Monday, December 21, 2009


I should not begrudge anyone who is grieving for speaking in euphemisms but I do wish sometimes that we could just say it like it is. Yesterday John and I were ushered down the aisle to a pew at La Grave Avenue Christian Reformed Church by Larry. Then I noted in the bulletin that Larry, his siblings and parents were named for the floral arrangements: "The flowers on the chancel today are in loving memory of Sandra Anne Duyst, daughter, sister and aunt. Born December 29, 1959, the Lord blessed us with 40 years of joy with her in this life. She was called to our heavenly home on March 29, 2000." What if, instead of called to our heavenly home the bulletin note had read: "she was murdered by her husband, a Christian Reformed Church deacon who had taken out a $500,000 life insurance policy on her and was having an adulterous affair. May he remain incarcerated every advent season and every day of the year for the rest of his life."

I remember the incident so well. One of my seminary colleagues said "I have to wonder if she might have been contentious." WHAT, I screamed, are you suggesting that if she was contentious that could even remotely begin to explain it! Who knows, she may have been contentious, but if he could no longer endure her contentiousness he could simply divorce her and then run off with the other woman. O, that's right, he wouldn't get the insurance money. So I guess contention is a reason (though not justification) for murder.

He still claims his innocence---contending that she committed suicide. The only problem with that theory is that she took 2 bullets straight in the head. She could have shot herself in the head once but not twice with such good aim. PLUS, the crime-scene blood spattering showed the bullet wounds were not self-inflicted. Other evidence proved to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that he was guilty.

This unspeakably awful crime split 2 CRC families and was a horrible ordeal for the 3 school-age children, not knowing who to believe and which side of the family to support. I don't know where the family situation stands now, though he is serving a life sentence in a federal facility in St. Louis.