I met the person who caused grief on my family

Updated: Oct 10, 2020

My family and I received the opportunity to meet the person who caused the accident that included my brother and mother and caused the death of my mother. My sister, my stepdad, and I received the opportunity to speak to the judge and the person. We met the police officer who was on the scene. My brother was there but did not speak. You want to talk about grief and closing a chapter. Let's talk. The person walked out in a yellow jumpsuit being held by two police officers. The supporters of the person spoke first per the judges' order. They were all pastors and church members. They gave the story of how they were surprised that there was a death involved with an accident that day...You don't say.

Let me put you in the scene; imagine being a 21-year-old who just graduated from college and had a full-time job in your career. You are finally able to be grown and make a name for yourself, and one day in 12 seconds, that is all taken away because someone made an awful "professional mistake." Imagine being a son with your mother and your mother passes, but you do not. Imagine lying in a car and not knowing what just hit you and not knowing if you or she are still alive. Now, imagine getting off work and going to a friend's house and playing games and laughing, and then you get a phone call from a random number, and when you answer, the person says this is the Chaplin, and your mom and brother were in a car accident. All I can tell you is your brother is in shock but lacks information, but your mom is in surgery. I cannot tell you anything else.

Now, imagine being a wife and mother of six. Your husband's birthday is tomorrow, and because you're his wife, you planned a whole weekend for your husband. You and your husband are about to go out, and your phone rings. You look at the phone, and it's your sister, but she never calls this late. You answer, and she says your name and says, "mommy and Bubby were in a car accident." But she starts crying, and you can't hear her, but you tell her to calm down, and slowly the words come out, "mom...mommy and bu..bu...bubby were in a car accident." and she continues to cry. All you can say is, "oh no-no." Your husband looks up and says, "what happened." The next day you must go pick up your kids and meet your sister, and you have to drive across the country and not know if your mom or brother is alive. These were the three scenes of my brother, sister, and myself that day. This accident changed our lives, body, and soul. We thought that justice would be served, but frequently for poor people and people like us, things do not work in our favor. But for me, I speak up. I told the judge, I've walked the streets of St. Louis in honor of Mike Brown and Anthony Lamar Smith so if you thought I wasn't going to come in here and represent my mother, my best friend, my rock' yall ain't do enough research on me. Y'all don't know me. Judge, the justice system has failed." Our family showed up in purple shirts with my mom's face on it. Our shirt said, "When you took her, you took our hearts." My sister set the tone of the conversation that day in front of the judge. She spoke first, and she made the whole courtroom cry. As soon as the man came out, you could hear my breath take over the room, and the church folk who came to support the person just shook their heads at me. My sister expressed how she is just now saying the things that she has not communicated since the death of my mother. My stepdad got up and gave his perspective from a truck driver's perspective because the person was a professional truck driver. Mind you, my mom passed on October 4th, 2018, and this scene did not take place until January 16th, 2020, what would have been my dad's birthday. I get up, and the judge tells me to relax because he wants to hear me. "Oh, judge, you don't know me. You don't know what you about to hear. You ain't ready," I wiped my face off and cleared my throat and spoke only facts and truth.

What were the facts and truth? Not only was my life, my sister's life, my brother's life, and my stepdad's life rocked, but there is a community of people whose life was shaken because of the senseless act. It takes a village, and you all killed the chief, and there are no repercussions. The legal system will say there is to make us feel better.

I was in therapy that week, losing my mind. My therapist said, "SheGotFaith, sometimes it's easier for us to hold on. It sounds like you're struggling because you want your mom's legacy to live, but you feel like closing this chapter is losing your mom all over again." What a realization I had to have. Closing the chapter of a legal system where we would not get justice for our Queen. I felt like I had failed my mom, my sister, my brother, my stepdad, and the whole community that loved my mom. How could this be real? How could this be life? This is a part of grief that people do not discuss. Life goes back to normal after the funeral for everyone else. After the viewing of the body, the memorials, the donations, the hugs, and "I am here for you." People get to go back to normal living. Which is okay, but it does not go back to normal to the people who have to figure out there new normal? Do you get what I am saying? Unfortunately, the funeral wasn't the last straw for us. We went another year with dealing with the death of our mom and the injuries of my brother. Going through the legal system, it was like we had another funeral. The messed up part was we really did have two funerals for our mom. Once again, we were figuring out a new normal all over again. With each disappointment, a piece of our heart broke into pieces. My mom did everything for everyone, and we couldn't even get her justice. Our bodies changed, our mindset changed, you know how many times I heard, "You're not the same person." How could I be? Most people did not know that we were going through this specifically with the legal system. One, it's legal, you can not talk about it. Two, we were grieving. How can we explain this to you when we can't even process what has been happening since September 28th, 2018? Three, this would have been another opportunity for people to try to fix us, and we just didn't need that. We needed love, support, and a break. We honestly did not know how to tell people to support us either. Our days dealt with a lot of crying, going back and forth to a counselor, anger, isolation, change in appetite, and the list goes one. Why do we put a time limit on grief? It's going on two years, and I am just now able to truly grieve my mom's death and even that is questionable sometimes. People become uncomfortable when the ones they love are grieving around them. Grief is not about anyone but the person who is grieving. If you genuinely want to support someone who is grieving, then simply ask them. Do not try to fix them. Do not put your own personal thoughts and opinions on them. Ask them how they can be supported and be comfortable with the fact that you might be uncomfortable, but they are not. Allow the ones you love to grieve in their own way. It is not your duty to fix them but to support them. Grief takes time, and unfortunately, grief will never follow a timeline.

As always, my beautiful people; love you the way you love the world. HealingSheGotFaith is here for those of you who need to hear, "I love you, and I support you!"

Spending time with family the chapter closed

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