Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Erin Prewitt & why you should *like* her!

About a year ago, there was a terrible accident near my hometown.  An educator, training for a marathon, was killed by a young woman who was driving under the influence.  His death shook the community.  My initial reaction was to make a note not to run on busy streets; and, of course, to grieve for the wife and child he left behind.  It threw me into a little bit of grief PTSD that almost cut my off from compassion, to tell the truth.  I had to catch myself being afraid to think about the earthquake this one man's death had created in our community.

Quickly it turned out that this man was so well loved by the community that his name was every where, and venom towards the young woman spewed through the newspaper, social media, etc.  It turned out that we had a connection to this man, through his wife's mother and father who were in the same water aerobics class at the gym.  Also, he had taught at the school my niece attended as a freshman in high school.
Candle on Altar at home...
All the while, I was wondering at how some lives get more attention than others ... deep in my own grief over the loss of my brother and sister, I wondered at how so many people had mobilized to collectively grieve, remember and honor this one life (while at the same time vilifying another).  I wished, many times, that there was a way to make my own loss mean more to others ... as if I could know what was in the hearts of others.  But, I realize now that it was because we were all grieving, in our own ways, so privately, that the sense of community I saw in this other grief almost stung me.

As you know, I am a newshound, so, I followed the case via the newspaper, while I saw glimpses of the public grief on social media.  And I was so pleasantly surprised to see that the family of the man who died had figured out how to promote forgiveness in the wake of their grief.  [I wrote about it here recently].

lovely driftwood from beach!
I was reading this article this morning when I thought again of Erin Prewitt, the knowledge she holds, both as a grieving widow and a researcher, about prisons, life sentences, forgiveness and healing.  What I love about Erin is that she does not claim to have it all figured out ... she is not the person who waits to tell you the story until she knows exactly how it all plays out. 

She is so excited to tell you about what she knows now, and she does so very coherently, that she both enlightens you and gives you a glimpse into how you can do the same.  Don't wait ... get in there.  Her latest blog post provides another insight into her thinking via her grief journey.

I hope you will read it, like her on FB, follow her on Twitter (if you do those kinds of thing) and otherwise help to spread the word about Erin and her work.  I think she is one of those people who can shine light on a whole lot of things that would make life better for a bunch of folks.

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