Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sometimes, The Past Must Remain There

Dear Tazi:

Ten years ago our beautiful daughter "Denise"was murdered.  Her case remains unsolved.  Our daughter was raised in a good Christian home, and she was given all the advantages she needed to get ahead in the world, but when she turned 18 she also turned her back on all of that and started hanging out with the wrong crowd.

At first the police believed Denise's death was drug related, but her autopsy showed no evidence of drug use; there were no further leads, few suspects, and the case went cold fast.  She became just another black youth who fell victim to the streets.  My husband and I were understandably inconsolable - and furious: at the world; at ourselves for somehow failing her; at the police for not finding evidence as to who killed Denise.

At first, all suspected her boyfriend - a seedy, older man who smoked and drank and was rumored to be violent, but he swears he was "on a three day bender" when Denise was killed.  He had no one to witness his alibi, and was the prime suspect but there was no evidence against him.  He has since cleaned up his act, found God, and works as a volunteer for the Church.  He feels guilty that he was unable to save Denise, and we have accepted his pleas for our forgiveness.  We realize that he did nothing wrong.

As you can see, we have all tried moving forward with our lives.  The pain of losing our daughter will never cease for my husband and I, but it does change.  Like an old wound, scars remain and some days the pain is more noticeable than others, but it is nothing like the raw wound it was when we first lost our daughter.

Now that ten years have passed, her high school class is having a reunion and would like us to attend to witness a short memorial to Denise (she was very popular in high school).  My husband and I would like to politely refuse.  We would also like to ask that the planners refrain from having a memorial.  The time for that was ten years ago.  We are happy that people remember her for the wonderful young woman Denise was, and we would like that memory to remain.  We fear a memorial will simply bring up the details of our daughter's killing - they are gruesome - and replace the memories that people have of her.  We do not want the old wounds torn open.

I have written to several advice columnists on this issue, Tazi, but none have responded.  Could you please respond?  The reunion - and memorial - quickly approaches!

Grieving Parents

Dear Grieving Parents:

You have my utmost sympathies on the loss of your daughter; your pain and grief are unimaginable, so it is completely understandable that you do not wish to attend an even that would tear open your wounds.  I am hoping that I have printed your letter in time for you to show it to the planners of the reunion and memorial.  I realize how much fortitude it must have taken to write your letter; speaking such sentiments may prove to be too much.

I suggest that you enclose a copy of your letter in with a note to the planners of your daughter's reunion, asking them to understand your feelings on the issue.  Sometimes, people do not consider the harm that they may be doing when they try to attempt something good.  Although you cannot prevent Denise's former classmates from holding a small memorial if that is their wish, you do not have to attend it.  It is my hope that they will honor your wishes, and instead place a small table off to the side, with the pictures of all from the class who have passed - including your daughter - with a small "We Remember..." sign.

Extra Snuggles,

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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