I just got off the phone with Mom; she told me a guy I grew up with - the kid was in my classes all through middle school and lived in my neighborhood - is dying. She suggested I get in touch - send a card or something.
I said I wouldn't be doing any such thing because it's considered rude to tell terminally ill people that you're glad they're going to die or send a card with sentiments such as, "Good riddance, hope it's painful!"
Mom was surprised because it's totally, completely unlike me. What she never knew was that the guy in question was a horrible, vicious bully who ganged up on me with his little clique and made my middle school years an absolute torment. That's when I learned how to be "invisible" - I tend toward the quiet, introverted side now whereas I had been a fairly outgoing kid before the "awkward age". I got called Horseface and much, much worse; bra snapped, books ruined, lunch stolen. This was long before bullying really got taken seriously. The kid and two of his little gang were at my bus stop; I used to wait in the house until I heard the bus coming and then dash out to catch it so I didn't have to endure the taunts.
It's not as if I've been stewing over this for 30 years; I hadn't even given the kid a thought in years until tonight. Mom suggested that perhaps given the circumstances I could "forgive and forget". Well, even God doesn't forgive unless someone asks for it. I'd rather just go on as always; really, his passing won't affect me one way or another.
I recently went through something similar. Found out the girl who bullied me for 6 years died about a year after graduation. Found out about it at a 30th year reunion planning meeting. Hadn't thought about her at all in the last 30 years, but when I heard it, I certainly felt no sadness. Good riddance indeed. I know that's not very Christian of me, but it's how I feel.
Monster. Just kidding. No, I don't think you have a duty to rush out and reconnect with someone who tortured you as a kid. I suspect that reconnecting with his old victims for a round of apologies before he meets his maker isn't on his "to do" list, so why is it your responsibility? Write it off as Momvice, the weird compulsion female parents have to give their female offspring insane advice. 'Tis the season, with Mother's Day coming up.
To be fair to my mom - she didn't know until I told her tonight that this individual mostly ruined my life all through middle school. She was shocked at my sentiments, but understands why I wouldn't want to make contact. She's casual friends with the mom - some of the ladies from the old 'hood keep in touch so that's how she found out about the terminal illness.
She didn't guilt-trip me, just thinks I'm "hanging on to" something that happened 30 years ago and that maybe "forgiving" might help me to "let go". Honestly, I am not hanging on to anything. The individual is in my past and I'd just prefer it stay that way.
Forgiveness is for the person who was wronged, for the one who did the wrongdoing.
I don't think you're a monster - I think you're human. You can still forgive him without reaching out to him and telling him so.
It took me years to forgive the college boyfriend who raped me. When I found out that he had been killed while changing a tire alongside a busy freeway, I felt no sadness or remorse whatsoever. In fact, I finally felt as though God had handed out the justice deserved.
I, too, was bullied from grades K-12 by a select group of students. Nobody ever really did anything except send us to the counselor. Some I've forgiven. Others are still a work in progress.
I have a similar story. I went to daycamp in the summer for about four or five consecutive summers when I was kid. Some old dude, no idea where my mother found him, picked me up and drove me to daycamp, along with several other kids. One big stupid kid in particular, with that year's bunch of minions, tormented me daily on the car ride. Everything I made in arts and crafts was smashed and thrown out the window of the car. My hair was pulled, I was hit, and the driver did absolutely nothing. Several years ago, my mother told me she had seen his obituary. I said "Good! I hope he rots in hell!" My mother was astounded. You see, I never told her what was going on. I can't really remember why. I am sure she would've gotten involved, so maybe I was afraid it would make things worse for me.
The whole thing was made worse because one time in my last year of camp, the only year that the bully had aged out and was no longer going, we were picking up a mousy little girl at a huge mansion in the center of my town. The little girl had a lisp, and I wasn't a perfect kid. As we approached her house I made a comment about her lisp or imitated her (not proud of this, but note that she was not in the car yet). The driver stopped the car, got out, opened my door and grabbed me by the arm. He said if I ever said anything like that again he would put me out on the curb. So many times in my adult life I've wanted to go back to that moment and ask him where all that indignation was when I was getting physically assaulted in the backseat. Later still, I think I figured it out. Bully boy was wealthy too. Money talks.
Sorry to go off on my little sad story. Obviously I haven't totally let it go. But I sure understand not giving a crap.
Arrange whatever pieces come your way. - Virginia Woolf
Did you know that if you say the word "GULLIBLE" really softly, it sounds like "ORANGES"?
It makes you human, and not a monster. He's a monster, and always will be.
Don't bet anyone would have done anything if you had told them about the bullying, because then it was seen as a part of growing up, and something you should get over. Some places still do that, for example the Ohio rape case where school athletes, and prominent families were protected, while the victim's family was driven out of town, or the teacher who raped a 14 year old girl repeatedly, and then was given probation (case will be resentenced after appeals). Bullying is seen as a rite of passage and not that serious by many people. Many bullies parents don't care about their kid doing this from what I've seen, and I think some of these parents were bullies themselves, and are strangely proud of their kids. He's the one that should apologize and beg for forgiveness, but I bet he still thinks he was just having fun.
The opposite of love is not hate, it's apathy. Who cares that the jerk is dying, pity it took so long. You dont' always have to forgive or forget....it's rarely deserved, just give a big smile when he assumes room temperature.
I do understand where you're coming from. There is absolutely no reason for you to feel bad. Don't blame your Mother though since she never knew he was a bully.
I couldn't stand my high school with the petty cliques etc so I just avoiding it completely. I did have to chuckle though when I realized the committee that was organizing a high school reunion didn't have any idea of my current location. I would never in a million yrs consider making a long drive(probably 6-8 hrs)for a reunion with people I didn't care about and I certainly wouldn't waste the money for a card and stamp for them either. I'd never consider driving to my hometown other than to visit my parents grave and that of a friend that recently died.
While I might not wish anything bad happening to them, I could care less (think apathy) about some of them.
I did have to laugh though when I went on to college to find a few classmates at the same school. We never connected at school because they did the same thing I did and just ignored the rest of the class due to some 'rotten eggs'. Some turned out to be OK but we never stayed connected after college and I wouldn't waste my time trying to reconnect. We've all moved on for the rest of our lives and left some good memories behind but aren't trying to reconnect again.
Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you!
Biblical forgiveness doesn't involve the tormentor needing to ask for forgiveness. But that's between you & God, and if no one else should be pressuring you to do that if you're not ready.
Not germane to the OP, but in Judaism, seeking forgiveness from those one has harmed is *hugely* important as part of one's relationship with G-d. It's more important than asking G-d for forgiveness.
It's important enough that if someone came to me to ask for forgiveness, I'd almost certainly grant it. But this doesn't mean I'd search out people I thought owed me an apology, because that's just crass. I believe that apologies need to be offered voluntarily, genuinely, and willingly.
More germane to the OP, I also went "invisible" at that age, and for the same reasons, and it amazes me how easily I can spiral down, over bullying that happened 35 years ago or more.
I am so sorry that you had to endure being treated like that I do not think you are a monster, at all...you seem like a nice person who was abused and tormented by this person and you owe them nothing.
Your Mom's concern is for you, she only wants you to be ok..
you went through a living hell because of this person, as others have said you owe them nothing.. you have had no relationship with this person...did they even try to make amends, not that anything could, or admit and apologize for their behavior?
Just because someone is Ill or Dying, does not suddenly make them a Saint much less a good person...
Life is such a gift, enjoy yours and live fully and love the people who are good to you...none of us owe the people who mistreat us anything.
You're not a monster. There are certainly people I've crossed paths with that, if I heard they were terminally ill, I'd probably say a short prayer for them but then otherwise not think of them again. And I certainly wouldn't be sending a card of paying a visit.
Forgive and forget is a warm, fuzzy concept. I do believe in forgiving, if for no other reason than to free yourself. But forgetting? In terms of pushing it out of your mind and moving forward, sure. In terms of pretending it never happened and possibly giving an opportunity for it to happen again, nuh uh. I'm all for taking the high road, but my high road has limits.
"I did know once, only I've sort of forgotten." - Winnie the Pooh