor, what makes this bastard think he has the right to stomp all over the rights of anyone, let alone my kids! (Okay, your honor, it is reported his mother and father were married when he was born.)

Having children and living with your sister, I don’t care if she is your half-sister… it’s not right … on oooh ssssoooo many levels!

Are there associations for incestuous bastards? Bet there is where you are going! (Sorry your honor you asked me not to address the defendant. My bad.)

Who thinks that it is okay to have a brandy with your sister, pursue her like she’s “just the gal next door,” bed her down, live with her as your wife, and father your twin nieces? Who? Who?
It’s just not natural!

The services I know you deserve are not allowed in this civilized nation we live in, but I have already volunteered to help with them if I could.
Castration. Skinning, after all I am good at both, but I would work on not doing my best job, just for you. Torturing — I can learn, after all, I am inspired by your cruelty, I could learn to give you a life lesson: “and eye for an eye”.

Wonder if I could find someone willing to violate you, repeatedly, against your will while you worried about a loved one? Hummm.

There is a valley, a valley in your life that is covered in shale. That flaky slippery slope you have been traveling on is mainly covered in “oh sh**” and his name is Ethan. His name is Ethan! Did you hear me? His name is E-t-h-a-n, Ethan! You may have taken his life, cut it short, but now you have met your match.

Bet you didn’t think that 19-year-old would get the best of you… did you, you orange clad blob?

I bet you expected the son of my ex-husband to show up that day. But, you were wrong. Dead wrong. You see I have raised-up our son. Ethan may have had a lot of youthful looks that one could imagine the ex had in his own youth, but the boy, the young bourgeoning man that showed up to deal with you one-on-one as an adult … that was MY son! And he bested you.
 He became that which you denied would come – your equalizer. Because God decided you needed to be stopped.

Remember that, you horse’s backside: a 19-year-old boy and an 18-year-old girl were sent by God to stop you. And stop you they have.

Sure, your pastor of a mom teaches, “an eye for an eye” – to others.
I hope you learn this first and for years to come.

Sure, your pastor of a mom teaches, “thou shall not kill” – to others.
Oh wait… were you out of class on that teaching day?
Oh wait… that is not something that is only taught on one day of a person’s life. Did you show up at all to these lessons? Did she choose not to teach her own?

Sure, your pastor of a mom teaches, “thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor” – to others.
But isn’t that just what you did when you lied and told the cops Ethan and his gal where there to “rob” you? Guess the good Lord saw to that being proven to be “false witnessing”.

Sure, your pastor of a mom teaches, “not to covet thy neighbor’s house”— to others.
Yet you killed Ethan over a piece of land he was selling you.

Sure, your pastor of a mom teaches, “honor they father and thy mother” – to others.
Do you really think your actions as a serial kidnapper, serial murderer, serial rapist, serial incestuous creep actually honor your parents?

Maybe your momma didn’t teach you. Well, we can see she didn’t. You didn’t mom.
She certainly knew you were a bad seed; you knew, dam you, you knew.
She certainly knew that you accosted your own sisters.
She should have stopped you. You should have stopped him!

I wonder… did you, mom, really think that becoming a pastor would ensure any absolution for yourself, for your failings or absolve of your son’s bad acts?

You were wrong. You both were wrong on many levels.

Sorry judge. They were wrong your honor. They were wrong.

Your honor, don’t you think there is a proper cell awaiting her too for her apathetic ways?

1,341 miles … One down, one to go

1,341 miles… yes that is what Goggle Maps says the distance between here and a smidge of justice is. Well … I am still thinking if that is accurate.

Wednesday, Sept. 26th there were 12 of us who came together in the Shawnee, Oklahoma courtroom #1, oh wait… 16 if you count the D.A., the Victims’ Advocate, the kidnapping sister/wife and a lawyer standing in for her’s…. Yes, uncounted are the judge, a stenographer, many other criminals, a passel of lawyers, a gallery full of civilians, a handful of bailiffs and a couple of other badge sporting folks. It was, after all, a normal day of arrangements, etc.; it was a full docket and we were waiting for number 26 on the list.

We entered the gallery and took over an entire pew, 5 rows back. Across the isle, two rows up, sat my (would-never-be) daughter-in-law’s mother and aunt, behind them a sister and a friend. We waited. Then my oldest daughter and her friend came in and sat two pews in front of me. It did not take but minutes for my daughter-in-law to see the kidnapping sister/wife. She sat in the first pew… only five rows up, by herself. It was erry that our girl could recognize her previous capture from behind. Just by seeing the back of someone’s head.

Not ever having met this sister/wife my skin began to crawl, even at seeing only the back of her head and shoulders. I was glad to be sitting shoulder to shoulder with my daughter-in-law, I could see it eased her uncomfortableness… even if it was a struggle, she, managed to keep calm and semi-secure. Ironically, our five foot three inch, not even 100 pounds girl was helping me keep my cool. She’s a great example.

My oldest daughter saw there was an empty spot open up on first the bench beside the sister/wife. My daughter got up and sat beside the female she once babysat for.

“So … you ready to go to prison? Yah scared?” the 11 of us watched my angry daughter closely. We were ready to pounce on her if her anger got the best of her. We needed to help her avoid going to jail, but we let her speak her peace.

Sure of my daughter’s hatred for this incestuous waste of flesh as she often loudly expressed it, her friend moved to the pew right behind the kidnapping sister/wife and my daughter.  My daughter was now within arms reach. I guess the friend did not know how fast this momma can move… even if it is in heals on a slick courtroom floor. We all knew my daughter needed to be able to speak her mind. It’s all part of the process.  Plus, I figure she would say some things I was feeling.

“Yah, I’m not scared,” the sister/wife said.

Sitting elbow to elbow with my son’s sister would make anyone nervous. Her anger oozed out of her pores. The sister/wife was lying and my daughter knew it. So, my daughter pushed on.

“Yah think they will add on the money you still owe me for babysitting those [inbreed] kids of yours on to your restitution?”

“No,” the sister/wife looked at my daughter and laughed, it was an uncomfortable laugh, especially since she now looked my daughter in the eyes.

It was then that my daughter-in-law’s mom moved over and sat in the empty spot behind her daughter’s capture.

There were comments between my daughter and this mom about broom handles and the like… the sister/wife could stand it no more. She hastily got up left the gallery walking behind the railing. She sat in the jury box with her lawyer.

The opportunity was cathartic for both my daughter and my daughter-in-law’s mom. It was their first time to let the capture feel their anger, anger that had been building for just over 2 years. The sister/wife may only being charged with the kidnapping, but my daughter’s actions allowed the sister/wife to start knowing we all think she is more involved and owed this family more than she was getting. And if she wasn’t sure she would become more aware of it shortly.

From the jury box the sister/wife could not only see her previous captive, but me… and as genetics are strong… there was going to be little room for doubt that I am the mother … of her previous babysitter and of my son, the other victim.

Okay, so when the Under Sheriff came through the courtroom and greeted me with a smile and a big bear hug, while he looked over to the jury box, I know she knew, at that moment, for certain who I was. I.E. I would not longer be the mystery lady sitting beside her pervious captive, but my son’s mom, which to her I pray is just as important. To solidify her knowledge I called my two daughters over, whom the sister/wife would recognize. I introduced them to the Under Sheriff. Knowing full and well there were eyes on us from the jury box. Now that incestuous b-ouch would know who was looking her square in the eyes every chance I got.  And I looked her square in the eye frequently over the next hour or so, never looking away. Always waiting until she could take it no longer.

“Michelle Gouker,” the Judge called. She, the lawyer and the D.A. stepped forward.

“You are here, charged with kidnapping.” It was a statement not a question. “You are hereby sentenced to 20 years in a plea agreement.”

My desire was to clap, but as my daughter-in-law had told me an hour before, we could not do that. “It would look bad on the victim” she had said. And that is something I would not ever do. Instead we all sat, speechless. We were doing our best to hear very syllable, every breath.

“Oh, your honor, I would like to ask to have Miss Gouker placed in protective custody,” the stand-in suit said after a slight nudge from the defendant.

The judge looked up, a small scoff in his voice, a bit of disbelief in his eyes, “protective custody…?” another half-laugh could not be avoided when the judge looked down from the bench at yet another criminal who knowingly broke the law, and now wanted it to protect them. “I can’t tell the prison what to do, but I will put it in the record that you have requested it.” The distain was dripping from the Judge’s words. The chuckles where under our breaths, especially when he dismissed her, but not before saying, “good luck with that,” in a tone that straddled the border of sarcasm.

“Not scared my backside,” I said, I was not the only one thinking this … I bet there were 10 others who said it at that very moment too. Okay, most likely 12 as I know my son was looking down on us all as the sister/wife of his killer was taken away to begin her 20 years.

1,341 miles… yes that is what Goggle Maps says the distance between here and a smidge of justice is. Well … I am still thinking if that is accurate or if justice is still father away.