LAKE CITY, Fla. - The mother of Officer Brandi Jackson, who died in a house fire last month, is trying to pick up the pieces in the wake her death.
Sharolyn Krieghauser is in the process of adopting the 24-year-old's two daughters, 2-year-old Alivia and 4-year-old Avah.
"They understand that their mommy's not coming back, but they don't fully grasp exactly where she's at," Krieghauser said.
From the time Krieghauser wakes up to the time she goes to bed, she thinks about what happened to her daughter.
"Last night I was in my bedroom alone, putting clothes up, and I just dropped to my knees and I cried," she said. "And I cried, and I cried, and I cried. I cried harder than I think I've ever cried, and the girls came in and they said, 'We miss her, too, Granny. We miss her, too."
Krieghauser knew something was wrong when she had a knock at the door at 2:30 a.m. Oct. 31. It was the chief of police, Lake City mayor and Krieghauser's dad.
"I'm looking around and I though it was my sister, and he said, 'No, baby, it's Brandi.' And everything at that moment just stopped," Krieghauser said. "I don't remember anything else. I mean, they keep trying to tell me all this stuff and they keep saying, 'Are you alright?' and I can't understand what they're saying. I can't hear them. I can't understand them. The only thing that I knew was that my baby was gone. I never thought I would bury one of my children. Parents are not supposed to do that."
It's an unfathomable pain Krieghauser may never get over, losing her daughter and best friend and trying to explain to her granddaughter Avah why her mommy's not coming home.
But Jackson's family is also focusing on celebrating her life.
"I've got awards in here from when she was in elementary school of her being the friendliest, or being physically fit or outgoing, and that's who she was. That's the kind of person she was," Krieghauser said.
She said Jackson, who was on the police force for just less than three months, was two weeks shy of getting life and health insurance for herself and her children. Now her family is trying to figure out how they're going to pay to support the girls.
They are in need of clothes, toys for when they get older, such as bicycles, and money to put them through college.
The family is still collecting funds through First Federal Bank under Brandi Jackson Memorial Fund. They are also planning several fundraisers, including a motorcycle ride before the end of the year and a 5K run in the spring.
And they are selling T-shirts for $15, and buyers can get a name or sponsor printed on the shirt for another $10. All the proceeds will go toward supporting the kids.
Jackson's family said that at the time of the fire, Jackson was at Investigator David Greear's house because he was having a cookout to celebrate her finishing a big case that she cracked and took all the way to the judge's chambers.
Her family said the Lake City Police Department was Jackson's pride and joy, and she was so proud to serve her community and always wanted to be in law enforcement like her mother and grandfather.
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