In our case it was the simplest words that defied our brain.
He? Him? It was difficult to know what to call him - the person who had murdered our daughter.
Over the years, I’ve been in many conversations with other parents of murdered children who also did not know what to call the person who had killed their child. Some referred to him as: “the one”; “the killer”; “the murderer”; “the life-taker”; “the perpetrator”; even “the enemy.” To avoid all of this, some victims gave him a nickname or referred to him only by initials. It seems there is no consensus.
Once in the justice system, the accused was referred to as a person of interest, the suspect, someone implicated, or someone under suspicion. Once charged, he became known as the accused, offender, defendant, the prisoner, and eventually the appellant.
Later after sentencing, it was criminal, convict, felon, con, crook, sinner, guilty person, inmate. The names are endless. But during the court process, the lawyers and Judge would call him Mr. Grant.
After we learned that the police had an accused, but we didn’t know his name - we dubbed him “Factor X.”
Suffering from a concussed brain - we were at an extreme disadvantage in the courtroom listening to the Judge's that first day.
It started with the "charge."
“Now the phrase ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ is a very important part of our criminal justice system,” the Judge explained.
The Judge continued as if reading my mind. “A reasonable doubt, as I explained early on, is not a farfetched or frivolous doubt. It is not a doubt based on sympathy or prejudice. It is a doubt based on reason and common sense. It is a doubt that logically arises from the evidence or the lack of evidence.”
He paused, looked at the jury, letting them ponder his words.
“You should also remember, however, that it is nearly impossible to prove anything with absolute certainty. Crown counsel is not required to do so. Absolute certainty is a standard of proof that is impossibly high and it does not exist in law,” he concluded.
We didn't understand....
The words were concise - but our minds were concussed.
Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble. - Yehuda Berg
The language function which are regions in our frontal, temporal and parietal lobes formulate what you want to say and the motor cortex, in your frontal lobe, enables you to speak the words. Most of this language-related brain activity is likely occurring in the left side of your brain.
After trauma our words escape us or we find that we are in a new world with a new vocabulary. Forgiveness is the first word that opens up the possibility of a new language - a new new set of words. Forgiveness words are accurate, truthful and full of grace and understanding.