I never told anyone what the underlying emotions really were, I figured it was best to let everyone think the emotions were only about the murder.
After I testified on Tuesday I went back into the little waiting room to wait for my kept daughter's tennis coach to finish with his testimony so we could walk out together. While I was waiting I found out the Judge allowed the video of the Defendant's Police Interrogation, I was told he pretty much admitted his guilt in this video. We felt confident the jury would come back with a Murder (or at least Manslaughter) verdict...the video plus his fingerprints on the murder weapon.
Thursday afternoon I went back to the courthouse to hear closing arguments. While I was there the victim's Mother told me there was someone who wanted to meet me. She took me over to another woman and introduced her as one of the jurors from last July. This lady felt so bad about the last trial ending in a "hung jury" she contacted the Prosecutor to let her know what the jury "saw", she also got in touch with the victim's family and stayed in touch with them and she wanted to be here for the retrial. She told me she was concerned about me after my testimony last July. Well, I only told her as a Mother I understood the victim's Mother's pain...I didn't tell her about Ashley.
The closing arguments were postponed until Friday morning, so back to court I went. After the closing arguments the family insisted the former juror and I stay with them until the verdict came in. I didn't want to, it made me feel a little awkward. Next thing I know I was being dragged to the "Victim's Assistance" room with the family and the former juror. Turns out it wasn't such a bad thing, I had some incredible Pakastani food and learned a little about Pakastani culture. At the end of the day the jury reached their verdict...we were all stunned to hear "Not Guilty", needless to say, chaos broke out.
Before we went into the courtroom for the verdict the former juror told me to make sure I had a kleenex and she wanted to sit with me because she knew I would cry when we got the verdict (guilty or not). This comment bothered me a little bit, I'm not an emotional basketcase. So Saturday I called the former juror, and I told her my story...the reason I was so emotional...I told her about Ashley. She was quiet for a moment, all she could say was "no wonder this was so emotional for you". I was a little surprised to hear her say she could understand where I was coming from. After telling her I felt relieved, I was finally able to tell someone...so now I can let it go.
Yesterday I went back up to that park for the first time since that night. I sat in the same place I sat when I tried to help the victim, I placed flowers where his body laid. I asked him to forgive me, I tried everything I could to save him. I felt some peace, I let it go. I also asked him if he could watch out for Ashley, help keep her protected...I know it was a silly request, but you never know.
I am finally able to let it go...I did everything I could, now I can have some sort of closure. Unfortunately, in the back of my mind there is still that fear, "What if this was Ashley? Would I ever know?"
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 and now it's my time to heal and my time to let this memory go...
Turn! Turn! Turn!