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Botham Jean’s sister shares grief and struggles of faith


Allisa Charles-Findley’s book “After Botham: Healing From My Brother’s Murder by a Police Officer” skillfully employs her emotionally charged words to create a poignant narrative of a challenging plane journey from New York City to Dallas. This flight serves as a metaphor for the emotional turbulence she and her mother experienced while grappling with the painful reality of her younger brother’s untimely death at the trembling hands of a White female Dallas police officer.

Allisa Charles-Findley. “After Botham: Healing From My Brother’s Murder by a Police Officer.” Chalice Press. 2023. 195 pages. $19.99.

Allisa Charles-Findley. “After Botham: Healing From My Brother’s Murder by a Police Officer.” Chalice Press. 2023. 195 pages. $19.99.

It symbolizes their flight into a fateful future marked by Botham’s absence and the holding pattern they had to maintain as they sought the runway of healing before they could be cleared for safe landing. Allisa’s writing skillfully invites readers aboard, allowing them to witness the various exchanges she and her mother had with flight attendants, even down to the simple choice of whether or not to add sugar to her tea.

As the narrative unfolds, it prompts the reader to ponder whether she will ever taste the sweetness of life again after being thrust into such a bitter event. The recollection of Botham’s joyful smile raises the question of whether she will ever find happiness to ever show her own smile again.

The book excels in providing readers with a first-class seat to witness the raw and painful outpouring of a heart shattered by a senseless tragedy. Allisa’s evocative storytelling transports readers into the depths of her grief, inviting empathy and understanding of the profound impact of loss.

She describes this horrific event as the most formidable trial she had ever encountered. She reflects on how it relentlessly probed her faith, her sanity and the very essence of her existence.

In the midst of it all, she came to acknowledge that this would be an enduring, lifelong examination with no discernible conclusion in this mortal existence.


Related: ‘Healing from my brother’s murder’


This realization stirred within her a profound contemplation of whether it was indeed the will of God and if she possessed the inner strength required to confront this unending ordeal.

Allisa vividly recalls the deep love that her beloved Botham held for singing and how he ardently sought to share the boundless joy of music with her and countless others. She reminisces about those cherished moments of singing and dancing at joyous occasions like weddings, moments that opened a window into the genuine treasure that an off-duty police officer cruelly stole from Botham’s family and from the entire world.

In a world starved for positive voices, yearning for the kind of jubilation that music and dance bring, Allisa invites the reader to step into that festive moment. Through her words, she allows us to feel the raw pain and heartache, to witness the devastating loss that silenced the sweet melody of Botham’s life far too soon.

It is a haunting reminder of a young man who deserved to let his life’s song play on but whose tune was tragically cut short, leaving an indelible void in our hearts and a lament for a world robbed of his joyous spirit.

JERRY TAYLOR is director of Abilene Christian University’s Carl Spain Center on Race Studies and Spiritual Action. Reach him at [email protected].

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Filed under: Allisa Charles-Findley book review Botham Jean Features Reviews Top Stories

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