twitter facebook stumble upon rss

Momlogic Goes to Caylee's Memorial

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

The Anthony family says goodbye to Caylee with grace, dignity and just a little bit of denial.


Momlogic's Andrea: By the time I arrived at the Orlando Baptist Church at 7:00 AM, people had already started lining up -- although the service would not start for three more hours.

Just by looking at the line, it would be hard to guess this was a memorial for a little girl made famous only by her untimely death.

The crowd, a slice of humanity, was made up of couples, black, white, elderly, and a surprising amount of children. As I looked closer, it started to come into focus why we were there.

At one point, a woman showed up with a doll -- similar to the one Caylee had carried. Another passed a box of tissues down the line, asking people to help themselves. It seemed like a good idea. I took several sheets. A little girl had several giant Caylee buttons pinned to her jacket.

The lines formed early -- local news had predicted traffic and crowds -- but those masses of people never materialized. In the end, hundreds showed, not thousands. One young couple arrived at 4:00 AM, leaving their two young children with grandparents to attend the event, "We know what it's like to lose a child-- or almost lose a child," Amber told me. "Our daughter had a febrile seizure last month and she stopped breathing." The two arrived a day before the church service to visit the Caylee memorial on Suburban Drive where her remains were eventually found.

Lisa Camiolo from nearby Kissimmee brought along her three children, ages four, five and nine. "They know that Caylee died and that her mom is probably to blame," Camiolo said. She's even used the story as a way to teach her kids lessons of responsibility. "Sometimes you can't get your way, I tell them. Casey wanted a carefree life, my kids want a puppy -- it's a lot of work and you just have to do it." Camiolo believes a public memorial is important. "This story brought our community together," she says. "It was a community-wide search for her. We were a part of it."

I met Michele Murphy, a childhood friend of Casey's brother Lee. She had even attended Caylee's last birthday party, and had taken the day off work to attend. She told me she thought it was a bit odd that some people were attending a memorial for a child they didn't even know. "They want to be part of the circus,' she said. "Some of them are just voyeurs."

Right next to Michele was a woman already in tears. "I cried when they found her, like she was my own child," the woman in her 60s told me as she dabbed tears from her eyes. "I could never have children."

Emotions were running high ... and we hadn't even gone into the church yet.

When we were finally let into the massive Worship Center, images of Caylee were flashing on a huge screen -- and yes, of Casey, too. It was hard not to be simultaneously moved and horrified by the sight of Casey holding baby Caylee in her arms. The pictures could've been ripped from my own family album.

Then the Anthony family filed in. People I had seen everyday on television, now come to life. Just a regular family with a dark past and future.

One concern on everyone's mind was George Anthony, recently released from the hospital after a possible suicide attempt. How could a man on the brink of suicide endure this kind of event? One of the musical numbers performed was called "One More Day." It seemed to be one that could send him over the edge. The song laments the loss of a loved one and the regret of never getting to say goodbye ... hardly a message that would be good "medicine" for George. Cindy put her arms around her husband while the music played.

Lee Anthony was the first to officially speak. And the first thing out of his mouth was a condemnation. "Yield any judgment you already have," he pleaded. He also asked for continued help with the investigation. After the memorial, Brad Conway, speaking on behalf of the Anthonys, said Lee is indeed looking for more tips on who killed Caylee. To Lee Anthony, Casey Anthony is not a suspect.

During Lee's time at the podium, he referred to Caylee as C.M.A. (Caylee Marie Anthony), then kissed his hand -- where he presumably has a tattoo of her initials -- and said, "I will never forget the promise I made to you." I looked around at the audience -- many were in tears. At that moment, Lee Anthony was the best uncle in the world. An uncle without a niece.

The most moving part of the ceremony came when George Anthony told stories like any besotted grandfather about his little Caylee. "I can close my eyes and I can see her coming from her bedroom with her silly little glasses on, her beads, whatever it might be, to make me laugh. She was a comedian to me," he said. Then he shifted his focus to his Casey. "I miss my daughter. Please write her letters," he begged the congregation. "She deserves our love and prayers." George Anthony proved, beyond a shadow of doubt, that he loves his daughter unconditionally.

When it was her turn to speak, Cindy did the same. "It breaks my heart that Casey's not with us today to honor the child she loves so very, very much," she said. Speaking directly to Casey, she thanked her for giving her the "greatest gift -- Caylee." She said, "I love you, and I wish I could comfort you right now. ... Caylee was so much like you. She got your beauty and your compassion, and she got your spirit."

No one knows if Casey, sitting alone in a cell less than a mile from the church, heard her mother. But if she was listening, she would've heard a family desperately searching for closure.

As for me, when I walked back to my car, all I wanted to do was see my daughter. I longed to hold her and to cherish her -- because, as George Anthony said, "You can lose them in a second." And I had just seen proof of that.

See Also:

next: Reese Witherspoon is an Embarrassing Mom
67 comments so far | Post a comment now
L February 10, 2009, 7:04 PM

Not impressed. They did not honor Casey’s wishes regarding the funeral of her daughter. She wanted a quiet family ceremony. The death of this little girl was Cindy’s fault as she did nothing but compete with, and put her own daughter down all of her life. When Casey left with Caylee after that fateful family fight, nobody picked up the phone when Casey tried to call home.

Linda from New York February 10, 2009, 7:16 PM

I’m not impressed either. Here’s a tip for you Lee: Your sister killed her daughter.

Lorim February 10, 2009, 7:28 PM

The whole thing is a big fat smokescreen…meant nothing but a diversion from KC!!!! The foundation is a ((((JOKE)))) and will never ever amount to anything!!!! They must think we are all idiots not to see through it! Lee and all his Morris Code BS!!! And G!!! What a fricken hung by the balls wuss. And C is just to pathetic to mention….the sound of her voice makes my skin crawl!!!! In the beginning the Ant’s were all about Caylee…and now it has switched to KC…got to ride that sinking gravy train I guess….acting like they give a Sh@t is only self- serving self preservation!!! Liars to the end!

JJ February 10, 2009, 7:45 PM

Just as I figured….. You went to the
Memorial inside of the church just to walk out of the church to make insults
where is your Humanity Logic mom? See you dont get it ……. The media is keeping the family in the spot light you know people like you …… The grandparents lost 2 people they love
where is your humanity????????????

skylonda February 10, 2009, 9:58 PM

The comment from Lee’s friend that she thought it was funny for people to attend a memorial for someone they don’t know is perplexing. Would this also apply to people taking time out of their life to search for a child they do not know? Looks like she is missing an empathy gene.

It was regretful that the service had to include so many thoughts for Casey when she expressly made it clear she wanted no part of the service. This family is living in it’s own shell of denial and will never change. Don’t they understand all the events that led to the loss of their grandaughter. They mask their daughter’s lies and manipulation and only see what they want to see. It is an extreme diservice to Caylee’s memory to continue enabling the mother who failed her.

CheekySweetie February 10, 2009, 10:15 PM

As someone who did take time out of an extremely busy life to help TES search for Caylee, I’m insulted by that voyeur comment by the family friend as well.

Anonymous February 10, 2009, 10:25 PM

“where is your Humanity”????? Are you kidding?!?!?!

Here is a sociopath that murders her 2 year old daughter in cold blood and her entire enabling family continually denies ANY reality…..and you ask those who fight for and seek justice for an innocent child “where is the humanity?” You can’t be serious!

Caylee no longer gets to wake up in the morning and have another day of life. Casey does.

Caylee no longer can choose a snack to eat. Casey does.

Caylee no longer gets to see her family. Casey does. (although oddly she chooses not to)

Caylee loved her mother unconditionally with the innocent heart of a 2 year old and no doubt wondered why the adult she trusted to love, care and protect her was snuffing out her life!

Where was the humanity on the day Casey took the life of her own flesh and blood simply to have a carefree life? Where was the humanity in those final seconds of that dear little girl’s life?

NotBuyinAnyOfit February 10, 2009, 10:36 PM

sorry, but i’ve seen better acting on daytime soap operas! not one genuine emotion other than anger at accusers from any of the anthony family. acting for the cameras. acting for law enforcement. typical.

disgusted February 10, 2009, 10:39 PM

This is the sickest, most twisted family since Charlie Manson had a little family reunion in the deserts of California.

disturbing February 10, 2009, 11:02 PM

ugghh!! I fell the need for a hot shower every time this whack job family opens their mouths. It’s really too bad Caylee didn’t get a real chance at life by being put up for adoption.

Donna P. February 11, 2009, 12:05 AM

The memorial was supposed to be about Caylee, memories of Caylee, missing Caylee, instead we hear about how we are supposed to care for KC, send her letters, pray for her…she is getting what she wanted..all the attention of her family!! Who will be sitting in that court room for the real victim???

007 February 11, 2009, 12:16 AM

None of them can do anything right in the eyes of most… They are damned if the do and damned if they don’t. It is a sad sad sad situation.. but there is a lot of hate going on that does not help in any way at all….

Anonymous February 11, 2009, 12:44 AM

The reason “there is a lot of hate going on” is because this family displays crocodile tears for Caylee, defiance to law enforcement and anger at everyone except the child’s killer! Please forgive those of us who refuse to forget an innocent child was selfishly and callously murdered at the hands of her own mother. Forgive us for not drinking the Anthony family koolaid as they stage a memorial service that is replete with messages of compassion and condolences to the murderer, rebukes to the public to have “pure hearts” and patience, and a public display of the Anthony-style sorrow (f-a-k-e). When you see real victims that are broken up from the loss of a loved one, you know when a ‘play’ is being staged. Any benefit of the doubt for this dispicable group of mammals called the Anthony’s (they are far from human in my eyes) was destroyed long ago by their lies, deceit and cover ups. It’s not that “none of them can do anything right in the eyes of most”, it’s the bed they made for themselves. They deserve what they get!

Anon February 11, 2009, 12:54 AM

What a disgusting display! This wasn’t a memorial service for a beloved granddaughter/niece. This was a publicly televised lecture by a family who is in such denial it’s pathetic. What Cindy, George and Lee just don’t get is that there aren’t enough poignant songs paired with cute pics of Caylee to swing emotion to their side while they rail against the world for not having “purest of hearts” (what, like them? God help us all!)

Anon February 11, 2009, 12:58 AM

Well said, Anonymous! Where was the humanity when the Anthony family denied the Grund family and others from the service? And was the heart sticker a gesture of humanity?!

It’s a sad, sad day - Yes, this family needs ALOT of prayer. Please pray for them, everyone.

Melissa February 11, 2009, 1:06 AM

Poor Caylee. RIP.

All hope is lost where truth is not highly regarded February 11, 2009, 1:24 AM

Anyone wonder why so many people are less than sympathetic towards Casey and her family?

At any given moment in this country a young mother is in a hospital, sitting at the bedside of child and begging, pleading and bargaining with God for one more day…one more hour…one more minute with the precious child they bore. With uncontrollable sobs she brings entire focus onto the child, not herself…not her plight.

“Heal my son.” “Don’t let my daughter suffer.” “Help my child, please!” These are the cries from the heart of mothers. Contrast to the cries and please of Casey Anthony.

Anyone wonder why so many people are less than sympathetic towards Casey and her family?

mercyforwho? February 11, 2009, 2:18 AM

I thought the service should have been about that baby and only that baby, not another PR stunt. I guess things never change. I was disturbed seeing the murdering mothers face on the TV. Every child deserves to live a long life, not to be disposed like an old shoe.
Cindy said that her daughter loved Caylee….she loved her to death!

Marcie February 11, 2009, 2:20 AM

I was a little bit moved by Lee’s speech. George and Cindy’s? Not so much. Not so moved by the plugs for KidFinders (run by a felon, KF has never found as much as one child); not so moved by their constantly advertised “foundation”; not so moved by their insistence that Casey is innocent, as they all know she is not; not impressed by the way the family has lawyered up and obstructed justice. This is one vile family, cockroaches that scuttle and scatter when the spotlight is suddenly turned on them. I look forward to Casey’s trial.

givemeabreak February 11, 2009, 2:31 AM

They are a sick sick sick family. Soon no one will even remember them. What will Cindy, George and Lee then do. Finally have to visit the evil babykiller woman. They are all con artists.

Back to top >>