My first exposure to the story of the Hameed family (see here) came via a StoryCorps interview on NPR. It drew me in for the same reason as a lot of people: What would I do in the same situation? If I were in a car accident resulting in the amputation of my leg, and the death of my young son, could I do what the Hameeds did?
To forgive, in that situation, sounds impossible.
Our interaction really began the day I brought over some food from Popeye's. I was visiting at midday and offered to supply lunch. For a three-hour stretch, we ate a big box of chicken and biscuits, watched the news, and talked love and loss.
We walked out to the sidewalk, where Raphael sits in his wheelchair to watch the sun go down over Pikes Peak. We talked about growing marijuana, and the drug war over the years. We talked about lingering pain.
The apartment complex is not an ideal area for a vulnerable mover, with its uneven sidewalks, broken glass and dog crap everywhere, yet it rings with the sound of children playing.
It was a hard place to have Christmas. The Hameeds' son, Ishaq, would have turned 6 on Dec. 5.
"That is the hardest thing about him being gone," says Heidi, his mother. "I know we both expect him to come running around the corner and pounce."
But the couple is working on a new path forward, and that might be the most daunting task of all.