Dear Nicole . . .
I have contemplated writing you for a while now, but I could never bring myself to do it. I suppose that this letter could either positively impact you or negatively impact you, but I’m hoping that it brings you as much peace as it brings me. I am not writing you out of ill will or with any negative feelings. Instead, I am writing you because I have freed myself. When I was first burned, I thought my life was over both literally and figuratively. That night, I thought that I was going to die and I almost died while in the hospital. A part of me did die that day, but I am grateful that I am still here to enjoy this life. I had a very difficult time accepting what happened to me and initially, I was very angry and bitter. That anger and bitterness was holding me hostage. It changed me for the worse and I began lashing out at my family and friends. I was angry with the world, but I was most angry that my life had changed so drastically. I did not deserve what happened to me.
One day after crying and having a pity party, I decided that I did not want to live like that anymore. I made a choice to forgive you (and the others involved) for harming me, and I made a choice to forgive myself. I do not know if my words bring you any peace, but I really need you to know (for my own peace of mind) that I forgive you wholeheartedly. You are worth so much more than your actions. As sad and as hurt as I was about what happened, I would not change a thing. My experiences have afforded me opportunities that I could never have imagined and I thank God for all of my blessings and lessons. I’m not celebrating the trauma and the sadness. I’m celebrating the transformation and spiritual growth.
There is still a lot of speculation about what happened and the motive behind it, but I’ve accepted the fact that I may never get answers. During the trial you never accepted responsibility for your actions, and that’s fine, but I still needed to write this letter. I did not want to let another day go by because I did not know if I would ever have the opportunity to tell you this. I hope that you are well and I hope that you will see better days.
“If anyone has caused you grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on her by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort her, so that she will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for her.” 1 Corinthians 2: 5-8