Life does not provide us with any amount of certainty. There are no prayers employed full-time to protect us, as some of us have learned this past year dealing with COVID-19. We cannot predict how things will turn out, nor can we always control the outcome. We can, however, do our best to let those around us not forget.
Sometimes that’s our only option, which is why I breathe a little easier after the second sentencing of Kendrick Morris, Queena’s attacker, to life in prison.
I clench my teeth remembering a letter from Queena’s sister, my older daughter Anna, to the court that Morris has the ability to move around in prison, chose books to broaden his mind, as well as enlighten his spirit. He can stretch his arms freely, but Queena cannot. Her mind and body are encased as if in stone. There is no moving forward for Queena without limitations. That is why it is important we remember.
Last night I watched My Survivor, a documentary about the few remaining Holocaust survivors who shared their experiences with about 500 students from the University of Miami. It serves as a reminder that the Holocaust was real, that we should not forget.
Queena wanted to go to college also, but she did not have the opportunity. Kendrick Morris may have that opportunity while serving his prison sentence. He may continue to read, nurture his mind, and enrich his understanding of empathy and human compassion. I hope so.
As I listened to the Holocaust survivors and their horrible treatment at the death camps, I was amazed by the resilience and strength of those who endured, almost as if to pass their stories on to the rest of us. To let it be known that we can continue, and we need love to move us forward, not hatred. Despite the atrocities they experienced, many of these survivors endured with the help of good people who came forward. Sometimes they hid them or stood up for them, allowing the survivors to migrate to other countries and have families and, most of all, share their stories.
April 24, 2021, marks thirteen years since Queena’s attack. Being sexually abused is one of the most horrific experiences a human can be forced to endure. The emotional pain of sexual trauma has greatly affected Queena’s mental health, brain health, and cognitive function.
Everyone has their own areas of hurting. Everyone has disappointment and struggles. My daughter’s story has taken some dark turns that none of us predicted, but she has also brought so much light to the world not in spite of her story, but because of it.
And that is why I continue to share Queena’s story. If it changes one life, I am happy. Our lives may change with time, but telling my story, albeit the story of my daughter, allows me to move forward. Thank you for listening. Remember, it is only if we don’t speak up in the face of evil that we lose our humanity. We all have stories to tell, and sometimes we must fight to be heard, but it is the passing down of the story that allows us to continue. If we don’t pass the story forward, it might happen again.
What happened on April 24 can’t be changed. But it can be forgiven, and we can move toward healing, I told subscribers in my April e-newsletter. If you would like to subscribe to our monthly newsletter for more exclusive updates about Queena, our book, and her upcoming film, please click this link: http://eepurl.com/hcPSgD
I also invite you to listen to our podcast interviews, as we share our story of survival, faith, and perseverance. Amid the backdrop of current world events, we bring hope, joy, and faith through in our amazing story.
Read our book, The Life She Once Knew: the Incredible True Story of Queena, The Bloomingdale Library Attack Survivor, that will leave you both weeping and inspired — a must-read in today’s trying times. https://cstu.io/ed42fc
To support Queena’s medical care and her ongoing therapy, autographed books are
available for purchase here: https://checkout.square.site/buy/M7PNB6KU4BJD2HMG5SQ2I6AR