November 21, 2019, we were on our way to celebrate my son’s 21st birthday in Vegas. When we landed and were able to turn our phones on, our lives changed forever. I will never forget the look on my father’s face when he handed me the phone because my daughter was frantically trying to call all of our phones. I will never forget her voice telling me that Gary was murdered. I will never forget the moment I had to turn and tell my husband that his brother and best friend had died. I will never forget the phone call he made to his mother and the sound of her voice on the other end. I will never forget seeing my husband paralyzed and couldn’t move off the plane. I will never forget seeing my husband helpless because we were so far away. I will never forget the agonizing plane ride home the next day. That day, we not only lost Gary, but I lost a piece of my husband, Michael. He has never been the same since.

Gary was Michael’s best friend and vice versa. They were inseparable, even though we lived in different states. Their connection was like no other. They would talk with each other multiple times a day. They went hunting, fishing, played pool, went on vacations, worked together and much, much more. During hockey season, Gary would even drive to Pennsylvania from Massachusetts every Sunday just to play in the men’s hockey league with Michael. After the game, Gary would take a shower and then drive back to Massachusetts to work the next day. Michael has not been able to play hockey ever since Gary was murdered. There are so many things Michael can no longer enjoy because the pain of doing it without Gary hurts too much — something as simple as eating Banana Cream Cheesecake, which they both loved.

There were a couple things I heard by the defense throughout the trial that were said about Gary and were actually true: Gary was one of the hardest workers I knew, Gary was very generous and would give you the shirt off of his back, and that he loved his nieces and nephews. It broke my heart seeing my children: Stephannie, Mikey, Timmy and Tommy lose their uncle, and the opportunity for their uncle to be in their lives. I was so grateful that he was at least able to see my daughter (Gary’s goddaughter) get married two months before he was murdered. Each one of my children had a special bond with Gary. Since he was so young when he became an uncle, he kind of grew up with them. It also breaks my heart that my grandsons: Brycen, Quin, Camden and Asher will never know their Uncle Gary and what a great person he was. In fact, Gary never got to meet my newest grandson, Asher, which broke my son Mikey’s heart.

There are so many good things that have happened over the past 2-½ years that we were not able to fully enjoy because Gary wasn’t there, and so many good things to come that he will miss.

Everyone thought that me and Gary didn’t have a great relationship, but we did. It was truly like sibling rivalry. I started dating my husband Michael when Gary was around seven years old. I watched Gary grow up, I babysat him, went on family vacations with him, and even went to his baseball games. He became that annoying little brother I never had. As with any siblings, we were very competitive: from making apple pies, playing board games, playing volleyball, see who can drink the most ying/yang martinis, to most of all competing for Michael’s attention. Just because it seemed like we were always competing, I still loved Gary with all of my heart, and would do anything to have him back with all of us today.

Gary Gaudette’s sister-in-law