Monday, June 01, 2009

Victim Impact Statement - May 19, 2009

For years it was just the two of us. I was the first of three, the oldest, and she was my mother. I remember clearly that we liked to sleep late. Dad would be long gone on his way to work before she came skipping into my room yelling RISE AND SHINE!! IT’S GOING TO BE A FUN DAY!

And she was right. It was a fun day. It was always a fun day, with Mom.

It seemed plenty big enough to me, but our house was a very small two bedroom in Decatur. Too small even. When my sister was born they had to turn the sitting room into a nursery, but we didn’t care. Nobody “sat” much anyway.

Your parents always seem older, even ageless I think - when you’re young; but now I realize they were about my age now; just starting out. And so much fun!

We spent so many brilliant, happy, days together exploring the world, she and I. We liked to take long walks in the neighborhood. The old lady down the street would let me hammer nails into her back stairs and eat oreos while she and mom sat on the porch swing. When I got tired Mom would carry me home.

I didn’t think about it then, but we spent a lot of time with our elderly neighbors. More than was usual for a 30 year old young mother, I think. And that was like her. I called all our aging neighbors “my friends” and I thought we were out “visiting” and “exploring” – and we were, but the whole time she was kindly, quietly, ministering to the people around her.

“Most of them don’t get out much like we can,” she would say. And that is how she lived – always putting the people around her first. I think that is why 1,500 showed up at her memorial service. It was so full the church had to broadcast the service for the people out in the lobby and standing in the parking lot. The dry cleaner, the pharmacist, someone she passed on the trail, people from all over the world –all came to say goodbye.

So when they asked me, a little while back, to describe to you how the miserable, violent death of the person I loved most makes me feel - all I could think about was Oreos and porch swings. And I wished, suddenly, that she was here to carry me home.

But I’m big now I guess. Too big to carry anyway - and who would do it? She’s gone. Instead we, her children, carry her with us - the memory of her softened at the edges like a faded photograph; she remains a beacon to me and a reminder that, even when I am confronted with evil -terrible, angry-strong, there is still good - and good will win if we let it.

She used to say to me “Jesus will take care of you” and I think He does; just not always how you expect. He took care of me for 26 years by giving me the kind of mother that changed the world for good literally every single day of her life.

They asked me to tell you today about the emotional impact her death has on the community, but I won’t.

I think you already know.

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