More than 10 years after losing her daughter in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, Patricia Brunner of the Town of Boston has some good news to think about: Monday, Libya handed over two men to stand trial in the killing of 270 people in the bombing.
"Thank you, God, to finally know at least two people will be brought to justice," Ms. Brunner said Monday. "Definitely, it's a step in the right direction. We're just overwhelmed."
Colleen Brunner, 20, was a junior at Oswego State College when she and 189 other Americans on the flight were killed after a bomb went off over Lockerbie. The bombing killed 259 people on the plane and 11 on the ground.
Ms. Brunner said the last six to eight months have been particularly difficult, because the families knew that Libya was close to handing over the two suspects. But the latest development has not eased the pain and grief from the bombing.
"It hasn't gone away," she said. "Your body becomes numb."
Joanne Hartunian, the mother of another college student killed in the bombing, agrees.
"Please don't use the word 'closure.' It's never going to end," said Ms. Hartunian, whose daughter, Lynne, was returning to their home in Niskayuna after a semester of college in London. "Our lives have been changed completely, and we'll never get our daughter back."
The two Libyans are to stand trial before a Scottish court at a Dutch base near Amsterdam. Some reports say the trial could take a year or more.
"I'm going," Ms. Brunner said Monday. "I would like to be there for the whole thing, but you can't be."
She said she does not know what arrangements may be made for family members and spectators to observe the trial. There also are sections of the trial, such as descriptions of the victims, she said she wants to avoid.
Colleen was the youngest of eight children. Her father, Donald, died last year.
A graduate of Hamburg Central High School, she was majoring in communications. She spent the fall 1988 semester at Imperial College in London and was returning home for Christmas when the plane was blown up Dec. 21.
Ms. Brunner said she has been to Scotland every year since the bombing.
"I promised Colleen I would do that, and I have returned every year. To me, that's when I get my peace," she said.
Some relatives are skeptical about whether having these two men stand trial will be enough, because they suspect that people in the government of Libya and other Middle East countries had a role in the bombing.
"These two people are people who pulled the trigger. They're not the brains behind the conspiracy," said Bob Hunt of Webster, who lost his daughter Karen in the bombing.
But Ms. Brunner is hopeful that her prayers will be answered.
"I pray to God that someone is brought to justice before I die," she said. "You want someone to be held accountable."
News wire services contributed to this article.