ďAll human life has its seasons, and no oneís personal chaos can be permanent: winter, after all does not last forever does it? There is summer, too, and spring, and though sometimes when branches stay dark and the earth cracks with ice, one thinks they will never come, that spring, that summer, but they do, and always." T.Capote
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She Was A Free Spirit
In 1979, Wendy Rose was ten years old. She and her brother lived in Los Gatos with their mother, Clara, who was completing a degree in journalism from San Jose State. The children spent weekends with their dad, from whom Clara was separated. One Sunday afternoon when he brought them home, uniformed policemen met them at the door. Their father was arrested, questioned, then released, and the children went home with him. That night, he told her that her mother was dead.
"We never went back to our house," Wendy told the listeners at the Vigil. "We never went back to say goodbye to our friends, never even went back to Los Gatos." Suddenly they had a new life, a new home, a new family, a new school. Wendy was profoundly angry but no one noticed. She had dreams of revenge, as well as vivid dreams that her mother was still alive, "and I hated to wake up." She felt completely alienated from all the children at her school, whose lives were so different.
One day when the recess bell rang, Wendy suddenly felt as if she was floating above all the other kids on the playground, looking down on them. From that day, she deliberately repressed every memory of her mother and the crime and didnít speak about either for ten years. She went to school, started a family, and was well on her way in life, until she learned that the police had a suspect in her motherís murder.
In fact they had always had a suspect, someone she knew, although it is very unlikely that he will ever be brought to justice. After Wendy learned the horrible details of the crime and began to think about it again, she began to fall apart. "I thought I was going crazy," she said. She began having nightmares and fits of rage so severe that she had to quit her job. Finally she knew she needed help and got in touch with Survivors of Violent Loss for counseling and group therapy.
To her relief, she found that everyone in her group had experienced the same feelings. In talking with them and hearing their stories, she realized that the problems she had were universal among homicide survivors and began the slow process of restoring her equilibrium and her motherís memory. "Now I can think about my mother the way she was in life, not obsess over the way she died."
Recently Wendy visited her maternal uncle for the first time in twenty years and learned things she had never known about her mother. Clara Rose was energetic and active. She made her own clothes in high school and had been extremely excited about buying her first car, a red convertible. "They tell me she was a free spirit," Wendy said with a proud smile.
Wendy can now also remember how much her mother loved her. She edited the PTA newsletter, coached Wendyís soccer team and encouraged her to study piano, violin, and singing. She was teaching her daughter how to sew at the time she was murdered, all the time attending school as a single parent.
After what she has gone through, Wendy knows that immediate counseling for children in such situations is crucial, and is now studying psychology at SDSU, planning to become a therapist and work with children who have suffered severe trauma. "If I hadnít repressed things so deeply, I might have named my daughter after my mother."
The following is my dedication to Mom:
The wretched tears of grief I will come to know as the fiend builds with us his home through his obscurity we cant see that he hides within a healers coat the serpent that is he from a crown of bloody slivers his putrid soul was framed the slivers pierce and gouge his skin still, he hides well the secret from within but soon my wretched tears of grief will turn to acid on his open skin and all who worship him will know for whom he is a kin not a healer at all but satins heinous angel of callous death is him
For my mother who was murdered in 1979 when I was only 10