Before and After

Written while sitting in courthouse:

I read the comments that an attorney wrote on a blog about our case on his firm’s website. He thought it was a pity that I was so consumed by the case, and as evidence quoted me as writing that my life was clearly divided into before and after. Obviously as a criminal defense attorney he doesn’t deal with victims at all.

This is the way it always is for victims of violent crimes. The whole universe is turned inside out and your perspective is forever altered. The crucible of pain, grief and fear burns away the old you and someone new emerges. That doesn’t make you an object of pity. You just can’t fit back into your old skin. You have felt things and seen and heard things that make it impossible to be the person you once were. An innocense is gone that cannot be recovered.

You can’t stuff the genie back in the bottle – once he’s out, he’s out. You may be weaker in some ways and stronger in others. The things that you care about and the things that bother you are different. You may have more tolerance or less. It varies with the individual. But, whatever form it takes, change is universal among crime victims.

Could you stand in my shoes and experience what I have experienced with no effect on who you are? No. Nobody can. People who have lived through a terrible earthquake or a hurricane are allowed to acknowledge the change in their lives. So are the victims of 911. Why are we expected to be different? I remember looking at the faces of tsunami victims with recognition. I knew that look of overwhelming shock and pain. I’ve been that person. That was the start of my journey, and I’ve come a long way down the road since then. A difficult road. A rocky road. I’ve travelled far enough along it in 4 years to know that there’s no going back to the crossroads to join the path you were on before. The gate is closed. Monkey.


About griefsjourney

Neal's mom. Devon's and Ian's Oma.
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2 Responses to Before and After

  1. Trisha says:

    I find it interesting that the attorney read enough of your blog to be able to come to his conclusion and also take the time to write about it on his own site. Is his life that uninteresting that he had to *attack* the mother and grandmother of 3 crime victims?

  2. Marica says:

    Jan, Although I have never experienced a tradgedy of such horror to change me from who I am, I have no doubt that I would be just as you are.. Another person from who I was the day before.
    The pity is not that you have been so consumed by this crime, but that the crime was ever commited to begin with. What a pitifull society we live i that people can and will brutally take the lives of those whom they should love and protec, and destroy the lives of everyone who ever lovd and trusted them to begin with.

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