The first day of the preliminary hearing we woke up to the rumblings of a summer thunderstorm as fierce as anyone could imagine. Flashes of lightning, cracks of thunder startled us over and over again. It was an eerie summer version of the storm that had come on the day we had buried Candace.
The hearing was held in a small room, no bigger than a school classroom, in the new part of the Law Courts Building. The neutral beige room was furnished in the same way as all the courtrooms. The judge’s desk was elevated in front, the box for the accused was to the right of it. The 20 chairs upholstered in dark fuchsia that comprised the visitors’ gallery were against the back wall. I decided to sit in the first row.
No sooner seated when the side door opens, and the accused enters, shackled. It is the one moment I’ve always dreaded. Am I meeting him? Is this the meeting I’ve anticipated?
I was also surprised at his general appearance. At home, I had two pictures of him that we had printed off the Internet; one was of him when he was younger with long, stringy hair – the proverbial “bad boy” image, the other as a middle-aged man, balding, with glasses and a moustache.
In the box he looked like neither one. I thought he looked less than human. I was seeing him through my emotions.
Then they brought in Candace’s clothes as evidence – the clothes she had been wearing when she disappeared 25 years ago.
My heart stalled. I could feel myself begin to perspire.
Winnipeg Police Service Inspector took the stand and began to give his testimony. “The deceased was wearing a high school type jacket,” he began. “It was a blue body with red burgundy-colored sleeves and wool cuffs. The deceased was also wearing blue jeans with… and on her feet there were white socks.” Someone brought in more evidence, plastic bags of evidence, containing her jacket, her jeans. It felt as if she had walked into the room.
I could feel her smile, feel her warmth, and her innocence.
I was filled with unspeakable grief and longing for those days – when we were so young and light-hearted, all of us, so filled with hope. Massive spasms of grief rocked the room. I began to shake. I felt I was losing control. I struggled. I started counting. I find I can gain control if I distract myself by counting. I counted and counted but nothing seemed to counter the trembling, my body warm, aching with emotion. I couldn’t let them see me cry. I had to be still, perfectly still.
And then I looked up –his eyes were fastened on me.
It was in that state of naked grief that I stared into the eyes of the sexual predator – the man accused of causing the death of my daughter.
I felt completely undone, vulnerable, with no armor available. It seemed he had access to the inner torture of my soul – and I was defenseless. The power of the look felt like a violation… like an intrusion in and of itself….
I was facing an unforgettable -moment that would turn intrusive.
It burned in my mind -- I could see it in everything - especially when I closed my eyes at night.
The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant. - Salvador Dali
Some have asked for more information regarding these brain functions - so I have gone back and added an application to the last five blogs.
Memory is the faculty of the brain by which data or information is encoded, stored, and retrieved when needed. Memory is often understood as an informational processing system with explicit and implicit functioning that is made up of a sensory processor, short-term (or working) memory, and long-term memory.
Trauma will naturally keep the entire traumatic experience in the present memory until there is a solution. The present memory has a limited space and can become crowded. This is why we have a natural chapter ending at the end of every day in which- while we are sleeping - our brain files the memories away. It's called dreaming.
Forgiving the events of the day allows us to file away trauma that isn't resolved. It has it's own filing cabinet and labeling system that allows for injustices, fears and hurt feelings to be stored in files that are called, "faith, hope, and love."