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Momlogic Goes to Caylee's Memorial

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

anthony-memorial.jpg

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.

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67 comments so far | Post a comment now
cac February 11, 2009, 11:38 AM

I’m not so sure why everybody is attacking the Anthony family. Yes, I beleive Casey took her daughters life. Cindy and George are in denial, but it doesn’t mean that their emotion is not genuine. Who are we to decide how they should mourn? How awful would it be to have to bury your granddaughter? Then to have your only daughter locked up for taking that poor baby’s life? George and Cindy know that Casey killed Caylee. I’m sure they sit behind closed doors and cry and wonder how Casey could do such a thing, but of course they are not going to go say that in front of a camera. I DO NOT agree with how much of this is being handled, but give these people a break. They lost their beloved, beautiful granddaughter, as well as their sociopath, self-absorbed murderer of a daughter. All I can say is I thank God that I am not in their shoes.

Joe February 11, 2009, 11:39 AM

It was the best early morning soap opera on tv. The best of the ham actors I have seen in awhile! They all love thier five minutes of fame. Jose Biaz, where the hell and what hole did he crawl out of. A no name attorney who came out of nowhere for noteriety and fame for a case he will lose just as Garagros did with Scott Peterson…


Anonymous February 11, 2009, 11:54 AM

I too thought Lee calling his niece CMA by her initials was a little odd. I acutally thought he was talking in code to his sister. I had a child pass away at five months old and as hard as it was to do a funeral my little brother did a poem for my son and he mentioned him by name not initials. I don’t know it’s weird because I didn’t even want to be bothered with close family and friends at my sons funeral let alone publically televised with strangers invited.

anon February 11, 2009, 12:13 PM

Jess - PLEASE don’t get me wrong. I believe that Casey is guilty as hell, and I also beleive that Cindy is the most disillusional person to ever live. There’s an awfully lot “wrong” with this family, as well as this case, and the best that any of us can hope for is that it all will come out in the courts and justice for little Caylee will be served. However - the problem that I have with many of the comments made is that I believe that the purpose of this thread was to give people a perspective of what was going on behind the scenes from someone who had attended this memorial firsthand. While there are many things that Momlogic comes up with that I totally disagree with, I can understand the perspective she was trying to portray. The memorial service should be left alone and not disected here. There are plenty of blogs out there that bash the Anthony’s for whatever reason, and that’s fine. But as for this thread, and from what I watched on TV (excluding the Anthony foursome), the sermon was beautiful, the music was exceptional, and even though it was certainly hard to stomach the pics with Caylee & Casey together, I tried really hard to look beyond that and grieve for a little angel that, by all rights, should still walk among us.


007 February 11, 2009, 12:31 PM

cac, well said.

Up To Here February 11, 2009, 12:41 PM

I agree with LoriM, these people continue to treat everyone like idiots, George is to blame for his Wh* of a daughter being the way she is. Casey said how he didn’t grill her like the rest of the family, because he let her get away with murder(literally) Yesterday was supposed to be about no one else except Caylee, yet those idiots turned it into a day of hope for Casey. I can’t help but think of Caylees last minutes on earth with her mouth taped, looking at her mother wondering why??? How can they live with themselves? Lee sat at that memorial like he was sitting watching a football game, George with a wad of gum in his mouth, these people have have no class. They all need help!!!!

Linn February 11, 2009, 12:45 PM

The Anthony Family is not near a sick as those who judge their every move and gesture.

No one who reads these blogs or writes these opinions knows for sure what happened. You have your ideas and your suspicions but you do not know. This family is grieving and hurting beyond anything most can even imagine.

Mom no-logic needs to find a new line of work. She has no empathy; something a logical mom would have loads of. How can people who have so much be so mean and ugly.

I am ashamed that you who are so full of hate and judgement are Americans who make decisions on important issues for our country - you can’t even look at a sad and devastating issue with an eye for really finding the truth. You all are the ones who should be standing in shame.

Anonymous February 11, 2009, 1:10 PM

WOW. I see Cindy is spending lots of time here on Momlogic trying to polish up the fam’s image and garner a little sympathy. Cindy, Cindy, Cindy. If only you spent that much time actually parenting your two children they might not have turned out to be complete losers who murder a two year old!

amotherslove (Spooner, Wisconsin) February 11, 2009, 1:45 PM

I probably have the same guess as to who killed Caylee as most of the rest of the nation. I’m terrified that her killer is going to get off just like OJ did in his murder trial (IMO). However, I do remember when each of my children were born and laid into my arms. My heart made promises to each of them that I would love them unconditionally, for the rest of thier lives. We don’t have any memories of Casey as an infant or a child, but the Anthony’s do. My own son has made some horrifying choices in his life, (none of them involving harming others) and many people told me I should no longer accept his calls or see him. Although he has brought a lot of pain and heartache to me as well as my husband, I remember the beautiful child God blessed me with and I just can’t get myself to turn my back on him. So, I for one can somewhat understand and empathize with the Anthony’s. I mean as vile and disgusting as every human can be in the eyes of God, He still loves us and calls us his children. If God can forgive the Caseys of this world, I would think He would at least expect her family to do the same.

Remember, this is just my opinion. I don’t have judgement for anyone else who’s opinions are different than mine.

I am very grateful that the public was invited to the memorial, since Caylee has touched all of our hearts. Maybe it will bring some closure to many people.

007 February 11, 2009, 1:45 PM

I agree with you, Linn. And, for the record, Anonymous, I live in Calif. I’m not Cindy. I’m sure that by now, Cindy could care less about what bloggers are saying about her.

kathy February 11, 2009, 1:55 PM

That service was beauitful,but it was mostly for casey,their beloved daughter.
They should not of mentioned thhat girl at all.It was suppose to be Caylee’s day.But again they had to put their daughter first.

Enid February 11, 2009, 2:06 PM

The Anthony family never ceases to amaze me. The Anthonys would have been better off if they had their own private service and allowed Jesse Grund’s father organize and conduct a public memorial for Caylee, the little girl he raised as his own granddaughter for the first 10 months of her life. They should have allowed people attending the ceremony to give their eulogies to Caylee. You didn’t see Jennifer Hudson or John Travolta even speaking to the public about their grief. They mourned in private. This family cannot mourn Caylee properly because they are too busy covering up and lying for her murderer. George - just a few days out of a psych ward and obviously heavily drugged - had no business even being at a public memorial. Although he talked more from the heart and told us more about Caylee than anyone, he rambled on and on about how we should all write letters to his felon daughter in jail and what he said to his friends. Cindy read a prepared speech which was more about Casey than Caylee and gave a lecture on how we should live our lives. I was embarassed for Lee, slouching and sulking like an adolescent who has been dragged to church against his will. And then instead of talking about his niece - whom he probably hardly knew - he spoke in code to his sister. CMA is Casey Marie Anthony. Lee told his sister who murdered his niece that she amazed him and that he was so proud of her and then he kissed his wrist twice. How disgusting and sickening that was. Since the public backlash against the family has been greater after this memorial, they should have kept their mouths shut and grieved privately.

Debbie February 11, 2009, 2:17 PM

You know I have a real hard time with everyone judging everything that is said and done in this case.The Bible makes it very clear that in the eyes of the Lord sin is sin and that we all sin.The Bible also makes it clear that we will all answer for our sins some day.If we are to live or life as the Bible tells us to do we would do just what George Anthony said and that is to pray for his daughter.In that prayer we should be asking the Lord,we should also be asking for his will to be done.The Lord works in ways that we don’t understand and I have no doubt that he is working in the hearts of many people.I can’t understand how so many people can waste so much time and engery judging when what we should be doing is crying out to the Lord to help all of us.I hope some of you just take a few minutes to put your heads down and say a prayer.This my prayer father God I pray that you will have your way in the lifes of the Anthony family.I pray that you speak to their hearts,I pray father God that you show Casey that the turth what ever it might be will set her free in your eyes.I pray father God that you ease the paint that so many people feel because of the loss of sure a child,I know we are not we shouldn’t question why you would allow something like this to happen to a child,but I also know an act like this is because of all the sin in the world.I have to believe that you were with Caylee when her lift was taken and I know that you will bring justice,I lift up the Anthony family.Amen

007 February 11, 2009, 2:30 PM

amen

Tme February 11, 2009, 2:35 PM

I cannot resist: I watched intently, and I listened as I watched. I had recorded the whole performance so I could view it as often as needed. The music was extraordinary and quite moving. The sermons were generous and comforting. The Anthonys were unbelievable - ochestrated by Cindy to have created a made for TV movie starring herself and her “loving, united family”…oh my gosh, what a gold mine of dysfunctions were portrayed….Lost George, the parrot, who probably provided the only genuine warmth and continuity of emotion to Caylee, and perhaps Casey…he barely mentions Lee and none of them make eye contact..Lee stands and slouches off in his own world of secrets…Cindy strokes Lee’s and George’s backs like a machine…in the seats, Lee pulls away from any nearness to Cindy and George…his anger (betrayal? is incredible)…He seems to be outright belligerant in his connection to and comments about CMA (Casey..and Caylee, their child? Is that the secret?) Cindy was awful, phony and very odd…”my 3 beautiful children???”…she well may have been the disposer or mover of Caylee’s body and inventor of the “saga” of poor Caylee…SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG with them…incest is high on the list…is GEORGE the father? Too much!!!!

Jann February 11, 2009, 3:21 PM

OMG how disrespectful to little Caylee to even mention Casey’s name. If they want to deceive themselves into believing all the lies, fine, but NOT at the service for that little angel.

Casey stole a check from her elderly grandfather’s checkbook and cashed it. Cindy convinced Grandma not to press charges. I would guess it’s been this way all of Casey’s life. She gets in trouble, they bail her out.

Had she had consequences for her antisocial behaviors in the past, Caylee might still be with us today. And the photos of her drinking and partying as her little child’s body laid decaying in the trunk of her car says it all.

Does anyone remember Diane Downs? She accused her poor father of sexual abuse trying to save her own skin. I wouldn’t put it past Casey to attempt the same tack. These are narcisstic sociopathic women who have been sheltered by their own families, allowing their dysfunction to grow to the point that she thought she could get away with murder.

Mentioning her name at the service is SICK. Next they’ll try the bushy haired stranger defense. And for Cindy to embrace George during a sad song is so phoney. She has put him down, called him stupid in front of others, is sick in her own right. And Cindy, it wasn’t pizza you smelled in the car but good try. Jann

PS I lost my nineteen year old son in an auto accident and know that the hole in my heart has never healed. To take one’s child’s life is the unforgivable sin. And she will pay maybe not in this life but she will pay.

Tme February 11, 2009, 3:58 PM

Jann, I agree. Go way back in this lie filled, perverted and delusional family story..watch Cindy in her first interviews, cotton mouthed and drinking water, vicious and controlling…the only “spokesperson” George is mute and Lee only speaks to Casey…the way Cindy tried to cast blame and accusations on everyone but Casey or HERSELF..and George stands mute, looking shell shocked and at times medicated…man, what a world for Caylee…I am familiar with families where sickness is raging behind closed doors of their homes, but the PHOTOS they create and show others are like movies and scripts of “how happy” and “normal” their whole crazy home is…it’s the elephant in the room syndrome…no one can speak about it to outsiders, and each member escapes into their own fantasy and addictions…..hello Anthony family…now it seems they have been led to Faith and Religion by Cindy the redeemed, the preacher of sparkly gold dust on everyone…TAH-DAH!! Cindy makes it all better…now move on and don’t talk about it again, family, and that’s her final answer…WOW

I'm a victim too! February 11, 2009, 4:07 PM

Narcissistic Sociopaths Unite! Bow down to your queen, Casey Marie Anthony.

CMA! CMA! CMA! CMA!

sunshine February 12, 2009, 11:55 AM

This is almost getting to the point of ridiculous! CMA? The viewers are starting to get your code thing Lee. You may need to step it up and try someting new to outsmart us viewers.

disgustedbyitallt February 12, 2009, 2:59 PM

I know how alot of people feel everyone wants to blame the mother and yes I do to beleive she is at fault because she let all this time go by without reporting the child as missing. Maybe she was not to blame just maybe she was seeing someone on the side and they might of done something to the poor child but even so she’s an accomplise. The grandfather may be guilty I mean with the suicidal attempt but then again he’s a grandfather who cared about the child my mother would probably do the same thing over one of her grandchildren heaven knows my grandmother wanted to when her youngest son was murdered.


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