Life Sentence

It must be over, right?

Those are the words I have heard time and time again.

I can’t make this clear enough that just because the trial is over, my life doesn’t just go back to normal.

That's not just me, that's everyone who was and still is involved in this situation, and to all the other survivors of crime out there.

This is a life sentence.

You don’t just snap your fingers and think it all just goes away.

That's just how life works.

There are so many ongoing triggers.

Here are just a few.

After the trial is over, you get paperwork sent to you, and you then have to tell what happened all over again to the parole board.

I found writing shortly after the trial was extremely difficult.

As tears were rolling down my face onto the paper, I picked up a pen and wrote, word for word, what had occurred yet again.

You're constantly reliving the trauma.

I actually received letters in the mail from the parole board, and here's the thing.

You could be having the best day ever.

Then you get home, look in your mailbox, and you receive parole info about where the offender is serving their time, testing scores, etc.

It is very nerve-racking.

Just like that, your good day turns into pain.

Yes, you go on living life; however, this is now a part of your life, and it's part of who you are.

Those letters from the parole board bring up all the emotions all over again.

You feel like those past memories are current and are happening all over again.

Every time the offender is up for parole, you have to write another impact statement.

You keep having to go through the past trauma again and again.

I mean, I already think about what happens every single day of my life.

You don’t just get over it.

I just try not to let it consume my life because then I am really not living.

I owe it to the deceased to live the best life that I can and make as big an impact in this work as he did.  

I know if roles were reversed, the deceased would be the one sitting here writing the blogs.

I want to fight this fight and be the voice of action and change for survivors of crime.

I know these feelings are relatable to survivors of crime because they have to go through this process as well.

Of course, it’s going to affect you when you get surprised by letters.

It’s heart-wrenching.

That's when you have to dive into your toolbox and reach out to your counselor or nurse practitioner.

This is where self-care is vital: go for a run, go to the gym, paint, play sports, journal.

Try your hardest to take your mind off of it for the timing being.

I know that's easier said than done.

You owe to yourself and the people that you love you, and they want to see you grow and flourish.

The life sentence will be with you forever.

I mean it’s a scar, a tattoo.

It’s not something that's just done when it’s done.

It’s forever a part of you.

It’s also about setting boundaries with it, processing the emotions when you need to.

Also, remember that you are brave and courageous.

All of this pain will lead you to strength.

Be patient with yourself always.

Accept things as they come, keep your head held high, and know that you have the right to feel how you need to feel.

Deal with it at the moment, or else it can spiral out of control quickly.

No one has the right to comment and tell you how this should or shouldn’t affect you.

I always say walk a mile in someone else's shoes because until then you really didn't know.