Cafe Hitch-hike


Remembrances of victims and those left behind

Although it happened 11 months ago, my niece's murder rocked my family in ways we are still trying to understand. I wept inside as Orange County (FL) Sheriff Office had this posted today (she died in Orlando):

I'm amazed with its timing; we lost my then-18 year old niece on October 25 of last year. She was included in the video montage.

It made me remember a thought I had about victims of trauma and violence. They have memorials for those who died in wars. Why don't we add memorials for those who survived when their lives were in danger or they were close to the violence? Why don't we have memorials for the living and those who carry it every day?

Maybe we need those types of markers to remind us how violent we humans really can be. Didn't humans kill more humans in the 20th century than any other? Despite all of our innovation and modernity (though some may say the proper term is post-modern), we're still as savage as we've always been. We just know how to kill more people with efficiency. We also have more rules about it (though arbitrarily enforced).

As I watched the montage of victims in this video, I couldn't help but immediately think about the dozens each person left behind, the dozens who will forever have that imprint on their psyche. I wasn't close to my niece, but it still left its imprint on me.

I remain to silently wonder if all the secrets, neglect, violence, substance abuse and just plain bad actions and intentions stuck to my niece and led her to her death. She was one seriously hot mess. I can't even describe the last year she was alive. She was in the juvenile justice system and how she responded to it was one of the most disturbing things I ever heard about a relative, nevertheless someone who was only 17 at the time. I think this, next to the nature of her death, is what also weighs so heavily. T

I also wonder that for a person to be so damaged, she had so-called friends and even family who enabled or were amused by her self-destructive tendencies. What she did was not cute, what she did was not funny. It was very disturbing, and I felt like a lot of people were amused, bizarrely charmed, or rooted her on. (Well, well, I guess my family had their own version of Jim Morrison or Amy Winehouse. Funny, hahah, but not funny). Every time I hear people call her their 'rollie,' I'm sickened inside because it reminds me of all of that.

Ok, maybe my niece had some genuinely good friends who wanted the best for her. I can't help but wonder who wasn't because a part of me wants to smack the shit out of them for rooting her on while everything about her was in a tailspin.

The last 4 years of my Uncle Joe's life was when his health took a tailspin. It was so sad to watch him in that decline, and infuriating to hear how people either enabled, benefited, or were amused by his addiction issues. Although he was a grown man who made his decisions (and made clear that they were his and his alone), A. was a teenager and it was like people around her already gave up on her.

Maybe my busy-bodied brain needs to stop thinking this last shit. Maybe these are gross assumptions. I don't have direct communication with A's "rollies" and what I get is the crap I glance through on social media or what I hear from my sisters. Yeah, maybe I'm just jumping to conclusions, but maybe I'm not. I'll never know for sure, but I know what I feel. Either way, those things are none of my business, and are based on my own assumptions, limited communication, and somewhat warped perceptions of my family life.

If I actually may be correct, so what of it? What could I possibly do with this?

downwind | upstream