Have you ever squeezed fresh orange juice or ever juiced a lemon? You know how the insides get mashed and the fibers of the fruit are all frayed? That’s just about how I feel right now. Juiced.
We had our day in court yesterday. It was an excruciatingly long day that started with a hearing, not the trial we had anticipated. But for all intents and purposes, it felt like a trial. I testified. My husband testified. The driver testified. And there was aggressive cross examination. And it was so very mentally draining.
From morning until 5:30pm, it went on and on. There were breaks here and there so that we could all meet with our legal representation. Hushed whispers of negotiation that very much felt like selling my soul. Compromise to the point of concession that made me feel less of who I am and what I stand for.
In order to avoid going to trial, we cut a deal. A deal that in the end places no true fault on the defendant. And to be fair and less harsh on myself, that was not my choice. The judge delivered a continued without a finding which basically means no true assessment of guilt.
That’s not to say that there were no ramifications or penalties for the defendant, just no mark of guilt on a permanent record. And that was the most important thing to me. The very most important thing.
I wasn’t looking for jail time, nor was I looking for anything harsh. Just a declaration that the driver drove negligently. A declaration by a judge in a court of law.
And when I didn’t get that I felt defeated. Cracked in half.
The defense kept saying it was a tragic accident. That as much as it was a trauma for my family, it was just an accident.
An accident to me is maybe swerving off the road a bit. Hell, we’ve all done that, right? I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect. We all make mistakes. Accidents do indeed happen.
But my view was that this was much more severe. But even with a police report to support my claims, in the end it was deemed just that. An accident.
Today I have mixed feelings.
Looking back on yesterday, the judge was truly fair. She took both sides of testimony into account and delivered a judgement that I might not have liked, but can respect. It was an impossible case to decide.
Full of emotion and tragedy on both sides of the courtroom, the judge did her best with an awful situation and did it with grace and wisdom. And for that I’m entirely thankful.
You hear these horrible stories about judges and the crappiness of the legal system, but I have to tell you that I couldn’t have asked for a better judge.
And the best part? My son didn’t have to testify. That was one of the best outcomes of yesterday. Even though I spent good money on nice dress slacks, shirt and belt for him, he didn’t have to do anything other than sit there and listen. He looked good doing that though.
That son of mine. I’m so very proud of him. And Michael too. They sat in that courtroom all day long along with their father and supported me. I have no words to express how that helped me.
So it’s over. Truly. We can all put this on our mental shelf of tragedies, and move on.
Thank you all for putting up with these posts. I know they have been draining. But these posts have helped me sort out my feelings. They’ve also left a written accounting of the accident for my children and their children.
Also, I hope they’ve helped you see that as much as life sucks sometimes, recovery is possible. And that while life is not always fair, it doesn’t have to be for you to find peace and pockets of happiness.
Much love to you all.