by Lynette Grace
Growing up I had always enjoyed reading various books by Dr. Seuss. After “Horton Hears a Who,” I also enjoyed reading, “Oh, the places you’ll go by Dr. Seuss.” I had no idea the places one simple act of kindness would take me or the people it would bring into my act.
I was working in Atlanta, GA when I received a phone call from home that my Mom had died unexpectedly in her sleep. After attending her funeral I decided to visit with a woman who I considered to be my Spiritual mother and her family from my hometown of Ohio before returning to work. After going to bed I was awakened suddenly to what I determined to be an argument between my friend and her 16 year old Son.
I got up to investigate but not to pry. To my horror I found that my Spiritual mother had been stabbed to death in the basement at the hands of her 16 year old son. Without provocation for reasons un-known to me he began stabbing me.
He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for killing his mother and also received time for his felonious assault crime against me. I felt compelled to visit him in prison for answers as to why such a beautiful woman had to die. At our meeting he cried more than I did. He had gotten into trouble for stealing cars and breaking in houses and wasn’t supposed to be on the phone. When she kept catching him on the phone they started arguing and the argument escalated into him stabbing her to death.
Since I was able to speak with him I received some answers to the questions that had been haunting me for years. It was almost time to leave the prison’s visiting room when he unexpectedly asked if I could forgive him for his actions against me. It didn’t take long for me to realize that since life had given me a second chance at life I couldn’t do less for him than to forgive him. I told him yes I could forgive him for his actions against me.
He shared that with me visiting with and forgiving him it was as if a burden had been lifted off of him and he was able after all these years to be able to forgive himself. I too found that my visits with him helped to ease the survivor’s guilt I was feeling since I survived the attack and his mother had not.
Soon after that I began to travel and to share my story of forgiveness and healing with others. Since he showed remorse and accountability for his actions and took the classes required for him to take I took a letter of support for him to the parole board. Unfortunately when the powers that be realized I was his victim our visits were discontinued.
It has given me the opportunity to give testimony at the Senate and at the House of Representatives for bills going through legislation to give youths an opportunity to go before the parole board. I welcome the opportunity to share my story especially if anyone could be helped by it. My journey of forgiveness has taken me to Canada, London, England and Washington, D.C., where I have made great friends and have met a lot of fine people. After reading the story on the “Forgiveness Project Website,” a man came from Belgium to include our story in his book called “Hotel Pardon.” I share the story in Prisons, Churches and Universities wherever I am invited to share the story of Forgiveness. My hope is that through my story of forgiveness that they can find healing and forgiveness not only for others that may have harmed them but for forgiveness for themselves as well. Oh the places forgiveness will take you if you will allow it to.
Lynette D. Grace lives and works in Columbus, Ohio. You can email her at: Doorkeeper90@gmail.com