Ultimate forgiveness from ultimate tragedy
Katy Hutchison had it ‘all’.
Ten years ago she was married to an upcoming lawyer, who was not only a handsome, successful and immensely charming man, he was also a world-class triathlete, and the two of them had also produced an adorable set of twins, a boy and girl. They were five-years-old back in 1997.
Katy and her husband Bob lived in the town of Squamish, a smaller community on the way from Vancouver to the mega winter sports resort of Whistler, which is to be the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics. They loved their life. They loved the outdoors. And, more important than all of that, they were madly in love with each other, and had been for over a decade.
Then, on New Year’s Eve, 1997, it all fell to pieces.
Katy and Bob had a few friends in for the evening, as people tend to do on New Year’s Eve. It came to their attention that in the house, owned by a doctor friend of theirs, there was a party in progress. A house party. A mega house party. Since Bob and Katy knew their friend was away in Mexico, Bob and a couple of friends decided to go an investigate what was going on. That was a very, very bad decision by some right-minded citizens.
The long-and-short of it was, Bob fell afoul of a couple of the uninvited guests at the melee. They were heavily into booze and dope, and would countenance no interference in their out-of-control bacchanal at a house to which they had not been invited. Bob, we can assume, was outraged.
He proceeded to try to chuck some of the young animals out. That was a fatal error. Stated simply, Bob was literally kicked to death at a party in a relatively high-end neighborhood.
Bob left his own social gathering that evening. They next time Katy was to see him, also on that same evening, was in the morgue. All the wonderment of their charmed lives was blown away within a few moments.
I had always wondered about Katy, since that time, since her subsequent story is even more amazing. You can read about it here, and I'd strongly recommend it.
Last evening I met her.
She’s a pretty blonde, nearing .50, but looking a decade younger. A bit reminiscent of a fading ‘flower child’. She is extremely pleasant and extremely ‘together’, as the saying goes. While some of us might assume we would either be in a rubber room, or addicted to booze, or in some other way falling to pieces over what had happened, that’s not true of Katy. Indeed, it is the farthest thing from the truth about her. Anyway, as she put it, she had two little children to raise. Children whose eyes are as vibrantly blue as were those of husband Bob.
Katy was in our community to speak to an audience of parents and kids, as an aspect of Drug Awareness Week here. She was sponsored by the Community Drug Strategy Committee, of which I am a long-time member and media liaison.
And she spoke, and she told her tale, and people were astonished not just by the horror of her story, but how she has come out of it. In one of the strangest twists of all, she has established a long contact with the young man who murdered her husband. She has established such contact, and found him to be not a vicious psycho, but a screwed-up kid who made a number of dreadful choices in life.
She believed that his only hope for salvation would come from his full-acknowledgment of his crime, and to devote his energies to seeing that others didn’t fall into his trap and destroy not only their lives, but also the lives of others. He agreed. And, ironically, and mustering more power of forgiveness than any of us could conceive of managing, Katy and the young man who destroyed all that she knew and loved, actually have worked together. Have made presentations together, and have established an odd sort of bond.
In a testimonial to Katy’s book, Walking After Midnight, a person no less than the Dalai Lama states, in effect, that Katy exemplifies the true beauty of human forgiveness. A forgiveness that he (and she) believes we should strive for. This, she says, is what ‘restorative justice’ is all about, and she is one of North America’s leading advocates of the philosophy that is having impact in a number of communities.
Could I be as forgiving as Katy? I don’t think so. Could you?
On the other hand, I sit in such an awe of her that it verges on disbelief.
Labels: More than just one gutsy lady