"I want the truth!"
"You can't handle the truth!"
Anyone who is at least somewhat familiar with dramatic 1990 movies should recognize these lines from A Few Good Men. I happened to catch it on PBS last night and watched it though I also own the movie, having recently acquired it at a rummage sale about a month ago. It's an interesting movie to watch, the characters trying to get to the core truth of a murder that happened on a military base. At first glance, it seemed like an open and shut deal but the reality was far different and getting to the truth underneath it all would be more difficult.
It was that way, I think, with Irvin's murder 12 years ago. The question that was always asked was "why?" It was asked of my sister, asked of me. The question was asked at each of my parents' trials and we never got that answer, not really. And that has probably been the most difficult thing about the whole event, I think. We never got the truth of what was really behind the events of that day.
After my mother went to prison, I established communication with her. There was this period where she would tell me how it wasn't planned. It was her defense the whole time both during the trial and after. They didn't plan it. If they had planned it, surely they would have done a better job than just appearing at my apartment and shooting him in front of witnesses (very comforting Mom). I finally had to really sit down and write her a letter and tell her point blank that I did not believe her; I would never believe her and if she continued to talk about how the whole thing wasn't planned, I would stop talking to her because it didn't matter to me if they had planned it or not. The results were still the same. A man was dead and I saw my father kill him. The next time she called, she apologized and told me she would never bring it up again and to this day, she hasn't.
Having been in the dialectical behavior therapy program for about two and a half years now, I have come to slowly radically accept the fact that 1. I will never find out the truth and 2. there may very well be no more to it than a case of severe dis-regulation. In other words, this may likely have been no more than a crime of passion, a snap of the mental senses, a severe lapse of judgement leading to an event that affected many lives and ended one.
I don't think it was quite that simple though. There were things leading up to the event to suggest that it would lead to it. And like an inevitable train wreck, all I could do was stand there and watch; I couldn't do anything to stop it. I couldn't do anything to stop it. I warned Irvin my mother was making threats. I called the police the night before, trying to get my apartment keys because my mother was acting crazy. My sister, Irvin, and I were even trying to figure out how to get my mother put into the psychiatric unit. And in the end, all I could do was stand there, frozen, and watch my father shoot my brother-in-law from across my living room.
Can I handle the truth? Is there even any now after 12 years that my parents would even remember? Time messes with our heads, changes memories, puts in justifications and excuses that were not there previously. Is there a truth to be found anymore? It is extremely likely I will never know the why behind it all; I will never know what they were thinking in the hours and minutes before and even after Irvin was killed. And to be honest, I don't know if I really want to know.
My sister still tries to seek it out but from the other side. She has learned things about her first husband that may supposedly justify my parents' actions. What does that even matter? What does it change? He's still dead. My parents are still in prison and they will DIE in prison. I will get a phone call someday informing of me their death and that will be the end. And that day will come far sooner than I will be ready for it.
The carousel never stops turning. Whether I know the truth or not, I must go on and live my life because it is the only life I have to live. What happened, they did. They had the power to stop it and they chose not to. And THAT is the truth.