My Mother Cristina

Tinamarie Tonda

I wish I had known sooner of your page, as it would have been a source of comfort during the agonizing days and months following my mother's sudden and violent death. However, God's timing is always perfect, and if I did not find it sooner it must be that He wanted me to cope with my grief with His guiding hand first, before seeking comfort elsewhere. He has guided me to you now and I am ready to open my heart to the many others out there whose hearts have been deeply hurt by the loss of a loved one.

A day does not go by since my mother's death that I do not think of her. She is always with me and I know she will be until the day I die. The most difficult part of my grieving is dealing with the circumstances of her death. It is still difficult to put into words. She was on the first night of a holiday with some friends in Las Vegas. She had dinner with her friends and they parted ways, my mother heading for one of the casinos, while her friends headed back to their hotel to rest. They never so her again, and despite calling her room and not getting an answer for three days, they never bothered to report her missing to the hotel management or to my sister living in Florida.

On the third day, a Sunday, they phoned my sister telling her they were leaving Las Vegas and were concerned at not having seen my mother. My sister, began making calls, having her paged, calling hospitals etc. until someone suggested calling the police. She was then told to call the Coroners office. Tears well up in my eyes just thinking of those terrifying hours my sister lived through, hoping against hope that the unidentified woman was not our mother. Her identification was made through a faxed photograph of my mother. The most painful experience of my life began, and discovering the circumstances of my mother's death made that pain more difficult to bear.

After parting ways with her friends, little is known of where my mother went. When she was found in a parking lot she had been robbed. Conflicting stories emerged as to the cause of her death, but in the end the coroner officially confirmed that her death was caused by strangulation. My family and I remain confused my many of the conflicting reports of the police. They claimed she did not struggle because her nylons, despite her being found with no shoes on, were intact, and her clothes showed no signs of a struggle. However, they received an anonymous call leading them to someone who the caller claimed was my mother's killer. They found what appears to be her missing shoes (they were her size, the color she was wearing and a brand she wore) in this person's home but he claimed to have found them in a dumpster. The police told us my mother was not raped yet they took a DNA swab from this individual. What traces of DNA did they find on my mother that could connect this individual to her murder? All this questions and several others too long to list here remain unanswered by the police, which only add to my family's pain and anguish over our mother's death.

What remains most painful for me personally, is thinking of her last terrifying moments alive, alone in the hands of her killer. Thinking of her fear, her utter helplessness in the hands of this evil person, torments me endlessly. If there is anyone who can somehow offer me some help in dealing with this, or someone who has experienced the violent death of a loved one and has managed to cope with similar thoughts, please contact me. Just talking with someone who can understand this kind of pain would be of great help.

My mother Cristina was a wonderful, loving mother and friend. She believed in me like no one has, and I owe everything I am to her unwavering belief in me. She was a generous soul who gave everything she had for a friend in need: bringing groceries to a friend who did not know when her last meal would be coming from, lending money against the advice of her banker and never expecting to be repaid, befriending the most unpopular girl in her class and not caring what others thought. She was a good and kind and I will miss her forever. I never had a chance to tell her just how much I loved her and my heart breaks at knowing I will never hold her again. Oh, mommy, if you can hear me now, I love you so!

I thank you Tom, for this healing tool. I somehow feel I am talking to her. Tears are rolling down my face as I write, but it is a sweet pain I feel knowing that only deep love can bring forth this depth of emotion. Thank you for listening.


Tinamarie Tonda

You can send email to Tinamarie at: [email protected]
mail welcome

anniversary date 05-01-97
date of post 02-16-98

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW