Dear Media



Dear Media,

You have managed yet again to break this mother’s heart. I realize that even after 17 mos we are in the spotlight again due to the states case against the driver. I can appreciate that this is newsworthy and that the public is intrigued and definitely weighs in heavily with their sometimes very uninformed and unwanted opinions….however, you are so incredibly insensitive that I’m unsure how some of you sleep soundly at night.

Pictured above:

Skylar Lynn Kooken. Born 3/25/1996 to Matt & Kelli Kooken in Columbus, Oh. First born child, loved beyond measure. Big sister to Lexy, Caden and Ashton. Girlfriend to Tony. Soul mate to Will. Best friend to Sophie, Maria, Mackenzie, Ashley, Alana, Allie, Dina, Brad…..and many more.  Lover of music, writing, animals, friends and family; the best listener and advice giver around. Planned to attend OU upon graduation this Spring. Gone from this earth but never gone from our hearts and souls.

Julianna Sarah Hawk.  Born 6/27/1998 to Bobby & Marcy. First born child, loved beyond measure. Big sister to Jenna and Christa. Best friend to my Lexy and many others. Her laughter could fill a room and her goofiness was loved by all.  Gone from this earth but never gone from our hearts and souls.

Sophie Marie Kerrigan. Born 2/1/1995 to Steve & Janet. Baby girl of the family and a blessing that Jan never expected. Little sister to Aaron and Lucy. Best friend to Skylar and many others. Lover of life and life of the party. Sophie could make you laugh in an instant and her voice impressions still linger in my head. I could yell at Sophie and lecture her and I knew she still loved me. Sophie planned to attend Aveda Institute for cosmetology upon graduation last year.   Gone from this earth but never gone from our hearts and souls.

Janet has a foundation set up for Sophie in honor of her love for all things furry!

We of course have a Scholarship Fund set up in honor of Skylar.

These are the things that you should be reporting on and the image above is one that should flash across your screens and websites each time you mention this tragic accident. I opened a story yesterday from last week in which one of the local stations reported on Tate’s guilty plea. Fair enough. The body of the article was fine but the video attached left me sleepless and heartbroken last night. I cried until there were no tears left to cry.

I clicked on the video thinking it would be a recap of what I had read below, but to my horror it was instead an interview with Sergeant White of Sugarcreek PD, standing in front of the scene and what appeared to be shortly after accident. I personally had never seen this footage, but as a mother I can tell you I watched it so many times last night that I can now recite it word for word. I know when watching that video, that Sky, Soph and Jules lay not far off in the distance. You can see the medical examiners walking around. You can’t fathom what my imagination has done with that video. It broke me last night. It broke me down to where I was several months ago and it threw me 100 steps back.  Broken is not even a big enough word…….I feel destroyed, exposed, raw, helpless and exploited.

SHAME ON YOU for continuing to turn the knife deeper and slower into a gaping wound that has no chance of ever completely healing as it stands. Shame on you for NOT focusing on what matters here. 3 lost lives, 3 beautiful girls that have left behind friends and family that will never be the same again, 3 very loved girls that deserve the respect and honor of remembering how they lived and NOT how they died.

I was haunted before I watched that video and now I am completely and utterly traumatized. To you it is an innocent video, to me it is the end of my world as I knew it.

Where does the human side come in? When do the feelings and lasting effects on others supersede what equates to media ratings?

Lessons to be learned here: a car can be a deadly weapon….we ALL need to remember that!  Life is short and there are NO guarantees on this earth. Pain is real and healing will take a lifetime and beyond.  Accidents happen…..we don’t know or understand why, but God does and he doesn’t make mistakes. Every person that leaves this earth leaves behind loved ones that are broken, be sensitive to that. A broken parent is FOREVER changed, don’t expect them to EVER be the same.


I love you more Skylar, Sophie and Julianna and I will never stop reminding people how amazing all 3 of you are. Thank you for continuing to change lives all the way from your heavenly home. You were all just too wonderful for this broken world.


8 thoughts on “Dear Media

  1. Your outspoken honor for Sophie, Skylar, and Jul truly leave me in awe every time I read your blog. I could barely read through my own tears when I read what I am going to call Jul’s new obituary. Thank you so much for including her sister, Christa, in it. I am going to take a screen shot and print it out for her so she will never have to know she was forgotten in the first one. God bless you Kelli! May our Lord always keep you close and keep sending you signs from your personal Angel. You are such an incredible person! You and your family are always in my prayers!

  2. Praying for you… I have found in tragedy like this it is best to turn the media off because you unfortunately can’t stop it. It works for me in a limited way.

  3. To all of the parents of those beautiful young girls; Loss is never easy and grief is a process. No one person experiences grief in the same way. Get through it at your own paces an don’t let anyone measure it for you. If you need some one to talk to, don’t rule out a therapist. Its okay to need and to ask for help. If you are people of faith; then talking to God doesn’t hurt either. I can’t tell you that I know what you are going through. Although, I have experienced loss, I have never lost a child. All loss is hard. I can tell you because of my faith, I know that your daughters are looking down on you now. I can tell you that they will always be with you. You will always have them in your memories and in your hearts. That is what truly honors them; your love. It is a very sad incident. I’m sorry that you all had to go through this tragic incident. I’m sorry that you all lost your loved ones. My thoughts and prayers are with you all and your families.
    Steve Hodge

  4. My heart breaks for you and your family that you have to go through this all over again. I will never know how you feel, and I pray to God that I never do, but I will continue to keep you in my prayers each and every day! You are an inspiration to many and you should be very proud of the legacy you have created for Skylar.

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