Thursday, December 10, 2009
At the trial to indict the man who murdered my sister, we waited in the court room corridor for what seemed like forever, before the trial in the morning, and again after lunch and before the afternoon session. The waiting was difficult and anxiety provoking, waiting to walk into a nightmare time and time again, we had to have courage. My family huddled together and "his" family huddled together, each in our own areas. I felt such overwhelming emotions when I saw "his" mother waiting down the hall from us on that first day; I was overcome. I soon found myself standing before the mother of the man who had murdered my sister. I asked her if she was "his" mother, more in the way of introducing one's self, and she said, "yes, I am." I told her June was my sister and she stood up to meet my eyes. Two hearts aching with loss facing one another, we stood. I told her I was sorry for her and she returned the sentiment. We had both lost people we loved when "he" killed June; I lost my sister and she lost her son. We wrapped our arms around each other and with God's Grace we were enveloped in a moment of Peace.
Just at that moment, the court room doors were flung open for us to enter and sit in our separate areas; me with my family in support of my sister and her with hers in support of her son. I took the stand that day to represent June and her life. She took the stand days later to represent her son and the goodness she knew lived within him. I recall feeling some resentment toward her in that moment, it passed quickly as I realized she guarded the dignity of her life in her testimony, just as I had preserved the dignity of my sister in mine.
The mother and I were brought together in that corridor of life and loss, but separated by the hollow belly serpent shaped by the flawed human form. She and I believed in the same God, our expressions toward one another represented our love and faith in that God. We were united in moments that will never leave my memory; we were united by our common faith and belief system, the belief that we are all imperfect beings, children of God. One lesson was seated deeply within me during that worst experience of my life: we are all vessels full of love from the time of our birth and the humanity we share can remain despite the gravest transgression. We all suffer. We are all imperfect and capable of life altering mistakes. Love is all encompassing. No matter what tragedies or ill treatment life serves up, you can choose to replenish and replace the love lost in those moments. Sadly, her son had not made that choice and carried hate in his heart, hate that attacked my sister and took her life.
At that trial, the trial to put away the man that took my older sister's life, I made a different choice. I chose to give absolution. I chose forgiveness. I chose to fill my body, my heart with love, to replenish my soul with forgiveness for all that was taken from me and is still to this day. I CHOOSE PEACE. I choose to fill my vessel with love, God's love. With my choices, I choose life. A choice my sister was not allowed to make.