We loved our youngest son, Gary. I don’t think we can ever put into words the devastation we still feel each and every day. There is a part of us missing. There is a hole in our hearts.

Gary loved his family. We spent a lot of time together. We went on so many family vacations. He loved camping, fishing, boating, hunting and eating good food. He would eat dinner with us when he was working nearby. We cherished spending time with our kids. We were hoping that after Gary married that he would have some of his own. He loved kids and was so good with them.

He helped so many people. During the tornado in Springfield in 2001, Gary cut down many trees for elderly people for free. One of his friends had a child with cancer and the friend’s car broke down. Gary bought him a car so that he could be with his child during treatment. He was also an animal lover. One day, he left a cookout to rescue a cat in a tree. He helped his friends, family and even strangers without an expectation in return.

He was very generous. That was stated numerous times throughout the trial. He was generous with his time and money. Why would anyone want to kill our son? He was a good person. He would have given you the shirt off his back if you needed it.

He always liked to learn new things and he had a great business sense. He was very successful in his tree business. He worked very hard. He had many great qualities. People wanted to be around him. He was charismatic.

Everything we write doesn’t seem enough. The physical pain is unbearable. Our hearts are broken, and we think about Gary every day, multiple times a day. When we sleep, we have nightmares. We can’t remember what it’s like to have a solid night’s sleep. We can’t remember what it feels like to not be stressed or worried or anxious. We can’t remember what it feels like not to grieve.

The images in our mind will never be forgotten. No parent should have to find their child bloodied and murdered. No parent should have to bury their child.

We have wounds that we will never recover from, but we will somehow try to live with. I’m glad that the jurors were able to see the truth and he will never see the light of day.

Gary Gaudette’s parents