It is hard to wrap one’s mind around spending 23 years looking for a murderer. That is half my life. Half my life I have spent trying to solve a crime.
As the anniversary approaches each year, I think, “what can I do?” I have put up posters in all 351 towns in Massachusetts, billboards on highways and in our small town communities. I have held tip campaigns and participated in every podcast show that has invited me. I’ve made lawn signs and wrote legislation and testified in hearings.
It never feels like it is enough.
Over the years we have marked this occasion with vigils or rallies, fundraisers and events. This year, I will sit quietly at the beach, remembering the days when my brother, sister and I would rambunctiously play in the sand on the shore. The day will pass, just like any other day.
But it won’t be.
Because I will feel it in my bones. My heart will be heavy. My guilt overwhelming, and my nagging question, “what can I do?” reverberating through my body like a current. How can I blame my body for this incessant chatter? It has been doing this for half of it’s own existence. The depths of my sadness can be felt like the shift of temperature in a room.
I will allow my mind to wonder to what my sister’s life may have been like had this terrible tragedy not befallen her. Hopefully I will get to laugh at a funny memory or share a story about her. It feels good to remember her. I wonder if people without dead people know how much the people with dead people want to talk about them?
The hardest part of this journey for me now is accepting injustice. No matter what the future holds, it will not be enough. It’s not a mindset you can turn to easily, it is something that happens over time. It wears you.
And I feel injustice around me now more, I can barely tolerate situations with rampant inequality. I just keep breathing… because I know that somewhere, somehow this has all got to make sense.
I think that is where faith is. That space when you have run out of sense, and you have to hold on, despite the body’s refusal to stop asking questions, and the mind’s search for peace.