Tuesday, April 11, 2006

For Laci : A Mother's Story of Love, Loss & Justice, by Sharon Rocha

By Christina VanGinkel

After having just read Blood Brother, 33 Reasons My Brother Scott Peterson is Guilty, By Anne Bird, I picked up a copy of For Laci : A Mother's Story of Love, Loss & Justice, by Sharon Rocha, the mother of Laci Peterson. To anyone looking for a story that will bring you a meager bit of understanding of what it must have been and still is like to feel total betrayal by someone you trusted with one of life's most precious gifts, your own child, then pick up a copy of this book as fast as you can. Of all the news accounts I watched, and other books I have read, this is the first one that truly seemed to offer a full look at this gut wrenching case of murder, love, trust, betrayal, and how in the end, there was at least some closure.

On the night of Christmas Eve, December 24 2002, Scott Peterson phones up his mother-in-law, Sharon Rocha, to inquire if his wife, Lace Peterson, Sharon's daughter, was at their house. Scott and Laci were expected for dinner at Sharon's in just a short while, but instead of their arrival, he phoned and in that very first conversation, he referred to Laci as missing. That word, in reference to your own child, no matter their age, is one no loving mother as Sharon definitively was, is not a word you ever want to hear. For Laci, then twenty-seven year's old, and seven and a half month's pregnant, her life and that of her unborn son Connor, was already over. What should have been a time of celebration what with both the Christmas holiday and the impending birth of their child, Scott had, for reasons that many are still grasping to understand, killed her, and dumped her body into the bay. This culminating after an affair with a woman by the name of Amber Frey, who he had told long before Laci went missing, that yes, he had been married, but he had lost his wife.

This book covers the details of the case, from the earliest clues of Laci's dog seemingly on his own after a walk in the park, when all who knew Laci, knew she would not traverse the slippery trails at the park in her hugely pregnant condition, to the final sentencing phase of the trial where Scott had to hear how his actions betrayed all who knew him, but most importantly his wife and unborn son. However, the book also provides a glimpse into the life of Laci. Too often, when watching the news or reading a book on an account of murder, all we are ever given is a look at the last days or hours of a person. For Laci : A Mother's Story of Love, Loss & Justice, by Sharon Rocha goes a step further, and tells of the young Laci, as a baby, a young school aged child, high school student and on. She also shares pictures of this forever smiling person that just tug at your heart, again allowing a glimpse into how much she enjoyed life and how she enriched the life of those who were fortunate enough to know her. It tells of Laci's love of the simple things in life, including her pets, her flowers, planning for her wedding, and the impending birth of her much wanted son.

This book allows the reader to understand somewhat how the killing of such a wonderful young woman has had such an impact on all those who knew and loved her. Even when the book goes deep into Sharon's trials and tribulations of dealing with the loss of her daughter, as it does in one part when she relays how Laci seemed to come to her in a dream and ask her why Scott killed her, the book does not seem trivial. It actually makes you feel just the opposite.

This book is a heart-wrenching memoir of Sharon's memories of Laci's life, the good times, and the stolen ending of those very times here on earth. It is a heartrending glance into the absolute horror of what it must have been like to be at the losing end of a long drawn out search, for the people that you one holds dearer than anyone, their very own child, and grandchild.

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