by Betsy Perry
I knew it was going to be a grievously sad afternoon, but I did not imagine I would have a taste of such agony laced with the most delicate strands of hope and love. As I listened to Molly’s Dad, her Aunt Elizabeth, her sisters Ruby and Sadie, and her Mother Margaret, I was transfixed to Good Friday at the foot of the Cross. Why does one who is so beloved and so innocent needlessly have to die? How could we have prevented this? How do Molly’s husband, mother, dad, aunt, sisters, and friends go on?
It was Margaret’s words arising from a heart so strong, so full, so clear, and so open that transfixed me. Margaret’s passionate and eloquent statement transformed everyone there including the judge, and, I suspect, the murderer in some way that may or may not ever be manifested. Before hearing Margaret, I had never thought about what it might be like for Mary, Jesus’ mother, at the foot of the cross. Margaret took me there as if the women at the foot of the cross were bidding us all to know that love can transcend the very worst of human action. Somehow, love still breaks through in the pain and grief of losing a daughter.
Margaret is a Quaker and the meeting society had written a “minute” for peace which is like a call to remember and take action for peace. We were all invited to sign it in Molly’s honor. The judge clearly moved by the family’s testimony to Molly’s life said at the end, “I haven’t even looked into the ethical implications of this, but I want to sign the peace “minute.” Margaret turned to Molly’s husband, with a smile that I can’t even describe—a mixture of surprise, hope, love, and so much more.
It’s been hard this past week, I’m sure, for Molly’s family, her friends, her community, and even those of us who did not know her personally. So where does the murder of one so innocent leave us? Dare I just forget because it didn’t happen to my daughter? NEVER! I want to enter into Holy Week with the eyes and heart of a mother, one who feels the pain and sorrow and knows at the same time that God is suffering with us, crying out for our hardened hearts to turn towards love, inviting us to clear room for a glimmer of redemption, forgiveness, and resurrection. That’s what Margaret has done. That’s what the women at the foot of the cross did. Am I brave enough to do the same?