"My Family Is My Life, My Life Is Gone"
“I was driving home while on the phone with my mom. She wanted me to stop and check on Mandy at her house. I drove up and saw her feet under the door, sitting at the table. Mom still wanted me to go in and check on her. She was fine, sitting at the table eating. We joked about how silly mom was for worrying so much. I told her it’s because you died. She said, ‘I know.’” This is just one of many dreams Kimberley Crews has had about her twin sister, Amanda. She is the twin left behind.
One year ago, an entire family ceased to exist. There were no moving vans, they were not on vacation - they were murdered. Five souls: gone; leaving all who loved them with unanswered questions and unimaginable grief. For Kim, attempting to process this loss has proven to be far more evil than the most sinister depths of her imagination. With one swift and relentless motion, she was forced into a distinct group of which none of it’s occupants are willing.
When the story broke, the world focused on Amanda and society’s desire for voyeurism shone brightly. Headlines read about the devout mother and doctor, the investigation, the impending trial - it made for a great story and left an even greater trail of destruction. When the media presence faded, the horror of this loss continued to haunt those left behind. For Kim, letting the chaos consume her isn’t an option. She has to be brave not only for herself, but for everybody who mourns with her. An influential doctor in the area, Amanda Crews was known for her kindness and professionalism; characteristics of which Kim is reminded of often.
The similarities are a little chilling. The identical looks that once were special now haunt her. She has endured mistaken identities and shocked glances with grace and humility. She listens to stories and comforts past patients, coworkers and friends. She is the epitome of strength. She knows these are instances she will have to deal with until the trial is over, but she accepts this fate with no complaint. “I don’t want anybody to feel that they can’t tell me about Amanda.”
Her dreams fall into the paranormal. “I found a note written to me by Mandy. As I read it, I could see her sing it to me. It said, ‘I love you and I hear everything you say to me’”. She can feel Mandy’s presence. It does not scare her, rather, it gives her comfort. Her vivid dreams provide a spiritual connection that nobody else can understand and consist of conversations with a sister that resides in a cemetery with six feet of dirt being the only barrier between them.
Her husband now acts as her main provider of support, although she will never forget the joy she received from her sister, nieces and nephew. She will honor them silently on the 18th and think of the influence their absence has had on her life. “This has changed the way I look at the world. It has made me a more fearful person. I used to think that I could handle something dangerous if it came my way. I am sure she did too.”
This anniversary marks the moment her life and future changed forever and there isn’t a single second that this tragedy doesn’t dwell amongst Kim’s thoughts. “I used to have a purpose, a direction. I am a planner at heart, and I had a life plan. We would raise the kids, get them off to college, then my husband and I would move. My family is my life. My life is gone. I have no idea what my plan is now. It leaves me feeling empty and hollow, like a shell of my former self. I feel like an empty vessel lost at sea.”
In loving memory of Dr. Amanda Crews, Elizabeth Ripley, Christopher Ripley, and Rachael Martinez