Tuesday, February 12, 2013
He Murdered His Valentine
Last November, two weeks before Thanksgiving, they lay in bed, holding hands, as she whispered a plea "please take my life and end this misery". Her eighty five year old husband squeezed her hand, his eyes clinched tight as ripples of sadness rolled through his chest and settled in his aching heart, as he contemplated the implications of her plea for a merciful ending. The mind battled with the heart, both of which lamented that their life's journey had taken them to this junction.
He remembered they loved walks in the rain, warmed by the clasp of her hand within his. He remembered the tenderness of honeymoon, when love was all they owned; love and the dreams of a long life together. He remembered the first house they made a home of, his strength as he painted a nursery and built a crib, her loveliness as she bent on knees and planted the first garden. And their love blossomed as fruitfully as the yellow roses that adorned both sides of the front porch steps.
But now his dearly beloved lay prone, nearly lifeless beside him, her body ravaged by 20 years of cancer and multiple sclerosis. She had just been told she would have to endure another extended stay in the remote confines of hospital. No doubt she thought of the toll two decades of caregiving had had on her husband as she pleaded for a merciful end of the pain and heartache.
G-------and V------, the two were known by their neighbors and many friends. The two were inseparable, often admired for their mutual love and mutual devotion to one another.
How far can love, even a life-long love, a love that had endured more than sixty years, take you? Can the depths of love expand to the point where you can muster sufficient strength to end the life of the one person who occupies the largest piece of your heart?
G------answered that question in the second week of November last year, in Sun City, Arizona. He raised the pistol and shot his beloved in the head...and ended her long suffering. He then rose from the bed and called the family caregiver and told what he had done. His next call was to the Sheriff.
A couple of days later 85 year old G--------- appeared in court, to hear the charge of murder, and to state a plea of guilt or innocence. Having never been in a court of law he asked the judge for guidance. He admitted killing his wife but pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder, according to the court's advice.
Before leaving the court the judge asked if he had any more questions. The old man asked if he might have an extra blanket; "the jail cell is very cold, I'm very cold and I can't seem to stop my back from spasming".
The judge queried the prosecutor about the nature of the case. The prosecutor admitted that this had been a "mercy killing". The judge granted bail at $20,000 dollars, hundreds of thousands of dollars less than that normally assessed for a first degree murder charge.
A family counsellor testified that, as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, as the memories of happier family gatherings are remembered, as the prospects for that same level of familial happiness dims with sickness and age, more contemplative discussions are held; it is no longer a question of life or death...but how to meet death. "How do we wish to die?", "Do we wish to die at home?" "What is our thoughts about a quiet and dignified death?" No doubt the two talked of this, stated the counsellor.
Many Christians, some moralists, have already assigned G_______to his own special place in hell. They believe in the ultimate sanctity of life and that there can be no exceptions. Those with a less structured sense of morality might offer a higher level of compassion, even asking what they themselves might do given the same set of circumstances.
Everyone that knows G------- says he is a very good man, that his years of tender caregiving show his deep love for V_________, a love so strong that he was willing to endure even greater pain in order to ease the pain of his beloved.
Personally, my heart is aching this Valentine's Day, for a man who will sit in his little house this day, awaiting the sentence of mortals, paying memorial homage to a beloved whom he once gifted with a box of candy, a heart felt, sweetly worded card and the quiet whisperings of love on a night long, long ago when spring was in their hearts.
Note: Anyone who wishes to google the story can read the real names of these tragic lovers; I chose not to add to his misery on this day, dedicated to love.