Where do I start? You’ve been on my mind a lot lately. The truth is I’ve started writing this letter a million times. I’ve even thought I had finished it a few times, put it in an envelope and sealed it. Only to later throw it in the trash. I wouldn’t even know an address to send it to. The timing wasn’t right, or so I told myself. When is the right time really?
So here it goes…
I forgive you.
The truth is, I’ve never felt any hate or resentment towards you. That’s only through God’s grace. I could be bitter, angry, or hateful, though, that wouldn’t change things. This really isn’t for me. It’s for you.
Looking back you were young. So young! This wasn’t supposed to happen. You just wanted to have fun with some friends. Maybe you needed to make curfew, maybe you just wanted to get home. Who would’ve thought she’d be driving down the road with her little family on a back road. Whatever your reason, it wasn’t a good one and you made a stupid choice. Why didn’t anyone try to stop you? Maybe they did, if so, why didn’t you listen?
Two families forever changed in a single instant, all because of that choice.
I know you’re not the same 17-year-old kid you were back then. We are all grown up now and 23 years have passed. I’m a mom now. My daughter is almost the age I was that night. It pains me to think of leaving my babies to live on without me. I never want them to know that pain of growing up without a mom. Or having the same last memories of me as I have of her. I never want them to make the same mistake you did. Then I think of you. My heart hurts for you for the burden you must carry.
Those decisions you made changed both of our lives. It changed everything.
I grew up without her.
I had to grow up too fast. It was hard. It was really really hard. No longer was she there to calm my fears. I sat silently in class while the rest of the children colored hearts and wrote “Happy Mother’s Day” on their cards. She wouldn’t be there to hold me when I needed to cry, she wouldn’t be there to pick out my wedding dress, or meet her grandchildren. It’s funny how life goes on. Differently, and not as we’d hoped. But it goes on. It is weird though, isn’t it?
And You. You grew up knowing that the choice you made changed our life forever. The looks from people in a small town. The whispers behind your back. What people said to your face. Going back to school and trying to live life after hers ended. Maybe it bothered you. Maybe you pretended it didn’t. How could it not? I don’t know how you feel or felt about it. Maybe this letter will make you angry. Maybe it’s what you need.
Whatever you’re feeling it remains the same: I forgive you.
I want you to know that God loves you. Maybe you already know that. If you don’t I want you to know that He is willing to forgive you too. You just have to ask. I know because He has done that for me. I don’t think I could navigate this life without knowing that. I NEED you to know that it can be true for you too. He will forgive you even if you don’t feel worthy. None of us are worthy, but He does it anyway.
The choices you made that night caused an accident. Your choice caused a lifetime of heartache. Your choice changed everything that we thought was supposed to be. One thing I know is that God is in control of everything. If it was His will for her to be here, she would be. Yes, you did make life altering choices and I hope there is accountability there. You shouldn’t have gotten in that car. If you hadn’t, maybe things would be different. Maybe not. You did not make the choice to call her home or leave her on earth. That’s His. I didn’t understand or like it. Only God knows why.
Only God knows your heart. Wherever you are in life, He will meet you there. He loves you. My forgiveness may or may not mean something to you. You may never even see this but I know that if God wants you to find it, you will. He has a way of doing things like that. More than anything thing, GOD loves YOU! I can only speak for what’s in my own heart, not anyone else’s. I don’t write this for them. I write this for you.
I don’t hate you, and I forgive you.