A story of restoration and understanding between a convicted murderer and the victim’s mother.
Wildflowers in the Median tells the story of a journey of restoration
When Agnes Furey lost her forty-year-old daughter Pat and six-year-old grandson Christopher to homicide in 1998 at the hands of Leonard Scovens, words could not describe the hole left in her heart. Even so, rather than hate, Furey chose peace, and she reached out to Scovens in prison. Wildflowers in the Median tells the story of their journey of restoration.
Agnes Furey turned pain and grief into healing
Tallahassee resident Agnes Furey believes that good can come out of even the bleakest of circumstances. In her own life, she has been able to transform rage and pain into forgiveness and healing. These experiences have spurred her to help others recover from tragedies through her work as a social justice activist.
Furey is a community activist and proponent of restorative justice, which is a process that focuses on repairing the harm caused by a crime through the offender’s reconciliation with the victims and the community at large.
Furey encountered the concept of restorative justice after a horrific crime shattered her own life. In 1998, Furey’s daughter Patricia Reed and her grandson Christopher Reed were killed by a man named Leonard Scovens.
"In the days after the murder, I said to a friend, ‘I’m going to talk to that man someday. And he’s going to hear me,’ " Furey said.
That conversation began in 2005, when Furey wrote to Scovens in prison, where he is serving a life sentence for the murders. The two launched an ongoing correspondence. Through this dialogue conducted by letters and phone calls, Furey and Scovens slowly reached a place of understanding and peace.
“One person can’t fix the whole system… each one of us can make a difference where we are,”
After experiencing for herself how restorative justice can transform individuals and communities, Furey traveled the country to share her story and urge the adoption of programs that promote dialogue between victims and offenders.
In 2011, she and Scovens released a book they co-authored, "Wildflowers in the Median," that chronicles their journey toward healing through letter excerpts, poems and vignettes. Furey and Scovens also co-founded Achieve Higher Ground, a nonprofit restorative justice organisation.
"I think that things happen in life. We don’t expect them. Sometimes they’re tough, and we can make something positive out of that," Furey said.
Furey’s story has inspired many victims to reach out to her, asking how they can take part in the restorative justice process. Furey said that she hopes to see the state of Florida adopt a victim-offender dialogue program that fosters healing for victims, perpetrators and the larger community.
"One person can’t fix the whole system. What each one of us can do is make a difference where we are," Furey said.
'Wildflowers in the Median: A Restorative Journey into Healing, Justice, and Joy'
Through a collection of poems, vignettes, and letters, both Furey and Scovens pour out their emotions and reflections. It is a tale not of forgiveness, but of understanding, a story of a survivor of crime and a criminal finding communion as each struggles with grief and suffering, eventually coming to terms with their spiritual identities and a desire to help others in similar circumstances. A valuable testament to the human heart and its capacity to love, Wildflowers in the Median shows how grace was found in the aftermath of a tragedy. Check it out at Amazon.