I am trying to process everything that transpired during the two weeks of hell that was my daughter's trial. I don't know that I will ever be able to rid myself of the emotional damage sitting in that courtroom caused me. I haven't written about the trial because I still don't know how I feel. I am putting Band-Aids on the wounds. Words are such powerful weapons...they can carry almost as much force as a truck. Every single word uttered in that courtroom by the defense hurt me. The impact of the lies, at times, took my breath away. I spent every day of the trial trying not to throw up and every night staring into space...numb.
I am not "happy" they are incarcerated. Having them behind bars won't bring Noelle back. I was shocked when I heard the verdict, not because I felt it was undeserved, but because I felt sorrow for those two boys...and that made me angry at myself. I have been going back and forth warring with my emotions for the last few weeks. How can I have empathy for someone who killed my daughter and left her friend to die? Why do I feel scared for them? As they were being handcuffed and taken to jail that night I felt like it was ME going to prison. I was experiencing every emotion that I imagined they were experiencing. I should have been rejoicing. I should have felt vindicated. I should have felt happy. I didn't. And I still don't.
I feel relief. I feel like justice was served, but it is bittersweet. It has been very hard to compartmentalize being both mad at them for killing Noelle and mad at myself for feeling sorry for them. As the days have passed, I have come to realize that those feelings of empathy are what makes me a good human. I wish those boys would have been raised to feel empathy. If so, Maranda wouldn't have had to suffer without medical care for over two hours. We would not have had to endure ten brutal days of trial.
I try not to relive those days. I try to block out their testimony, the victim shaming, and the lies, because that keeps me angry at them. I don't want anger to rule my life. I believe that is another reason I felt empathy in those first few days. I needed another emotion to balance out the anger.
Now, I'm trying to move toward forgiveness. Anger, I thought was bad, but forgiveness is a motherfucker. How do I forgive them without it seeming like a betrayal to Noelle? I know that forgiveness is for me, not them, but it doesn't make it any easier. I'm learning that, like grieving, to forgive is a process. A slow process. A difficult, gut wrenching process. And I'm sure, a process where I will bounce back and forth between the stages (next week you may be reading a post where I am wishing all kinds of evil on the Shrivers).
But for now, I'm trying to be positive and I'm trying to heal. I will forgive, because I refuse to let them take any more of my happiness. It's just going to take me awhile.