Taylorsville • She comes to the cemetery with plastic snowflakes to hang over her son’s grave. When it’s not so cold, she’ll sit for a while with a book and talk to her baby.
She doesn’t want him to be alone, the mother said. Especially not around the holidays.
The mother had two Christmases with her child — a bright-eyed, curly-haired boy who loved to dance and shoot hoops and cuddle — before he died in a motorcycle crash that broke his father’s collarbone and destroyed a family.
RJ Moore was 22 months, 2 days and 22 hours old when he took his last breath.
It’s a number Sequoia Moore has committed to memory. It’s a threshold that she dreads crossing again.
On June 7, 2014, as much time will have passed for the mother without her son as with him. She’s already celebrated two Christmases in her child’s absence. It doesn’t get easier, she said.
"People tell me he’s in a better place now," the mother said, tears falling from her blue eyes. "But there’s no better place for my baby than in my arms."
Now, nearly two years after RJ’s death, Sequoia Moore is afraid that she’ll lose her baby again — to time, to the past.
More than anything, the mother said, she doesn’t want the world to forget that her son was here, that he mattered.
Sequoia Moore, whose home is covered with photographs and whose phone and car and locket bear her chid’s initials, is doing everything she can to keep his memory alive.
On Friday, another chapter closed in the aftermath of RJ’s death. The child’s father, Shannon Terrell Moore, was sentenced to one year in jail and three years of probation after a jury in November convicted him of child abuse homicide, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, along with misdemeanor counts of improperly riding a motorcycle and failing to provide protective gear to a minor.
The father, who told 3rd District Judge Deno Himonas that he wished it had been him rather than his son, was handcuffed and taken to jail immediately.
Sequoia Moore left the courtroom in tears.
"There’s no way you can put a number on my son’s life," she said Saturday. "There aren’t enough years left in Shannon’s life to make up for what he took away from RJ."
‘Miracle baby’ • Sequoia Moore always dreamed of being a mom.
The second-oldest of six, she was used to taking care of her younger siblings. But it was never a chore, the woman said. She fantasized about the day she would have children of her own to care for and coddle.
Moore, now 37, first married when she was 25. But no matter how she tried, Moore said, she couldn’t seem to get pregnant.
"It just never happened," Moore recalled. "I prayed for a child, but it never worked — until RJ."
She and Shannon Moore had been together for a year and a half when she learned she was pregnant. The first-time mom had little trouble: no morning sickness, no weird cravings, she said.
"It was the best pregnancy ever," she said. "He was my miracle baby."Next Page >
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