A Tragedy and Forgiveness

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Posted by Heartwarmers4u on September 20, 1998 at 07:45:22:

This true story was emailed to me through the service known as Heartwarmers4u [link below]:
Doug Showalter

Dear Heartwarmers4u:

My name is Marion and I live on a farm in a district called Fish River, near a town called Cradock, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. I learned a very hard lesson in forgiveness that I would like to share it with my fellow heartwarmers around the world.

My husband is employed by his father as a safari outfitter and farm manager. My inlaws never really accepted me. I was told before we were even married that they felt I was marrying my husband for what he is due to inherit and I hated them for it. I had never asked anyone for a thing and was used to working hard for my own money.

My inlaws are also difficult people -- my father-in-law is an alcoholic and this has isolated their whole family from the small Christian farming community in which we live.

We had a beautiful daughter born on Christmas Day, 1995, and we had a hard time. I wanted to raise my child myself but was constantly told by my inlaws to hire a nanny. Whenever I felt down or tired it was a case of " I told you so." I also, after a few tries, refused to let my in laws babysit our daughter. If they wanted to see Stacey, they were welcome to come and visit her but I was not taking her to their house where I knew I was not really welcome. I felt that I was tolerated because of my daughter. Having no friends in the community did not help either, as Stacey was a difficult child.

Anyway, due to complications, I was sterilized in January, 1997, and all this time relations became more and more strained until we actually threatened them with court action with regards to business.

My daughter died suddenly on April 22, 1997, while recuperating in the hospital from croup. I had been with her this whole period and had hardly slept in 48 hours. The post mortem we requested revealed that it was a one in a million, freak accident that can happen. At first, my in laws seemed to be sympathetic but slowly after hearing from other people we realized that they had hidden motives for "doing" the things they did for us at the time - in reality, is was anything but love or sympathy. Shortly after Stacey's death, I was blamed for her not getting to know the inlaws and I was blamed for her death. What a blow! Two weeks after her death my husband was told by his father that his will read that if we had no more natural children and anything happened to my husband before a certain age; I would get nothing.

They had the gall to tell a grieving father this who had lost his only daughter, and whose wife was sterilized.

Anger and hate are not enough to express what we both felt for his parents at that stage. After all they had done to us in the past and now to do this to us when our Stacey had died! Fortunately, we were going for counselling and at Stacey's funeral, the whole community was there. People I didn't even know came to her funeral and reached out to us. They saved our lives! They took us under their wings and gave us the spiritual guidance we needed. It took a long time for the anger against my inlaws to
subside and with the love, support and counselling received from all our friends, I have learned to forgive them.

I don't think I will totally forget all they did to me but I have forgiven them for it. As Jesus said on the cross "Lord, Please forgive them for they know not what they are doing." That is the way I feel. I pray for their souls. That's all I can do for them. I still don't go out of my way to socialize with them but don't avoid them and accept them for what they are. They had no idea of how they actually hurt and are still
hurting the family. Looking back, I can see how the hate and anger was making me miserable.

Today, I feel as if a burden has been lifted and that part of me can start to live again. Thank the Lord for our wonderful community.

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