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Can I forgive the man who molested me?

The man who molested me is dead

It has been months since I wrote about trying to find the man who molested me. I left you hanging at the end of a story I wrote called, My mother said, “I will kill Uncle Carl if I see him.”

I wrote a letter to The Chief of Police in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan  on July 8th, 1997. I wanted the police to find Carl Schack,  the man who had molested me when I was eight. I wanted to press charges, and take the man we called Uncle Carl to court.

A few weeks after I sent the letter to the police department, a police officer called to say they had found him. He had committed suicide.

The police officer asked me, “What do you want to do?”

I said, “Nothing.”  I couldn’t take a dead man to court. My purpose in finding him was to stop him from harming other children. He had taken care of that himself.

The police officer called me over 16 years ago. I could have written the story about his death the next day. I didn’t want to tell you he was dead. I didn’t want to tell you he was dead because I didn’t want to admit I was glad.

I am thankful he can’t harm me anymore. I am thankful he killed himself. I am glad his body was harmed.

I don’t want to forgive him.

If he was alive, I would press charges and stand in a court of law and tell my story. I would fly to Canada and try to put him behind bars.

But, he is dead. There will be no trail. I can not tell my story in court.

I carry around a bitterness tree. The tree started out as a small seed. I have nursed the tree, and watered it. But, it is time. It is time for me to stop living in the past. It is time for me to live in the present.

The past is a place for learning from, not living in.
Carolyn S. Hennesy – Domestic Violence Speaker and Author

I want to find where Carl Schack  is buried. I want to place flowers on his grave-site and say, “I forgive you.” I want to forgive him so I can cut down my bitterness tree. I want to forgive him so I may move forward.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.[a]
Proverbs 3:5-6a

I wrote a letter to the The Police Chief in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I asked for a copy of my police report: file #1997-491-79. I am waiting for a reply.

Have you ever forgiven someone? Was it hard to do?


These writings refer to Carl Schack, a Canadian man who died in the early 1990’s. Any resemblance to the name or likeness of any other person using the name Carl, Carl Schack, or Uncle Carl, is purely coincidental.



About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

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  • I am not good at forgiving…….will I ever make that “bitterness tree fall?” Likely not!!!
    So who am I to judge others????

  • Forgiveness is a challenge. I understand why you want to get rid of that bitterness tree. You shouldn’t have to carry that with you. I tend to be very bad at forgiving, and your post is making me think about that. How tall my own bitterness tree must be! Releasing that anger and hurt can only make you stronger.

    • pamelahodges

      I would like to be stronger. Often I feel like I am eight again, trying to find someone to protect me.

  • I just said GOOD! lmc

  • Sharon Greene

    The punishment he inflicted on himself was far more severe than anything that could be meted out in a Canadian courtroom. His death will probably bring a more complete closure and a willingness to forgive than you would have found being cross examined in a courtroom.

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you Sharon. I hadn’t considered the cross examination part of the courtroom. Yes, the self inflicted gunshot wound was very severe. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

  • David (in the Bible) felt strongly about his enemies. People often find it hard to read when David asks God to dash his enemies’ babies against rocks. However, David didn’t hold back the way he felt in his prayers. God knows anyway. The way you feel about things that are difficult in life have to be worked through. Great courage to admit your feelings.

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you Eva. When I speak the truth it doesn’t hurt as much. And, hopefully my honesty helps someone else.

  • Oh my!!! This piece is so intense…..an awakens emotions…..(anger and pain)….that I try to forget/ conceal. While I believe in forgiveness with every breath I take and every beat of my heart. I struggle to forgive, even today…..but am making much progress. One day, I hope to be free of the bitterness tree for ever, and maybe then, I will be able to find the inner peace that continues to elude me.

    I admire your strength and courage……and pray that your decision will bring you freedom. xoxo

    • pamelahodges

      Forgiveness is for me. I want inner peace. If I keep the anger, it is like I am being controlled by someone else.
      I pray for peace for you.

  • Thank you for sharing Pamela!

  • Heather

    Another beautiful (on the soul level) writing. You are probably helping many more people then you even realize. I give thanks to God for his freedom to you in Christ. And for giving you the grace to see and desire to cut down the ‘bitterness tree.’ And the talent to write about it so fitly and bless others. I hope you do find the grave and can lay the flowers – redemption of this earthly matter full circle. Your posture of heart now is a micro picture, a shadow of the full circle redemption we will one day have ourselves in glory. Thank you for writing!

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you for your encouragement.

  • Pamela,

    What a heartfelt raw piece. Thank you for writing it. Yes, I have forgiven people. I forgave my dad, I forgave others who have hurt me deeply. Sometimes forgiveness is impossible. We can only do it through the one who forgave us.

    • pamelahodges

      Yes, I can only forgive through the one who gives me strength.

  • Forgiveness is hard. It’s probably good you put that disclaimer in at the end.

    • pamelahodges

      Yes, forgiveness is hard.