Ten years ago, he was a little boy getting ready to start fourth grade, and she was a young wife, eager to have children.
And that is where the memories end for the people who loved Blake and Chynna Dickus.
Ten years ago, the 26-year-old woman and her 10-year-old stepson were murdered in a Franklin home, and their families’ lives were irreversibly changed.
Sean Dickus lost his wife and his son in one day. Christina Dickus lost her little boy, and any chance of creating new memories. Now, summer is a rough time of year for them, bringing back painful memories.
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Sean Dickus, who found his wife and son dead in their home when he returned from work that day, always has anxiety this time of year. He struggles to enjoy summer, a season he had always loved.
“I have my life to live, and it’s a struggle,” he said.
Christina Dickus tends to shut down and tries not to remember the haunting day her son was killed. Her life is split into two distinct times: before Blake was killed and after.
“It’s like a heavy coat, that pain on my shoulders, it’s there every day,” she said.
And both hope and pray that the case will be solved and someone will be brought to justice — not just for them — but for the community as well, they said.
That is why Christina Dickus continues to do interviews every year, so she is still doing something for her little boy, she said.
“What else can I do for Blake?” she asked.
“I don’t want him to ever be forgotten. This case needs to be solved.”
As the years have passed, she holds onto the memories of her son, his love for Sonic the Hedgehog, his smile and sense of humor and his voice the last time she spoke with him.
But she struggles to think of what he would be like now if he were still alive. He would be 20 years old, and she said she knows he would be handsome, but she wonders what he would like and what type of personality he would have. Would he join in the current obsession with Pokemon Go, for example.
She just doesn’t know. Instead, she tells the same stories and holds onto the same memories, as if time froze, she said.
“That’s the part that was stolen away from all of us,” Christina Dickus said.
She holds onto his old toys and had a blanket made from his old clothes. Photos of him are all over her home.
Seeing video of him takes her breath away, and she knows that it’s a version of him few have seen, since most have only seen his photos, she said.
“He was alive. He still is in my heart,” she said.