Christine Kozier is no stranger to pain. It was just before dinner time on Jan. 7, 2015 when she received news tragic news. A member of the local church told Christine her parent’s house was on fire.
She arrived to the home to find two police officers.
“They said, ‘Get back, get back,’” Christine says. “Then we watched the house burn. We watched everything happen."
Christine assumed her mother wasn’t home and was at the hospital with her father, who had a heart condition, but then she was told the heartbreaking news.
“The police came and just told me, right there in the middle of the street.”
Her parents, Raye and Clifford Ward, as well as her sister Ann perished in the fire.
“I had to pick up everything after that,” she says. “Try and get things back to normal, which they never will be.”
Their grandson Codey Reginald Hennigar was charged with second-degree murder in their deaths. He was later found not criminally responsible, something Christine continues to come to terms with.
“We knew that he wasn’t well and we knew that he wasn’t medicated. My mom used to be really nervous of him and I would say, ‘Mom, he wouldn’t hurt a fly.’”
“He’s a very sick person.”
Christine’s friend Silvana Redden submitted the Makeover Monday nomination as a way to help Christine get back on her feet.
“Christine’s such a quiet, humble and private person. I knew this would be a different experience for her,” says Silvana. “She’s always working, she looks after her grandchildren, her family, she looks after foster children, and she’s always too busy to take any time for herself.”
Though it was a difficult decision to step out of her comfort zone and tell her story, Christine hopes the experience will help her move forward with her life.
“I had the best parents in the world. They made me strong, I chalk it up to them. I am strong, and you have to go on.”
Christine also hopes her makeover sparks a dialogue about the pitfalls of the justice system.
“The justice system has failed us. It fails a lot of people, and it failed Codey,” Christine says. “The doctors and people knew he was sick. If the justice system rules were different, he could have been made to take medication. It needs to change.”
She says even though it’s hard to forgive her nephew, she will one day.
“I’ve said to people that I do forgive him. I just can’t forget right now.”