No matter what the situation, there are two sides to every story. In the case of my daughter’s accident and death, there are two obvious sides, hers and that of the drunk driver. Most people can guess what my side would be. Pain, anger, grief and questions are just a few of the emotions that I went through. As the family of the victim, we were treated with kindness, sympathy and concern. Love, prayers and support flowed in our direction on a daily basis for quite some time.
Meals were made and brought over that first week. Cards, flowers and donations were given in hopes they’d dull the pain. Looks of compassion and sorrow were in the eyes of friends and family who joined me to grieve. Boxes of tissue were kept within easy reach in just about every room.
It’s easy to imagine what the grieving family goes through but what about the other side? What do they go through? Does anyone even care?
As this season of my life unfolded I found myself getting to know the family of that drunk driver. What I learned surprised me. The emotions I felt were very similar to those they endured. Their pain was real, just like mine. They had their own version of loss. As a family and individually they cried, they mourned, and they kept tissue close-by as well.
What loss did they mourn? Well, to be precise, they mourned for two reasons. One was that an innocent young woman was dead at the hand of their son. The other was because their son would have to spend the next several years behind bars, away from his friends and family. No, their loss wasn’t as severe as mine but it was nonetheless a loss and they are entitled to mourn for that.
With all the emotions we shared, I was spared one that they had to endure – embarrassment. I can’t imagine how it felt to be the mother of a son convicted of homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle. How did she look people in the eye after the news got out? How did she hold her head up high when the disapproving glances came across the room?
I’m not exactly sure how she did it but I do know her character played a big part in how she reacted. She is a strong woman, even stronger now and I admire her. When many mothers would have turned their backs on their child, she stood right by him, supporting him all the way. It was his poor choice that got them in that predicament but she wasn’t going to abandon him for that.
When she and I talked for the first time we agreed that neither one of us wanted to be in the other’s shoes. We felt each other’s pain and shared in each other’s sorrow. God was there with us and helped us through. Walking with Him has made this journey easier and I wouldn’t want to take this journey without Him or her. There are two sides to every story. When both sides can come together and work together, the pain and sadness seem to fade faster. Put God in that mix and it is just that much better. Please remember that no matter if you are the victim or the offender, there is always another side to the story.