Joseph’s trial is over. Although Raymond Blinn, the man who killed my son, never admitted verbally what he had done, justice has been served.
No, certainly not the kind of justice that I dreamed of, what I wanted nor even the kind that could ever bring Joseph back, but a peace has been restored, that only God could bring. And for that I am grateful.
The judge read the determination… “It has been determined by the State of New Jersey, County of Burlington, that in the case of Evelyn and Jeffery Fannell, on behalf of the Estate of Joseph M. Fannell, as the plaintiff vs. Raymond Blinn, the defendant Raymond Blinn was responsible for the wrongful death of Joseph Fannell.” Not that we needed a court to determine that, but this land is governed by law, as unfair as it
may be is, sometimes.
After 2 ½ years those fighting on behalf of Blinn, finally came over to extend their long-awaited sincere condolences and apologies and with them all of a sudden, so did Patricia Blinn. Before I realized it, she was right there, in my face, greeting me and extending her arms to hug me.
A quick glance and all I saw was my daughter Brandi, as her eyes welled with tears and the next thing all I could do was hug that woman, the wife of the man who killed my son. First with one arm, which quickly extended to the other. I grasped her as she expressed her apologies at the loss of my son. Sharing from a mother-to-mother stance, and that she had a grandson the same age as my Joe. Here in this moment, what I wanted from the very beginning and never thought possible, not only an apology, but I saw firsthand in myself, the grace and mercy, love and forgiveness of God. The thing we talk about often but far less often, practice.
I was reminded of so much in that moment. The forgiveness of God and how in spite of what we do, He always extends His arms (both of them) to hug us. And God also told me this, in that moment, that I wanted from the very beginning, I did not receive until I let it go. That it wasn’t until I let go of receiving an apology, that I got one. It wasn’t until I said out of my mouth, ‘Raymond Blinn didn’t matter anymore,’ that it really didn’t. The whole time, the last three years, it has been a part of my confession, that driver never apologized. And it wasn’t until I changed that confession, progress took place. God reminded me that true forgiveness is receiving an apology that you will never get. And that’s what I did when I finally said, “I don’t care about the apology.”
And then God said this. And I often tell women how special they are in the eyes of God. I say it to the women in my church, I say it to the women at the Tea, however and as much as I’m led to. Women really are special in the eyes of God. We have His heart. God said, it was because of Abigail, the wife of Nabal, that David did not kill him. She went ahead and asked for mercy on the behalf of her husband. And because of that, her husband survived. God said it was because of Patricia Blinn, that her husband received the grace he had been given. It was because of her that he received forgiveness.
And it was because of God, that I was able to extend it. Only God.
God can do nothing for me, until I recognize the limit of what I can do for myself as a human being, which allows Him to do the impossible.
Forgiving, letting go and extending grace to the man who killed my son.
He is forgiven, because I am. And because I am forgiven, I am free. Justice (for me) has been served. And I believe that is what Joseph would want for any one of us.
Sleep in peace my Joe.
His mom, and the Lord’s servant,
Joseph Malik Fannell
January 14, 1993 - June 5, 2015
January 14, 1993 - June 5, 2015