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Our Daughter's Unjust Death

How Can We Protect Our Children From the Plague of Violence?
By Elizabeth A. Borghesani and Roger F. Borghesani

SEVERAL REASONS compelled us to attend the trial in Arlington of Michael Satcher, accused of murdering our daughter, Anne Elizabeth Borghesani. We wished to represent Anne at the proceedings, to see justice done and to attempt to understand what happened to Anne and why. Many of our questions have been answered, pieces of the tragic puzzle have fallen into place and justice has been done. However, the reason for the violent tragedy remains elusive.

We are feeling overwhelmed by Anne's death and by the amount of senseless violence in our country.  We live in a violent society; none of us is immune. Something must be done to prevent violence; we must not simply watch it continue to escalate. Otherwise, Anne, and so may others like her who die in random acts of violence, will have died in vain.

The trial ended last week in a conviction. But the agony continues. Words cannot describe the impact of Anne's loss on us all. How can one summarize 23 years of love, joy, shared laughter, delighted cries of surprise on Christmas morning, tender hugs and tears, the "I love you, Mommies" and "Thank you, Daddies"?

Now
we look at accumulated photos, newspaper clippings, letters from those who knew and loved Anne and wonder why we hold onto them, why we can't bear to throw them away, even the duplicates. Then, with a spasm of grief, we realize this is all that's left of our only daughter. There will be no new photos. Anne's story has been stopped at the threshold of her adult life, cut off deliberately by her assailant as she walked from her apartment to the Rosslyn Metro at 8 o'clock on a Saturday evening, March 31, 1990.

Anne graduated from Tufts University in May 1989, an international relations major, and moved to the Washington area where she worked as a legal assistant. She brought with her a quick sense of humor and a wonderful zest for living. Always proud of her country, she was challenged and excited to be working and living in the nation's capital. Her work clarified her goals and she decided to apply to law school. She told her grandfather, just one month before her death, she wanted to be a lawyer so that she could use her skills to advocate for freedom and justice. This was Anne: intelligent, reliable, perceptive and sensitive to other's needs, eager to build on her accomplishments.

These goals will never be met. Anne's most basic right, her right to life, was cruelly and unjustly taken from her. Anne's dreams of becoming a lawyer, of someday marrying and having children, of living a full, mature life, have been denied to her.

We have also been robbed by Anne's murderer. The loss to us is immeasurable. In killing Anne, her murderer also killed a part of us. We struggle daily to find some purpose and meaning in our life without Anne, but also to cope with the agony of the fear, horror, evil and pain she faced at her death. We go through the motions of living but there is no rest, no peace, no joy.

Our family is forever changed. We and our two sons watch relatives' and friends' lives move on, with weddings, and graduations, knowing their whole families will participate. One son said, "We have to learn to be a family all over, a family of four instead of five." They both struggle to find purpose in such a chaotic world. Her grandparents have been robbed of peace of heart in their old age. The joy of a cousin's recent wedding was dampened by Anne's absence. A younger cousin will not even be able to remember Anne. We all long for her gentle teasing, genuine care and interest in our lives, her laughter and her hugs.

The
mother-daughter relationship was especially strong between us. Anne was my best friend. We laughed and cried together, had our silly private jokes, worried over family problems, planned and cooked for holiday celebrations. Although living in separate cities, we were closely joined in spirit. Anne was my connection to the future, part of the unbroken bond shared by women through the generations. I saw in Anne characteristics of both her grandmothers, and of her great-grandmother, as well as of me. She was our immortality; our future has been destroyed.

As her father, I relive the tragedy of Anne's vicious murder constantly. The path I walk every day between my office building and parking area reminds me of Anne's final terrified moments on that Arlington sidewalk. When I pull into our driveway, I see a house not a home. The home, a place for refuge from the world, has been invaded by violence. It is just a place to eat, and sleep, never to hold the joy of a daughter. The days of joyful, whole-family celebrations are over. Happiness will be forever tainted by not being shared with Anne.

Friends have also felt the loss and anger and are victimized by her murder. Two of her closest friends were married this year; Anne would have been in the wedding parties. Many friends still leave flowers at her grave, under the apple tree we tend there. Her absence is palpable whenever her friends gather. All Anne's friendships - from childhood to the last days of her life - have been shattered by the murder. One close friend told us the grief of Anne's loss is so painful she hesitates to become close to others for fear of another loss. Others, seeing our pain, express reservations about bearing children in such a violent world.

We hope to keep Anne's wonderful spirit alive in scholarships established at Tufts and in our high school in Lexington, Mass. We hope to see the world again as she would have us see it - with lively perceptions, humor and forbearance. But these hopes cannot replace her.
compelled us to attend the trial in Arlington of Michael Satcher, accused of murdering our daughter, Anne Elizabeth Borghesani. We wished to represent Anne at the proceedings, to see justice done and to attempt to understand what happened to Anne and why. Many of our questions have been answered, pieces of the tragic puzzle have fallen into place and justice has been done. However, the reason for the violent tragedy remains elusive.

We are feeling overwhelmed by Anne's death and by the amount of senseless violence in our country.  We live in a violent society; none of us is immune. Something must be done to prevent violence; we must not simply watch it continue to escalate. Otherwise, Anne, and so may others like her who die in random acts of violence, will have died in vain.

The trial ended last week in a conviction. But the agony continues. Words cannot describe the impact of Anne's loss on us all. How can one summarize 23 years of love, joy, shared laughter, delighted cries of surprise on Christmas morning, tender hugs and tears, the "I love you, Mommies" and "Thank you, Daddies"?

Now
we look at accumulated photos, newspaper clippings, letters from those who knew and loved Anne and wonder why we hold onto them, why we can't bear to throw them away, even the duplicates. Then, with a spasm of grief, we realize this is all that's left of our only daughter. There will be no new photos. Anne's story has been stopped at the threshold of her adult life, cut off deliberately by her assailant as she walked from her apartment to the Rosslyn Metro at 8 o'clock on a Saturday evening, March 31, 1990.

Anne graduated from Tufts University in May 1989, an international relations major, and moved to the Washington area where she worked as a legal assistant. She brought with her a quick sense of humor and a wonderful zest for living. Always proud of her country, she was challenged and excited to be working and living in the nation's capital. Her work clarified her goals and she decided to apply to law school. She told her grandfather, just one month before her death, she wanted to be a lawyer so that she could use her skills to advocate for freedom and justice. This was Anne: intelligent, reliable, perceptive and sensitive to other's needs, eager to build on her accomplishments.

These goals will never be met. Anne's most basic right, her right to life, was cruelly and unjustly taken from her. Anne's dreams of becoming a lawyer, of someday marrying and having children, of living a full, mature life, have been denied to her.

We have also been robbed by Anne's murderer. The loss to us is immeasurable. In killing Anne, her murderer also killed a part of us. We struggle daily to find some purpose and meaning in our life without Anne, but also to cope with the agony of the fear, horror, evil and pain she faced at her death. We go through the motions of living but there is no rest, no peace, no joy.

Our family is forever changed. We and our two sons watch relatives' and friends' lives move on, with weddings, and graduations, knowing their whole families will participate. One son said, "We have to learn to be a family all over, a family of four instead of five." They both struggle to find purpose in such a chaotic world. Her grandparents have been robbed of peace of heart in their old age. The joy of a cousin's recent wedding was dampened by Anne's absence. A younger cousin will not even be able to remember Anne. We all long for her gentle teasing, genuine care and interest in our lives, her laughter and her hugs.

The
mother-daughter relationship was especially strong between us. Anne was my best friend. We laughed and cried together, had our silly private jokes, worried over family problems, planned and cooked for holiday celebrations. Although living in separate cities, we were closely joined in spirit. Anne was my connection to the future, part of the unbroken bond shared by women through the generations. I saw in Anne characteristics of both her grandmothers, and of her great-grandmother, as well as of me. She was our immortality; our future has been destroyed.

As her father, I relive the tragedy of Anne's vicious murder constantly. The path I walk every day between my office building and parking area reminds me of Anne's final terrified moments on that Arlington sidewalk. When I pull into our driveway, I see a house not a home. The home, a place for refuge from the world, has been invaded by violence. It is just a place to eat, and sleep, never to hold the joy of a daughter. The days of joyful, whole-family celebrations are over. Happiness will be forever tainted by not being shared with Anne.

Friends have also felt the loss and anger and are victimized by her murder. Two of her closest friends were married this year; Anne would have been in the wedding parties. Many friends still leave flowers at her grave, under the apple tree we tend there. Her absence is palpable whenever her friends gather. All Anne's friendships - from childhood to the last days of her life - have been shattered by the murder. One close friend told us the grief of Anne's loss is so painful she hesitates to become close to others for fear of another loss. Others, seeing our pain, express reservations about bearing children in such a violent world.

We hope to keep Anne's wonderful spirit alive in scholarships established at Tufts and in our high school in Lexington, Mass. We hope to see the world again as she would have us see it - with lively perceptions, humor and forbearance. But these hopes cannot replace her.

Elizabeth and Roger Borghesani live in Lexington, Mass.

Taken From: The Washington Post - Sunday Outlook - August 4, 1991

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