My son, Joseph Malik Fannell, 22, was killed by a driver who ran a red light. This blog was created to chronicle the emotions and stages of my grief following his death.
Grief is a state of being. It never ends. We never get over it or through it. We just find ways to endure.
"If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there; if you're kicked in the gut, He will help you catch your breathe." Psalm 34:18
In the shadow of your grief, remember to breathe.
Joseph’s trial is
over.Although Raymond Blinn, the man
who killed my son, never admitted verbally what he had done, justice has been
No, certainly not the
kind of justice that I dreamed of, what I wanted nor even the kind that could
ever bring Joseph back, but a peace has been restored, that only God could
bring.And for that I am grateful.
The judge read the
determination… “It has been determined by the State of New Jersey, County of
Burlington, that in the case of Evelyn and Jeffery Fannell, on behalf of the
Estate of Joseph M. Fannell, as the plaintiff vs. Raymond Blinn, the defendant
Raymond Blinn was responsible for the wrongful death of Joseph Fannell.”Not that we needed a court to determine that,
but this land is governed by law, as unfair as it may be is, sometimes.
After 2 ½ years those
fighting on behalf of Blinn, finally came over to extend their long-awaited
sincere condolences and apologies and with them all of a sudden, so did
Patricia Blinn.Before I realized it,
she was right there, in my face, greeting me and extending her arms to hug me.
A quick glance and all I
saw was my daughter Brandi, as her eyes welled with tears and the next thing
all I could do was hug that woman, the wife of the man who killed my son.First with one arm, which quickly extended to
the other.I grasped her as she
expressed her apologies at the loss of my son.Sharing from a mother-to-mother stance, and that she had a grandson the
same age as my Joe.Here in this moment,
what I wanted from the very beginning and never thought possible, not only an
apology, but I saw firsthand in myself, the grace and mercy, love and
forgiveness of God.The thing we talk
about often but far less often, practice.
I was reminded of so much
in that moment.The forgiveness of God
and how in spite of what we do, He always extends His arms (both of them) to
hug us.And God also told me this, in
that moment, that I wanted from the very beginning, I did not receive until I
let it go.That it wasn’t until I let go
of receiving an apology, that I got one.It wasn’t until I said out of my mouth, ‘Raymond Blinn didn’t matter
anymore,’ that it really didn’t.The
whole time, the last three years, it has been a part of my confession, that
driver never apologized.And it wasn’t
until I changed that confession, progress took place.God reminded me that true forgiveness is
receiving an apology that you will never get. And that’s what I did when I
finally said, “I don’t care about the apology.”
And then God said this.And I often tell women how special they are
in the eyes of God.I say it to the
women in my church, I say it to the women at the Tea, however and as much as
I’m led to.Women really are special in
the eyes of God.We have His heart.God said, it was because of Abigail, the wife
of Nabal, that David did not kill him.She went ahead and asked for mercy on the behalf of her husband. And
because of that, her husband survived.God
said it was because of Patricia Blinn, that her husband received the grace he
had been given.It was because of her
that he received forgiveness.
And it was because of
God, that I was able to extend it.Only
God can do nothing for
me, until I recognize the limit of what I can do for myself as a human being, which
allows Him to do the impossible.
Forgiving, letting go and
extending grace to the man who killed my son.
He is forgiven, because I
am.And because I am forgiven, I am
free.Justice (for me) has been served.And I believe that is what Joseph would want
for any one of us.
Sleep in peace my Joe.
His mom, and the Lord’s
Joseph Malik Fannell
January 14, 1993 - June 5, 2015