Writing letters to my dad’s killer helped me find peace


“Have you learnt something concerning the offender?” a good friend requested me after I advised her how my father died. I inform her what I inform all new buddies: that in 1992, once I was eleven years previous, a younger man, excessive on medicine and trying to steal one thing, broke into my household’s residence in the midst of the night time and picked up a kitchen carving knife on his approach upstairs. As my father awoke, a wrestle broke out. This man stabbed my father and ran away, discovered by the police quickly after. My father died hours later within the emergency room, whereas I sat within the nook of my neighbor’s rest room, knees tucked as much as my chest, shivering and questioning: What simply occurred to my world?

Dr. Geoffrey Cragg holds his daughter, Carys, in 1983.

On the time, my father was coaching to grow to be an orthopedic surgeon, following greater than a decade of a profitable household medical apply. My mother and father, siblings and I moved cities and constructed a life in our new group in Calgary, Canada. As he studied and labored on the college and hospital, we have been embraced by our neighborhood. We walked to and from faculty, made new buddies, attended sports activities and music follow, ate meals collectively and performed outdoors, simply as so many households do.

We spent summers crusing and winters snowboarding. My father constructed flying foxes, dollhouses, violins and even a cabin on a lake, all as a result of he was curious to find out how. We watched him, discovered from him and needed to be like him, needed to embody the enjoyment he carried round.

My life shattered into items when this younger man entered our residence and destroyed our world. Nothing was the identical.

Nineteen years later, in 2011, I sat throughout from a brand new pal as she requested concerning the offender. There, I turned conscious I had a window of time left on his 25-to-life, second-diploma-homicide jail sentence the place I might contact him with the steerage of a program I’d heard about through the years: the restorative- justice sufferer-offender dialogue mannequin. It was right here, I quickly discovered, I might ask my unanswered questions. Why did he come to my home? What was his life like earlier than the crime? Why did he lie about who killed my father for therefore lengthy? Did he perceive what he took away from my household?

I knew a couple of issues from studying the newspaper clippings my mom gave me, a couple of years after the crime. “Intruder stabs physician to dying.” “Accused killer fingers greatest pal for the crime.” “Physician’s assassin sentenced to life time period.” This info and the handful of occasions my household spoke of the…



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