Sorrow and forgiveness
In the days following a shocking murder/suicide at the Donaldson residence in southwest Price, decorations and kind words have begun to sprout on the home where the tragedy occurred. Through the children of Scott and Shaniel Donaldson, two Castle Valley families have begun to heal and move forward in the name of forgiveness.
"Our families have both come together over these children," said Denise Donaldson Madsen, Scott's sister. "We have all made sure that their feelings and wants came first."
According to Madsen, Scott and Shaniel's daughter, along with Madsens's other brother, Robby Donaldson, wanted to change the feeling at Scott and Shaniel's home while providing an open forum for communication. The feeling was an uneasiness caused by people driving by and staring at the house, the necessary follow-up investigations by police and questions from the news media.
"The scene at their house had developed into a freak show and the kids wanted to turn the attention into something positive," she said. "Their idea was to provide an opportunity to share thoughts and loving wishes or fun memories of Scott and Shaniel." So the adult relatives posted notices on Facebook that cards, posters and decorations expressing sympathy could be brought to the house.
Madsen also noted that the Valentines themed decorations and statements gave the couple's four surviving children an avenue to express their feelings.
"Scott's daughter wanted to have a way for people to show that they had forgiven her father," she explained. "She wanted to have a way to show others that she has forgiven him herself."
The response to the request is visible. Hundreds of Valentines and expressions of support and sympathy are tacked to the house, sprouting from the lawn and adorning the chain-link fences.
"I have decided to stick with love," states a sign written by Scott's brother Robby, quoting Martin Luther King. "Because hate is too great a burden to bear."
According to Madsen, her brother's words are being personified by the entire family circle which flows outward from Scott and Shaniel.
"I can't say enough about the way their family has treated us. The Oliver and Bates families have been amazing and kind," she said. "I can only imagine what this situation would be like if we were fighting and attacking one another. As it sinks in, there are times I feel so angry, but I still love my brother and the love is stronger than the anger."