The 26th March 2018 will mark the first anniversary of the start of the trial. On that day a year ago, I drove myself and my family to the Courthouse, parked the car and nervously walked up the steps to the entrance under the watchful gaze of lawyers, officials, and the public.
I’ve tried not to add the date to the already burgeoning homicide-loss calendar that’s imprinted on my heart. But to be honest, I’ve failed. Many of the emotions I felt this time last year are floating back up to the surface, bubbling up unexpectedly and interrupting my thoughts as I go about my day. I find myself focusing on the time I spent in Court as I deal with the swell of emotion that invariably accompanies the loss of a child through murder.
It’s inevitable that the 26th March will become a date I remember, another anniversary post-loss. How could it not be? The culmination of over two years of stress and anguish, of meetings with lawyers, of seemingly endless legal costs, of fear and uncertainty?
No one told me about this homicide-grief calendar, this keeper of painful dates that I would remember whether I wanted to or not. Having previously lost my parents, other family members, and friends, I assumed that the date of birth, death and of the funeral were the three days that would accompany my grief. And that would be it.
Well, it turns out, I was wrong. In the case of homicide loss, there are many other additional dates apart from birth, death, and burial. This is because each and every important event post-loss is so traumatic that it wounds our heart irrevocably. My inner grief calendar is now strewn with Xs marking significant days across the entire year. There’s Alex’s last day alive, 29th December. The morning the police arrived at my door. The day I chose the coffin and urn. The day we were allowed take Alex’s body out of the forensic institute morgue. The day his personal effects were delivered in a brown cardboard box …
You get the picture.
And now my heart has added what I call the ‘legal’ days to the already full calendar. Dotted across the year are the dates that pushed me to the edge of endurance as the justice system creaked into action: my interview with the police; the first time I saw the killer; the morning I read the indictment; the start of the trial; the day of the Sentencing…
Yes, this is a grief calendar I never knew existed but regrettably, exist it does.
© Katja Faber 2018