In Marriage, A Bond Of Love, Loss And Light After forgiving and befriending her son's killer, Mary Johnson-Roy started sharing her story in local churches. That's where she met her future husband, Ed Roy, who also lost a son to murder.
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In Marriage, A Bond Of Love, Loss And Light

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In Marriage, A Bond Of Love, Loss And Light

In Marriage, A Bond Of Love, Loss And Light

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  • Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's Friday, which is when we hear from StoryCorps. Back in 2011, this series of conversations featured a talk between two people who could have been enemies but instead became friends.

Mary Johnson met Oshea Israel while he was serving time in prison for murdering her son. After his release, they became close and recorded a conversation together.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

MARY JOHNSON-ROY: My natural son is no longer here. I didn't see him graduate. Now you're going to college. I'll have the opportunity to see you graduate. I didn't see him get married. Hopefully, one day, I'll be able to experience that with you.

OSHEA ISRAEL: And just to hear you say those things and to be in my life in the manner that which you are is my motivation. You still believe in me. And the fact that you can do it despite how much pain I caused you, it's amazing. I love you, lady.

JOHNSON-ROY: I love you, too, son.

INSKEEP: Now, Mary's story doesn't end there. Since that first interview, she's been telling her story in local churches. And she fell in love and married a man named Ed Roy. He'd served time in prison and later also lost a son.

JOHNSON-ROY: How did you and I meet?

ED ROY: We met when my first born and my one and only son was murdered. And a couple of my daughters had asked me to go to the church to hear you speak. I wasn't ready for the forgiveness part, but I was at a loss. Like I shared with you, I thought God took my boy and was punishing me for my own crimes - when I had joined the gangs early and pulled my first armed robbery at 11 years old. But with you be being there, I saw hope. You took me under your wing. That's why I called you my angel.

Then I remember I had that dream that was just before our wedding. And your son was saying - yeah, Mom, all right, you know, right on. And my son was saying - yeah, Dad, 'bout time you got it right.

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNSON-ROY: We also had Oshea in our wedding because he is my spiritual son.

ROY: That was beautiful. As the years and time goes by, you know where I've been. You know where I hurt.

JOHNSON-ROY: And I know you take care of me when I'm not doing well. And I'm grateful to have someone there that has experienced the same thing that I have. The anniversary's coming up of my son's murder, February 12.

ROY: That empty hole's always going to be there in our hearts. But I feel like when we're together and we're able to listen to one another's heartbeats, it says a lot.

JOHNSON-ROY: I'm thankful. I really am. You're a good man.

(SOUNDBITE OF PETER RUDENKO'S "INHALE, PART 2")

INSKEEP: That's Mary Johnson-Roy with her husband Ed Roy for StoryCorps in Minneapolis. Mary and Ed's conversation is archived with all the others at the Library of Congress. And an animated short of Mary's original story can be found at npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF PETER RUDENKO'S "INHALE, PART 2")

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