THOUGHTS OF A FRUITCAKE: By Carolyn Aldis
So, this week I’ve been thinking about forgiveness. To be slighted by another person, overlooked when the invitations are given out, overhearing that a close friend doesn’t actually have your back due to the fact they are too busy sticking a knife in can leave us upset and either bent on revenge, or stubborn in unforgiveness. These are everyday trifles that can cause us to dislike the perpetrator, to retaliate, justifying it, reasoning that we have to stand up for ourselves, not let people push us about. Then there’s a case in the news when such a huge dose of forgiveness is used to release the perpetrator, that we are left humbled.
Alice Husband had the inquest into her son Seth’s tragic death last week, finding out new information, which included the fact that the person that knocked him down had been using her mobile phone while driving; 7 calls made and received in 15 minutes.
I first met Seth when we moved up to Lincolnshire 9 years ago. He was just a toddler then and my youngest daughter was the same age as him and so Alice and I became friends. We would enjoy a coffee while our children played...Seth had a lovely habit of draping his arms around his mother’s neck, occasionally putting his hand over her mouth to stop her talking! He was a lovely, smiley lad and even though we moved to Spalding, I would still see Alice and her three boys occasionally.
I knew Alice was a strong woman...her eldest boy has ADHD and autism and she’s endured comments from those that didn’t understand why he was ‘behaving badly’...she was rejected many times and yet she kept on, smiling and being positive.
And then, that dreadful day when the news came through that Seth had been knocked down...the prayers that he would be ok, the hope when he seemed stable enough to fix the broken bones and the utter devastation when he died, just before Christmas. I visited Alice a few days after and was struck by her calm and strong manner. At his funeral, where everyone was invited to wear bright colours or be superheroes as Seth loved them, she remained strong as we wept.
She has never blamed the driver...Seth had been excited about the school fair and it seemed he had run out, without looking properly. But with the new information at the inquest, Alice was perfectly within her rights to feel angry, initially with the driver who put the conversations with her friends above the safety of others and then with the justice system that deemed the punishment of 5 points and a fine was enough. I know nothing is enough when a child has died, but it just felt so wrong.
Alice’s response shows that she had made her mind up before the inquest to forgive Amy. She didn’t allow the new information to sway her decision. Her words made me so proud of her and is an amazing example to us all:
“Asked whether she believes Ms Asker should have been handed a stronger sentence, she said: “She will be serving a sentence in her own mind for the rest of her life.
“No prison sentence would change that or make her feel any worse. All it would do is separate another mother from her children and those children should not be the ones to suffer.”
“I’ve forgiven her and I want to remember Seth for the smiley, happy, much loved little boy that he was.”
It takes incredible strength to walk in forgiveness.