Imagine being called to a building in the middle of the night and finding a loved one lying dead on the floor from a shotgun blast.
Seeing a young life snuffed away in an instant for no damned reason.
Imagine then collecting yourself enough to take out your phone and dialing the numbers and making the calls to let your fellow family members know what happened.
Imagine being on the receiving end of one of those calls.
Imagine welcoming family members and his friends to the funeral home for calling hours. Imagine enduring that last minute when they lowered his body into the ground.
Your son. Your nephew. Your brother.
Now imagine forgiving the people who did this to him, who did this to you and the people you care most about.
Most of us couldn’t do it. And no one could blame us.
But on a dreary Tuesday December day in a Montgomery County courtroom — during a time when most family members of crime victims use the opportunity of delivering a victim’s impact statement to lash out at the people who tore their families apart — the family of 23-year-old Alexander Martuscello family instead chose to forgive.
Facing the three men, boys really, who did this to Alexander, his father Daniel, his sister Dulce and his uncle Michael offered not a message of hate and rage, but a message of forgiveness and hope.
“I just hope that you can, at some point, turn your lives around,” said Michael Martuscello, the boy’s uncle and one of the Amsterdam police officers who came upon Alexander’s body in the house on Glen Avenue that March night.
Said Alexander’s father to the men who killed his son, “My hope is that the three of you will one day be good people.”
Think about all the horrible people in the world, doing horrible things. Think about the people spewing hatred and nastiness and bigotry.
Then remind yourself that there are good, decent people in the world who can put aside their deep feelings of anger and hurt and despair and loss to forgive someone who’s done them harm and to hope for them a better life than the one they’ve led.
If you’re looking for some kind of inspiring holiday message, or a model upon which to base your New Year’s resolution to be a better person, or just a story to change your mood when you’re having a crappy day, look no further than the Martuscello family.
In their darkest moment, they have provided a gift of light for us all.