Sunday, 9 December 2012

223: Blood Will Out

Like so many of these things it was a family business.  The company arose out of a family tragedy and the family found a solution together.  Then, after a while, they decided surely there must be other families in the same situation and so ‘Blood Will Out’ was born.

Plenty of companies provide that kind of service in the US but not in the UK, not even in London.  Amazing really, for a city of that size with an ever growing crime rate and drug problem.  It’s said England does everything America does just five years later but these companies have been going over there for way more than five years.  Yet when Gary died, his children had to do it themselves.

Gail and Steve found him together.  Neither could raise him so they both went to his house, half expecting to find him dead.  Since their mother had died Gary had been depressed, didn’t go out often and seemed to age so much.  He no longer looked after the red brick Victorian semi that had been their childhood home and they had to fight through the bushes to reach the side gate when Gary didn’t answer the front doorbell.

Using the spare key under the geranium plant pot, Steve opened the back door.  They shouted hellos throughout the house, becoming more and more convinced their father must have died.  And so he had, but not as they had expected.  He hadn’t passed away peacefully in his sleep in bed or whilst snoozing in his armchair.  He hadn’t keeled over lifting something too heavy or even slipped and hit his head on something hard.

From the hall, Gail noticed a socked foot sticking out from behind the sofa, then Steve discovered his father’s battered body with its caved in skull, dragged out of sight by his killer.

The family went through all the stages of grief with extra ones added in, the sort you might only expect with a murder.  There was extreme rage, revenge, numbness and indignation.  There was anticipation and disappointment over the police inquiry.  Then there was euphoria when he was caught and charged, not much more than a lad but high on drugs and mistakenly believing Gary owned a fortune in jewellery from their late mother.  It was mostly costume stuff and so he died for a haul of about £20, barely a hit or two most likely.

There were services to help counsel the family, to help arrange the funeral, to arrange restorative justice, self-help groups with other families similarly affected and of course people were willing to help in any way they were needed.  Except to help in that way, although nobody ever asked anyone to, nobody would want to help like that.

‘Blood Will Out’ was created by Gail and Steve to make sure no other child had to scrape a parent’s brain and skull fragments from a wall, no mother had to wash her baby’s blood from a carpet, no husband had to paint over his wife’s arterial spray on the ceiling.  They couldn’t wash away the memories but at least they could clean away the evidence for others in a way nobody could for them.

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