On the attack....
I was always wondering if it would so this time I was proactive.
There's a song we sing when we, as a family, go on a walk through the woods. It's called "Going on a Lion Hunt."
This summer we chanted it right up the mountain, around the lake and back.
Going on a lion hunt
I’m not scared
I'm not scared!
Can’t go over it
Can’t go under it
Can’t go around it
Have to go through it!!!!
Actually this need to of mine to find the dreadful Abyss and kill it before it hunted me down coincided with a need in the restorative justice movement to work with victims as well as offenders.
I received a call to give a presentation to a conference being held in Nova Scotia on: What do victims need?"
For months prior to my talk, I listened intently to the support group I was helping to coordinate to hear what the issues were. Once identified, we would talk about the issues as a group.
As I was preparing, I wondered how to make my list visual. I have an artist husband and I was tempted to have him design the most perfect power point presentation but then I thought better of it.
From my last experience with the Abyss, I knew that even identifying the issues or causes was going to be a long tedious hunt. At the time of the presentation, I knew I hadn't come close to completing my research. Actually I had only arrived at seven issues.
So I gathered up the names of these seven issues - and I scrawled them on a slide. It was quite primitive looking, but it had integrity. This was a draft list - and I wanted everyone to remember it.
Amazingly that rather shabby looking power point - and my tentative presentation was very-well received and spawned more invitations -- and more invitations - which suited me very well because it allowed me to continue to search, question and add to the list.
I think my greatest test was when I was invited to Labrador and I spoke to the Inuit people. They were the ones that asked me if this list of trauma issues could apply to an entire people who had experienced violence. We looked at them again in that light -- and were surprised how it related to them.
A divorced man - said that he could identify with the list.
That's when I realized that they could apply very generally to many situations dealing with violence and injustices.
After identifying them all, I tried to understand the reasons for the issue, working out the descriptions, the possible order of them, and finally to actually work out how to turn each issue into something "good" or at least "manageable."
It took me about 14 years to work on this project - until I began to feel somewhat confident. I became a social researcher -- talking, talking and talking. Trying them out on every audience I could find.
In the year 2002, I published a book on this list, "Confronting the Horror: the aftermath of violence." I conquered the issues...and there were 15 of them. I didn't stop because I had run out of issues. I had run out of memory. But 15 did seem to cover them all rather adequately.
When I read them out to Cliff - he acknowledged them which was important to me. He then called them "a list from hell."
My book never became a best seller ......
Never-the-less, I am glad that I wrote it. It saved me. The Abyss might not have grown to the size of my first Abyss - but this one didn't die. I don't think it will every die. I have to keep it under constant surveillance - the issues are never-ending and threatening. It's like a fast growing nettle plant... always prickly, always threatening to take over the garden.
During this time, I also co-authored a book on Joseph's life, a bible study "Unsettled Weather." It was an exploration to understand and start to introduce a lifestyle forgiveness - to offset the more popular expectation that "just forgive" solves everything.
However - the writing of this book was also unsettling -- I hadn't quite separated it all in my mind. I just knew that Joseph was somehow.9
I was just starting to enjoy a well-deserved lull in my trauma life. The children were now grown - they were doing well.
In fact we were just congratulating ourselves. (Always the wrong thing to do -- to let your guard down with an Abyss that is so alive.)
I remember the day Syras was marrying Natasha. Larry and Odia were already married. We were all so happy! That lasted about a year.
It was the year 2007 - 23 years after the murder...when we received a call from the police.....
“Satan prowls but he’s a lion on a leash” ― Ann Voskamp,