If You Had Known Our Son, You Wouldn't Have Killed Him

Written on the 10th anniversary of Tim's 1994 murder

Ten years ago, you killed my son and his employee while they worked on a broken baler at Crown Paper plant. You shot them each three times in the head, execution style but you've never been held accountable. Over the years, I thought of you often and wondered what could have gone wrong in your life, but you rarely cross my mind anymore.

You wouldn't have known the love in our hearts the day our son was born thirty three years earlier. You couldn't have known the thrill of hearing him say 'mommy or daddy' for the first time, and of seeing him start walking across the room when his tiny legs couldn't sit still any longer.

You couldn't have experienced the feelings of joy we had as parents when he built his first birdhouse, or walked to school alone trying to convince us that he was old enough. You weren't looking out the window on rainy days to see him carrying his sisters on his shoulders because they were afraid of the worms. You didn't feel the swell of pride inside us when he graduated from high school and his life as an adult unfolded.

You couldn't possibly have felt the exhilarating excitement when he earned his wings at eighteen and took me flying for the first time in a small Cessna. You weren't there when he married the love of his life and a year later presented us with a wee granddaughter who sported a mop of black hair and beautiful oval eyes. You didn't see him cradle his child in his arms and stroke her with his massive hands when she cried, or watch out the window to see him arriving at family gatherings with his wee daughter perched high on his shoulders clutching a fistful of his dark curls in her tiny hands.

He was the only son we had. As a child, he spent hours watching his dad building and fixing things, and went on as an adult to build his little family a beautiful home on an acreage that they had just moved into three weeks before you took his life. He had big dreams for their life in the country, plans that never materialized and dreams that shattered in a heartbeat. You turned those dreams into mourning for all of us.

I often wondered if smiles would ever return to my husband's face, and if the imaginary bricks would ever lift from his chest, giving way to happiness once again. You couldn't possibly have know that nine years later, my husband would join our son on a cold and frosty Christmas Eve, never having recovered from his loss. You will never know how rudely death interrupted our dreams of growing old together, or that the only comfort I felt on Christmas Day, as I planned his funeral, was knowing the he and our son were together again in a wonderful place that knows no pain.

If you had known our son; if he had touched your life in the gentle ways that he touched ours for thirty three years, you wouldn't have shot him in the head that sad day in October, 1994. The memories I'm left with are filled with the sadness you caused us.

Will I ever know the freedom you have today, of walking the same streets as my family or perhaps lurking around the same playgrounds my grandchildren enjoy playing in? Have you ever bounced your baby boy on your knees and promised him the world? Have you ever watched over him as he sawed through his first log on a camping trip, or carved the family name into a piece of driftwood? Have you ever shared his joy when you held his little child?

Wouldn't you have loved the chance to say goodbye if you knew you'd never see him again? How would you have prepared for the pain that followed?

Only you will ever know.

Jane Orydzuk