“Murder vs Natural Death”

People ask me if Christopher’s murder has affected the way I react to death.  The answer is “yes.”  If your grandfather passes at 95 after a full life I would say “how lucky.”  If a child passes, the first thing I think of is the parents and then family and friends.  I go to that very tender sad place where I know how they feel.  I may not know the people grieving, but we are kindred spirits.

I am not stranger to grief.  Before Christopher’s murder, I had lost four grandparents, my mother, and two brothers.  I have also lost some very dear friends.  I get “natural death” even though it may come too soon and brings so much sadness.  I have learned that we are not in charge of everything.  Some things are beyond our control and we need to accept this.

I don’t get “murder” at all.

When Christopher was murdered, I found myself wishing for a death I could understand; a car accident, a serious illness or just about anything except a violent murder.

Recently my gardener of fifteen years, Ramiro, was murdered by his brother.  This is a very different kind of death.  This is “murder.”  Ramiro was a wonderful man who loved his family and made many lives better because he was in them.  He left his wife, an older daughter, a two year old grandson and a six-year-old son.  The family is devastated, his workers are devastated and his clients are devastated.  Ramiro’s death brings up all the parts of Christopher’s death that were the hardest for me.  An angry man took a life with a gun because he was not willing to explore any other options.  He felt justified in his actions and he did not think through the enormous consequences.  I can not swallow this kind of death.  It is not okay.

Accidents and serious illness deaths are still incredibly hard; but you don’t have the additional pile of anger and violence to come to terms with.

My sister, Michele is dying of cancer.  It is very hard on our family, however I can swallow what is happening and realize, that at a certain point I need to let her die on her own terms.  At first, of course, there was anger and “this is not fair,” but with time we all have accepted what will come–and so has she.  .She is at home with Hospice care and her friends gathering for last visits.  She is eating and sleeping well and her pain is being managed.  Since her material things are not as important as they used to be, she is having a nice time making gifts to people she cares about.  She is embracing every day as a gift, and we are too.

My sister’s dying seems “natural,” even though she is way too young and her illness is so very sad for all of us family and friends.

Each of us finds comfort in our own way.  My belief that Christopher will be on the other side to greet Michelle, along with all my other passed family, gives me peace of mind.  I have already looked up and asked Christopher to “take care of Michele and Ramiro.”

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6 Responses to “Murder vs Natural Death”

  1. Thomas Caputo says:

    Dear Radha,
    Thank you for sending me the griefprints. I have not said much in terms of responses but I do read it and look forward to it coming. This one hit me maybe because I lost a good friend of 35 years last week to cancer. He was in Marin Kaiser. While I was visiting, the attending physician came into the room and
    introduced himself as (dr.) Mark Taylor. The name struck a sour note- the name of Christopher’s murderer. My friend Felix passed away last week at Stanford
    due to cancer and stem cell operations. I’ve also lost both my parents. I admire your ongoing struggle. Your friend, Tom

  2. Elizabeth Montoya says:


    Im very excited that I got to read about my father Ramiro. I agree that muder leaves you feeling angry and it is harder to over come . I know that my dad is happy where ever he is and is a guardian angel to all of us. My grandfather died of neumonia and his death was a different situation then my uncle Hector and now my daddy Ramiro in which they were both murdered with gun shots. I can imagine the hard situation you went through with your son Christopher, as a mother I put my self in you shoes and I can imagine how devasting that news was to you. I’ m very sorry.
    We have to stay strong.


  3. Elizabeth Marlow says:


    I am sending my thoughts, prayers, and mental/spiritual hugs to Ramiro’s family, you, and your sister.


  4. Harvey Gould says:

    Once again, you hit a critical issue spot on. What can I say? Bravo seems inappropriate in light of the subject matter, so instead I’ll just say, “Keep writing. What you have to say matters.”


  5. Steve says:

    Radha, I lost a good friend this past year, not to murder but to suicide, It’s hard to deal with trying to understand the reason. The only thing that helps, is my belief that I will see him and my loved ones someday. Thank you for allowing me to follow your journey.

  6. Jill Whitebook says:

    My dearest Radha, I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child to murder. I can only share with you the pain I felt – and still feel – having lost my daughter to leukemia. There is no “easier” way to lose a child. Illness, accident, suicide, murder – all bring different things one must deal with. Watching a child die over time, not being able to say good bye, the guilt and agonizing over what you as a parent could have done to prevent this horrible event, wondering what your child must have been thinking before they died. No one way has less impact on the parents, only the different circumstances to face and deal with.

    I am hopeful that one day we will all be reunited with our children. Until then, I cherish the times when Michelle comes into my heart and makes her presence known.

    My best to you and your loved ones,


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