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09 Dec 2004

My sister was a victim of family murders. Her husband shot her 5 times and she died on the way to the hospital he shot his sister who interveened and then shot himself, I have dificulty to forgive him. I am depressed.
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01 Jan 0001

J's response makes a lot of sense. Any murder, let alone a family murder with multiple victims, is a terrible event, and for the survivors especially so. Obviously you need and deserve proper expert counselling, to help you to work through all the mixture of feelings that such terrible events tend to arouse in us.
Unlike far too many people who preach a cruel message that all victims must sacrifice or ignore their own feelings in o0rder to rush to forgive the perpatrators of vicious deeds, I disagree. I don't thinl you have any duty whatsoever, to forgive him. Certainly not in the sense of letting him ( if her survived his massacre ) know that he is forgiven by you. I don't believe any victim has any duty to make the unrepentant perpetrator feel any better at all. But there is something else which you do need to do, for yourself, and to some extent for your sister. And some people also call that forgiveness, for we don't have a good word for it. Forgive in the sense of freeing yourself from the bonds of bitterness and anger which have tied you to him and to what he did --- yes. Set yourself free, not him. Accept that the terrible thing that was done, was done --- and that so long as you allow yourself to be filled with anger and sadness, you are keeping the event alive ; you are continuing and preserving the harm he did. He does not deserve that. And neither do you. Work with a counsllor to mourn your sister and get through the grief over her loss, and enable yourself to return to a happier normal life, in which you can be free to remember your sister with pride and happiness, not with sorrow and bitterness --- in that way, build within yourself, a more appropriate memorial to her.
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