July 4, 2013

Avon, NC

Dearest Morgan,

 We are gathered here at the beach again – Dan’s 32nd trip with the same group to these shores.  I joined in a bit later, you and Alex later still – first as unsteady toddlers, squealing in the surf and eating fistfuls of sand.  I think you loved both the salt and the crunch of it.

As a 7 year old you adamantly dragged your own “surf board” float up the boardwalk and stairs to the ocean.  Your skin slowly bronzing, a spray of tiny freckles on your nose, hair white blond from the sun blowing in the wind like an areola of light.  The light was called to you – golden child.

Later you were awkward teens; uneasy in morphing bodies, changing roles. Only here the relentless winds and tides blew away pretense and helped you to find/ be yourself in this stark simple place. It was a wondrous and healing process to watch.

That last summer was the best of all – you were so gloriously alive and joy filled, radiantly beautiful.  Happiness beaming from you, like a Kleig light.  Dan in particular was blessed with the pleasure of spending beach time with an accomplished grown up daughter.  You two “grown-ups” cavorted and splashed and played together like children in the waves.  Thank you for these precious moments.

This is our fourth trip to Avon, NC since your murder.  It’s getting better.  We are getting better at feeling the loss, the pain and letting it pass, flow through us like a wave, feeling and not resisting the destructive power which allows us to remain standing in our high tide of grief.

We are figuring it out but it is slow going.  Morgan do you remember the scads of pictures I always took – a mama paparazzi, anxious to record every family moment for posterity; I don’t take pictures at the beach anymore;  I just can’t find the family.



2 Responses to “Gil Harrington’s Thoughts on this Fourth of July”

  1. Kathleen Ceccarelli says:

    Hello Gil – sadly I come to you reading of Megan and your tragedy, because of a personal one I have been involved in. I probably am not the first that found you this way….but I thank you for sharing, so eloquently, all your thoughts and feelings, documenting your journey….I can clearly “see” what a wonderful and beautiful young person your daughter was….and I feel your plain, love and longing clearly. My two proudest achievements are my beautiful 17 and 20 year young girls, Kelly and Kate. And probably every ,others worst nightmare for our children has happened to you….and I appreciate how you deal with it better now…most of the time…but how surprisingly “it” rears it’s ugly head and in a moment you are swirling in it again….. I am hoping for maybe a few words from you in response to our situation….my Kate called from school in mid-April and said Alyssiah (her former roomate) was missing….almost 30 days later, after 28 days of searching with her Mom, Alyssiah was found….parts of her… We were “fortunate” in the sense of it lasting a shorter time but also in that we were pretty sure she was taken – not missing….abducted fro the campus by her boyfriend of 4 years. 10 years older, an RN, and in hindsight a narcissistic socio-path who could not accept her breaking up with him. My daughter is returning to school next month and out of respect for Alyssiah Wiley’s Mom’ Corrinna Martin, I have not contacted the school (yet). Unlike the involvement of VT….ECSU did/has done nothing. There is no public crime report at their Campus Police. They allowed her parents to hold a small Press Conference away from the main Campus on like the 6th day and that was is. They never spoke to the student body (supposedly because they did not want to interrupt finals…. They never acknowledged her disappearance other than to notify the family, 2 days after she was found, which was about 3 weeks after school was out for the summer, that they were holding a vigil, with 5 hours notice, with the family living more than an hour away…. The family was unable to make it with such short notice and all that they
    had going on…. The Mom is planning on taking some action agai st the school – not a lawsuit, but I believe Corrinna is working feverishly to have a Mandatory/In-Person Check-In (for the first 2 years of dorm life) bill passed in CT’ hoping it will go nationwide. This is because ECSU accepted a fake phone text (from the boyfriend to cover him for the first 4 days of the abduction), saying she’d be away the 4 days. Since all this has happened, Corrinna, a very God-filled woman, has spent every waking moment starting a non-profit group MOVE (Mothers of Victims Equality) addressing, pro-actively, domestic violence. She completely, 100% forgave “him”, now using the phrase “hurt people, hurt people”. She truly believes something in his background made him hurt and pained enough to have made him do such a heinous act – it was a complex dismemberment… He was ratted out and in jail the next day and hopefully the system will run smooth enough….praying so…. But, as a mother of a daughter who was subjected to the same horrible end, but with such support from VT, I would love your comment. I hate to even have to mention it, because I seriously don’t believe it is about race, but Alyssiah was a beautiful, vivacious, black girl. I more believe it is about the money….which I think you alluded to. I do not want to interfere with Corrinna’s good works (I am a board member) but even if I need to wait….I think like VT, besides getting all the safety/security issues better addressed, I believe I want the school to do the morally right thing and make a memorial to Alyssiah – a planted tree, a silent or peaceful meditation area, a memorial photo, SOMETHING.
    I appreciate your listening….and would love to hear your reaction. We sorta had to take a backseat in the media/public because the morning they found Alyssiah – while we had daily media follow us for the 28 days, through 3 major city park/reservoir searches, that afternoon we had a big train derailment in the same town. We basically never heard from the Media again. I personally saw them at the train wreck coincidently being in the same area as the wreck…. So Corrinna has not had the support like you have….we are a forgotten entity pretty much….but for Alyssiah…we are working extra hard to NOT LET THIS HAPPEN TO ANOTHER GIRL….and my closing thought to you…did you know that in 2011 more than 550,000 kids under 21 were reported MISSING?
    Thinking and following you in your search for justice……finding Megan’s killer…..to save that next girl…
    Kathi Ceccarelli, Stratford, Ct

  2. Larissa says:

    I believe I know the name of the man who killed Morgan. I contacted the police department in Virginia and the detective never returned my call. I feel as if they did not take me seriously. If Morgan’s parents or anyone else sees this, please email me at larissa_benz@yahoo.com I want to help!

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