Bridget Mitchell is utterly bereft as she prepares to bury her 24-year-old daughter.
But she knows she must be strong for the sake of her three grandsons who watched in the backseat as their father turned a gun on their mother.
"There's no book I can check out at the library that is going to tell me how to deal with this," Mitchell told KCTV5's Betsy Webster.
The nightmare began unfolding Wednesday afternoon at 26th Street and Cypress Avenue. Killed were Jedidiah Alexander, 25, of Kansas City and his estranged wife, Alyshia Alexander.
Police's preliminary rulings name it a murder-suicide, but they are waiting on the Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office to issue their findings.
Blood splattered onto the three children in the backseat: Jedidiah, 3, Jerimiah, 2, and Jaedin, 1. They reportedly were found covering their ears as their parents lay dying across the car's seats. The car was parked outside the home of the boys' paternal grandmother. Alyshia Alexander had brought the boys to the home to visit their father.
The boys don't realize their mother is gone and just think they are spending time with their maternal grandmother. Mitchell said Jedidiah has been able to connect scenes he has seen on television with Tuesday's horror.
"Daddy shot Mommy," Mitchell recounted her grandson telling her. "My number one concern is them remembering, the effects of them remembering and how they'll respond later."
She doesn't know yet how to prepare her grandsons for their devastating loss. She admits she is scared at facing their questions and how to answer them.
"They think that they're just spending some time at Nana's house. But eventually I'm going to have to deal with when they ask, 'Where's Mommy?' I'm going to have to tell them," Mitchell said as she broke down in tears. "And that's the hardest part. Because I know I have to tell them. I have to deal with that."
She admits she's overcome with emotions and trying to chart a way forward. She said she is literally taking life every moment at a time.
"I don't know what I'm going to do," she said. "I don't know how I'm going to do it. I just know I have to do it."
While Mitchell couldn't close her eyes last night and sleep because she kept imagining her daughter's last moments and her grandson's terror, she said the boys slept like angels.
"I sat and watched them and looked at them and they were all cuddled together," she said. "They slept fine."
Mitchell was already close with her grandsons but knows her role will change.
"They are part of my life every day anyway. But now my role goes from being Nana and just having them on weekends or babysitting while she works to being a full-time mom," she said. "I am going to have to raise these little boys to adults."
She said her son-in-law was a good father and she offered her condolences to his family.
Family and friends who have reached out to Mitchell since the shots rang out have made an incredible difference. She was surrounded by loved ones Wednesday.
It will take "a village" to raise her grandsons, Mitchell said, and she will turn to those offering help and assistance.
She particularly would like to hear from those who have faced the awful circumstances that she is now enduring.
"I would love to know how some other families have dealt with this," she said. "Just some encouraging words on what people found that work because I have no clue."
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