wrongful death

by Andrea Elizabeth

Everyone cares about Sister Cathy. She is why The Keepers documentary was made. She is the name that gets the investigators of her unsolved murder in the door. She was a beloved, respectable, heroic nun.

But when I say, “wrongful death”, I’m not talking about her. I’m talking about the keepers of the secrets. The keepers of the wounds they still walk with. The ones whose dreams of life on earth were shattered. The ones who were treated like trash but can’t prove it because their bodies are intact and they still breathe. They themselves don’t realize that they were killed. They walk in denial just like those in The Sixth Sense. The main thing on their mind is, what in the world is forgiveness? They feel guilty, not only for not knowing, but for letting something bad happen to them, something that they still don’t know is fatal, but also for not getting over it. For being dysfunctional. For still feeling under the perp’s power. For not forgiving the perp like the religious people keep yelling for them to do. But forgiveness for them means healing. However, some wounds are fatal and can’t be healed from, so forgiveness is unattainable. When they think of people like Corrie Ten Boom who later forgave the Nazi who was involved in her sister’s death, they see that somehow Corrie was other. The impression Corrie Ten Boom’s biography gives is that she was above it all from the beginning, and I say that with respect. She was not vulnerable in the same way I’m talking about. They say perverts can pick out the vulnerable ones.

But some of the vulnerable ones who “survived” had a special skill. It could be beauty, brains, marksmanship, athleticism. These are the ones who had big dreams. They are the ones who are the most confused, who look at successful people as other. Successful ones, who, most confusingly of all, may not even be as talented. They look at what they thought their lives could have been as other. Yet they don’t know how else to be. Their label is survivor. They knew how to survive. Survive means don’t die. This is something. But again, it didn’t actually happen. They died and are now in limbo. They wonder why things are over for them, but they’re not in heaven yet. Many commit suicide to make things seem more real. But we’re told suicides don’t make it to heaven either, so most just keep faking it. Their actions become imitations of life. They are so good at it that other people don’t know they died either.

It’s sort of like getting divorced against your will. You lost your life but you aren’t given widowed status. You must have done something wrong to be in that situation. Or like if your kid runs away. You aren’t seen as a victim of a wrongful death. You must have caused it and must now suffer the consequences. Or like being in jail. You look at living people though metal bars. Life in prison – oh we’re such good people for not making them die! No, we did. Make no mistake.


But something new has recently happened. The talented dead have been given a voice. But they aren’t resurrected, they are ghosts. Ghosts haunting the living. This voice is the internet. It’s where people whose livelihood, families, friends, sense of self, sense of the world, sense of others was taken away, and can now get some measure of payback. It doesn’t bring their lives back, and the support does something comforting at the beginning, but it doesn’t really change anything. Except that it gives the ghosts a purpose. A sense that their life wasn’t wasted. That they can still do something to help others. One being, to expose the murderers.

Resurrection is something that will happen later. In the meantime, perhaps when the murder has been exposed for what it was, and this does need to happen, when their dead bodies, and the evidence they left behind, is removed from the crime scene the murderer created, along with his preceding accomplices who create the vulnerable in the first place, they can rest in a better place while they await the restoration, and probably redirection, of all that was lost.

By the way, this is not the Calvinist perspective.