Teresa Butz and Jennifer Hopper

A few days ago, the 2012 Pulitzer Prizes were announced.

This morning I decided to read the winner of the Feature Writing prize. It was awarded to Eli Sanders for his piece  The Bravest Woman in Seattle.

Awarded to Eli Sanders of The Stranger, a Seattle (Wash.) weekly, for his haunting story of a woman who survived a brutal attack that took the life of her partner, using the woman’s brave courtroom testimony and the details of the crime to construct a moving narrative.  –The Pulitzer Prizes

I was a paragraph in, and tears were already welling up. I had no idea how it happened so quickly. There was no escalation of drama before the tear-jerker. It took place at the beginning of the piece and didn’t let up. I sat there and read the 130 comments after the story.

I knew by the tone given off by Teresa Butz’s partner that she would not of been able to stay anonymous for long, and I was right. I Would Like You To Know My Name was written by Jennifer Hopper less than three months later. The tears did not stop, and I read the 288 comments following her piece.

I was left reeling. The story and the writing took me places, showed me parts of people I didn’t think existed, at opposite ends of the spectrum. From love to hate, from pain to joy, from bleakness to hope, from being able to identify to unable to relate, from the unforgivable to forgiving. If you have the time, please, please read these two pieces.

Words escape me. Thankfully for Sanders and Hopper, they did not. One of the interesting points was the desire, motivation and determination of Jennifer to not let Teresa be forgotten. Between the award and response to the pieces, she surely never will.