This is a special portrait of Michelle as a baby and me . . .
The ability to share that horrific loss may be one of the greatest tools we, as individuals, possess. By utilizing this philosophy may your grief journey be less burdensome as the going can be difficult. May these pages serve you well. It is my sincere desire that both victim and non-victim find them beneficial. Thanks for letting me share these thoughts with you.
THOUGHTS OF A SPECIAL FRIEND
Several years ago, e-mail had just started to collect a head of steam and was becoming a reliable method of communication. I signed up with CompuServe and logged into the Crime Forum. After sharing many messages with other crime victims and survivors I accepted the role as Section Leader of this forum. Shortly after taking the leadership position I started communicating with Stephen Koski.
After exchanging several e-mail messages we learned that we were both in the Seattle area of Western Washington State but were surprised that this was not the only common ground we shared. My son Patrick was murdered on May 1, 1983 and his daughter Michelle in August 1990. Both cases remain unsolved. There were even more commonalities, Stephen’s murdered daughter and my son Patrick dated for a brief period; at the time of Patrick’s murder, we only lived a few blocks from one another and our children attended the same schools and were acquainted. Both Stephen and I began working with victims, as volunteers with Families and Friends of Violent Crime Victims [although not both at the same time]a nonprofit support and outreach organization then in Seattle.
During one of our message exchanges, we decided that a meeting over a pot of coffee was in order. We needed to share our thoughts and experiences as victim volunteers. That weekend Stephen Koski and I met for the first time. After more than five hours, we were still talking and I’m sure we downed more than a reasonable amount of coffee. That meeting cemented our long-term friendship. During the early days I also helped and coached his filing a Social Security Disability Claim. Like me he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
A couple of weeks later we had a second meeting. This time we discussed our victim advocacy in terms of the emerging Internet. This new medium had not yet exploded as it has today but Stephen suggested that we work with victims on the Internet. His idea was for me to cancel CompuServe and join him on the Internet in reaching out to victims and survivors. However, I resisted his urging and decided to remain with the system I was using at the time. Besides my computer was an old one. It was an old 386 computer with a 20mb hard drive, a modem that was barely acceptable for Internet work and it had barely enough RAM to allow me to get onto the Internet before bedtime.
In those days the Internet had little more than 50,000 hits a day but it was growing fast. During one of our many meetings, we used Stephen’s mega fast state of the art computer to do a search for victim, murder, and homicide. We were not able to find anything of merit available for victims and survivors. That afternoon we agreed to collaborate in the development of a website devoted to the support of violent crime victims and survivors and to provide as many resources as possible. A prime feature was being able to share our experiences with victims via e-mail; we often called our effort our cyber-outreach group. Today there are so many sites available that it would take hours just to read the lists of victim services from search engines.
Neither Stephen nor I had much experience with HTML code in those days or the mechanics of putting a website together. My main contribution was to be artistic and share my many writings with our cyber-clients. First we had to search for a program that would help us assemble what we would need for our site then we would secure the Internet Service Provider [ISP] to host our site. It took a little over three weeks of learning and feverishly assembling material and locating it on the assigned pages. Within four weeks we had posted one of the first if not the first Crime Victim Website on the Internet and had begun reaching out and sharing our experiences with other victims and survivors of violent crime.
It wasn’t long before we started receiving email messages and requests for resources. In the years since we began our Internet efforts we have worked with, shared experiences with, and counseled victims from China, Canada, France Germany, Israel, Mexico and many other points on the globe. In addition we advised with Australia in setting up a system for victim impact statements.
After nearly two years it came time for a major website update. Stephen and I had a lot of difficulty in reaching common ground on how the update was to be organized. Eventually, we decided to go our separate ways and each dedicate our own websites. Stephen was able to get his updates done much quicker but it was to take me a little longer.
It is important here to note that through the proceeding years, our friendship and bonding has grown very strong and our relationship exceeds that of normal friendship; in fact we are more like brothers than friends.
I began searching for ISP’s that would be willing to donate the space for the new DOVE website. World Link of Seattle ultimately provided a home for the DOVE website and helped secure our domain name www.dove-wa.org. In the meantime I purchased a new modern computer and bought a copy of FrontPage from an auction on e-bay.
It took me a few days to learn the program and at the end of a week the new DOVE website was posted on the web. Since then both Stephen and I have reached more than 40,000 victims, survivors, and interested individuals. We are both members of an International Crime Victim Assistance Online Organization.
It was through this organization that I became aware of an international consortium of victimology. The 9th International Symposium of Victimology submitted a call for papers and out of curiosity I answered that call. I had some very definite ideas that would make excellent topics.
After several months of research and data gathering, I submitted two abstracts: Stress Disorders-A new Classification and Victims of Crime-Victims of Stress.
I confess that I had little hope that such a prestigious group would accept my papers but I had nothing to loose. Imagine my great surprise on April 17, 1997 when I received notification from the Symposium Secretariat that my paper Stress Disorders-A new Classification had been accepted for presentation at the Symposium at the University of Amsterdam. One out of two was more than I expected. However, I received the second notice on June 30, 1997 informing me that they had also accepted my second paper Victims of Crime-Victims of Stress paper as well.
Having new encouragement, I began in earnest to complete both papers. That task however, proved to be the easiest. I began searching for grant money and other donations for the trip to Amsterdam to present my papers to the symposium. I was able to secure more than half of the funding for the trip but could not arrange for the balance.
I notified the symposium that I was unable to secure the appropriate funding for the trip and asked the secretariat to present the two papers in my place. They honored my request and the papers were submitted for me. After such a backdoor approach I felt quite satisfied that at least my papers were presented. However, there was even more surprise in store. Several thousand copies were distributed to the members and both papers were included in the Symposium’s Final Report. Both papers are available from the symposium and at one time the Department of Justice was considering adding them to their archives as well.
More than 40,000 victims, survivors, and interested others have been assisted through the efforts that Stephen and I initiated so many years ago. These victims and survivors have been able to find someone that suffered as they have and could understand their grief. They found an identification and validation that they never knew existed.
Our friendship has continued to grow into a relationship that is special not only to us but to our families as well.
About a year ago Stephen began complaining of night sweats. It took several months of doctor’s visits and tests to get to the root of his problem. Unfortunately the unwelcome results came as no real surprise to either of us; if you read Victims of Crime-Victims of Stress [http://www.dove-wa.org/Download.htm] you will understand.
Our friendship is about to come to an end as Stephen battles terminal kidney cancer and has precious little time left. It is perhaps ironic that the man that got me started on the Internet is no longer capable of punching out messages on a keyboard to do Internet research or even log onto the Internet. His care now is entrusted to his family and a hospice nurse that visits three days a week.
He asked me last week to take over the maintenance of his site. I will re-integrate our sites once again to continue reaching out to those we can help. I hope to re-dedicate a large portion of his site to Cold Homicide Cases, his major area of work and devotion.
We encourage anyone who has written poetry or prose relating to their horrific experiences to share with us such efforts. By relating the seemingly unending grief may gather strength from this process and unify us in making society aware of that which has changed us forever.
From a rape victim...
I USE TO HAVE THIS LIGHT INSIDE BUT NOW THAT LIGHT IS GONE BECAUSE OF YOUR PRIDE AND SELFISHNESS I REALLY CAN'T CARRY ON I USE TO HAVE THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS BUT NOW MY SOUL IS BLACK I CAN'T BELIEVE WHAT YOU HAVE TAKEN AND I WONDER WILL I EVER GET IT BACK IT'S HARD TO GO ON DAY TO DAY BUT THEY SAY I MUST BUT NOW THAT YOU HAVE DONE THIS TO ME I DON'T KNOW WHO I CAN TRUST WELL ITS BEEN FIVE MONTHS NOW AND THE STRUGGLE'S NOT YET DONE BUT THE ONE THING I CAN SAY FOR SURE IS I HAVE NOT LET YOU WON... ~TASHA~
The Undefended Victim...
For me, no gavel, hammers The Scales were never weighted. My Crime was that of a victim, My life, was the price I paid. And when my life was taken, Why weren't my rights read? And the Statement, "overruled" When they pronounced me dead? I'll never hear my rights, Nor take the witness stand, No attorney to defend me, My fate was in a killer's hand. Now the courtroom's crowded As the defendant pleads the case. With just the glimmer of a tear, Cold eyes on a straight face But oh, if I could take the stand... If they could witness my last breath, Could they live with the terror that I went through in death? If they could hear my pleading cries, and see the hatred in that face, Then At last, we'd know, the scales had "Been balanced" in this case. If I could, I'd tell the jury exactly how it was, The fear and pain that I went through, Struck down without a cause. Did the jury carefully weigh it all as they listened to the plea? There were no emotions, showing now, just the hope of going free... The final verdict now is in as the defendant stands in tears, If only I had done as well... Given ten to twenty years.
Author unknown - Poem shared by yet another bereaved mother...
Son, you're in our thoughts every single day, And so is our anger towards reckless horseplay. A thoughtless friend, a careless act... Your senseless death, these are fact. The truth is that you're gone forever Forever 18... forever and ever Your last words are here and painfully quoted... "Hey buddy, is that thing loaded?" The consequences never even thought about Your friends response "I don't know...let's find out" In that moment your life was taken... Leaving a family unbearably shaken Struggling to understand why there is no justice Toward your killer, but Son, please trust us... We will not let your death be for not Our aim, reckless horseplay will be stopped. Why should age be a lawful excuse To allow such devastating, life ending abuse? The boy that did this was around your same age There lies the injustice, our hurt, and our rage. Old enough to know better yet his life goes on While yours was cut short, it's just simply wrong! Son, your in our thoughts every single day... And so is our anger toward reckless horseplay...
He's gone now taken with hatred and anger his smiling face never to be seen again on this earth so unaware of the love that many had for him his emptiness and anger gone replaced with light and love his departure leaving us angry empty tears fall freely rage and confusion overrides all rational thoughts why, why did they have to kill him leaving us empty he was just a boy with a powerful spirit full of life and energy protective over his brothers they looked up to him its been said he was the most awesome brother in the world revenge is what they want to expel the anguish that tears there young hearts why, why did they take him we want to laugh with him to have another chance to say I love you. To see his long black hair blow in the wind as he joked women always like a man with long hair playfully tossing it about while smiling pretending to recall his conquests but never participating in life as a Romeo just an image he liked to portray just a shy little boy who wanted to be loved why, why did they take him leaving us so empty and full of questions they took him and still hold him a prisoner of their insanity he lies cold and dirty his beautiful long hair stiff and matted with his blood never again to blow in the wind or be tossed about the tattoo of an eagle will never adorn his young body why why did you take him from us we loved him we argued as families do and maybe more so but we still loved him a mothers love is forever he will always be the 7lb 1oz baby held to my breast eagerly suckling large brown eyes filled with wonder small hands grasping at life rosy cheeks dimpled with a smile he came into this world only to be taken after a short while why, why did you take him leaving us with such bitterness and rage the kind that takes a toll on the mind and body we pray and pray some more trying to find an answer to the insanity that has none it feels so unjust why, why did you have to take him we loved him so we will remember him always the laughing youth that enjoyed life always having patience with his brothers so why, why did you have to take him he was our son, brother nephew and grandson and we loved him You Bastards, You Bastards, You Son of a Bitch I don't mean to attack your mother but I am angry so very angry why, why did you take my son? I wrote this about two weeks after we were notified people keep saying pick up your life and go on but how do I do that? It hurts so much--Tammy Trail.
VICTIMS OF VIOLENT CRIME
We walk around with a smile on our face. We move through time and people think we are okay. Still, the wounds are there, never really healing. An emptiness, never really being filled. We are the victims of Violent Crime. Time passes and people forget what has happened. Sometimes remembering as a passing thought. Shattered lives are never able to forget. Always picking up pieces, trying to put them together. We go on day by day, victims of violent crime. Murder, rape, suicide and everything in between. We wear masks so you can't see the pain. Holding onto pictures and memories of what is gone. Wanting things to be alright again, just as they were. But knowing they never will be again. To know they have not been forgotten by the world. To know that someone understands and cares. To hope that justice will be served. But knowing that most likely not. Victims of Violent Crime go on. This next poem I wrote after the bombing in Okalahoma.
BORN TO BE AN ANGEL
As we hear the first cry of our little one, such an awe goes through us. We look at those tiny little fingers and toes. Bright eyes looking up at us with wonder. How each breath they take gives more to use. Truly they are our angels. In our minds we wonder what this little bundle could grow to be. Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief, someone great. It doesn't matter we know that their special to us and cam only be the best at what ever. Truly they are our angels. Sometime our little ones are more special then we ever could believe. Put here on earth to stay only a short time. To touch our heart and move on to a more glories job. Called home to our Lord. Truly they are born to be an angel. With each day and night we wonder why we have to go on. Looking at each star and behind each cloud, hoping for a glimpse of them. We know they are there looking and waiting for us, to be together again at another time. Then we can be with our angel again.
I wish you were here, Here to stay. But the dear Lord took you away. My heart aches because I'm alone, I wish you'd wake up and come home. You left so many ones behind, I can never get you off my mind. I think of you all day long, You were so kind and never did wrong. Your sweet voice, your loving smile, Your love for us could stretch a mile. I have mourned so much, and I have cried, But I know you'll always be by my side. Your gentle kiss upon my cheek, I know in Heaven we will meet.
For Connie G. Jarvise
by her loving granddaughter Katie Jarvise
Abe NO PAROLE! (FOR THE VICTIMS)
Families weeping at the grave Of a loved one who was killed Victims of rape or abuse With the fear that is instilled. Terror from the terrorist Who preys on innocents Crimes against humanity That make no earthly sense.
They don't have rights read to them (Because, it seems, there's none) They can't get the free lawyer (And sometimes, more than one.) They don't have the same choices - They can't plea-bargain a deal - They must live with the verdict - There's no way they can appeal. They don't get free room and board Doctors, dentists, and eye care - No one, they can complain to If they aren't treated fair. They can't get time off For their good behavior - They can't get out on parole For, their pain is always there. The victims are victimized Again, by the legal system That cares more for the criminal Than it does for them.
COPYRIGHT 1997 BY DEL "ABE" JONES
615-251-3045 WK 615-797-5034 HM 11-7-97
Somewhere in my dreams tonight
You say you were chosen for his
It's said to be that angels
Wherever the ocean meets the sky
"While there's a heart in me, you'll be a part of me."
For additional HELP see our VICTIM RESOURCES Page