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Joyce Endee

Mother's Day is the second anniversary of Stacey Burns' murder

The day will be marked by a mass and a family visit to the grave

STACEY BURNS (left) with mother Phyllis Keane and sister Kelly Crane. (Courtesy photo) (click for larger version)
May 05, 2011
WOLFEBORO — There were girls' birthdays to celebrate last weekend, says Phyllis Keane, mother of Stacey Burns. Since the murder of her daughter in Wolfeboro, on Mother's Day, May 10, 2009, she has found sustenance in her family. Instead of moving to Florida, as originally planned, she created an apartment in her house for herself and invited her daughter Kelly and her husband and two girls to live in the Natick, Mass., home.

The Burns children now live with their father Ed in Millis, just 10 to 15 minutes away, depending on traffic. Visits are rarely as frequent or long as she would like, but she and Kelly enjoy watching the children participate in sports and attended all of Michael's hockey games. Kelly and the kids text regularly, but for Phyllis, the time they can join the family in Natick is the most precious.

Living with Kelly's family keeps her going, but still, some days she cries a lot and other days she's angry. "Every day is different. The sadness hasn't diminished with time."

The family will visit Stacey's grave on Mother's Day and their church will hold a Mass. "We'll just get through it." she says. Phyllis recalls the number of long-time friends who came to Stacey's funeral, people who became a part of her life as far back as her early childhood, high school and college and remembers her daughter's outgoing personality.

The idea that there's "someone out there living a life who should be behind bars" mystifies her. "I don't understand how that can be. I have great faith, but it shakes it – why that person is alive when my daughter is dead."

The family maintains contact with the New Hampshire State Police Major Crimes Unit and is encouraged by ongoing developments, but an arrest has not yet been made. Phyllis supports their caution. "I want them to know they have their man," she says. "I want proof and want it resolved. There will never be closure but at least one question would be answered, and justice would be served."

As the guardian of her grandchildren's education fund (Wolfeboro Attorney Jennifer Haskell is a trustee) at the Meredith Village Savings Bank, she wants the residents of Wolfeboro and vicinity to know how much she appreciates "all people have done so far. Wolfeboro, as a whole, wrapped its arms around us, the children especially."

We have been informed that the students in this year's graduating class, of which Michael, the oldest, was a part, have remembered his mother Stacey in a section of their yearbook, and he, in turn, plans to attend their graduation on Saturday, May 28, and will be attending Keene State College in the fall. "He's a wonderful boy," says his proud grandmother. "I'm very excited for him."

Mother's Day is forever tainted for the Burns and Keane families, but life goes on. Phyllis says she tells the children that their mother would be proud of them. "Those children have to make a life," she says. "Their mother is in them, and they are the most wonderful, wonderful children, so loving so caring. They're growing up to be great kids…My daughter did a wonderful job with them as long as she could."

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