Wednesday, August 28, 2019


Well. I never wanted my blog to morph into a serial courtroom drama, but it helps to sort my thoughts, record the details, and keep interested parties up to date. Yesterday was the sentencing hearing, and I gave a victim's statement. I am glad that I prepared my words, had notes to read from. I've never felt more nervous, nor more determined to be heard, and the combination of those energies is mind-blowing.

My 3 three sons and Geoff came with, and Paul and Janece met us at the courthouse. Never go to court alone, as a victim, or defendant. It's a confusing, stressful, sad, demoralizing place, and it can knock the wind out of you. Sometimes a hand would be on my back, or a voice would reach my ears, and otherwise I felt adrift in a dark vacuum... crowded and loud, intrusive, yet alienating. I am so thankful for my friends and family... the texts, and messages, the ones who checked in with me; you all helped make this something I could step into, and walk away from.

The defendant, the drunkladydriver, has messed up her life terribly, and together with her attorney, she messed things up further... her alcohol monitor gave a positive reading for alcohol, and they seriously pissed off the judge, (honestly, best description) by rattling off contradictory excuses/explanations, and he reminded her that if she cannot manage to follow the rules, and deal with her ankle monitor, then she will go directly to prison. It was intense and I am leaving out a lot. A LOT... but for friends in the area, for our community, I am happy to share, that she is on probation for a minimum of 2 years, that she has a self-reporting alcohol monitor, and she is not allowed to drink. I have held space for her, in my thoughts, in my heart, and I want her to rehabilitate, to recover, but I am completely over how hard she and her attorney have labored to deny responsibility, how they have tried to put the blame on me, the lies, the weaseling around with the law, how they have squandered the mercy the court has shown.

It's not over, yet. Another hearing is scheduled for late October, and that's when the issue of restitutions will be addressed. This is about the criminal case, and covering our out of pocket expenses, reimbursing our insurance. I have no doubt that there will be a fresh layer of bullshit flung in our direction for this, but I am not going to think about that today. That is... I am going to do my level best to clear my thoughts, and breath deeply, recover, rest, regain energy and peace of mind, enjoy that we have crossed another bridge.

Yesterday a concept occurred to me, an idea... very soon, I will close the door on this. I have been as good as I can be, and when it is over, I will be determined and mindful to walk away from all of it, and never think of her again.

Addiction is cruel and I have seen enough of its destructive powers to feel compassion and empathy for anyone suffering under the weight of an illness, of desperation. I have long believed that any stigma or shaming to do with addiction, or any mental health issues, does harm, is counterproductive. I support therapies and rehabilitation to help people cope with, manage, recover, heal, and live their best lives. And I am thankful for the measures that can be taken to protect society and defendants from their own weaknesses.


Adaliza said...

You've been very strong - give yourself a pat on the back. It's effectively over now, just some loose ends to tie up but the sentence is hers, not yours. Move forward gently and in your own time. The sentence seems to be an attempt to give her a chance but I suspect she won't be able to adhere to the rules - she hasn't so far. So all the opportunities are yours for the taking - enjoy everything with your family and friends and be calm and peaceful in yourself. It's over, my friend - now go pick up a paintbrush!

cindy said...

Bravo Natalie. Well done. Well thought out. Well described. You are way more courageous than you think. You walked through the storm and are coming out changed, no doubt, but wow, it's impressive how you have processed it all.Thank you for your frankness and best wishes to you.