As the public funeral for former missing Mariam Makhniashvili approaches, Mariam’s mother, Lela Tabidze, granted her first interview with media since receiving news of her only daughter’s remains having been found, to CTV’s W5 which aired Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. EDT.
During this interview, the grieving mother, a former broadcast journalist in her homeland of Georgia, has proven herself to be an extremely intelligent and well spoken woman. She has also shown the world that she is gracious, gentle and kind at heart. Beyond that, she is showing us all that she is one strong person for all that she has endured since having entered Canada, but, also the U.S. and even within her homeland. There have been a lot of heartbreak, stress and changes which makes it almost unfathomable that one person could have taken so much and still be functioning.
It was plain to see that Life has taken its toll upon this woman but, in spite of her own, personal pain, she is being thoughtful and brave. Her show of strength is one to be applauded. With honesty and caring, she answered the interviewer’s questions, crying only once on camera.
Life for Lela and her family has been anything but an easy one. Choosing to find a better future for their children and having lived within a poverty-stricken, war-torn country in Georgia, Lela and her husband Vakhtang, left their homeland in 2003 to go in hopes of being granted immigration ability to the U.S..
Vakhtang, a former professor of philosophy in Georgia, had received placement as a scholar in California. Lela accompanied her husband, leaving her children behind in the care of Vakhtang’s mother and Lela’s sister, hoping for it to be a far shorter separation than the five years it turned out to be. They spoke every day by phone, the grandmother and aunt reported while also being interviewed in Georgia, Mariam’s former homeland.
“She was excited to come,” Mariam’s grandmother told the media through interpreters. “She told me, ‘Grandma, I’m so happy here'” in a call to her grandmother back home in Georgia, once here.
Lela admitted that Mariam was somewhat disgruntled and frustrated with her rate of learning English but, persisted and would “analyse everything she read”. Lela also went on to explain that Mariam had come home happy the night before she went missing, having spent the day, volunteering at Toronto’s Dragon Boat Races. She had waved to her mother as she’d gotten onto the elevator the next morning with her younger brother, George, to go to school, backpack complete with new books, binders, pens and a home packed lunch. It was certainly not what one would see as the picture of a young woman who was so depressed that she had plotted to end her life.
When asked about the suspicions about the possibility of family involvement in Mariam’s death, Lela calmly but assuredly set the record straight. The entire family had been given lie detector tests and many interviews by police before being cleared as suspects. She went on to explain that she had never seen Vakhtang ever violent in any way prior to Mariam’s disappearance and, stated that he was and has been under great stress. It was that stress that doctors had deduced had been the cause in triggering the violence associated with the delusional disorder he now suffers from. While she said that she knew his actions were not right, she spoke honestly in saying that she did feel that he was able to be helped and wasn’t giving up on her husband, still hoping that things could improve for him and with him.
She spoke matter of factly and without blame or excuses in talking about the couple that her husband had stabbed which landed him in Millhaven prison for six years. David and Deloris Langer were not exactly the helpless good samaritans that they have been portrayed to be. What the general public may not be aware of is the fact that the Langers had been conversing with Vakhtang via internet prior to them posting his bail for the stabbing attack on Sean Ure, the neighbour across the hall from Makhniashvili. They had not used the name their real names and posed as private investigators, with Deloris using the nick name of Trixie Dixie. It was only after the stabbing and trial that Lela learned that the Langers had not been strangers at all. They had known Vakhtang through their conversations over the net by using aliases but, Vakhtang had not known who they were when they posted bail under their real names.
What was most striking about the information that was also provided in this interview segment were the facts.
Tracking dogs had been brought to the scene of Forest Hill Collegiate when Mariam had been declared missing. They picked up no trail, no scent. In my personal estimation, this may be indicative that Mariam did not leave the school area on foot.
Secondly, it appeared that while police had originally thought of the finding of Mariam’s backpack as a break in the case, they quickly dismissed it as being of any use since there was no DNA found on it. That, to me, may have been a point which could have been either stated or, looked upon differently in my opinion. The fact that the backpack had been found, intact, where it was, may have significant meaning to this case. As I have stated in an earlier post, https://mylittlecorneroflife.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/police-re-visit-area-where-mariam-makniashvilis-remains-found/ the area where her backpack was found, was out of the way of the alleged path Mariam may likely have taken to get to the 401 overpass where her body was found. There may be a clue right there as to where Mariam actually was that could have potentially led to something further and still might, if looked upon with the correct perspective. There was reason for her backpack being there and being off route to the 401 overpass. Unfortunately, at this time, this point seems to be being dismissed, at least, to the public.
Meanwhile, she is about to lay her only daughter to rest while still trying to be strong for her remaining child, Georgi, her son and await to see what the future holds for her with her husband’s mental illness. She will have to shoulder the burdens that have come to her and her family, alone for yet another couple of years at the least and, may have to go it alone for some time more to come.
Facebook has shown her to be an advocate now for others who are facing their children missing as well as helping to implement new laws for the protection of those families who face the same situation she has so bravely had to experience within her own life.
Tabidze has graciously permitted the doors to be opened to the public for her daughter’s funeral so that the public may be allowed to say their goodbyes and give the family their condolences.
Visitation will be held this coming Friday, March 23, 2012 at Murray Newbigging Funeral Home, 773 Mt. Pleasant Drive, Toronto, from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. and from 7:oo p.m. until 9:00 p.m.. The funeral service will be held in the chapel at the funeral home 1:00 p.m. Saturday March 24, 2012. Only 100 people can be accommodated within the chapel, we are told.
In the meantime, police are allegedly continuing to seek answers. They know the start and the ending but, they do not know the whys or the hows behind it. It is those questions that we all seek answers to. Having those questions answered cannot save Mariam but, no matter what the real answers are, they may help to prevent future tragedies such as Mariam’s case and hopefully, save other family and parents from the hell that Lela Tabidze, Vakhtang and son, Georgi Makhniashvili have lived in for the past two and a half years.
One more question needs to be answered as well. Can we, as a Society, afford to let those questions go un-answered?
Some would say that it’s costing taxpayer’s dollars to answer them and would serve no good since Mariam is no longer with us to be helped. Others, would agree that these answers may help prevent another teen from the same type of fate, whether it be suicide or foul play.
I am with the latter group.