The morning that Charles Severance was indicted in my Mom's murder, I woke up worried about cameras on my porch, and my sweet little boys, then aged 1 and 5. It had happened before, on a quiet Sunday a few months before. We'd been in the middle of Serious Craft Time when I heard the knock at the front door.
I opened it to a reporter on my porch and a camera in my face. "Did I have any comment on the arrest of Charles Severance? Did I know if there was a link between her murder and the others?" I said simply that I had no comment, closed the door, and was relieved when they went away. "Who was at the door?" my older guy asked. "Just someone I didn't want to talk to." My older boy, so often full of question after question, for once, didn't press me.
Today, I woke on a day that I had believed would never come, and walked into the police station not for questioning or empty updates or simply to collect her things, but to get information, and the beginnings of answers. All of a sudden, I was also in community - a community of three families wounded by the same man.
I listened as I heard for the first time some of the specifics that would unfold over the more than year-long pre-trial process. I was aware that my family's path had been different. We had waited a long time. We had endured years of whispers, and pain. Most importantly, my Dad had died two years before, the grief and heartache and pain of not knowing, subsuming him. He was not with me to hear this news.
My family had walked alone with this for a long time and this was no different. We had persevered through anniversaries, birthdays, deaths. We had been ignored and cast aside by those who were supposed to help us. And here we stood. The press conference was over and the press had gathered out front.
One of the police detectives asked if I wanted to give him my car keys. He would drive my car around back, he said, so I didn't have to walk through the press. It was a kind offer, but I couldn't take it. As we had for almost 11 years, we needed to stand on our own.
"That's okay. I'll go through the front door."
I thought that maybe if I gave the local news folks the shot they needed, then my home would still be a sanctuary. No one would need to go to my porch. (Blessedly, no one did.) We walked out and the press gathered immediately. Surrounded by my brother, my aunt and my cousin, I read:
Our family is grateful to the police and investigators who continued to pursue our mother’s case over these nearly 11 years. While nothing can bring her back, we are hopeful that today’s indictment is the beginning of a process that will offer our family and the other affected families some small amount of closure. We ask for privacy at this time and will have no further comment.
And so began the next chapter. Filled with more surreal moments and experience. But on that day, the worry I woke with was gone by bedtime. No cameras on my door, just a road ahead.