The first trial was last July, the week of Ashley's birthday. That trial ended in a hung jury. The re-trial was last February, it ended in a "Not Guilty" verdict which stunned everyone...even the defendants family was surprised their son got off on a murder charge.
I am still in touch with the victim's family. They are the kind of people you would want to wrap in your arms and protect from the world. It still breaks my heart that the Mother lost her son that night, but I am still here for her when she needs me. After the second trial we got together for lunch with Caroline who was a juror from the first trial who helped Prosecution the second time around and has been with the family since after the first trial. I ended up telling Caroline why this was so personal to me, she was understanding. I felt some relief telling her...maybe that was why I was able to let the memories of that awful night go.
Last night Shelly, the victim's Mother, called me to invite me to a get together her family and friends are having at park close by on March 31st. I told her I didn't get off work until 6pm and that was when their gathering was ending. She told me they always linger so they will be out there after 6pm, I promised her I would call when I got off work to see if they were still there and I will come out. She was happy and she promised me there would be food I could eat...Pakastani food is really good, but really spicy and I told her at our luncheon I was a wussy when it came to spicy food.
After the details about the event were squared away I asked how she was doing. She told me she tells everyone she is just fine and I told her she is allowed to have her bad days. Shelly has been having a lot of bad days since last February, it is understandable. She told me her son would be 24 in a few days. I slipped and told her I had found out when his birthday was...crap! She asked how I knew and thought it was sweet that I would remember something like that. I didn't mean to let that slip out that I knew his birthday.
Shelly is a very sweet and warm person, she is the kind of person that you could spill your deepest, darkest secrets to and she would never judge you...she would embrace you and surround you with her love and kindness.
When we hung up I felt this huge weight on me again, I felt guilty. Whenever she tells me how much she appreciates us staying with her son that night trying to save him I really start feeling guilty. I don't feel bad for trying to help him, I would do that for anyone (I have done it twice before, but they were able to walk away).
I feel guilty because I want to tell her the reason this was so personal to me...I want to tell her about losing Ashley and that Ashley would be turning 24 in July. I still don't understand why I feel like I am keeping a huge secret from her. I want to tell her, but I don't want to discount what she is going through. Her son being murder is different than me losing my daughter to adoption. We both lost our first born children, but we lost them in two completely different ways. Her son won't be coming back and my First Daughter is out there refusing to even acknowledge that I gave birth to her.
Why am I feeling so guilty? This eats at me every time I talk to Shelly.
I am still trying to figure out what to do...tell her or not.
I know if I tell her the guilt will lift from me, but I don't want her to feel like I am discounting her feelings.
Damn closed adoption!