When this tragedy first played out back in 2007, Tara Grant’s children were just 4 and 6 years old.
Their young lives turned upside down in an instant. Their mother was murdered by their own father and a custody battle got underway. It was Tara’s sister, Alicia, and her husband who not only gained custody but also the heavy responsibility of working to help these fragile children deal with such a devastating loss.
Today, Tara’s children, Ian and Lindsey, are back in Macomb County. They return every year for Tara’s Walk. It is a chance to remember their mom and to help raise awareness about domestic abuse.
“If I can change just one person’s life, that would make all of this totally worthwhile,” said Ian.
They’re just miles away from their former home this week, the site of the murder. But in realty, and mentally, they are miles away from that moment. Their lives are shaped by their past, yes, but more importantly by the love and support they received over the years.
“I will advocate therapy to anybody and everybody that I meet,” said Lindsey. “And I don’t think I’d be the person that I am today unless I worked with the psychologists that I did.”
Lindsey Standerfer is now almost 21. She’s a student at The Ohio State University. Her focus is on the future, but it’s also a reminder of her past as she studies pediatric psychology.
“I kind of wanted to go into psychology for a while, and when I was picking a field of psychology -- because there’s a lot -- I was like, you know, I want to work with kids because that was the most impactful time that I had working with psychologists, when I was younger after everything that happened with my mom,” she said.
She wants to help children who have dealt with traumatic events in their own lives. She clearly understands the pain. She has a memory of that time.
“It’s actually kind of interesting because I’ll like cross reference almost, like, what it feels like to be the patient on the flip side of it, rather than being the actual psychologist,” said Lindsey. “And so I’ll look at it, I can see it from both perspectives and I think that’s why I’ll be really successful at it because I know what it feels like to be sitting on the opposite side of it. (Therapists) helped me find coping mechanisms and ways to channel how I was feeling. That’s the reason I’m super into art now, because I had a therapist who was like, ‘You already like to draw, so draw how you’re feeling.’ And I still do that to this day.”
She does not have a desire to speak to her biological father Stephen Grant.
“I don’t think that I ever will need to. If I ever choose to do it, it’ll be because I wanted to. For a long time I felt like I needed to speak to him to have closure, but I think that I created closure for myself. I recognize that everything happens for a reason, and I live by that every single day, and so I don’t need him for the closure that I got,” said Lindsey.
Working to end domestic violence for others
Ian Standerfer is now a college freshman in Wisconsin.
“(Coming back to town) kind of rehashes some stuff from when I was younger, but at the same time it’s like yeah I know it’s like personally a little bit harder for myself, but at the same time if I have to go through a little bit of pain just to help a lot of people out, I’m 1,000 percent willing to do that,” he said.
He was a young boy when his mother was killed.
“I have like bits and pieces but not like total memory just because I was only 4 years old when it happened,” he said.
He has not had any contact with Stephen Grant. It’s not something he wants.
“Not particularly, just because I have a really good place with my family right now and there’s no point in trying to contact him just because he did what he did, and at that point it’s just out of my life,” said Ian.
Both Lindsey and Ian turned the tragedy into an opportunity to help others. This month Domestic Violence Awareness month and unfortunately during the pandemic cases of domestic violence have been on the rise.
“I like to spread the word to pretty much end domestic violence because I’ve been through that situation and I’m just trying to make sure nobody else has to go through that again,” said Ian.
“I think that the biggest issue that happens surrounding domestic violence is that people are afraid to leave. And so just knowing that no one is going to judge you, that everyone is going to be there for you to love and support you and that you have help if you need it,” said Lindsey.
February 2017: Remembering details of Tara Grant’s disturbing death