Are Crime Victims Beneath the Law? – – Part 10 – -A Survivor’s Closure

Are Crime Victims Beneath the Law? – – Part 10 – -A survivor’s closure

To me an unachievable emotional status

This will be the tenth and last of the series of articles I have written in my attempt at explaining why I feel the survivors of murder victims and the victims themselves are relegated to a class of persons that are beneath the law.

As I write this last part my wife and family and I are awaiting notification from the California Department of Corrections of the date, site of the prison and time that our son’s murderer will be eligible to have a parole hearing. It is our understanding it will take place sometime in 2013, twenty years later. We are among the more fortunate survivors of a murdered loved one because;

· the murderer of our son was caught · the murderer of our son was tried, found guilty and convicted · the murderer of our son was sentenced to 30 years to life but will be eligible to receive parole from prison for the crime of murder.

During this time we have had or experienced a myriad of emotions, closure not being one of them. Putting this passage of time in perspective and why closure is illusive if not possible to achieve, let me explain why I feel the way I do. As mentioned above in 2013, twenty years will have gone by and throughout this time period we have always had the reality of the murderer receiving a parole hearing lying in our paths. When one combines this with our desire to exercise our right to attend the hearing as parents wanting to convince the parole board not to grant the murderer parole, releasing him back onto an unsuspecting society to perhaps victimize another person and their family. So 20 years passing, parole hearing taking place, equals no closure.

Assuming we are successful in convincing the parole board to not grant parole it doesn’t end then as under current law our son’s murderer will be eligible for another parole hearing five years later and each five years after that if parole is not granted. As I sit here and write this article I am 70 years old. I was 52 when our son was murdered and with the very real possibility of multiple parole hearing being granted in the next two or more decades one of the following is likely to occur, I will be too old and unable due to health and age be able to travel, or more than likely dead, again without having closure.

As I look back over the events that have taken place in our lives since the night of our son’s murder I have frequently wondered as do all survivors of murder victims, “Is my life as it now is getting better?” I have come to the personal conclusion that my life is different rather than better.

On December 17, 1995 just a few days before Christmas and in the course of contemplating another holiday season our family was once again forced to celebrate without our son I wrote the following in trying to come to grips with life and living after his murder.

“Better or Different?”

The fleeting moments of time it has been said acts as a healer.

Our pain, our sorrow, with its passage is less it is eased, as we are told.

All things good or bad, joyous or heartbreakingly sad will pass.

Their impressions left only in our memories as the passage of time acts as some magical potion deadening our pain as our saddened hearts are relieved.

All too often we are told by scholarly persons schooled only in intellectual thinking or theory, void of actual knowledge or experience that the passage of time will serve as an elixir of healing. Assuring us that our lives will get better as the loved one we have tragically lost will become fond and treasured memories.

For all of us enduring a loss of a loved one to murder seeking and praying that justice will be served and that those who commit such incomprehensible deeds are punished for their acts and no longer allowed to add further victims to society’s murderous toll.

For those whom it seems have no possibility of closure because the persons responsible for taking the life of their precious loved one or friend are unknown and remain free the passage of time may only be an anesthesia. Temporarily numbing and covering yet never fully able to remove or alleviate their pain.

Alas, the passage of time while to some it may seem that life will get better.

But to those of us left behind to cope with our constantly changing moods and emotions, sorrow and pain hopefully our lives will get better rather than, as I currently feel life has not gotten better it merely has become different.”

One of the definitions of “closure” as found in Webster’s New World Dictionary is “a finish; “end;” “conclusion.” How can there be an end, finish or conclusion when that is never permitted by events or circumstances beyond your control? Most of those events are a direct result of justice and due process for the accused and convicted for they are still protected by the law and you as a victim or survivor are still beneath the law.

As a victim survivor I once again want to emphasize the loss of a loved one to murder is drastically and dramatically different than losing one to natural causes. In those instances the grieving process is allowed to take place and the closure allowed to begin because the death of that loved one no matter how suddenly it may have been can’t be compared to what a surviving family member or friend of a murdered loved one is forced to contend with.

What I have just written is not intended to minimize the loss of a loved one to death no matter what the cause of their existence here on earth being ended was. The point I am trying to stress is that it is different and the grieving process to be experienced is also. I feel certain I will never experience closure.

This part concludes my series of articles of my observations (based on living experiences) of life and living as a survivor of a murdered loved one.

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