The woman who killed Rachel has been caught. She was a fugitive for over a year, during which time all of us who love Rachel languished in Limbo.
Dear people, happy for us, have been asking us how we feel. It’s complicated.
Jill and I have been trying to find the right words to describe our feelings. Happiness isn’t really even on the radar. The best we have been able to come up with is: relieved and grateful. We are relieved that the woman who took Rachel’s life and deprived those who love her of the joy of her presence will finally begin to suffer the consequences of her own crimes. We are grateful to those who worked so tirelessly to make it possible to bring Elva Diaz to justice. We are grateful that Rachel’s loved ones have finally been liberated from the Limbo we have been imprisoned in for nearly three years and are finally able to move forward.
Still. Elva Diaz’ capture simply marks the sure beginning of a process we have dreaded since we received the terrible news that Rachel had been killed by a drunk driver.
Our neighbor was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. He had to wait for treatment while the wheels within wheels of bureaucracy turned at their own unhurried pace. While he waited the cancer grew, making the success of the treatment even more doubtful. Finally, his application was approved and a date was set for his treatment. He is pleased to receive the treatment he needs for a chance at survival, but, obviously, he doesn’t relish radiation and chemotherapy.
That is the way I feel right now. I guess I should be pleased that the criminal phase of our ordeal has begun, because the only way to get it over with is to go through it. But the last thing I can think of wanting to do right now is to be confined in a room with my daughter’s killer, to have to look at her, to be forced to listen to her pathetic excuses - as if she were the victim and not my daughter...
We haven’t won the lottery. This is no trip to Disneyland. It is pitiful, even to me, that we must be “happy” to have the privilege of this dreadful experience - our day in court. I would much rather be happy that Rachel would be graduating from college this year, or that she was engaged. But I do know some poor souls who, deprived of their loved ones, do not even have the small consolation of an actual criminal trial. I am sensitive to their plight and grateful that we do not share it.
What I am especially grateful for is that now we have the assurance that there is an end in sight to this part of our ordeal. No court of law is going to bring our daughter back, and no punishment for her killer will make it right. Whatever happens, we will still be bereft of our precious daughter. A conviction for her killer will be something. In this world it is perhaps everything, all there is. Still, we are left with nothing at all...