Another Mother's Son
When my beloved 18-year-old son was murdered in 1996, I
thought my life was over. When it finally sunk in that this
vivacious child of mine was dead, I felt as if I were having
a heart attack from head to toe. I was numb. In order to
survive this twisted nightmare, I moved to a different level
During the trial, I wasn't allowed to speak to Robbie's
murderer. On the day of the hearing, I got my first glimpse
of Shawn. He stared at the floor as they led him into the
dimly lit courtroom. Shadows masked his face, distorting his
features, giving him a grotesque fiendish appearance.
Although it was my decision not to take the stand, I made it
clear to the judge that I wanted to speak with this evil
perpetrator after his sentencing.
At the conclusion of the arduous proceedings, the judge
summoned me to his chambers. Filled with rage and hatred, I
followed the bailiff into a small, paneled office. My heart
beat faster with each step as I prepared to meet the young
man who took my son's life. Shawn stood in the corner, head
down, crying like a baby. His hands and feet shackled; this
trembling, pitiful 20-year-old wore little more than baggy
orange prison garb. As I watched this boy, so forlorn - no
parents, no friends and no support - all I saw was another
Suddenly I found myself asking, "Can I give you a hug,
Shawn?" He looked up, revealing a childlike face stained
with tears and nodded his consent. The bailiff motioned me
toward the prisoner. I walked over and put my arms around
him. "I forgive you for this horrible thing you've done. I
will pray for you every day that you're in prison. I would
rather my Robbie be where he is than where you're going."
Our eyes connected for a few moments, and then the bailiff
escorted me from the room.
Shawn received a 20-to-40-year sentence. How do you compare
that to the life of my son? No sentence could bring Robbie
back. I still wonder what made Shawn commit this crime. He
has given me several explanations, but I still don't have an
answer. He has been in prison for five years now, and, so
far, I'm his only visitor. Shawn's sentencing has given me
no satisfaction, but I believe the compassion I felt in the
judge's chamber that day was a gift from God.
Because of the abrupt changes in my life, I'm now part of a
prison ministry. I know I could not heal the deep, dark
places of hatred and revenge, imbedded within my heart and
soul, had I not forgiven my son's murderer. Forgiveness has
set me free.
Hatred and revenge won't bring back my beloved son, Robbie,
but Shawn is someone's son too. The hatred has to stop
somewhere. What better place to begin than with me?
About the Authors: Mary G. Lodge is a mother to five
children, eleven grandchildren, and four
great-grandchildren. She is a Stephan Minister in her church
and enjoys speaking on the subject of forgiveness. Contact
her at LodgeDoor@aol.com
. Together, Laura Lagana and Tom Lagana are co-authors of
"Serving Time, Serving Others" and "Chicken Soup for the
Volunteer's Soul." They travel the country as professional
speakers and authors, incorporating motivational and
inspirational programs behind prison walls on their journey.
Laura is author/editor of "Touched by Angels of Mercy" and
Tom Lagana is co-author of "Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's
Reprinted by permission of Laura Lagana
, Tom Lagana
www.TomLagana.com and Mary Lodge, Copyright 2003, from
"Serving Time, Serving Others, Acts of Kindness by Inmates,
Prison Staff, Victims, and Volunteers." In order to protect
the rights of the copyright holder, no portion of this
publication may be reproduced without prior written consent.
All rights reserved.