One thing I keep seeing online and hearing in conversations about Justina Pelletier is something to the effect of ‘Well, if it were my kid, the people who stole her would be dead and I’d be in jail” or “That Lou is a saint, I would have lost it if I were in his place“.
Honestly, this has become my new pet peeve. I try to be patient because it is just a real human reaction in the face of an impossible situation – but, no matter how hard I try to be understanding, it gets under my skin and drives me nuts.
The maddening, insanity-inducing, gut-wrenching reality is that if any of us were in Lou Pelletier’s place, we would be constrained by the same nightmarish shackles: Play nice and risk your kid dying or break the gag order and roll the dice. If we were in Linda Pelletier’s shoes, we would not have the luxury of going ‘postal’, like she undoubtedly is tempted to do, because, if we did, we would be rotting in jail and would never see our child again. There is no special ops team that can go get Justina because ‘rescuing’ her would mean she would have to spend the rest of her life in hiding and would not be able to get the medical care she needs.
If they lose it, Justina will have NO one to fight for her. So, for Justina’s sake, they suck it up and act like grown ups.
No, just like them, we would get up every morning with a sob, dry our tears, fight like hell all day, and go to bed each night wondering how our child is, knowing there is nothing we can do but fight the good fight through the system that is stacked against us.
And, just like them, we would get up the next morning and do it all over again.
The Pelletiers have had 418 days of that existence. It is the harsh reality of being in an absolutely impossible circumstance that you have no control of. In a sense, it is similar to everyday life with chronic illness – you have no choice but to be strong; stronger than you ever thought you could be.
Whatever you do, do not mistake the lack of violence or insane ranting for saintly behavior or lack of passion on the part of the Pelletiers. What you see in the eyes of Lou, Linda, Jennifer, Jessica and Julia Pelletier is a steely-eyed, grim determination revealing their undying committment to bring Justina home and to bring those responsible for her kidnapping to account. That will be far more effective in the long run than giving into the impulse to lose it and ending up in jail. They have mastered the ability to reign in their emotions so that they can see their unasked-for mission through: seeking that justice be done for Justina.
What is happening to them is similar to the tempering process of steel – through heating to a critical temperature and shaping and hammering and rapid cooling and more heating and hammering and cooling, a blade that is strong and sharp and resilient is born.
The Pelletiers are becoming swords.
The people who have taken Justina should fear – not violence, but the justice they so richly deserve.
So often tyrants create, through their own oppressive conduct, the one weapon that can bring them down and end their tyrannical reign. So it is with Boston Children’s Hospital and the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. It is by their own hand they have created the sword than can bring them down.
May justice be done.