Like Charles Ramsey, I didn’t register Amanda Berry’s name when I woke up this morning to headlines that she had escaped from her prison in Cleveland. I was young when she was kidnapped, but even if I hadn’t been, I probably still wouldn’t have recognized her name; I generally try to avoid reading/hearing about stories like that because they give me nightmares. But when I read about her this morning I (and everyone else) was stunned by her courage in seizing this opportunity to take back her autonomy and freedom.
I think the questions that burn most in my mind are: How does one ever go back to a normal life after an experience as horrific as this? How does one forget the hideousness of this crime? How does her little girl ever get to recover some semblance of a normal childhood? And I think that these questions are warranted ones that are considered day after day by psychologists and mental health professionals across the globe. But what I have seen in this case is that these questions are not the only ones that need to be asked, and that there can be redemption in stories like this.
We see this redemption in Ms. Berry, who, in not submitting to her captors, has already started to reclaim some normalcy. For, even attempting escape means that she never submitted to her fate, never finally stopped believing that rescue was possible. Like The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson noted, she never forgot who she was, never forgot “that who she was mattered.”
I am not sure whether Ms. Knight or Ms. Dejesus ever forgot who they were, but certainly their will to live is equally as inspiring. I don’t know that I would have had the same resolve in a similar situation. But as I think back to my own past hurts and my own pain buried deep, I am encouraged that even experiences infinitely graver than my own can eventually find healing and redemption. I pray that Berry, Dejesus and Knight can begin and can continue to find strength and courage to face the return to a normal life and that they can find rest for their souls.
Previously from Laura Creel:
♦ Zach Braff the Everyman
♦ My Facebook Recovery: Three Years Strong
♦ Real Housewives Echo Some Real Values
♦ U.S. Government Gives Advice on How to Invest Money — Because They’re Really Good At It
♦ On Being a Miami Heat Fan