The following is a tribute to Connie Furtado, who was brutally killed 40 years ago today.
Dear Connie, it’s been 40 years, but I remember you. I wear my “Connie” bracelet in your memory every day. The turquoise blue wristband reminds me of the beautiful Bermuda waters; the “C” stands for Connie, of course. The bead that is white symbolises your purity and innocence. The arrow pointing up and the colours of the rainbow help me think of you in heaven — in peace with no pain.
I need to think of you this way, living and laughing with joy, and not think of “Connie” as defined by the horrific and brutal way you were murdered 40 years ago.
February 22, 1978, you were walking home from school. A few weeks earlier, I was walking to a friend’s house. We both walked in daylight, never giving a second thought to any danger.
But how vulnerable we both were. I was 17, a senior in high school, and you were 11 — so young.
I, too, was a victim of violence and rape. My perpetrator threatened to kill me but I bargained. I said I’d never tell. But I did tell. I went to the police. Even though I was traumatised, the thought going around in my mind was: “I don’t want anyone else to suffer this.”
Dear Connie, I didn’t know you personally, but I wish I could have protected you. I was so shocked, sick and saddened when I heard what happened to you — at the unfairness and randomness,
Why was I spared and you were not? I buried my pain and moved away after graduation.
Forty years later, January 2018, I returned. As part of my journey of healing, I ran the Bermuda Marathon Triangle Challenge in your memory. The Front Street Mile, the 10K and every step of the 26.2 miles,
I carried you on my back — the picture of the smiling, carefree little girl you were and still are in my heart.
Dear Connie, we will never forget you. Look down on us with your smile.
In memory of Connie Furtado (November 8, 1966 to February 22, 1978)
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