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.


  1. My son was also a victim of someone who has never reached out to us or given the slightest indication of regret or even sympathy. This lack of humanity also makes me angry and unable to forgive. The complete callousness shocks and upsets me very much. And the laws in my locality are written in a way that allows our district attorney the leeway to choose not to prosecute. There is no justice.
    At this point (10 1/2 months since he died), I'm not interested in forgiveness.

  2. After speaking with you, I imagine that this young girl has some thinking to do. Seems like you might have helped clarify things and lead her to realize that 'forgiveness' and 'condoning' are not the same, and that being able to forgive might be very good for her for the reasons you mentioned. I would also imagine that you helped 'set her free' a bit and that she will always remember the conversation she had with Casey's dad.
    Nice job, Joel