Forgiveness doesn’t come easy and sometimes not at all, especially for those who have been victimized beyond belief. The absence of forgiveness is suffering and we have all suffered. The loss of a loved one is by far the worse kind of suffering, or so I believe.
It took 44 years to forgive myself, so I know that forgiveness doesn’t come easy. I held hatred in my heart for years and I allowed that hatred to fester until it overwhelmed me and I began to lose myself. I learned that to truly forgive others, I had to first forgive myself . It was very difficult to accept this forgiveness and to learn that I could choose not to suffer. That idea was foreign and new to me, but it was also energizingand encouraging to know that there was a chance for me, that I had a shot at redemption and it started with forgiveness.
Recently I went to the parole board and my victim’s family showed up. I was more upset that I caused so much suffering, than I was when I recieved five more years. They haven’t forgiven me and they may never find it in there heart to do so, but I still hope and pray that day comes. Not just for my own selfish reasons, but for the family because I know until they learn to forgive they will continue to suffer.
I will never attempt to tell someone how to grieve or for how long. But it is my belief that we should spend our time celebrating and remembering our loved ones life, instead of trying to revenge their death. I know the vengefulness that loss can bring. My brother Lonzo was shot and killed and my mother told me that the worse feeling for a parent is to out live their child. That was the first time I ever seen my mother cry and still she had love in her heart and forgiveness for those who took her son from her. I know loss and I know suffering, but in the end I know forgiveness and it is the road to happiness.
Rodney M. Siler