Every time I read something like this, a little piece of me dies inside.
On Saturday, Katie and I heard news about a fire in the nearby suburb of Naperville. Actually, it's the suburb where I grew up; where my parents still live. A mother and her two children were killed. I kinda dismissed it as it all seemed rather routine. A bi-product of my social desensitization, I'm sure.
However, yesterday, people at work were still talking about it nearly two days after I had forgotten it entirely.
This was when I learned that there was some suspicion regarding how the fire started. In fact, the son's death had been ruled a homicide.
Huh? How'd this come about, I thought.
So I started reading some news online about the event. But nothing was truly clarified until later that day when the Naperville Police Chief held a press conference (video playback requires Windows Media Player) and announced that the deaths were being ruled a double murder/suicide. Digital security video had been uncovered of the mother, Nimisha Tiwari, purchasing gasoline from a nearby station and then taking the kids to a local store to buy one toy each; their last toys ever.
Four-year-old Vakadham and 18-month-old Anaya's charred remains were found in their parents' bed alongside Nimisha's burned body. The new toys were also found in the bedroom. None of the three were killed on-scene and they were all transported to Edward Hospital in Naperville where Vakadham died. Anaya and Nimisha were then airlifted to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood where both soon died as well.
The husband, Anand, had been in Chicago at school. He was almost immediately cleared by authorities.
Yes, the two had a troubled marriage. The police were contacted by each party after a domestic dispute. She called him domineering and abusive, both mentally and physically, accused him of using a recording device to keep tabs on her, and claimed he had opened up a separate post office box in his name. She had the courts issue an emergency restraining order in May to keep him away from her and the kids, their house, and their son's school.
He fought back saying that she was having psychological episodes that were the result of her recently diagnosed multiple sclerosis. The courts rescinded the restraining order.
Of course, the truth is only known by the two of them. So none of us truly knows who to blame in the case of their personal battles.
But to me, what it all comes down to is the children. Why did they have to be dragged into this mess? Why did they have to lose their lives as a result of this "war of the roses"?
It truly kills me to think that two parents, perceived by neighbors as normal, kind, and loving, couldn't find a way to work things out that would find the children still alive and playing with their new Dora the Explorer and Thomas the Tank Engine toys today.
And now we have a painfully distraught father who is fully cooperating
with police after his wife is charged with double murder/suicide.
If he was abusive, divorce him. If divorce is not an option, run away with the children. A life on the run isn't necessarily the most favorable way to live, but you'd all be alive.
In a world where some adults would kill to be parents, we instead have parents killing kids.
That's just not right.
Rest in peace Anaya and Vakadham Tiwari and God (or whoever you pray to) help both Anand and Nimisha.
Photo courtesy of Stacey Wescott, Chicago Tribune
Flipping my iPod to shuffle yesterday on the drive home while still mentally processing all this, the first song that played was James Blunt's "No Bravery." Eerily appropriate (with some minor context shift).
Houses burnt beyond repair.
The smell of death is in the air.
A woman weeping in despair says,
He has been here.
Tracer lighting up the sky.
It's another family's turn to die.
A child afraid to even cry out says,
He has been here.
And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.