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How Two Miracles Saved My Mother's Day

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I was silenced for the week after Mother's Day; from really difficult memories that come to me year after year during this holiday, even as I gallantly stand up for my rights and those who cannot stand up for themselves the finality of the event hits me year after year. But this year the timing was good and heaven sent visiting relatives -- ones that I really care for -- to cheer me up. These days in May are the gauntlet that I run through every year since my son Robert was murdered on May 14th 2010 leaving me to celebrate mom's day with my remaining children and grandchildren while mourning the loss of the joy and companionships that always surrounded him.

You need to know that I have called out loud and clear for Peace in the Streets for 17 plus years; I have funded projects with my sweat and tears so that we could reach as many youths as possible with our workshops: to train them that violence is not the answer to solve problems, show that building a community that supports each other can move bullies into partners. My life's donation is what I have advocated for, for almost two decades through my work at the United Nations and across this country. The men who violently attacked my son were wearing uniforms of law enforcement, jumped him from the dark for sitting on his front driveway in a gated community where retirees go to find peace and quiet. How can that be in my American, not just my attorney son, who was my close companion and adviser, but friends and strangers who have experienced the same dreadful event over our entire country -- innocent folks -- are being slaughtered without regard by those who we count on to help us in an emergency?

These conflicting scripts run continuously in my head, pushing and pulling me in two directions. How can we allow those employed by us, civil society, to protect and serve us as law enforcement run a muck flaunting power and teaching us to be frightened of an invisible enemy, so that they can have more authority and power over our actions and our very safety? Now the judicial system has become a part of the chain. There are few brave judges out there who would dare find someone in uniform guilty of murder when an innocent person is killed by law enforcement. In my research judges always side with law enforcement. Why? Well, this past decade, while we have been at war with an invisible enemy far away, most of us have suffered financial stress during a recession caused by the funds that we diverted into that war. Civil Society feels out of control and since terrorists are elusive we seem to see people as either friends or enemies, with no grey area at all.

Just as I was going to give up blogging and just stare out the window and wallow, two miracles happened that lifted my spirits and gave me back some hope. A new pal of mine had shared a story about how local police in a southern California town had run down a young woman, her daughter's best friend during a high speed chase. The cops were running at high speeds with no lights or sirens, even though it was late at night with very light traffic. They hit her car so hard that she was brain dead on the ground at the scene of the accident. I spoke to her on Mother's day morning on the tennis court where I was slapping at the ball to relieve my sorrow and frustration when she shared this uplifting story from her daughter about her late friend Devon. As an almost physiologist Devon wanted her organs to be harvested and donated to those whose life they might save if she were to die young. She gave that order on her driver's license, so that is what they did. It is now three years after Devon was killed and this is my Mother's Day inspiration story from Jessica.

It was amazing to meet people that had Devin's organs inside them. I couldn't believe that I actually got to see the lives she saved and meet the families who were all so grateful for the lives Devin's organs saved. Without Devin's liver, three young boys would have been without a father and a mother without her husband. I got to meet Devin's kidney recipient as well. He was a grandfather to almost five grand kids and a father to three children. The entire family was so grateful for the life Devin's kidney saved. They have shrines for Devin at home and all consider Devin a important person in their lives. All the grandchildren told me I looked like Devin and immediately started holding my hands and legs during the walk. The father of the 3 boys is currently an Er paramedic (Devin's liver recipient) and saves lives every day. He said Devin is a hero who continues to save lives every day.

What the group of organ donors has created is a special community that supports each other. That now-formed bond will allow them to have a fruitful life. What blessings came out of that tragedy. We saw the same thing after Sandy Hook and the Boston Marathon bombing. I wish that we could always have community like this to turn around all negatives.

Miracle number two was a complete and wonderful surprise. Our adopted daughter, the lawyer in New York, Leslie, texted us that on her Facebook page there was an announcement that Michelle C. had been accepted into the USC Master Program for social work. That is the fifth best school in the country for that profession. Why was that my miracle number two? Well, Michelle went through the Peacemaker Corps training 10 years ago. She came from a family of gang members -- from her parents to all her siblings, who were in and out of jail and harassed by law enforcement. She wanted a different life, however, which is why she came to our workshop. Along the way over these past 10 years life has been very unforgiving to Michelle, but she took strength from the community who believed in her and from her inner strength. She pushed herself into fulfilling her dream. That message brought a smile to my face and a small ray of hope shined on my Mother's Day.