I Stand Today…Because I Believe

princefrog

 

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.

The Journey:

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pursuing Prince’s Legacy

On Tuesday February 19, 2013, I filed a precedent setting lawsuit against Ashburn Psychological Center and Dr. Margaret Wong (the child psychologist who gave Luc his court ordered psychological evaluation).  As anyone who has been following my story knows, I have never stopped trying to get justice for Prince since this whole ordeal started.  Part of “getting justice” is holding all of the people who failed my son accountable for their behavior.  A few hours after the law suit was filed, I held the first press conference of my life in my attorney’s office.  Sharing how I felt in that moment might help you understand why this was such a proud moment for me as a mother – as Prince’s Mama.

 

I couldn’t sleep the night before the press conference.  Thoughout the night, I kept thinking about all of the things I wanted to say and how important it was for me to make my son proud.  I would be speaking in a forum that few people get to experience.  I had an opportunity to speak for my son as he would never be able to speak for himself.

When I arrived at the attorney’s office, my thoughts seemed to go a mile a minute as I wondered if I could make these reporters understand how important this message was to not only me, but to many others across the country and the world who are facing similarly horrifying situaitons.  As I sat down at the table in front of a bunch of new faces and cameras, my mind slowed down a bit as my attorney Patrick Regan spoke to the crowd.  Then, it was my turn.  What I said went something like this,

“Thank you all for being here today.  I hope you can understand how important this is to me.  My son was a very special boy – he was my angel.  I sit here before you on behalf of my son who couldn’t be here today.  I speak for my son who will never be old enough to speak.  The week he died, he had just said the word “ball”.  It was his second word after “Mama.”  As many of you know, my son’s father – during just the fourt unsupervised visitation- took off all of my son’s clothing, put him in a cold bathtub, and then held him under the water until he died.  This was a violent and hideous crime.  My son’s father didn’t “snap” and he didn’t go crazy after having a history of mental health.  When Judge Algeo suspected that (Luc) had a mental health issue, he ordered him to have a psychological evalaution.  (Luc) then went to the Ashburn Psychological Center, a place with whom he had a previous history, and paid Dr. Wong to give him a clean bill of health so he could gain unsupervised access to my son Prince.  Dr. Wong proceeded to perform an unethical and negligent psychological evaluation where she ignored all of the evidence that did not support Mr. Rams’ claims of mental health.  It was her dangerously flawed and negligent examination that led Judge Algeo to grant unsupervised visitations – which ultimately led to my son’s death.”

 

As I looked out at the faces in the crowd, I noticed even several men in the room shed a tear.  I continued to explain to the crowd how regardless of whether Family Law touches your life personally, everyone should care about how children are treated in this country.  If children continue to be exposed to abusive and violent parents, these emotionally and physically abused children will eventually become adults and the same issue that was so easy to ignore will eventually become a deeper sociately problem.   If a man as disordered as Luc can walk into a psychological and pay/charm his way into getting a clear bill of health, just about anyone could have done the same.  Dr. Wong’s behavior undermines the entire justice system and we all, as Americans and as members of the human race, should be appalled.

I am suing Dr. Wong and the Ashburn Psychological Center for 20 million dollars.  There is no amount of money on this planet that will make what happened to my son right and there is nothing that can be done to make me forget the terrible pain that I will face for the rest of my life.  This lawsuit is about justice and accountability.  I want to continue to helping people and I want to keep my son alive with a strong memory and a positive legacy.

If I could work every day for the rest of my life and receive no monitary compensation just to be able to have kept Prince with me, I would sign up for that deal in a heartbeat.  Unfortunately, I was not given that choice.

Today was a good day.  I have never been more proud of my son than I was today as I stood there speaking to all of those people.  I realized in that moment that my son was able to have more of an impact in his 15 months than most people will ever hope for in a lifetime.  I was a proud Mama today.  I will never stop telling your story Prince, and I will always fight for your legacy.