38 years ago today my Dad, Allan Pearce, was murdered during a home invasion at my Grandparent’s house on the family farm outside Moosomin, Saskatchewan. He was 2 weeks from his 33rd birthday. I was born 13 days after he was killed. One day after his birthday. The day of his funeral was my due date. I am a posthumous child.
Why am I still talking about it after all these years? Why am I writing about it? There are so many reasons.
A lot of time was taken from my Dad. He would be turning 71 on June 24th this year. What does one accomplish between 33 and 71? By remembering him and talking about him I make sure that what he gave up for us isn’t forgotten and that he isn’t forgotten. He was an amazing man and I am so proud to say he was my Dad. I’ve heard some incredible stories of his generosity. And what I find ironic is that if the guys who killed him would have just asked him for help he would have done anything for them. But instead, Randy acted on his feelings of needing to feel in control and his extreme anger. Richard had the chance to stop it but didn’t take it until it was too late. His words begging Randy to stop were too little too late. My Dad was surprised. The struggle was fought. The gun was fired. The bullet went through his heart. My Dad lay on the kitchen floor while they ran out the back door.
A few days before my Dad was killed he said in front of a number of people that he would give his life for his family if God asked. My Grandma was terrorized and raped during the home invasion. My Grandpa suffered from dementia and so was unable to defend his home, his son or his wife. He never really understood what had happened that day. My Mom was at home having breakfast with my 20 month old sister just behind a row of trees at the back of the yard. Thankfully Randy never got the chance to find that house. We will never know the extent of what my Dad stopped that day. I’m thankful for that. But I do know that Randy had told Richard he had wanted to kill everyone. The guys were caught at a bus station a couple hours later in a neighboring town. The trial was quick and decisive.
My Dad was a singing preacher – that’s my favorite description of him. He loved to sing at the nursing home and travelling to different country churches. Singing on local radio stations. He was quiet and deep thinking but could have a conversation with anyone. The conversations I have missed is one of the most painful parts of not knowing him. What I would give to sit at the kitchen table with him and a cup of coffee.
When I was growing up June was never a very happy time. It was the end of school and the beginning of summer but it also brought a cloud over the house. I didn’t fully understand the cloud but I knew it was there. My Mom became a different person for about 6 weeks. From Mother’s Day till the end of June. Including my birthday. Later we understood it as untreated depression and PTSD. My Mom never really recovered from the trauma. Even outside of June there was neglect. There was an enormous amount of anger and resentment toward me. We never bonded as Mother and daughter. I lived in a mass of confusion for years and then became enemy #1 as a teenager when she realized I was growing up. I was very angry for years. Angry that my Dad had died, angry that I never met him, angry that I then had to live in a house where I was rejected. I slowly began to realize what my Mom had been through especially when I became a wife and Mom. I began to see the pain she had endured and how she had tried to survive. I began to realize that I had to choose to continue the negative cycle with my family or choose to find the positive. How do you find positive in murder? It wasn’t easy. And it’s a long story. I started to see that even through the negativity my Mom had tried so hard to do what she felt was right by not having hatred for the men who had done this. Some of her methods were flawed but she tried. She made the effort and I saw just enough. I decided to take what I had learned from my Mom and other family members and choose forgiveness over hate. I felt the overwhelming need to understand. I had been kept in the dark for so long. I went on a mission to find out as much as I could. To make contact with lost family. To break the cycle.
Jumping ahead I no longer feel the anger. I have made peace with my Mom, with Randy and Richard, and ultimately with murder. I know this won’t make sense to most people. I just knew that I couldn’t allow it to eat me alive. I watched that happen to my Mom and as she was taken over by auto-immune diseases, depression and ultimately cancer I knew I wanted something else. And I strive for it every day.
I have struggled with June my whole life. It feels like an imprint on my soul. I avoided celebrating my birthday for years seeing it as a dark day based on what I had seen as a child. Some years I tried ignoring the anniversary, some years I allowed myself to sink into it barely able to get out. Other years I was just a mess trying to figure out “the right thing” to do. After my Mom passed away 3 1/2 years ago I thought the pain would ease up when I no longer had to look after her during this time. But it hasn’t. I no longer feel the anger but I am left with sadness, respect and reverence for what was experienced that day and the days after. My Dad, my Mom, my sister and I, my Grandparents, my Aunts, Uncles and cousins, family friends and neighbors, the town of Moosomin and the men who killed him. The ripples are still spreading. My Dad now has grandchildren that have missed out. But I have also realized that I can direct the ripples and that is what excites me. I am no longer a victim of the ripples I am the catalyst.
I have made a new determination this year. I will allow myself to feel the sadness, respect and reverence for what happened. I will continue to observe June 12th in my own way. I will do my best to make it healthy and healing but it will never leave me. June 12th is part of me so I am going to stop fighting with June and embrace it. My Dad is my hero and needs to be remembered.