On an early Saturday afternoon in December 2019, Tomas and Juanita Bonilla were sitting at a table outside the cafeteria of Dolores Mission School in Boyle Heights to talk about a group that no one wants to be a part of.
Started in 2014, “Healing Hearts Restoring Hope” is for individuals whose lives have been forever changed by the homicide of a loved one, but who have focused on forgiving and healing.
For the Bonillas, that change came on Halloween 2010. Still angry about their recent breakup, the ex-boyfriend of their 19-year-old daughter, Zurisaday, drove his vehicle into the Bonilla’s home.
The car smashed through the bedroom where the family was, killing Zurisaday and 18-day-old baby Naomi. For the parents of four children, getting past such an unspeakable tragedy came down to the choice to forgive.
“I didn’t have time to think about him,” Tomas said of the man who murdered his daughter and granddaughter. “I was thinking about my wife, our other children. I talked to my wife, and she said she did not feel anything for him.”
The couple, who spoke to Angelus News while the group held its annual Christmas party, recalled feeling concern not only for their family but for that of the perpetrator, too.
“We focused on restoring and healing our other children first, and to make sure that our children were going to be OK,” recalled Juanita. “And we also knew the other family, who had recently lost their grandfather as well. So the pain that we were feeling, the other family must have felt as well. We understood that and focused on healing. We didn’t have time for hate….”
The above comes from a Feb. 12 story by R.W. Dellinger in Angelus News.