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Jane Nicholson

In memory of Dwight Nicholson

The story is more his than mine. He was murdered in his office in the physics department at the University of Iowa. It was a mass murder; we lost friends. A brilliant mathematician and physicist and a dedicated leader of the department, he was most of all a caring, generous man. Those near him, acquaintances or strangers, knew his generosity. He was a theoretical physicist who did not accept support from the Department of Defense and used spare hours to do draft counseling with the Quakers during the Vietnam War. He was the most loving and supportive husband; we simply adored our life together.

In the wake of sudden, violent and public loss — anathema to intimate loss — I experienced grief with the guidance of inspired caregivers. On the other side, I worked at handgun violence prevention activism. In time, I studied Restorative Justice, which I have taught and practiced for nearly two decades. Sitting in circle with those seeking a role in transformative justice, we shared life experience, contemplated justice and violence, and sought wider community. I cannot imagine a fuller experience of community and engagement than among those many precious companions.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.