Friday, May 10, 2013

Four Years

In a couple days it will be four years since my aunt was murdered by her partner.  It has been almost four years since I wrote this post.    FOUR.   YEARS.

Her murderer sits in a jail cell awaiting trial.  A trial I am quite sure he knows damn well he cannot win.  For a crime I am quite sure he is still running from, still blaming her for and still refusing to feel any responsibility towards.

Four years of limbo, waiting for this thing to finally be over.  Four years of waiting for a "justice system" I don't even believe in to do its thing, so I can finally move on.  Four years of moving on only to be yanked back every six months to be told there is yet another delay, that he has fired his lawyer again, that he has taken us right to the edge and pulled us back and there's nothing the courts will do about it.

Four years of being reminded how little my aunt's life matters to the state.

To the court system.

To the DA.

And to her murderer.

Four years of knowing the trial won't bring me any closure.  Four years of this PROCESS of the trial preventing my closure.  Four years of wondering if this time will be different.

Four years of missing my aunt.

Three Mother's Days where I want to just celebrate my mom.  My grandmas.  My great grandmas.  My Ancestors.  My mother friends.  Three Mother's Days where I pretend that is all I'm doing.  Three Mother's Days of hiding the pain searing through me as wounds barely healed are ripped back open.

Four years of watching my family age faster in those four years than we did in the preceding ten.

Myself included.

I found my first grey hair last night.  It isn't grey so much as silver.  Bright.  Shining.  Almost glittery.  I'm not yet 30 but I don't mind that hair.  I think it's beautiful, actually.  But it is also, I think, a by-product of that aging.  An aging that has happened so quickly.  An aging brought on by pain and loss and no closure and the seemingly endless limbo of the USian court system.

Will we get to five?

Will it ever be over?

Will it even mean anything in the end?

I am a prison abolitionist.  I know this system is broken.  I know it doesn't work.  As surely as I know that if her murderer is not locked up that he will hurt more women.  Like all the other women he hurt in the past.  But because I am a prison abolitionist, I know there will be no resolution in putting him on trial. Because I am a feminist/anti-racist I have no faith my aunt's life will be treated with respect in that court room.  And I have no real faith he will be found guilty of what he did.  I have no faith that even such a conviction would mean anything to him.  I have no faith that JUSTICE means anything here.

But I stand witness to the process, because it is the last thing I can do for her.  I couldn't help her.  I couldn't save her.  I couldn't even help her cat.  And I can't rehabilitate him.  I can't make him accept what he's done.  I can't make him accountable to us or use the rest of his life trying to make sure other men don't do what he did.  All I can do is stand witness.  Face him in the only provided framework sanctioned by the state and not let him forget that we know what he did.

And I will do that.  For whatever it is worth.

And I will remember her.  Often.  I will light the candles on my altar for her.  I will remember her when the veil is thin and the dead come back to visit us.  I will remember her on Mother's Day.

I will try and live the lessons that she taught me.

It's all I can do.