Learning To #Forgive Even In the Most Extreme Pain Imaginable
by Jason Young Guy
I guess this is more of a personal blog for myself, and really doesn’t contribute to anything in particular other than the appreciation of life, keeping the goodness and legacy of those you love alive even though they are no longer with you, and above all learn to forgive even in the most extreme pain a human heart, spirit and soul can endure. For it is that forgiveness that ultimately becomes what will heal you from the heart-break, pain and brokenness. It’s God’s most powerful tool he instils in us, because we have to use more often than we realize. Once we master forgiveness, then nothing can break our spirit permanently and rarely temporarily. It’s powerful, and I endured the hardest of hardest circumstances to have to use it.
You see, on a cold afternoon in North Alabama around 6:30pm, I received a call in my modest, 1 bedroom apartment while I was attending college at the young age of 24. Yes, I took a little longer than most, but I was also launching my career as a Concert Pianist and Entertainer simultaneously. The call was from my Dad who he and my mom lived 4 and half hours away in South Alabama. My Dad’s voice was hollow and faint, and I knew immediately something wasn’t right. He directed me not to leave and he would be there around midnight. When I kept repeating, “where is mom?” I only got a response of, “I’ll be there shortly just don’t go anywhere until I get there.” Then the phone went silent.
My parents were very hard-working individuals that barley could carry the title of middle class. They both worked a full-time job, my mom ran an office of a metal works company that custom-made parts for machines in the local paper plant and other small industries. My Dad worked as a linemen for Alabama Power Company, which was a very tiring and extremely dangerous job. So much so, he was electrocuted when I was one year old, and miraculously survived after not only being jolted with 1000s of volts, but also a free fall from a 20ft power pole. He did lose his ring finger, but that is a small price to pay compared to almost loosing his life.
We lived in a very, very small country town where everyone knew everyone and their reputations and families. I was blessed to be raised by a very well-respected family, in which, both my mom and dads families were known and also respected not to mention loved dearly by most all. My parent’s were the type that all my friends wanted to come visit before we would head out on a Friday or Saturday night to ride around town and mingle with other friends my age.
My mother was considered the true representation of a “Southern Belle”. Although never college educated, her grace, beauty and mannerisms was that of the Queen herself. She was always conscious of others feelings, morals, her Faith in God, and her devotion to family. So much devotion that she drove my Grandmother (her mother) to the local city of Mobile 2-3 times a week for Ovarian Cancer treatments. My Grandmother was at one time considered the longest survivor of Ovarian cancer and listed in the AMAJ or American Medical Association Journal. She fought extremely hard to overcome the cancer and did so until the very end of a 20yr fight.
On November 17th, 1997 she took off work to make a routine trip with my Grandmother to Mobile. My Grandmother lived about 15 miles north of my hometown. The town she lived in was also my mom’s hometown and it was smaller than the town of Jackson where we lived. She lived in a little area named Grove Hill, and between Jackson and Grove Hill was the main route for 18 wheeler log trucks. In South Alabama, cutting timber for the local saw mills and paper company is a prime industry due to the number of Pine Trees. So it’s common to see many, many log trucks running back and forth between Grove Hill and Jackson on Highway 43, a four lane road that runs all the way South to Mobile and all the way North to Florence, Alabama where I went to college. So that morning of the 17th was a normal routine for mom to pick up my Grandmother and leave south for Mobile…almost normal.
During the 4 long hours of waiting for my Dad to finally arrive, I made countless calls to my home in hopes of reaching mom but all I was able to get was our answering machine. I called my other Grandmother and of no luck reaching her which was very odd, as she always was home and answered the phone. This was my Dad’s mother. I didn’t call my Grandmother that went for her treatment as for some reason I didn’t want to have her start worrying when I had to explain Dad was coming up and I didn’t know why. That’s just how strange and out-of-place the trip would be for anyone that knew my family or was in my family. This was on a Monday evening, and it was above all a work day and work week. They only came up on a weekend, and had already came up earlier in May for their 27th wedding anniversary, and it was close to Thanksgiving so I would be coming home soon anyways.
Around midnight on the 17th, Dad finally arrived along with my neighbor who was driving his car with Dad as a passenger. My heart sank, as my worst fear I have always had that was far greater than the worst physical pain a human could endure was about to be my reality.
Dad came in and asked me to walk to the back bedroom, in which, he closed the door. He turned to me and said those words that I will never forget for as long as I live., “son, your mother was killed tonight.”…..
As his head then collapsed down into his hands in tears, I can hardly describe the physical heat that overcame my body and the rage that was beginning to boil in my stomach and heart. Rage and vengeance to find whoever, whatever took the one gentle soul that I loved more than life itself, my mom.
Keeping my composure as best I could, I asked how? What happened? Who did this? Dad began to tell me what happened.
At approximately 4:15pm that afternoon, my mom had just dropped off my Grandmother from her cancer treatment and was returning home on highway 43. That time of day in the fall is very busy with log trucks running their loads and highway 43 is very hilly with a speed limit of 65 most of the way from Grove Hill to Jackson. It takes roughly 15 minutes from my Grandmother’s home to ours, but the speed limit changes coming in to Jackson to 55. The speed limit coming out of Jackson is 45 and then increasing to 55 and on to 65 once past the city limits. My mother was coming in to Jackson and up an incline doing probably 55 or 60. She was a very cautious and law-abiding driver. Coming up that particular incline during November is terrible because the sun sets early is almost blinding when going up hill towards it. So, as she was coming into Jackson, a unloaded or empty log truck was heading out of Jackson and increasing in speed at the top of the same hill my mother was coming up. Again this is a 4 lane highway with a center turning lane and no median separating them. The log truck came over the hill and somehow jack-knifed or started skiding out of control and came across the lanes and hit mom head on…instantly killing her…
She was less than 3 miles from our home, and I was told there were paramedics that worked at a local plant just happened to be close behind her in traffic, and they were on the scene almost instantly and explained that she was gone., and probably at impact so with the sun so blinding, she probably never even knew what happened. That spot is where mom entered her eternal home forever. A cross of flowers remains at that very spot today and always will.
It took 3 years before the skid marks of the 18wheeler to eventually disappear visually from the highway, and I had to see them every time I came home to visit Dad.
So as dad explained this to me for once and only once, I had a pure raging hatred with one motive, and that was to find this guy driving and kill him. literally kill him. I’ve never felt so much rage, anger and vengeance in my natural-born life. However, being the great Dad I have he began to console me and once he did, it dawned on me how much he was hurting and devastated as well. That brought me somewhat back to my senses and I began packing as we had a long, cold and dark 4 hour drive back to my little house that would be “empty”.
I know now I couldn’t reach anyone, as the entire town was in shock of the accident, and everyone’s priority was apparently to keep me from finding out until Dad was able to arrive and tell me and bring me home. That drive home was the most sobering, quiet and longest drive I’ve ever experienced, but the worse of it all was walking in that little 3 bedroom, 1 bath home I grew up in and smell the smells of my mom everywhere in that house, but never to be found again.
In the following months of that year, my grandmother gave up her fight with cancer and passed away 2 months later. I drove back and forth every weekend once I returned to college to be with her. That following August, my first Cousin (the only other grandchild besides me) had a major seizure and was found drowned to death near her home in the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Fl. That following December my Grandfather lost his fight with prostate cancer and he also entered the eternal home forever.
Needless to say it was a very, very difficult year with hardly anytime to grieve or grasp reality in between the losses, especially the massive loss of the most special lady in the world, my mom. However, we over came and the support from everyone in the community and abroad saw to it that we had support and comfort during the time of healing. Although it’s been 15 years today since this happened, it’s still a continuous healing process that never really heals until the day I enter the eternal home of Heaven.
So I guess my point is on this day of November 17th, 2012 I honor the 15th anniversary that my great mom walked beside Christ Himself and met God the Father. I’ve never met the man who was driving the truck, and no charges were ever filed as he had to live with the thought of taking a life on his shoulders, and it wasn’t intentionally done. They said he explained a car was turning in front of him and he swerved to avoid it, but no other driver on the road at the time ever saw a car turning. So more than likely he was speeding to make another run, as they get paid by the loads or runs, and once he came over the hill probably lost control and once it jack-knifed it’s like hydro-planing in water, you have no control.
Once the funeral was over, people began to leave our home for many days of supplying food, support and comfort,
I forgave the man who took my mom’s life. The man who took my Dad’s high school sweet heart and destroyed his life. The man who sent shock waves through a small town in carelessly but accidentally taking the life of a lady that was loved by all and who never had a single enemy. The man who broke my heart, spirit and pure soul to the utmost core. Who’s faulty actions left my Dad in a house that was now forever quiet and empty. You see, I was an only child, so I was already moved out since I was 19.
It was the hardest and most painful experience that shook the very foundation I was raised on, but also remembering that solid foundation I was brought up on I was able to turn to my Faith and forgive the man even though I never received one apology, call, letter or anything. It’s ok though, we are strong and that strength was derived from the very person he took from us, mom.
She may be gone today, but she is never and will never be forgotten. Her legacy will always carry on through me. Her sweet spirit will always be displayed through me, and her compassion for others will also live through me.
I already displayed that compassion she was made of…..I forgave him. I prayed for him and his family to give comfort and peace throughout his life.
We all can forgive someone, because if we don’t it will be like a cancerous tumor that grows and grows until it has eaten all or any compassion as human that is in you. That you were born with naturally and is always meant to shine.
Have a blessed weekend,
Jason Young Guy
Sue Wilson Guy
A wife, a mother, a Christian, a humanitarian and a crusader for all things good. Rest in sweet peace mom.