There is a saying: “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
I believe God had a big laugh concerning the things I had planned for my life. But, as time went on, all I could say was, Hello, Hello is anyone there?
Being exposed to violence, drugs and gangs, I vowed not to become a victim of my environment and to help my mother take care of my younger siblings. I was the oldest of four children. My childhood was great; when my mom began to have off and on relationships with my siblings, things tended to get bad. I was the normal teenager who wanted to go outside, did not want to babysit my siblings, things like that. But my siblings’ father abused alcohol, and he became another person. An abusive person. I was physically abused by this man; my mom was beaten by this man. I was sad at times, being so small and useless, not being able to protect my mom, that I vowed when I was older and stronger I would protect her and my sisters. Experiencing that traumatizing event, and my uncle being an abuser to women, I never liked men who beat women.
I was 20 years old, attending Marygrove College, working a full-time job at a hospice care facility. When I participated in the assault, which led to the murder of a man in his backyard, the incident was centered around the man being abusive towards his wife. Like most adolescents, I did not weigh the ramifications of my actions. What was supposed to be a “beat down” led to a man losing his life. Going through the trial, my experience was nothing but fear; there were things said that were not true. But I realized at that moment something I never considered or thought about, and that is the value of life. Watching my victim’s family in the courtroom…to this day, I remember what his father said. “You will remember my son for the rest of your life.” He was right. From the time I lay my head on the pillow and close my eyes at night to the first thing I rise in the morning. I am so sorry for the life that was taken, and hurt I caused his family, my family and the community.