Home > Death, Idealist, Love, Personal, Relationships, Safety > Until I was free

Until I was free

My sister told me she forgave him.

She’d had a beautiful dream encouraging her to do so.

I believe in forgiveness, but I didn’t see the point.

He was dead.

I could barely tolerate Lucas from the  moment I met him through common friends. I was disturbed by the emptiness in his eyes.

My first significant exchange with him didn’t help. He’d punished my sister, a sexual abuse survivor, for some mistake by giving her a “titty twister.”

I told him there’d be hell to pay if he ever tried that again.

Afterward, he liked me as little as I liked him.

Our friends told me I gave him too little credit.

I told them they gave him too much.

My sister and I moved into the bottom floor of a rental house. Our upstairs neighbor was a lovely brunette who happened to be dating Lucas.

When I saw her at the gas station convenience store across the street, I’d ask her with bemusement why she was dating him. “No, really, why?” I’d ask. She’d laugh, leaving me to explain why it perplexed me so.

“You could do better” was all I could say.

How could I sum up a feeling?

Years passed.

I moved to Los Angeles for law school and seldom thought of Lucas until one life-changing moment.

I stepped out of a thrift store one sunny afternoon and saw I had a voicemail. I was excited to see the missed call was from my Oregon best friend, Sarah.

But something was wrong. As I began listening to her voicemail while walking across the street, I could hear she was crying.

“Lucas shot some people and killed himself,” her recorded voice said.

My vision narrowed and darkened as I sank onto a bus station bench.

He’d tried to kill my former upstairs neighbor and killed her new boyfriend before killing himself.

I was too shocked to weep.


I was wracked by guilt for years.

Was there something, anything I could have done for a different end result?

I was sure there was. I’d seen something wrong. I’d said it. But what had that done?

My sister eventually told me she’d forgiven him.

I thought that was funny. I believe in forgiveness and don’t believe in unforgivable acts, but found forgiveness irrelevant here. What was done was done. There was no changing it.

I never really thought about it further, until random trails of thought led me back to Lucas a few days ago. And it hit me: I didn’t think forgiveness aplied because he was barely even human.

To me.

The revelation of my dehumanizing anyone chilled me.

He was human. Flaws and all, he was a human who lived, laughed, scorned and suffered.

I thought about that. I thought about forgiveness. I played around with thinking, I forgive you.

I imagined standing on a grassy hillside with him and preparing to say those words. I imagined letting go of any lingering hostility disguised as neutrality, releasing it as if it were one of the balloons from this dream.

I told him, “I forgive you.” I could see him smiling.

I soared with the balloons.

I couldn’t even see I’d been bound

until I was free.

Then came the German Airbus crash, and soon after, the revelation it was intentional.

I thought of all the grieving friends and families who’ll never see their loved ones again due to one man’s terrible actions. I thought of their shock, grief, anger, the sense of betrayal in innocence shattered; in innocence’s place, the understanding anything is possible in this world. Even the very worst thing.

Oh, how I ache for them. How I wish I could ease their pain.

But there is nothing I can do.

Nothing, except send my love, and hope they will find some peace in forgiveness–for themselves, if not for him–more quickly than I was able.

for those killed
and those left behind to grieve
I send every bit of love I have

  1. March 27, 2015 at 1:55 pm


  2. March 27, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Sometimes the evil that people do seems incomprehensible, and blocks out and obscures the flip side. There is also good.
    Not heralded, not promoted, but there.
    And yes, my heart goes out to all those suffering from this act, and so many others.

  3. March 27, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    I do not know what to say. Like you, my heart is cracked at the terrible actions of one man that took the lives of so many and claimed hearts of their families and friends forever. Violence doesn’t just affect the victim, but all those who love them.

    That release, forgiveness it is a terrible and hard thing. Thank you.

    • March 27, 2015 at 11:10 pm

      It really is a hard and terrible thing, but more in the act than the end result. You get so used to the burden of that anger that the thought of being without it is … incomprehensible. But, man, when it finally is cast away, it’s suddenly overwhelming to think how much extra weight was carried for so long, to so little good.

      Love you.

  4. Anxious Mom
    March 27, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Powerful read.

  5. March 27, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    Awesome read… really moving.
    I see forgiveness not as something you give someone else, but that you give to yourself, in a way.

  6. March 27, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    I was deeply saddened by the news about Lukas and I believe the man he killed was Star I found out shortly after I got to school. I don’t recall the girl, but I knew Star from ballroom dancing. Lukas and he both used to go to Gerlingher hall for dancing. Star was a true gentlemen, a nice guy, and a good dancer. I missed him and even Lukas at dances afterward.

    • March 27, 2015 at 11:06 pm

      His name wasn’t Star, but it was pretty darn close. Rache remembers his light from dancing, too.

      I remember him from the dojo lobby. For so long I could not wrap my mind around the knowledge that upbeat, laid back young man was gone. Forever. Just like that.

      But I do believe his love remains, and I am heartened by that.

      Love you. Hoping Rache posts her thoughts on Lucas and forgiveness on her blog.

  7. April 29, 2015 at 11:37 am

    So beautiful. I see this and I think I can never forgive he who hurt me and manipulated me and so many others. Maybe it is easier to forgive those who are dead? Everyday I say in my head “I hope he is dead”. I suppose I am dehumanising him in a way. Your post really moved me, your writing is hauntingly beautiful.

    • April 30, 2015 at 4:47 am

      I’ve had to forgive the living and the dead. In some ways, forgiving the dead feels harder, as long as forgiveness is seen as something done for the forgiven instead of the forgiver. (Why again am I forgiving someone who no longer needs it?)

      In others, forgiving the living is harder, particularly when you suspect they’re still out there hurting others. In either case, I feel it is crucial for the forgiver’s well being. I’ve seen some great quotes on this–things about how withholding forgiveness is holding a fire and hoping someone else will get burned–but would like to reference two of my older posts instead of searching out others’ quotes here.

      The first is about forgiving my dad, whom I’ve forgiven though he’ll have no place in my life unless/until he can own up to his past transgressions. (Without that accountability, the present all too easily becomes the past.) For this post, I used the words “love” and “hate” instead of “forgiveness” and “unforgiveness,” but forgiveness is part of love and unforgiveness of hate as I wrote this: An Abridged History of my Hate

      A more recent one, more explicitly about forgiveness, is “No Time for Unforgiveness.”

      It’s hard when serial abusers are still alive. I’ve forgiven those I’ve known for their past transgressions, but sometimes … I, too, wish they were unable to hurt anyone else ever again, and in so hurting setting off cycles of others having to learn–painfully–about forgiveness in long, slow lessons that will exhaust and torment along the way.

      Sending wishes for peace. ♥

  1. April 29, 2015 at 9:26 am
  2. June 4, 2015 at 8:24 am
  3. May 12, 2016 at 12:02 pm
  4. June 25, 2016 at 10:30 am
  5. January 22, 2017 at 7:00 am

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