ACTION WORDS

Forgiveness


by Terrie Sramek
March 2010


The bond that started nine months earlier came to life on September 13, 1955, when I was born—a bond I fought like hell to break throughout my life. His only contribution to my life was a single, solitary sperm.  

I was taught to call him dad. All I knew is that I didn’t like Dad. He made my mom cry. He always hit me and most of the time I didn’t know why. I tried to be good. I tried to make him proud. He still hit me and always told me he didn’t want me.

I became afraid of him. I grew to hate him, but as I grew older, I was still trying to prove myself to him. I continued to seek his approval only to be slapped down and shamed. I could never understand why. I couldn’t just forget him and move on with my life.

Why would I keep subjecting myself to his abuse? Why couldn’t I divorce my dad? After all, he was only the sperm donor.

In 1991, I really failed at trying to make my dad proud when I came to prison. I would never see my dad again. He moved to Texas, because he was embarrassed to be related to a murderer. We never spoke nor did I hear from him. I was angry and I tried to blame my being in prison on him. I wrote him a very hateful letter telling him what a failure he was at being a dad. I was told he broke down and sobbed.

As I grew to be able to forgive myself for my wrongdoings, feeling of love and concern for my dad started stirring within me. I realized that he had done the best he could or knew how as a dad. Who taught him how to be a good dad? Like myself, he’s made mistakes and he certainly needed to be forgiven, especially by me.

September 29, 2009 my dad was involved in an accident. I was told he had no serious injuries. He was just sore and banged up. God told me to reach out to him. I got a special phone call from my case manager to call the hospital in Texas. I told my dad I loved him. I told my dad I forgave him. I asked my dad to forgive me. His closing remark was that he loved me and he did forgive me. I told him we would talk soon.

Two days later a hairline fracture was found in the spine at the base of his neck and immediate surgery was performed. He went into a coma from the surgery only to awake totally paralyzed and unable to talk. A few months later, he passed away.  

I am at peace because through the power of forgiveness, I know my dad died knowing he was forgiven and that the bond that started with the single, solitary sperm lives on.

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