Thursday, March 9, 2017

Stillwater

It's 3 o'clock and Bennie is trying very hard to not nap. I find this incredibly frustrating and she has already received one spanking. On one hand, I want to force her to be still and sleep, but on the other, that awful other hand that makes me want to relish the moment and not punish her for not obeying- that other hand is telling me to smile and coddle her for another moment.

All I can see are the tufts of her curls and I have a flashback to being in the ICU with my brother's identical tufts and watching him sleep beside me. I wanted to protect him, take the scars away, and rewind the clock hours. Bennie, ever the image of my brother, looks like him in the bed next to me.

There is a fear resting in my heart of losing him and it is eternally a breath away. Sometimes, when the phone rings, it feels a little more urgent and I know that when I pick it up, there will be bad news and sadness on the other end. Just today, I received a phone call and before I picked it up, the wind was out of my body and I could barely press the button.

It was a nothing phone call, but it was the reminder of knowing that life changes in a beat.

Does Jonathon’s mother feel this same way when her phone rings? Does she automatically think back to the phone call that changed her life, turned her world upside down as she collapsed on her kitchen floor with those words hanging in the water? 

These are my thoughts as there are many things going on behind closed doors that we are not a part of nor privy to. In about a week, a grand jury will convene in Colquitt County and decide what kind of evidence the state has against Mr. Peacock and if he will be indicted.


Little steps along the way have brought us to this moment. Several months ago there was a bond hearing and bail was set at $1 million. What is the cost of life? For this, it was $200,000 a victim. The morning of that hearing, I called my sister-in-law and spoke from the heart and whatever words I said completely escape me now. When you speak from the heart, that is the way it should be-- said and then gone, because those words can only be used once.

After the hearing, there was anger- how can a life be worth a mere $200K? That's a yearly salary, albeit a good salary, but a salary just the same. Whether the bail was a single million or five million- it did not matter as Mr. Peacock did not have the funds to afford it. He sits in jail, where he has sat since May.

People create facts out of fiction and truth out of lies. The beautiful part about a grand jury is that this is no place for fiction or lies. Peers sit in a room without an audience and review the evidence, ask questions, and understand both sides of the case. In this room, these strangers will hold the fate of a breathing young man in their hands.

The same way Mr. Peacock held the fate of his five friends in his own hands.

While we, as a family, are certain that the guilty party is in hand, justice must be served with the proper course and diligence that we would all want and deserve. Vigilante justice won't bring peace and it surely won't bring answers.

Nothing will.

What we can hope for and what we can pray for is the guilty party be brought to justice.

Swipe out the lies, forget the fiction, and know that nothing is fact until it comes forth in the grand jury next week, hidden from all unnecessary parties, gossip, and ridicule. On one hand, I want to be at the door as it swings shut in support of my family- but on the other hand, that beautiful other hand reminds me that if I cannot be there, no other gawking eye can be there either. 

"The Media" has started contacting the families, looking for quotes and tidbits of information that they can weave into a story. On one hand, I understand that they are tasked with the job of keeping the world informed. I also understand the other hand-- our side and the prying eyes wanting to know what we know and how we know it.

I don't envy the people behind the closed door next week and the decisions that they have ahead of them. I don't envy Mr. Peacock's family, nor would I expect anyone to envy ours.

But, in the stillness, watching my child not sleep, you should be envious of us. Yes, we lost one of our own. The kid that was on the edge of adulthood and making his way in this life. We lost a good one. But, the way he continues to work behind the scenes in ways we did not know, the way he has brought us together and helped us linger a little longer with one another... he humbles me.

Watching my family come together and try a little harder to find our tomorrows without him but with each other, he makes us all want the times together to not end and be more often. We laugh about him and know that he is laughing with us and helping us be stronger.

Be envious of that. Know that we are better and stronger one year later because of this. You cannot knock one Cagle down without expecting the rest of us to rise up together in solidarity, protecting those that are hurt and loving those that are gone.

Be envious of our faith; faith in our God, faith in fair justice, faith in strangers, and faith in ourselves.

The grand jury is just one step in a very long process of what we have in store for us and we will continue to fight, to love, and to grow together.

As I kneel in prayer at the end of the day, I still my heart in the waters of life. Often, I do not know what to pray for, in constant fear of praying the wrong thing. Sometimes, I wonder if God hears me and in the next breath afraid that He is actually listening to me and I am going to ask for the wrong thing.

As this grand jury nears, what do I pray for? How and what do I ask God for as our prayers are in direct contrast to Mr. Peacock's family. Is it a battle of who loves more? Who loves better?

No, it is absolutely not a battle of who has the greater love. If that were the case, Jonathon would still be here with us, because no one loved more than him. It is his continued love that raises his family in the still water of faith that he is in our hearts, protecting his mother and sisters. 

I miss that kid. 

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