On November 17, 2012 my nephew Howard Adler was ambushed and murdered in front of his home in Denver, Colorado. As you can imagine, many lives changed on a dime.
The suspect, who is facing a first-degree murder charge without bond, is the boyfriend of the mother of Howie’s three-year-old son Winton. Howie and the mother were engaged in determining the custody of Win, a special needs child who at three years old is not yet talking words and shows other signs of neglect. Howie kept meticulous records of his journey to have access to his son. When he was killed, he was about to go to court and gain his 50% custody, and quite possibly become the primary parent.
Death is a powerful tool, in any form. An accident, an illness, a heinous crime—Death and Life walk hand in hand. Most of us humans refuse to acknowledge Death’s ever-present shadow. We amble on in indecision as if there’s all the time in the world, afraid to face the inevitable, afraid to make a mistake, afraid to take a risk. Hanging on to resentments, we keep people we love at bay for silly reasons we don’t understand. Swallowed up in fearful stories, we refuse to take the step that would bring us the very fulfillment our souls long for.
In truth, one car accident, one cancer case, one knife wound takes away all those potentials like a puff of smoke.
I flew to Denver immediately to be with my sister, who is understandably shredded. However, the synchronicity that is occurring are stuff movies are made out of. Truly an angel, Howie is alive and well in Afterlife, guiding our quest for justice to make sure Win is protected.
Howie’s mom, my sister, has always been brilliant—this woman puts even my self-discipline to shame. Losing her son in this brutal way has honed her focus on constructing the whole case. Using emails, texts, pictures, affidavits from people who witnessed events, and personal diaries we are bringing all the pieces of the puzzle together. Our job is to bring Howie’s story to life for the DA and the State who are charged with protecting Winton.
My sister lovingly made a folder dedicated to Howie’s life. Viewing my precious nephew in pictures, from the cradle to the grave, with his beautiful son, I see a life well lived. The boy was a walking, talking joy machine. Every picture has his huge smile. All his friends talked about how he never let life drag him down. Even at his worst, he was even-tempered, positive, and intent on doing what was best for the good of all.
Perhaps someday I will write a book about this, but for now it’s hard to keep track of all the grace: the detective on the case is Brad With (no kidding); a girl at the clinic on the other end of town had pictures of Howie on her iPhone; a Jewish grief therapist with a connection to a trial lawyer appeared in the bank lobby; peace has broken out in my family, which has grown sizably; Howie’s very large and devoted following (the funeral procession stretched eight miles) stand ready, willing and able to do anything to help protect Winton. We are all one family now.
On behalf of my family, thank you so much to everyone who has sent us your unconditional love, said a prayer, visioned Winton safe, and expressed your condolences over this unfathomable act.
In honor of Howie, I challenge you to a Call to Action: You have your own universe filled with your own details that could dearly use your passion and commitment to change. Life is short. We need you. Get up off the couch, do something to better your world. There are wars to stop, mines to fight, wolves to protect, children to feed, homeless to shelter, a whole world of needs that you have the resources to fill.
During this turbulent time of change remember to touch deeply to the Source: Compassion. Allow it to inspire you to stand up and take action to better your world. That’s why we’re here.