Ran across this photo on Facebook, and the story below. Before posting in my blog, a quick google search and I discovered Ms. Cathey, the widow pictured, was also pregnant. I’m sharing the story, will explain below.
The night before the burial of her husband 2nd Lt. James Cathey of the United States Marine Corps, killed in Iraq, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of him, and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. “I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it” she said. “I think that’s what he would have wanted”.
Having buried my Mother at 20, grandparents and other relatives, I know the pain of being near the casket. The photo and story moved me to tears. I started to read the comments on Facebook, and I was so shocked to see one mentioning this was a waste of taxpayers money. I assumed we was meaning the Marine guarding the casket, I hope he meant the war. We all see the world through our own lens of experience. We all have the context that nature and nuture (biology and experience) provide us.
When working with victims, it is important to know that each person is a unique individual with a life experience and context that you’ll need to understand. Restorative Justice is based on specific values and specific process. Crafting the art and science in a way that promotes healing is so important. It is such simple advice to offer that you should not make assumptions when working with victims. It is also important to remember and work with offenders and their families for how they feel victimized. Even in the worst of wrongs, some people might find ways that they were harmed.
The PBS program Elusive Justice, hear Candace Bergman say the statement on the video clip. This program focuses on harms well beyond the average Restorative Justice practitioner. But each individual person has the capacity to grow and heal in the process and values of Restorative Justice.
My comment on the Facebook photo, was that everyone grieves differently. Ms Cathey felt the need to sleep near her husbands casket. Its not for me to judge, and anytime we can offer, support or extend support that helps people feel a little bit more “just,” then we should.