Forgiveness: The Hardest Thing I Have Ever Done
There is an evil in this world. A darkness that threatens to choke out the light. It lives among us and very few would even imagine that it exists. It forces some to live in fear. It is the schoolyard bully we thought we had outgrown.
There is evil in this world and I have met it face to face.
When my wife and I split up after 13 years of marriage, 2 children and 15 years together we had to tell our children the news. It was a soul crushing experience. I will never forget the moment. Me cuddled up with my son on our nest chair, her on the couch with my daughter. As I explained that Daddy was going to go live somewhere else for awhile because we could not get along under the same roof, my son started softly sobbing while I held him in my arms. My heart broke. I continued to do my best to explain what was happening. How are a 12 year old and a 10 year old supposed to understand adult problems? I knew in that moment that this would be the most difficult thing I ever had to do in my life.
I was wrong.
On October 2, 2015 I was introduced to a malevolent evil. A demonic presence with no regard for human life. A man who would take the life of the woman I loved. A man so cowardly that he took his own life so that he did not have to face the consequences of his actions. A man whom I could never hope to understand. A man so vile that it sickens me to hear his name.
Once again I was faced with devastation and heart break. Once again I knew that this would be the most difficult thing I have ever had to face.
Once again I was wrong.
Shortly after Colleen was murdered I was directed to a parable. A story called “The Little Soul and the Sun”. This parable came at me from 3 different sources. If there is one thing I have learned through all of this is that when the universe speaks you should listen. So I did.
You can read the full story here. The Cole’s notes is that there is a little soul who approaches God excited to tell God that he “knows who he is”. God asks “Who are you”. The little soul goes on to say “I am the light”. God concurs. Soon after though the little soul realizes that knowing who he is is not enough. He wants to BE who he is. He wants to feel what it is like to be the light.
God goes on to explain that the only way for the little soul to know what it feels like to be the light is for God to surround him with darkness. He goes on to state that there is no light without dark, no up without down, no warm without cold. In order to experience anything, the exact opposite must exist.
Being “The Light” is very special God went on, explaining that it was OK to shine his light through the darkness. That it was OK to be special, keeping in mind special didn’t mean being better. God went on to ask the little soul what part of ‘special’ he would like to be.
After some thoughtful deliberation the little soul declared that he wanted to be “forgiveness”.
“That’s wonderful” God said “There’s only one problem. There is no one to forgive. I made everything perfect.”
It was then that the little soul realized a large crowd of souls had gathered around to listen to the conversation. When he looked around at all the beautiful souls he realized God was right. They were all perfect. He started to feel sad because he would never be able to experience forgiveness. It was then that a friendly soul spoke up. “I will help you” he said. “How will you do that?” the little soul asked. “I will come to you in the next lifetime and give you someone to forgive.”
When the little soul realized what it would mean for the friendly soul to give up his perfection in order to do something forgivable he asked him why he would do that. The friendly soul answered “Because I love you. I do however need you to promise me one thing”. The little soul was so excited at the prospect of experiencing forgiveness that he shouted “of course, of course. Anything, just tell me!” The friendly soul said “Always remember who I am. Remember me in my perfection”.
I am paraphrasing and do not do the parable justice at all, so please read it in it’s entirety. It is fairly short.
As I read the story for the first time, and realized what it meant, I felt like I had just been hit by a freight train. I sat there reading, heart shattered, tears streaming down my face, as the enormity of the task at hand hit me. I had to do the unthinkable. I had to do the unimaginable. I was now, for real, faced with the most difficult challenge of my life.
I had to forgive the man that took my love away. I had to forgive the man who was sent to teach me forgiveness at the cost of the woman I loved. There is no doubt through 20 plus years in business, my failed marriage, a car accident that almost took my life, a fraud scheme that almost bankrupted me and many I loved, a lifetime of good, bad and ugly with all the obstacles life had thrown my way, this is by far the most onerous task I have ever been given.
If I am to have even a whisper of equanimity, any hope of lasting peace, then I needed to release my heart of the hatred that threatened to consume me. So I shall.
Paul Joseph Jacob, I forgive you.
Many will not understand this. Many more may even criticize me for writing this. I know however that everything I have ever learned, everything that Colleen and I ever shared, every discussion we ever had has led me to this. Has helped me become the man I am today. The man that can forgive.
You see, as hard as this is, the truth is I am grateful. I am grateful that I get to be the Light. That I get to choose to be the Light and not the Dark. That I get to be Love and not Hate.
This is a crux in my life. A crossroad where I get to choose that which I want to be, the Yin or the Yang. In a world where one cannot exist without another I am glad that I get to represent good and not evil.
I will love you forever Colleen Lois Sillito and you will never leave my heart. I am grateful for what we had together. I am grateful for everything you have taught me and for everything you continue to teach me. I am a better man for your presence and the world is a better place because you were in it.
I Love You.
very well written Mike. Thru the pain and loss you have been able to come out stronger than before.
Thank you Connie. I hope this might help others fighting their own battles
Lump in my throat….Love you Michael Cameron…
Thank you Susan
Forgiveness is a trait of my own of which I am most proud of. It takes courage, compassion and a kind heart.
Very well-written, thank you for sharing.
Thank you Lornel
The enormity of your loss is felt and the profound awakening to forgiveness will someday ease your suffering. As I sit reading with tears over such a sad story I am in awe of the compassion you have in your heart to forgive. I will be forever grateful that you wrote this because if you can forgive something so big it will be a lesson to those that also need to let go of their pain and forgive so they too can heal. way to go Mike and thank you for sharing
Thank you Karen
Beautifully said. So many people rant at the evil and ask how a good and loving God could allow it. You are a remarkable person for being able to see the light and do your best to be it.
Thank you Loretta
Mike a very soulful journey and very well written.I have not experienced the darkness that you have been through and I can honestly admit,I don’t know if I could do what you have done.I can honestly say that I hope your forgiveness causes turmoil in his heart for an eternity.
This just might be as long as your story,so forgive me because I have told you, cryptically, to watch for the rainbows and I will tell you that story now.
I lost my sister to Breast Cancer at the age of 37.She was misdiagnosed twice and nine months later after battling for her life , she died suddenly in England,after I talked to her the night before.I wasn’t even able to be there to hold her hand.Her family doctor had told her she was young and women her age didn’t get breast cancer.He sentenced her to death,essentially and I remember the phone call I made to him,after she passed.I simply told him I appreciated as a doctor the unbelievable responsibility he had and that his attitude had caused my sister to believe that the lump on her breast was nothing to be concerned about as she had fibroids in her breasts.The next doctor in England asked what the Canadian doctor had said and he agreed.She was the London Foreign correspondent for CBC radio and travelled extensively.When the lump was too big to be ignored ,she eventually found a doctor who immediately began treatment which included a double mastectomy,radiation,chemo and a radical treatment in the US but by then,it was too late.
I was torn apart.Big brothers are supposed to protect their little sisters and I could do nothing.Her misdiagnosis was due to doctors attitudes,at that time,about breast cancer in young women.When I returned home with my sister she had a burial plot in Maine,where my step father and mother lived.In a cemetery, overlooking the ocean that she loved is where she wanted to be.We took her urn there and on the day we had the ceremony there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.My mother,was an entertainer during the war and loved the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.My sister often joked with her and say ‘Mother ,please not that song again”.
As we laid her urn in the ground we looked up and a rainbow started to appear over the ocean.It as half way to the horizon when Mom spotted it and started singing that song.The rainbow reached 3/4’s of the way into the sky and stopped when Mom started singing that song.It then started to reverse itself and slowly disappeared bit by bit back into the ocean.
Now I am not a very religious man but I do know my sister was there with us that day.There have also been many other incidents that point to my sister being around that I can tell you about when we next meet.She lives within my daughter and she lives within my granddaughter.
I became involved in Breast Cancer Action here in Kingston,thereafter.I became a director for a time.One of the projects I helped design and distribute was kit for doctors and nurses that we entitled ‘Hands On”.The kit helped doctors and nurses show women how to self examine themselves comfortably and the kits were provided free of charge to give out to patients with an emphasis on early detection and treatment.
I have walked in all but 2 walks since 1993 in memory of my sister and others who have fought and survived and others that have fought the fight.There are so many courageous women that I have met.
It is my solace to support Breast Cancer, but I am not afraid to admit that there is not a year goes by that I don’t remember her and what she could have become.I am not afraid to admit that as I write this ,it brings back a flood of emotion and tears.
To get out of this feeling,I simply think ‘Watch for the Rainbow”She is still here in my heart and around us.
Watch for your Rainbow.
Thank you for sharing Brian. There is so much we can learn from each other. It is the spirit of community that gets me by daily.
Thank you for writing this and sharing how you have been able to forgive someone who caused so much pain for you and many others.
I thought I’d share something that allowed me to forgive the man who sexually abused me. It is a phrase I learned during an 8 day Hoffman Process; “They may be guilty for their behaviors/actions but are they to blame?” During the eight day retreat, I sat with my note book in front of me and tried to write what life must have been for my abuser I connected with his light and was able to grasp the concept that he was most certainly guilty for his actions/behaviors but what he experienced in his life and patterns he learned along the way allowed me grasp that he was not to blame. I have to say I never though I would ever find forgiveness for a man who stole my childhood, who altered my life forever but I have and for me it brings me peace and I no longer live with the darkness in my heart.
Oh Brenda! Thank you. You can’t fight darkness with darkness. Only light will remove it. Thank you for shining brightly
I knew Colleen threw Becky and the gym we worked out at … Yes she was a bright light and your lesson learnt and shared is a big one. My heart pours out to you for the pain that you shared and have released.
I thank you for writing and sharing your words. They have touched me deep inside and will help with my gathered life lesson and Journey.
Sending much love light and inner strength to always forgive with no expectation.
We are all a very small part of a even bigger picture.
Thank you Ray. Life is just that. A journey. Travel well my friend
Hi Mike, thanks for writing this article. I was not aware of the parable you have mentioned, but funny enough I was at a presentation where this was discussed in length. Your story only serves to re-enforce the belief that we go into this life with a set circle of souls who we have made an agreement in advance to come into our lives to learn a lesson or experience something.
This is a very hard lesson to experience and takes a lot of courage and love to be able to go through it in the way that you have and be able to forgive.
You are such an inspiration and light Mike, just as Colleen had been. You are also leaving an impact with me and I am sure many other people.
Lots of Love!
Thank you Pam. She continues to teach me lots
Jesus Mike. I don’t know what to say. I have no words.
I just have respect and love for you, brother!
I am sitting here weeping. It takes a good soul to do this Mike. Your a true inspiration! This is so heart wrenching and written from the heart!
Thank you Carol
So difficult to read, so difficult to understand as I have not had much adversity in my life. You are an inspiration Mike.
<3 Thank you
You are a beautiful soul Michael Cameron and you are blessed to have been able to reach this level of consciousness. You are loved! XO
46 years of work on self. I hope I can help others shortcut a little
I can imagine the battle in your mind & heart, the thoughts of you forgiving a murderer, the strength it took for you to do so, and the power of love you just placed forward for all your friends,family & acquaintances in your message, makes me think, will I Ever … forgive the hurt I my heart????
I give you,Mike full Respect!!
Hello Michael: We have never met but have followed your story as I work with the same company as you.
As someone who has lost a spouse, not a violently as yours, I understand a little of what you are going through with your loss, but can not begin to comprehend the pain of the way you lost your loved one.
I can only say how brave you are facing this with such openess and grace of spirit. I am sure the light of Colleen in heaven is shining down on you with love and pride. I am sure she would be honoured to see you moving forward and honouring her love for you in such a wonderful way.
Angels are whispering in your heart, please continue to listen.
You have my utmost respect and you are in my prayers for success in your brave journey. I will never forget this post as it has deeply touched my heart.
Thank you. I can’t let this be meaningless. I’m glad I am touching others
Thank you for sharing your heart, your pain, and your wisdom. I cannot say that I am as strong as you, but time and patience hopefully will bring me to the same level of “light” as you have experienced. Like the old saying: “Be patient, God isn’t finished with me yet” comes to mind. I appreciate all that you share. You are educating so many through your life experience. <3. I will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Love u.
Thank you. This has really shed light on a different face for forgiveness. I hav always know that forgiveness will release you from the hatred… But in a a year where I experienced and witnessed so much loss, I just could never wrap around the idea while feeling so full of anger and frustration. This story sheds light and gives me a bit of hope.
Thank you. I’m glad my journey can assist others.
Hi Michael Cameron …. I just wanted to thank you for. Sharing your story..not only of forgiveness..but of treasure love ..you see come Feb..4th.2016 makes five years I lost my partner to Cancer and thought it wasn’t through a tragic death ..it was horrific watching him fade away and throught it all he still believe in the power of healing ..so he fought the good fight ..he was and is my hero as he die with my head in his chest at home with Hospice care ..only helping me medicate him for I am not a nurse..but I did not let them do anything for him I wanted to take care of him to the very end. I wanted to do everything else for him ..I bathe him ..feed him and saw to it that he was comfortable and in as little pain as possible..as I went into denial ..and when the reality set in.. three day before he past ..I try to negotiate with God I ask him to take me and to leave him because I was so afraid to live life without him after 21 great years.. not perfect but none-the-less a great long love history and also challenging needless to say .He help me raise five children of my own and one we had together and Three of his.. so we share a great big family ..lots of siblings ..So how could I live or have a life without him… Kids were grown ..God I felt they didn’t needed me so much ..the older ones were already married with kids and a family of their own and the younger one was at college with plenty of girls to keep him ocuppied I just couldn’t face life without him… and then he pass quietly in no pain as I laid my head on his chest and finally told him to let go that I would be find.( _I lied) and for him to know that he would always be with me cause he would always be inside my heart and in my memories but most important in my soul forever ..I meant every word.. I kiss him slightly in the lips as he kiss me back he lightly wisper he didn’t know where he was going but he promise that no matter where he be he would always take care of me… I fought back the brokenness in me said go home I’ll be alright let go .. with an excruciating pain I kiss him in his lips for the last time.. put my head in his chest again and held his hands and heard the last beat of his heart
The room was full with some family member as well and our only son ..together ..for the others were at different part of the house in there own emotional pain and didn’t want to see him like that no more..so I just got up after he took his last breath and release my hand. I walk out of the room and told the others.. he is gone.. But with him went my life ..my world and every desire of living.. And then came the anger and hate for life ..God and everyone that laughed even jealously…when I saw happy couple’s how dare them be happy together when God had just robbed me of my life.. my joy and my laughter I remember the hate the anger ..one day a few weeks later I ask my daughter how she did it when her father past. (another story) and I remember.her saying to embrace the pain and find a book to read and to keep my mind occupied I was so angry to hear the word embrace it..that I storm out of the livingroom and didn’t spoke to her for days how dared her to tell me to embrace the hurt..the anger. The pain.. but in the process I found a book a christian book called living with thorns that I had recieved a few weeks before my partner passing and I read it little by little at the time ..today almost five years later.. I can literary say.that I embrace it and I not only am I married again three months ago to a wonderful loving man I met 15 months ago my first date since my late husband past away ..but I’m also a re-born Christian and love my lord and savior with all I am and was baptized three weeks before my wedding day I am not angry anymore at my God and today I still miss my late husband deeply and always keep him in my heart.and in..my memories and in my soul ..But I gave myself a chance to live and be love again and took a leap of faith in God and live not happily ever after but happy enough to live until my lord and savior calls me home so thank you for your courage and your willfulness to forgive I learn through the process that hanging on to bitterness and hate also anger robs us of the joy of love and happiness and most important if the good good father grace amen be blessed abd looking forwsrd to read your god stories of life again a new friend Iraida Rivera Qaraah
Thank you for shining your light in the darkness. We are here on planet Earth to learn our lessons just like any other classroom. The parable you mentioned is so touching and true. Forgiveness is a gift and so is the soul that allows their self to be the darkness and help us to learn the more difficult lessons. I lost my husband to a suicide. That was our destiny in this lifetime to live out and learn. The light and dark can be interchangelble sometimes. There could not be one without the other. Thank you for sharing your story of heartache and growth. I’m sure it will touch so many and may help them to see things from a different perspective and look for the light in the darkness. Blessing to you dear soul friend.
Thank you Sheri. Hopefully my suffering can help ease others and Colleen can live on this way. I miss her terribly #alwayswithme
Mike, I am so moved – this article has reached way down deep and touched my very soul. Though I haven’t met you yet, nor, sadly, will I ever know Colleen, your loss feels crushing to me.
But even more than that, my entire being is in complete wonderment at how you’re taking the lessons, stories, quotes and the words of others to actually make change in your own soul, They’re more than stories of comfort to you – they’re calls of action, and as you advise all of us to make our own changes, you truly and painstakingly walk the walk.
It’s your fierce desire and resolve to not dwell on the injustice, the darkness and the anger – to not allow yourself to be another victim in this horrific act of violence that blows me away. For that, I thank you. xo