'I miss her dearly.' Madisyn Baldwin's mom reflects on her daughter's impact

Posted at 12:11 PM, Nov 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-30 23:58:15-05

(WXYZ) — The aftermath of the horrific Oxford High School shooting continues to take shape one year after it happened.

It's been a year since Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Tate Myre, 16, Justin Shilling, 17, and Hana St. Juliana, 14, were killed.

Related: Tate Myre's parents launch 42 Strong Foundation to keep his memory alive
Related: Justin Shilling's mom describes him as a giver, says he lifted up others

For Madisyn's mom, each hurdle they make it over is a victory, yet a gut-wrenching reminder, that the journey is far from over. But, there are life lessons that bring her family comfort.

Every time I look at the photo of Madisyn frozen in time, I see a teenager, sweet and full of life.

Her mother, Nicole Beausoleil, spoke to me one year after that fateful day at Oxford High School.

"We still kind of walk around doing the motions of everyday life trying to figure out all the firsts and how to get through the firsts," Beausoleil said.

She said the holidays are the most gut-wrenching.

"Thanksgiving was hard. I won't say it wasn't one of Madisyn's favorite holidays," Beausoleil said.

Yet, as difficult as it was, there is a glimmer of hope through the years.

"I've said since day one that I've learned more from her in 17 years than I have in a lifetime," she said.

Madisyn's baby brother, Liam, is only 7 years old and has autism.

"I never knew patience until Madisyn. When Liam came, I was all over the place," Beausoleil said. "She was always the calm to the storm.

"She was like a second mom to him. She understood him, she got him," Beausoleil added.

There's a common theme among the four students who were killed. They each had an exceptional way of bringing a positive light to the world.

"I question why every day, why her? Why the other three? She was so exceptional in this world that she needed to be in another," Beausoleil said.

The suspected shooter, Ethan Crumbley, is now 16 years old and pleaded guilty last month in the shooting.

"My heart felt a bit of a weight lifted," Beausoleil said after the plea deal. "I did not want to sit and stare or be emotional because I didn't think he deserved my tears."

"If you could sit in front of his parents and say something to these two individuals, what would you say to them?" I asked.

"I'm sorry that you didn't want to be parents, you didn't want to take care of your child. You took that right away from me," she said.

Beausoleil believes justice will be served when and if they too are sitting behind bars like their son.

Meanwhile, she has nothing but love for both Oxford and Clarkston, two communities that have cocooned her family with support. She now lives in Anchor Bay.

"I feel removed, I feel I can smell the air again," she said.

As for Madisyn's legacy, it lives on in so many tributes – a tree and mural in her memory, and more than $10,000 raised for Autism Speaks for kids with special needs like her brother.

"I miss her dearly and I would only hope that I am making her proud," she said.

No matter how tragically their lives were lost, their legacies of goodness, hope and care will live on and be remembered in this community, and hopefully, the gift of kindness will certainly be passed on to others who take the time to listen.

Madisyn's family is also selling t-shirts with funds raised going to random acts of kindness donated in Madisyn's name. You can get a shirt here