Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Have you forgiven the man who killed your daughter?

After a recent high school distracted driving talk in Colorado a teen age girl asked me if I had forgiven the man who killed Casey. I told her that he had not reached out to me and I have never had a conversation with him. As I said this I felt a little cheap and dishonest-I know that my ability to forgive is not dependent upon the person to whom forgiveness is being granted being present or my having a face to face meeting or conversation with that person. While the other person might benefit from hearing me say "I forgive you"  forgiveness begins  before the actual words are communicated to the other. So  I ducked her question and asked her why she asked. She told me that she has not forgiven the man who shot and killed her little brother and does not know if she will ever be able to do so. I was able to talk with her and let her know that forgiveness does not mean condoning what someone has done, but rather is making a decision to move on, past the anger, hate and bitterness that we feel towards another-that forgiveness can be so cleansing and freeing for those who choose to forgive as well as an incredible gift for the other. I think she is having to think about that a little-I would love to know how it all turns out for her .

 I think I have forgiven the man who killed Casey for the killing but not  for failing to reach out, for failing to try to express how sorry he was, for failing to act human and caring and failing to act how Casey would surely have acted had she killed him.  I have not communicated anything to him.How does this inability to forgive= let that go and move beyond it- hurt me or hold me back? Maybe I don't understand forgiveness as well as I thought.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Seeing others' children live..

With the holiday we spent time with family. Casey's best friend, her cousin  Jamie, was there.I hugged her and was so glad to see her. We talked about her upcoming graduation from law school and that she already had a job for the Fall and her trip to Europe with her boyfriend. She is  kind and sweet and  bright and wants to make a difference in this world-it is such an exciting time in her life and for her parents. I am so proud of my niece but looking at her as she begins her professional life brought into full focus my loss, my family's loss, Casey's loss. Casey should have been there spending time with all of us, with her 5 and 3 year old cousins, laughing and playing with them and telling us all about her exciting job in NYC as a journalist. It is so unfair and I felt angry and jealous of what they had, what I had at one time and what Casey had, and wondered how everyone could be so happy since Casey was not there and Casey was not living and we were having a good time without her.  I hope they all realize or even  think about how lucky and fortunate they are-parents to be able to see their child grow and prosper, a young adult being able to laugh, and cry and experience love and life and all that youthful energy and the promise of a future.

 Did they think of Casey?  Did they also miss her? I did not ask them if they were feeling some of what I was feeling.Do they appreciate more what they have because of what we have all lost- yes they loved Casey and have also lost her. Better question--for me-- do I appreciate now what I have today  -my son and wife and brother and sister and nieces and nephews and in-laws and all of those who so loved Casey? Do I fully appreciate the gift of life and health and the ability to experience joy and sadness and longing for Casey? And that despite all that I have lost that there is promise for  the future?