I have a confession to make. Before I met my son, I wasn’t sure I believed in God. I wasn’t an atheist, but I would have considered myself agnostic. I grew up Christian, and wanted to believe in God, but I didn’t feel as if I had really connected with any higher power. Then, God sent me an angel.
I have always been quiet about my beliefs. I am 33 years old, and my entire life I have been on a journey to define what it is that I believe. After Prince was born, and I learned that I had been in a relationship with a monstrous man, I felt a strong need to go to church. I wanted more than ever to connect with God, and ask for help.
Finding a church:
The first step in my process was to choose a place of worship. For a couple of months, I would take Prince to a new church every weekend. I wanted to find a place where we would feel like a family. At first, I worried that we would never find this place. For months, every church we went into felt like trying to fit a square into a round hole. As soon as the organs would play, or sometimes even five seconds after we walked through the door, Prince would scream at the top of his lungs as if someone was cutting his head off.
Just as I was about to give up hope of ever finding a church for my family, I found Christ Episcopal Church in Rockville, MD. Our first day at church I was nervous. As the service began, I cautiously looked at Prince while also searching for the nearest exit – just in case. The organ began to boom, and I closed my eyes and waited for the blood curdling screams to begin. Instead of screaming, however, Prince smiled and began to dance. That was the day we found our church.
My faith didn’t come together as soon as I found a church. I have to admit that, at first, I attended services each week and remained skeptical. I would ask God each week why the had created my ex, and why he would allow for such terrible things to happen to my family. I wondered when the chaos of Family Court would end, and if I would survive the fight. I worried about Prince, and prayed that he would be alright.
When Prince was killed, I was devastated. His death initially made me question my faith even more. There were times when I thought that it might be easier just to kill myself so that if there was a heaven, I could go there and be with my son. Then, I started dreaming about Prince. In my dreams, he never spoke to me. He would always smile at me, and somehow even without words tell me that he had chosen me because he knew I would not give up.
Finding my faith:
I believe in God. My faith was not automatic. Through my grieving process for my son, I have given a lot of thought to his life and mine. A lot of things happened, that were out of the ordinary, to put me into contact with Luc. It was as if Prince came down on a mission, and that he had chosen me to be his mother. For those who don’t believe in God, this might be hard to understand. For me, I had a hard time believing until I literally was given the opportunity to meet an angel – my son Prince.
I will never be “at peace” with how my son left this earth; however, I thank God every day for sending him to me. Part of the reason I was able to survive his murder, is because I know he had a purpose. I also know that I have one too. Before the loss of Prince, I hated when people would say, “God never gives us more than we can bear.” I used to think, ‘really? because this sure seems pretty damn unbearable!’
For the majority of Prince’s life, I tried to find ways to protect and save him. Since his death, I have thought a lot about how many things went so terribly wrong. I think a lot about how epically bad so many things in our justice system truly are - how the Prince William County police ignored so much of Luc’s criminal behavior for so many years, how The Martinez family lied to me about Luc being related to them, how a Virginia lawyer (John Rockhind) supported Luc’s lies as if he wanted him to appear more legitimate, and how finally it was a Virginia child therapist (Margaret Wong) who withheld information from a judge in order to ensure Luc would get unsupervised access to Prince. It was as if Prince was on a mission to expose the failures of our system, and to save victims who would come after him.
In the past four years since I met Luc, I sometimes feel as though I have lived 10 entire lifetimes. When I wake up every day, I realize that God gave me Prince because I could bear everything that came with him. I was blessed to have 15 months with my angel, but that came with a price. Prince chose me because he knew I wouldn’t remain silent. He knew that there were things about this place that needed changing, and he knew that I would see to it that they get changed.
Last night, I went to see my sister’s last acapella concert with her group The Soundbytes. She sang my son’s favorite song “Gravity” by Sara Bereilles. I had planned on bringing my son to see her sing several times, but he was killed before I ever had the chance to bring him. As I watched the performance last night, with Stela sitting on my lap, I actually felt as if Prince was sitting in the chair next to me. The look of joy on Stela’s face as she heard my sister sing was amazing. I was able to see a glimmer of the joy Prince had, through the eyes of his sister.
Some might think less of my faith because it took me so long, and I literally had to meet an angel, to truly believe; however, the incredible things that I have gone through in the past four years have likely made my faith stronger than many. It didn’t come easy for me. I had to fight for it, and I had to suffer greatly. I am not about to jump on a Nike swipe proclaiming the end of the earth (due to an odd interpretation of the bible). You won’t see me preaching to random strangers in an attempt to recruit them to my faith. I share my story for those who might also be searching for answers, and hoping to find something they can hang onto in an attempt to define their faith.
I believe that God works in mysterious ways. What happens in your life might not always make sense. You might feel as though you have hit rock bottom. People often ask me how I am able to get out of bed, stand on two feet, and continue living. I often don’t have the time to go into a real explanation, but the short answer is this – I am standing in part because of my son. I am standing because I believe there is a reason for me to be standing, just as there is a reason I am Prince’s mother.