Is it possible to forgive someone who is deceased?
My friend Kim recently shared her incredible story of forgiveness with me. I hope it touches you like it did me.
I experienced anger toward my dad who was an alcoholic. He died 23 years ago.
Growing up with an alcoholic/addict was absolutely ugly and awful. We never knew what the day was going to bring. I remember praying a lot that my Dad would come home on time and not be drunk. If it was past 6:30 it was time to go hide. My dad was not a mean drunk, but the fights that ensued were violent, ugly and impossible to get away from.
We moved a lot because my Dad lost a lot of jobs and couldn’t pay the rent/mortgage. Many times growing up there wouldn’t be enough food in the house to feed us. I started working in the cafeteria in 4th grade because we would get a free lunch.
My dad would take me on drives sometimes and stop at a bar called The Elbow Room. He would leave me in the car and say he would be just a few minutes and come out 6 hours later drunk.
When I found out he was in the hospital dying I was pregnant with our daughter Kayla who would never meet him. I prayed he would talk to me when I got there. That he would tell me he loved me, that he would say he was sorry, that he was proud of me. None of those things happened and he died 2 days later. I couldn’t say anything at his memorial, there was not one good thing I could think of to say.
All my feelings were bottled up inside me until my 35th birthday, when I had a break down. I went to counseling and my counselor suggested I write him a letter. I sat down and wrote page after page of my hurt and anger. At the end of that letter, I finally forgave him. Obviously, he never saw this letter, but it wasn’t for him, it was for me. A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and my heart after that. Forgiveness is needed to heal our hearts, to let go of the power that we give others.
If you are struggling with forgiveness and hurt, Forgive! It’s for you.
Kim Mayner has been married to her husband Jeff for 28 years and has 3 adult children. In addition to owning three Burger King franchises in Ventura County, Kim is a small group leader in our church and a force of constant encouragement for all who know her!