Yesterday I handed my cousin a small envelope with a handwritten note tucked inside. I’d agonized for a few days about what I was going to write to the man who killed my daughter. I’d made up my mind to contact him quite a while ago, but had difficulty finding his current address, or maybe I didn’t look hard enough. Either way, my cousin sent me a screenshot with the info I needed. The first thing I noticed was how old he is now.
His age was listed as 34. The same age my daughter would be today if she were alive. That number instantly drove home the amount of life my daughter has missed. I know it’s been eleven years but this made me think about the life lived in those years. I realized my image of the drunk driver was still that of the 23 year old young man I had screamed at while I gave my victim impact statement. For a moment, anger washed over me as I considered the fact his life went on. His years were filled with living. Would he have lines at the corner of his eyes? Maybe a gray hair? How much had he aged physically in just over a decade? I told myself that I had forgiven him. I kept telling myself I had forgiven him. Forgiveness, even after having been decided upon, is an ongoing process.
I hadn’t considered certain aspects of learning current information about him. And I am wondering, if I do see him face to face, how it will affect me. As I mentioned above, he will have aged, a gift Becca never received. It’s one thing to know something and another to experience it. Will he have a wedding ring on his finger? Was he lucky enough to find someone to love in the years since my child’s death? Is he a father now? Or, maybe he’s caring for his elderly mother. A gift, sadly, I will never receive from my daughter.
Back to the note I wrote to him.
“This is Diane. I am Becca’s mom. You and I are bound to the same beautiful soul for different reasons. The past eleven years have been full of intense pain and deep sorrow for me. I imagine they have been difficult for you, as well. With this letter I hope to find a small portion of closure in my child’s death. I need you to know I have forgiven you and hope you have a long and happy life. If you could see your way to meeting me I’d be incredibly grateful. If you can not, know that you can reach out to me at any time. Sincerely, Diane”
As I said, I’d worried about what I wanted to say to him, and how I was going to say it. I knew, at the very least, I had to extend forgiveness within the sentences, in case he didn’t want to meet me face to face. This was most important to me. I want to see him, in person, but I may not get to and that
has to be acceptable for me. But, I’m not sure of what to expect if I do meet with him.
A friend of mine, playing devil’s advocate, asked me what I would do if he told me “I don’t need your forgiveness”. I thought about her question and decided that I would be ok with that. I would be sad that we couldn’t have a conversation. I would be content in that I did I what I needed to do in order to further my own healing. Forgiveness is a selfish act.
I had been at work on Saturday when the words just presented themselves to me. I left the deli counter and sat down with a pencil and let my thoughts spill onto the paper. The words came from deep within my soul and (I thought) were perfect to convey what I wanted to say.
So, I tried to neatly write the words onto unlined paper and didn’t do so well. My hands were shaky and some of the letters hard to make out. I considered rewriting it, placing lined paper beneath the top sheet, but decided not to. Why? Because I was full of emotion and writing a letter like that might not be meant to be a calm, neat experience. I folded it up and inserted it into the envelope. Done. Something I had been thinking of doing for a while was accomplished. Now, it’s out of my hands.
It’s Monday. The letter was mailed on Saturday., by my cousin, because I wasn’t sure I could drop it into a mailbox. Will it be delivered today? If so, will he open it or lay it in an out of way place because he knows it’s from the mother of the young woman he killed? How long until he lifts the flap of the small envelope and reads the message within?
I hope he opens it as soon as he receives it. I hope the words I wrote for him land softly on his heart. And, I hope the seed for meeting me is planted in his thoughts . . . even if it takes a while for it to bloom.
I’ll be waiting.