Slain Labor Commissioner’s wife opens up about life, love and loss

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Cathy Costello hasn't shared the private details of her life, publicly -- until now.

At an intimate luncheon Monday afternoon, the widow of slain labor commissioner, Mark Costello, openly discussed her love and loss.

Cathy met her husband at church 35 years ago. She confessed to family that she knew Mark was the man she'd marry after only 5 minutes.

"I have five children. If anyone comes and tells me 'I met the man I'm going to marry after five minutes,' I'm gonna slap them," she joked.

She spoke about lighter moments, as well as the darkest day of her life. August 23, when Mark Costello was stabbed to death in a Braum's parking lot.

Their mentally ill son, Christian, was arrested for murder.

"I was there. I tried to stop it. My son threatened to kill me. My husband bled out in my arms and died in my arms. I prayed with him, asked God to forgive him of his sins. I told him I loved him," Costello remembered.

Out of misery and pain, Cathy Costello hopes to bring something good.

Costello said, " I can't imagine someone from the outside knowing my husband's heart and direction."

Costello is asking the governor to consider her as Mark's replacement.

They were both passionate advocates about awareness for mental illness, which plagued their family for eight years.

Costello told us, "We have one in five [citizens] suffering from mental illness. That's 20 percent of our state. I can guarantee you, we are not the only family that suffer violence death or emotional crumbling that mental illness can bring to a family. It's not a red issue. It's not a blue issue. It's a red, white and blue issue. This crossed all lines."

She has no political background. But she believes the Labor Commission needs continuity.

"What do people want me to do, crawl into a ball and hide under the covers? I can't do that. I can't let Mark's death go in vain, and I want to preserve the great work that he's done at the Labor Department. I want to continue to direction I knew he was taking it."

It's unfinished business, and Cathy Costello feels she is intimately and uniquely qualified to pick up where her husband left off.


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