A wish for positive change

On June 15, 2006 my husband Lloyd and I were dealing with a lot of stress in our lives.  Today it seems so futile but on that day the triggers seemed to be massive.  In a manner which, unfortunately, was common in our household my husband decided to go out to have a ‘few beers with the boys’ to relieve some ‘pressure’.  In the early morning hours of the next day he received the beating of his life.  He required a 10-hour surgery two days after this beating to repair multiple fractures to his cheekbones and forehead.  He never awoke from his surgery and to our shock, horror and disbelief, my husband and best friend for 18-years died in an Intensive Care Unit on June 22, 2006.

Despite much pain, Lloyd was conscious prior to his surgery.  I will always cherish the time we spent together.  I remember telling him how scared I was for him.  He was scared too and as a teardrop rolled down his cheek, my heart ached for him.  I silently prayed for him and I never felt closer to my husband than I did in that moment.  Since his death I replay this time over and over in my head.  I will never forget our last moments together.  Now I realize I am so fortunate to have had this time with him before his death.

This journey, which was shoved on to my children and me upon the death of my husband, has been an agonizingly painful lesson.  From the moment I knew he was hurt, I wanted positive change.

The accused was charged with manslaughter because my husband died six days later and not at the scene of the crime.  This man remained at large until the day of my husband’s funeral when he turned himself in.  He is also a member of our small community of approximately 500 people.  Today, due to numerous delays in the court proceedings, the trial is still before the courts.

The comfort and support my children and I received since my husband’s beating has been phenomenal.  I am eternally grateful and I will never, ever be able to repay the kindness we have received. 
So many of our community’s emergency services came to our aid. The local RCMP detachment’s staff sergeant paid us a visit.  Victim Services informed us what services and financial assistance would be available for the funeral. The RCMP members were polite and compassionate throughout their investigation.  I would have done just about anything not to be a part of this, but the police and other professionals made it bearable. 

When it came to say good-bye to my husband at the funeral, I was overwhelmed and grateful to the people who attended.  Many people had many, many kind words about my husband.  These words were so comforting and have consoled me since the funeral and when I really needed to be reassured about the circumstances of his death.  One co-worker at our school, where my husband worked as an educational associate for the grade one classroom, told me in person and in a sympathy card that the children of the school simply enjoyed having him in their room.

After the funeral was over, I realized I had an obligation to help my children and myself.  I began to research violent crime, grieving, the court process, adolescent responses to grief, spirituality, the body’s response to stress, and anything else that seemed to relate to what we were going through.  I joined on-line and in-house grieving groups.  I attended conferences and workshops; I even met Arun Ghandi, the grandson of Mahatma Ghandi.  I asked him how to get through this ordeal?  He told me the teaching of his grandfather was, “to be the change you want the world to be”.  This made so much sense to me.

Today, it really doesn’t matter the conclusion of the pending trial.  In my heart this person will always be guilty.  Regardless of the trial’s outcome, I know I’ll be able to make it through and that I will come out of it a stronger person for it.  In my heart I know the Creator will never give me more than I can handle and I will get through whatever obstacle is put in front of me.

I have numerous people to thank for helping me get this far.  I also realize it is the frame of mind that you set yourself in.  I could be bitter about the trial taking so long and some days I am bitter.  I refuse, however, to let my life be ruled by forces I have no control over.  I did not ask for this journey but I can choose to learn from it.  I miss my husband, but I also want him to be at peace.  I too want this peace. 


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