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Thursday, August 07, 2014


This may be a triggering post to some, so if you know or suspect you are sensitive to the subject of violent crime, please do not read further.

I have been thinking about Asha Veil all day, and reading of how she tried to protect her baby as she was beaten to death (there were defensive injuries on her hands).  I thought of how she loved her baby, how savage a human being must be--a monster--to do this to a woman heavy with child, to murder both this mother and the child she so wanted.  Anina would have been a loved and nurtured child, and Asha a beautiful mother.  I have no doubt of these things.

As I read, I broke into a core of grief about my final pregnancy at 50, the one only my doctor and a close friend knew about.  I do not know why I did not tell the man who had made me pregnant, albeit so briefly--perhaps I wanted to hold the sweet, small secret for a bit, and a large part of me felt it would not take...the line on the test was somewhat faint, indicating a low level of HCG, but I tested positive twice.  I miscarried in a couple of weeks, maybe no more than two. If I had not tested, I may never have known. I also spotted for a few days before I began to bleed, and knew it was very likely over. It was the last time in my life I would be pregnant, and I am sad that my final pregnancy was shrouded in secrecy and fear.  The hormonal changes after, and then perimenopause, I believe contributed to the kindling of my bipolar disorder also.  I know my PMS was apocalyptic after that.

Was there a good reason for keeping this secret?  Probably not.  But that is what happened. Fear ruled my life then as it sometimes does now.  I had already been told I had nothing but crises in my life, that I did not measure up somehow, and had already had a pregnancy scare before that frightened me. Perhaps, because I knew the huge possibility that it would not take, I wanted to spare him the sadness of this loss. It would be the only tie of this kind to the person in my life that I loved with all my heart, whom I still love so dearly, after everything.  I am sorry to the depths of my soul that I kept such a secret, no matter what. It was not all mine to keep.

I remember when I was 21 years old, lying in bed next to a man who did not want the baby growing in my belly, crying because I was far from home, afraid, and alone.  Every night, I cried next to him. I wondered what I would do, if I could find a safe place for me and my baby.  I had been raped violently six months before.  Why is the world such an unsafe place for women?  Why do the very men who say they are sensitive to what women go through, are sometimes the ones who perpetrate the greatest horrors?

I drove to dance crying, as if I were in that time again, letting the tears roll down for something I had never allowed myself to really grieve.  Earlier that day, I took Thistle to the Visitor's Center near the wharf, which is simple and fun, and teaches people about the importance of water, and keeping pollutants out of the ocean because everything flows into our bay.  There is an incredible movie at the center, in HD, about whales and seals and otters, all the wonderful life in the Monterey Marine Sanctuary, and the viewing room is dark.  Thistle and I watched it, and I sat crying in the dark theater; nobody saw me. I've done that before, there: it is a safe place.  I must cry about these things, not hold them in as I do, like the little girl I was, beaten with a belt buckle while being told not to cry.  I freeze tears and grief at my center, and get sick from it, in mind, soul, and body. There is an ocean of grief in me about so much.  I felt its depth today.

What does this have to do with Asha Veil?  I don't know.  There is deep grief about her, too, though I did not know her well.  I saw her several times when she worked at the Ben Lomond Market, and talked to her from time to time; the last time I spoke to her, I was in the checkout line, noticed she was pregnant, and asked when her baby was due.

(warning: very graphic descriptions next)

Asha met the man she thought had fathered her child in the parking lot of the grocery store where they both worked, one night in early September 2006, to tell him she was going to get a DNA test to determine the child's paternity, then seek child support, as she was going to keep the baby.  He took her away somehow--I would imagine he enticed her to go with him somewhere and talk.  I don't think anyone knows where he killed her: he first beat her savagely, inhumanly; Asha's left hand and arms had contusions from trying to protect herself and her unborn baby. She was bruised and battered everywhere: face, hands, arms, torso. Her killer bludgeoned her and then strangled her with such malignant force that the garrote--a rope from the hardware store--was embedded in her neck.  He took her body to Love Creek Road--a local, rural road with its own tragic history--and dumped her, covered with bloody foxtails, into a ravine, like a sack of trash he couldn't wait to get rid of, and then went home to his wife.

Little Anina, who turned out to be the child of Asha and  her husband, Richard Veil (not the killer's child) died beneath the heart of the mother who so loved her.  I read today that had an emergency C-section been performed in time, the baby would have survived.

Tell me, who does this?  What kind of demon takes over in someone, to kill a woman in this way?  For the worship of money?  The oldest theme in the world, murder for "a little bit of money," as is said at the end of Fargo. The killer, if he works, now makes prison wages.  They think, too, that he killed to preserve his marriage.  He is divorced now and his wife got sole custody of their children.  I am glad there WAS justice for Asha and Anina: their killer was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.  There are so many people for whom justice never happens.

At this point, I realize I have to go slowly with this story.  The savagery of the human heart, and the storytelling that shows the underbelly and the death of innocence is the hardest one to tell.  And yet I must tell; "I will live, and living cry out, until my voice has gone to its hollow of earth", as Carolyn Forche said in The Country Between Us.

Synchronicity began pouring into my life about two weeks ago, as I began to have flashes of memory about Asha, before I knew I would write her story.  One recent afternoon, a black bumblebee landed in the center of my forehead, right over my third eye, and stayed for a great while as I sat in my garden of sunflowers; in Celtic mythology, bees are the messengers between the world of spirit and our world.  In Norse mythology, they are connected deeply to the World Tree that holds the earth in its branches.  I sat with the bumblebee over my third eye, as if wearing a bindi, and was not afraid.

And tonight, as I sat in my car after dance, after I was spent with tears that had dried on my cheeks, I sat quietly and meditated; my house was dark and quiet, and crickets called in the shadows.  I spoke aloud to Asha Veil in the land of the dead, and I told her I would try to write the best I knew how, so that no one would ever forget her and Anina. I asked Asha what she might want to tell me when I summon her from the silence.

Immediately I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a gleam of bright silver peeking out from the floor mat on my car's passenger side (there is some light from a streetcar up on the road).  I leaned down and picked it up.  It was a tiny image of the goddess, no bigger than my thumbnail; it had a round belly, and in the center of that belly was a small and perfect heart.

I do not own anything like this and have never seen it before.