The mother of Nicole Brown Simpson said Thursday that she has come to terms with the acquittal of the man accused of murdering her daughter.
In an interview with The Times, Juditha Brown declined to say whether she and her husband, Lou, would fight to maintain custody of the two Simpson children, who have been living with their grandparents in Dana Point for the past 15 months.
Since Simpson was found not guilty of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Lyle Goldman, he has signaled a desire to be with his children again. On Wednesday, they spent the night with Simpson and returned Thursday to their grandparents' home.
"Blood is thicker than anything. He is their father," said Brown, 64.
Brown said she would find it impossible to accept if Simpson did not provide his two young children, Sydney, 9, and Justin, 7, with the kind of home life that Nicole wanted them to have.
She said the children are happy and busy despite their pain. She said she hopes they have a home with "love, consistency, stability. . . . They can't have this with a nanny, a housekeeper, a father who is always on the road probably looking for a girlfriend, a job or whatever."
Her goal in the coming months is to continue to work with the Nicole Brown Simpson Charitable Foundation established last December to fight domestic violence. "The verdict won't consume me," she said. "It can't. It's over. I have moved on already."
Still, Brown said it was extremely difficult to let go of her grandchildren Wednesday when they were taken to meet with their father for the first time in more than a year.
She felt better after talking to her granddaughter Thursday afternoon, Brown said.
Sydney called to reassure her grandmother that she was feeling positive about the future after visiting her father. " 'We will work it out,' " Brown quoted Sydney as telling her.
Brown said she will try hard not to worry about her grandchildren and the adjustment they may have to make.
"It wouldn't do me one bit of good," she said. "Anxiety doesn't do you any good. . . . Our life will go on. The children will go back to school."
Brown said she expects that Simpson will agree to leave the children in their current school for now. She also hopes that he will allow them to continue living with "with me and my husband and their cousins."
During the interview, Brown laughed when she told of the wonderful times she has shared with her grandchildren. But she was near tears when she talked about how touched the family has been by the outpouring of public sympathy and support since Nicole's death.
Suffering from a chest cough that she attributed to stress, she wore two angel pins, one on a gold chain around her neck, another on the lapel of her jacket. Throughout the trial, the Brown family adopted the angel pins as a symbol of Nicole.
Since the tragedy occurred, she said, she and her husband have never spoken negatively about Simpson to his children. She said the children were happy when she told them their father had been found not guilty.
Brown regrets, however, that she and her family became figures in the "trial of the century."
"We were such private people, and all of a sudden we are out there in this limelight," she said. "We really don't know how to handle it. There are no rules."
Brown credits her faith in God and the example of her own mother with helping her survive the events of the past months.
"I had a very strong mother. My mother lost a daughter who was 21. She had a brain tumor. I watched my mother go through it, never thinking I would have to go through" something as painful.
Brown, who begins every day with a prayer, said she "almost forgot" her faith two days ago when the verdict was announced.
"It was my first doubt in my whole life. I said, 'God, where are you?' "
She said her days largely have been devoted to Sydney and Justin.
"There is no quiet time at our house. It's go, go, most of the time."
She never realized Nicole was a victim of spousal abuse, although they were close. And until the end, she said, Nicole didn't realize it either.
"She had always come to me [with her confidences]. She didn't know she was abused," Brown said. But "four days before she died . . . she said, 'Mama, I've been an abused woman.' "
Brown believes that Nicole stayed in the marriage with Simpson for years because there were so many good times.
"The good times were so good and they had such a passionate, exciting life. The passion was wild. They'd fight and make up."
For Nicole, the hope was always there that an abusive act "was the last time. He's not going to do it anymore. He's so nice again, he apologizes, buys you presents. He does so much for you. The house was full of flowers. I always wondered why and now I know why."
With the verdict only two days behind her, and the realization that a new relationship with Simpson must be built for the sake of the children, Brown says she will not approach the future with bitterness.
"I don't hate. Life goes on."
She has become painfully aware that her family is not alone in grief.
"Look how many people are murdered every day. I'm not the only who lost a child, whose child was murdered."
She is grateful for the outpouring of support from friends and strangers.
"I am not asking to be left alone anymore. I have begged a whole year: Please leave me alone, leave the children alone. But now we need people for the foundation, people who will help us."
She is looking forward to "living again. Just breathing the open air again."