Today I am missing my dear friend Curt. Maybe I am feeling especially down today, or maybe its that he was killed seven years ago as of January 12th, which has made January hard for me ever since. Either way, I have been thinking of Curt a lot lately.
I try to curb the mix of emotion and just focus on his gentleness and picture his great smile. He was the most kind spirited man. Willing to help anyone who needed it. He loved his family. I never heard him raise his voice, or talk bad about anyone. Ever. He shared himself and his love and his peace with those around him. Was selfless.
Curt was murdered. Shot in his home on a wintery Sunday. The neighbors outside taking down their Christmas lights heard nothing. Saw nothing. Know nothing.
I found out about his death at work. At that point I didn't know the how, just that he was gone. Luckily there was another interpreter there and they took my class - well part of it. They could only stay so long..I would have to pull it together and interpret. I don't know how I did it. All, I could think was that I had to get home and call a couple of our mutual friends and tell them them news. I had to call his best friend and get the details. I had to get in the car and drive to Boise - NOW.
In the middle of making those calls, I found out he was murdered. In a small town just outside of Boise. When I hear people say "you live in Portland wow, I'm too scared to go downtown" I want to laugh. Crime happens everywhere.
I didn't make it to work the next day, as a friend and I were driving all night in order to arrive at the funeral in time. Monday at work a friend asked - "hey, where were you Friday." After telling him, I remember saying " I hope they never find the person who did it, because I can't imagine hating someone this much for the rest of my life." My friend was taken aback by this. But at the time, only a few days after, I was filled with such anger and hate for this mysterious person who stole the life of my friend. At this mysterious person who stole the lives of his family, who changed all of our lives forever.
My hate and anger has lessened. Although it still grips me at times and I ache with an anger I don't know what to do with. My sadness is still strong. At random times I still experience a rush of emotion and tears in my eyes, as if it just happened.
I find pictures of he and I in my office and I smile, remembering the fun times we had in Toledo at the WSRID Summer Institute. Those are good days...when I am surprised to see his smiling face staring up at me. "Hi Tina! Remember: be happy and I'm in a good place."
In 2007, Curt's wife was arrested and convicted of his murder. The trial split his family and the town into two camps. Those who thought her guilty and those who did not. The evidence was not overwhelming and the police did a horrible job at processing evidence. Including losing hair found on his body, and a technician throwing out the tissue/trace evidence found under his nails from struggling with his killer. His wife had no scratches on her, no gun powder residue and an alibi. I can go and and on about the horrendous mistakes made during the investigation. His children totally support their mother and are working on an appeal. But, I will leave that for another post.
I struggle with the not knowing. Did she? Didn't she? In my gut, I don't think she did it. And when I read the evidence..or lack there of...I really really don't think she did it. Sometimes I think this turn of events has made the grieving harder. There is no end. Just more struggle and more questions and no new answers.
Curt was a Father, brother, husband, Grandfather, interpreter, & friend. At his funeral his brother quoted the scripture "Well done my good and faithful servant" - I thought I had never heard anything more fitting. His life was well done, in every way.
I miss you Curt. I think about you everyday. I try to use your life as an example of how to live. With peace, love, and acceptance.