The Murdered Child Club

I’m part of a club—one I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, and yet one I wish everyone could join.  The members have learned to take the worst that life can throw at them and still thrive…such an amazing example for all to see.  This club should be called the “resiliency club” but, of course, it’s not. It is the murdered child club.

Over three days I participated in a forum hosted by the O.P.P. to address best practices and mistakes made in homicide investigations.   I must say that it took a lot of courage, especially for the investigators of each case, to face their mistakes in an open forum for the benefit of future victims.

I have met other homicide survivor families over the years but these I had not yet had the pleasure of meeting.   Any interactions I had with the mums I’d met previously were on a professional or social level.  Although we discussed our cases and our children, we were always careful to keep our deep pain from surfacing.

But this forum was different.  The purpose was to educate the officers, and no one held back.  The raw, gut-wrenching wounds were opened up for the greater good and we were all left somewhat sick inside—or, at least, I certainly was.

I can only liken it to the movie “The Green Mile” where the character, John Coffey, was able to ingest the illnesses within people so they could heal, and then later exhale the evil and continue on.

This is how I’ve been feeling for the past 2 days except that I couldn’t free myself from the unsettled feelings within me—until this morning.

As I went for my morning walk in the beautiful sunshine I started to think about how amazing and resilient my fellow club members are.

Through the worst situations imaginable, these people are champions for their own families, their communities and Canada, in general.  They are true heroes.

There were a few reccurring themes for the police, some good and some not.  But what was evident in all the families was the desire to help others in order to make sense of the evil that had visited their lives.

One mum has a prison ministry. Believe it or not, she visits with people already convicted of violent crimes and talks to them about how their actions impact their victims, and helps them to change their ways.

Another family fought for eleven years to bring the provincial and, later, the federal sex offender registry into existence.  The list goes on and on but each found advocacy of some kind to be a healing force.

Looking beyond ourselves and focusing our energy on others might not bring about complete healing, but the positive influence we have and the difference we are able to make in the lives of others somehow helps us to deal with the horrors our loved ones faced. If their suffering was senseless, we can, at least, make certain that it was not in vain.

It was so humbling to be in the company of such wonderful people, and I have never felt so completely validated in my feelings and actions before.  But more importantly, I am re-energized to step up my fight for the fair treatment of victims everywhere.

Congratulations to the O.P.P. and all the participants—victims’ families and my fellow officers as well.

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