To My Husband’s Attackers – One Year Later
Donna O’Donnell Figurski
You’ve been on my mind lately. Frankly, you’ve been on my mind most of this year. Do you realize today marks a year since you attacked my husband while he was walking in Toronto? Doesn’t it seem odd that your actions almost ended my husband’s life, and you haven’t even seen it?
I wonder about you. I can’t help it. When we’re in the city for appointments (don’t you know that all the brain-injury specialists are in the same city in which this happened), I watch the eyes of the men we meet. I wait to see if they recognize my husband – if they are seeing the ghost of the man whom they thought they murdered a year ago. I don’t know that I’ll ever stop being curious or watching for you. It just makes sense that we will meet; the police assigned to this case are kind and smart, and the world isn’t as big as you might think it is.
My husband and his friends were out for his bachelor party. I know they told you. I know you knew I was waiting at home for the love of my life. And yet, my husband and his friends barely talk now. Traumatic brain injuries have a way of breaking up friendships. Our first year of marriage was spent in doctors’ offices and rehab clinics, instead of having vacations and adventures.
I wonder at your group dynamics now, and I am curious if they parallel ours. Have you pushed each other away because you can’t stand seeing your friends as the monsters from that night? Or, do you hold each other close – keeping tabs on each other to make sure the secret stays secret? Which of you will be the next with a boot to the head for saying the wrong thing? And that girl. Does she worry each time you all go out that you’ll be arrested? Or beaten? I wonder if she struggles with panic attacks each time a phone rings? I did. For months, I relived the voicemails detailing your attack on my husband.
When we meet, I hope you tell me you’ve counted the days. I hope that night changed each of your lives and convinced you to spend every day paying penance for the life you hurt. I hope the aftermath – living with that secret – has propelled you from the boys you were a year ago to men. I hope you’ve done something stunning with your life.
Of course, I hope you approach the police and confess. I’m not going to lie and say that’s not a wish. But, even on my most optimistic days, I can’t see any of you being strong enough to step up and accept the consequences. Nor, can I imagine any of you with enough compassion to want to put us at ease and offer us closure. (If you want to prove me wrong, by all means contact the police at the 52nd Division – http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/d52/).
At the very least, let this monumental, awful thing that rocked our world rock yours too. Don’t be so callous and immature not to realize the gravity of what happened that night. You stole the life we were planning on. Let that change you. Become better. Make it up to the world. Instead of letting your actions of that night define you, choose to make it the catalyst for a good life. I hope one day you can look back and say that that night you realized how powerful you were and you chose to invest your life in helping others instead. And, I hope when we meet, you can tell us that we’ve been on your mind too.
(Disclaimer: The views or opinions in this post are solely that of the author.)
If you have a story to share and would like to be a part of the SPEAK OUT! project, please submit your TBI Tale to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will publish as many stories as I can.
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