Posted by: DRAGONFLY | 2008/10/27

Dad Shot, how do u forgive?

My father has been gone now for 21 years, he was shot and killed by my grandfather, apparently through self defence, my dad had a knife, my grandfather a gun.
Im now 28 years old, only found out this year from my uncle who was there that night what all happened. My aunt who was also there that night, said to me that even after all this time she doesnt believe any of the people involved had any right or place to come to me and tell me what truly happened. I dont believe in all the 21 years there has not been one single time when any of them could have said to me what happened. that she didnt think id want to know. yet throughout the years growing up i kept asking, i had empty questions my mother couldnt answer. &  my grandfather has never ever told me how he feels, how its affected him, nor what happened, he knows that my mother and I have all these years blamed him, even to the point where we Hate him. We cannot stand being around him. I have been to a shrink to sort out my issues. She tells me to forgive my grandfather. But HOW do you forgive someone who has never shown any remorse for taking another persons life, never tried to make things right. he' s lived his life. Ive grown up without a father, never mind the huge loss my mother felt and the struggle it was raising me on her own. I feel its gone on too long and its too late. Why must I go to my grandfather and ask him, when it is HE that is at fault. All i did was be born. &  in my grandfathers mind, when we had a fall out about 2years ago, that he thought I would have forgotten about it by now. How on earth does a child or wife of a man ever ' forget'  that their father or husband was taken from them at the hands of their grandfather and father? I dont understand his mentality at all. Yet he ' loves'  us unconditionally. As an adult now, i feel he made a choice to pull the trigger, there are consequences. Yes i am still upset and it brings back a lot of hurt, but when i am around my grandfather, he' s a stranger now, i dont feel anger nor hatred as such towards him anymore, my feelings for him are empty. Id rather feel nothing for him, than feel anything at all. Besides the fact that he is not a nice, kind hearted soul also makes things worse. He is self centred, and a bully. If he was a nice person that i could actually like, i would make an effort. But he isnt. SO i ask, how does a person Forgive in a situation like this.

How do mothers and fathers forgive the criminals that have taken their children. How do you find it in yourself to forgive another person on such a large scale. When other people can never understand what you' ve been through, the struggle every day. Its easy enough for other people looking into my life and say, how can you be so harsh, how can you not forgive.. when they have grown up with a mother &  father, when they didnt have the constant memory, the loss every day, the pain that your own family member Killed your father or mother. When they have not walked in my shoes....


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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

What a sad story ! Before deciding that you "wouldn't want to know" people should at least have asked you what you wanted, rather than deciding for you.
I'm sorry that your shrink has given you either very amateur and unhelpful advice, or advice that was inadequately explained so as to be of use. I don't think that people who show no remorse ( or even some of those who do ) ought to be "forgiven" in the usual sense of the word --- nobody is under any obligation to do anything to make a perpatrator of cruelty feel better.
And its not unusual to feel, as you do, "nothing" rather than hatred or even anger, towards a perpatrator. You have no duty whatever to like him or feel fondness towards him. "Nothing" is a fair choice.
The sense in which I do feel there is value in "forgiving" a perpetrator ( and I wish I could find a better word for it ) is in freeing yourself from being tied by your own bitterness and anger to the perpetrator, setting yourself free to live a full life without them. You need help from a more realistic and wise shrink, to live your own life without pain or bitterness or regret about aspects of it which you cannot change, so you can concentrate on aspects you CAN change.
Considering the further information you provide in your follow-up post, it sounds as though NOBODY involved in the tragic event, neither your father nor the others, were innocent , nor that they intended the tragic outcome that occurred ; and it seems likely they all thought they were doing something right, and probably thought what they were trying to do would be to your benefit. Sadly often in such awful events, nobody turns out to have been entirely innocent or entirely evil.
You will find that there are three types of people who glibly urge others to "forgive" freelly --- (a) perpetrators and their supporters, who want to feel free from any duty of guilt, and free to continue to do as they wish, and to ignore their acts and their consequences ; (b) Holier Than Thou meddlers who themselves have never had anything substantial to need ro forgive, and feel good for telling us how we ought to live our lives ; and (c) a few pathologically disturbed victims locked in profound denial, who feel saintly and enhanced by ostentatiously and publically forgiving a very nasty villain. None of those examples are worthy following.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Dragonfly | 2008/10/29

But my question is, HOW do u forgive? Something that has never been rectified for over 21 Years, is a long long time.
If my Dad had stabbed my grandfather, he would have still lived, my grandfather had a gun... you cannot compare the two. You shoot someone, the chances are they will Die. There is just too many scenario' s of how it could have played out but didnt. Too many years of lieing and not saying anything or telling me half the story.
Too much HATE, anger has gone on for too long. I think its too late for it all to be dissolved. Until you have lost someone so fundamental to your life in such a traumatic way, people will never ever understand.

Reply to Dragonfly
Posted by: Just M | 2008/10/28

The way it sounds to me is that your grandfather felt that his life and the lives of his wife and grandchild were threatened and he acted instinctively.
Can you really hold that against him? Would you have been here today if your drunken father had driven off with you?
And its possible that your grandfather doesn’ t want to talk about it because it’ s simply too painful. He killed a man and that is something he has to live with for the rest of his life. Is that not punishment enough?
You don’ t need to have a relationship with him and you don’ t have to forget, but you need to forgive him. For your own sake.

Reply to Just M
Posted by: ? | 2008/10/27

I couldn' t have said it better...good luck to you and your mum. I hope you both are able to continue life happily... Take care.

Reply to ?
Posted by: Dragonfly | 2008/10/27

They' ve had plenty times when they could have told me, i was told my Dad came there that night to get me, they refused, there was a scuffle between my grandfather &  my Dad and he shot him in the heart .. to cut a long story short. But my aunts reasoning is, she had no idea i was asking all these years, didnt think id want to know.... What person wouldnt want to know how or why their father was shot by a family member?! hellooo?!
I know the truth now, and i dont think it will make any difference of my feelings towards my grandfather. He' s done absolutely nothing in all these years to make things right. He must then live with the choices he made that night and losing me as a grand daughter and my mother... Tough. He is an adult man and was then as well. Quite frankly i dont see him having the " balls'  to say anthing, no conscience, no morals.

Thanks for the reply!! :)

Reply to Dragonfly
Posted by: ? | 2008/10/27

I guess there' s always another side to the story hey. But even still, surely there could have been another measure rather than kiling him. If he was drunk that night, and considering there were many people at the house that night, surely they all could have just tackled him and taken him somewhere to calm down. But I guess the situation was different.

But why wait for so long to tell you? They should have told you the moment you were old enough to understand. 28 is a bit too late! What story did they use all these years?

Gosh, I understand your feelings. I' d probably feel the same. I hope you find a way to deal with all of this. Maybe confronting your grandfather might help. Let out all your feelings.

Reply to ?
Posted by: Dragonfly | 2008/10/27

Thanks for the feedback.
It was my grandfathers Son-in law. My father had come there to my grandparents house when i was staying there &  wanted to take me, and he was apparently intoxicated. My family wouldnt let him, my aunt had tried to stop my father and she shot him in the shoulder and her gun exploded. WHich then made my father get more angry and my grandfather and him got into a scuffle and my grandfather shot my Dad in the heart. I think they must have felt very threatened to even have weapons on hand... I get told it couldnt have ended in any other way.. But everything is on a " what If"  I was only 6 years old at the time, I was taken out of the house &  sat in a car with my fathers friend. While all of this took place.. My father was known for making trouble, drinking, smoking etc, where my grandfather played at the local church, was seen as a good citizen.. etc etc. The law was in favour of my grandfather... the all ' so righteous man' 

Reply to Dragonfly
Posted by: ? | 2008/10/27

I know of someone who had shot his own brother. They got into a fight, and he shot him. He never went to jail, and today it seems as though none of it ever happened. The families seem to have disregarded it. That' s the part I don' t understand. How did the family forgive him? I would never be able to forgive him, and I' d hate everyone who did forgive him, because it' s unforgivable.

I know this story doesn' t answer your question, but in my opinion, you should never forgive your grandfather. What father kills his own son? How certain are you that it was in " self defense"  Why on earth were they both holding knives &  guns in the 1st place? Who walks towards a family with a gun or knife in their hand, with the intention of killing their father or son? It' s crazy!

If I were in your situation, I would just want to run far away...move to another country, and remove myself from any memory of this event. And just start over...

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