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posted: 7/26/2011 5:00 AM

Moms teach lessons of perseverance in face of tragedy

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Daily Herald Editorial Board

The loss of a child is devastating, unimaginable. And if the death is violent, or senseless, it is that much harder to comprehend.

One way some suburban mothers are dealing with the deaths of their children is to fight back, either in helping to find justice for their child or to help prevent others from going through similar travails.

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It is these mothers we want to highlight today. No one would want to walk in their shoes, but we all benefit from their desire to make sense of the tragedies that befell them.

In Friday's Daily Herald, staff writer Josh Stockinger detailed the latest in a 26-year-old unsolved murder of Glen Ellyn teen Kristy Wesselman. DuPage County sheriff's police released a new detail in the case -- one they hope may lead to the killer of the 15-year-old. Police say they believe that, after raping and stabbing her in a field near her home, Kristy's killer took an antique gold ring that Kristy was wearing.

And right there next to the lead detective at a news conference was Kristy's mom, Sandy Wesselman, who continues to work to find her killer along with the police.

"On the day of Kristy's funeral, I silently promised her that I would never stop trying to find the person who killed her," she said. "I didn't know it was going to be a lifelong process."

It's that kind of perseverance, though, that binds together the three moms we salute today.

Also in Friday's Daily Herald, staff writers Kerry Lester and Mike Riopell reported the success Patricia Rosenberg had in securing a new law, signed by Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday, named after Rosenberg's daughter, Andrea Will. Will, of Batavia, was killed at Eastern Illinois University in 1998. Her killer, Justin Boulay, was released from prison last year after serving 12 years in prison.

Andrea's Law puts convicted first-degree murderers who are released from prison on a registry, similar to Illinois' sex-offender registry. Rosenberg worked tirelessly to get the law passed.

"It gave me a voice, not just for myself, but more importantly, for Andrea," she said.

Karen Dobner of Aurora hopes to be that voice for her 19-year-old son, Max. He was killed June 14 when the car he was driving smashed into a house on Route 31. Karen Dobner told staff writer Susan Sarkauskas in Monday's Daily Herald that she believes Max, a student at Waubonsee Community College, was impaired after smoking potpourri incense, a legal product, laced with synthetic marijuana. She wants to work to change the laws so the incense is banned and to make others aware of the dangers. She's formed a nonprofit foundation to educate people about synthetic marijuana, change laws and raise money for testing resources for police departments.

Yes, a child's death is unimaginable. How special these three moms are in dealing with their grief. We can learn so much from them.

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