The news of convicted serial killer Derrick Todd Lee’s death made us think not of Lee but of his victims.

Lee, linked to the deaths of seven south Louisiana women between 1998 and 2003, died Thursday — many years after his conviction and before the state could carry out its death penalty for his crimes.

Some friends and family of the victims died waiting for justice. That delay was a tragedy for heartbroken survivors who wanted closure for their loss.

We hope that Lee’s passing will do what the justice system did not — enable those robbed of seven precious lives to write a new chapter, putting the pain of the past behind them.

Lee was convicted of the murders of Charlotte Murray Pace and Geralyn DeSoto. He also was believed to be involved in the deaths of Trineisha Dené Colomb, Randi Mebruer, Pam Kinamore, Carrie Lynn Yoder and Gina Wilson Green.

In murdering on such a large scale, serial killers tend to reduce their victims to names on a list, rendering a terrible evil into a dry abstraction. But that’s an outcome we can’t accept.

Today is a day to remember these women, each and every one. Our thoughts and prayers are with those they loved and those who loved them.

This is a time to affirm the great continuity of kindness, faith, friendship and family, even in the wake of a criminal’s passing.

Derrick Todd Lee took much from us, but he couldn’t take that.