I have a compilation of stuff I’ve kept for over 15 years. Most of it contains my search for the identity of the murder victim. Rummaging through the pages, I find documentation of the many times I confronted my father, the man I watched take the life of another.
Here’s an email to my father asking him if he remembers a time, when I was about 10, that he came home to the word D E A T H engraved into the wall with a knife hammered at the end like an exclamation point:
There are letters and cards that I sent to the man that was in the room with us that day that who was my father’s accomplice. Other writings, to my mom. I’ve confronted every person I could. They say it helps us heal.
I guess it absolutely does establish accountability and made me feel quite strong along the way. It was not, however, very easy.
I didn’t just send things to them, I made in-person confrontations, too. They were horrendously difficult. The fear that surged through my body as I drove to each house knowing that these men could murder was almost unbearable. Excruciating doesn’t come close to the feelings I had. I would have to stop and have a few drinks each time just so my body wouldn’t go into full hyperventilation.
What these encounters did not bring was a full reconciliation. There is no justice to be found through them. It’s been my experience, without exception, they never apologized or accepted any responsibility.
Most certainly I was called a liar.
Most certainly I believed in myself and my story.
There isn’t one confrontation I wish I hadn’t done. Sometimes it took me months – actually years in the case of the accomplice, before I could muster the strength but I did. I took those enormous steps of courage and set the record straight before them and God.
I’m so proud of myself that I did.