Yesterday morning, Dan went with me to the courthouse.
Yes, quite the Valentine's Day gift. Good thing we're not big on that holiday.
But I needed his presence there more than I needed flowers or candy. (Definitely more than I needed candy.)
Yesterday, we watched as Mary's killer pleaded guilty for taking Mary's life on March 31, 2009, when he hit her head-on. He was in a truck, she in a sports car. His blood-alcohol level was through the roof. She was on her way home from a wake.
Every time the judge said "March 31, 2009," my chest tightened a little. How I wish I could rewind time to the day before and plan things differently. Do things differently.
I wanted to throw up when the sheriff's deputy who'd been first to the scene described what he'd found. The deputy himself, a seventeen-year veteran of law enforcement, looked pretty sick himself. "It was some of the worst I've seen in 17 years," he told the judge.
Mary's killer was sentenced as expected. The laws of the state don't allow more than 38 months in jail. That doesn't seem enough for snuffing out a young woman's life, does it. But he is behind bars now, and I hope that, now that this day is behind us, Mary's family can get some degree of closure. Whatever that means.
That morning of tears and reliving the ugly past came on the heels of what was probably the most joy-filled weekend of my life since becoming a mom. So I'm feeling a weird mix of loss and gratitude.
A weird mix of loss and gratitude. That's pretty much what I've felt regarding Mary, ever since March 31, 2009.
Thankful thoughts for this week:
191. that we can grieve together
192. that, on Mary's last day alive, I got to spend more time with her than I ever had in our young friendship
193. that there is always work do, people to care for, life to tend to
194. that, as far as we know, Mary didn't suffer
195. mild February days that Mary would have loved--pale sky, wispy clouds, with just a hint of a breeze ... perfect for hiking
196. a two-day weekend, after almost five long months of six-day work weeks
197. family time: Dan, Anne, and me, just being together (Do other families really do this on a regular basis? It's hard to imagine.)
198. crying out "Weeeeeee!" with my daughter as we go back and forth on the swing
199. a little girl riding high on her daddy's shoulders
200. feeling, at a moment, that I am as happy as I've ever been
201. little leather shoes that fit her just right
202. receiving my first-ever kiss from my daughter
203. "yes" answers to prayer (there are the "no" and the "later" answers, which I am also thankful for ... but it's nice to get a "yes" every now and then)
204. front porches
205. a new, Daddy-built bookcase, and
206. lots of books to fill it, and
207. room for more books
208. when opportunity knocks again. persistently. daring me to ignore it.
209. justice - that it is real, and the need for it is wired into our brains
210. mercy - that God forgives
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