Jamie Carpenter was 12, a seventh-grade student at Brooks-ville Elementary School in Calhoun County. She was a cheerleader, played flute in the band, sang in the choir, played softball.
She was petite, had shoulder-length dark blonde hair, freckles and snappy brown eyes. She had a dog, a cat and a horse. She wanted to be a veterinarian.
Instead, her body lies in a crypt in a Wirt County cemetery. Neighbors built the crypt. They painted the inside pink, her favorite color.
"She always said she didn't want to be buried underground," said her dad, Tim Carpenter of Annamoriah.
She died 12 years ago, just before Thanksgiving. On the Saturday before deer season, she took a friend for a short ride on her father's ATV. "They had trouble on that model with the brakes," he said. "When she slowed down, the brakes grabbed or something, and the ATV rolled over." She died the next day at Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital.
The memory never stops hurting, not even after 12 years, said her mother, Lisa Carpenter of Brohard. "I used to hear people say they could take anything but something happening to their kids. I tell them not to say that. You either deal with it or you blow your head off."
"You just learn to live with it," her father said.
But every year, from Thanksgiving through Christmas, living with it and dealing with it gets tougher. "I hate the holidays," Lisa said.
The Carpenters divorced a couple of years ago. "Something like that puts a lot of strain on a marriage," he said.