Allowing myself to forgive my child’s father after years of physical and mental abuse, cheating, being in and out of our son’s life due to being in prison, and leaving me to be the protector and provider for our son was very hard for me. However, through my trials and tribulations, I was able to forgive him and allow myself to embrace the healing process.

To Forgive, Kelli Shakur's personal essay on singlemotherhood.The Good Time Before I Had To Forgive The Unthinkable

I reminisce on the good times before he allowed the streets to take control of his mind and body. We would travel, laugh, play basketball, walk, and talk. We had lots of good conversations and fun. Life was good! He was my best friend. He knew all my hurts, flaws, and insecurities. Life with him was GOOD; he blessed me with my one and only son.

Everything Changed

In November 2016, everything changed when I received a phone call two months after we broke up. Our relationship ended due to a vicious, almost life-threatening domestic fight that occurred between us. As a result, I suffered black eyes, scratches, bruises, choke marks on my neck, and the displacement of me and my son.

I didn’t even want to answer the phone call I received that early morning while my son lay on my chest, but something told me to answer. When I picked up, it was my child’s father whispering, “Kel, they are outside calling my name with the bullhorn horn, telling me to come outside and surrender myself. They have tanks, guns, and all kinds of police force”. As my heart dropped, I raced out of my bed in disbelief, and my movement woke my son.

When I could gather myself, I heard a hard, loud, continuous bang on my door. I ran to my front window and noticed the FEDS were at my house also, looking for my child’s father. My heart began to pump faster and faster as my son asked, “Mommy, who’s knocking at the door?” I silenced him quickly, ran into the bedroom, and locked the door. I watched them from the window while talking with my child’s father. I told him they were at my house, too, and asked, “What am I gonna do? My son is here..what if they come in here?”

Kel’s I’m Going Out…

That’s when my child’s father stated, “Kel, I’m going out. I love y’all, and I’m sorry for everything I did and have done to you”. That was one of the saddest moments of my life because I knew it was all over. My distorted love story, my son’s chance at having a father figure, and the opportunity for my child’s father to get it right, change his ways, and be the man I was trying to build him to be; the man I knew before the streets took hold of him.

We both stated that we loved each other, which was weird because I no longer loved him. Especially when I was still mending myself, I felt he needed to hear that. The phone then hung up, and once again, I felt lonely, abandoned, broken, and left to be a statistic in the blink of an eye. I was dealing with the hurt of being abused. Then, I became a single mother as my son’s father became incarcerated. 

Still, I Was There…

After he went to jail, I answered every call, went to most court dates, wrote, and visited him. I told myself that I would try to be there for him for the sake of our son despite how I felt, once again putting how I FELT aside to accommodate him. After a while, I was so angry from never addressing the issues I carried I could no longer hide the hate that I allowed to fluster in my heart. No matter what, I couldn’t stop looking at the permanent scars I had from him, all the arguments, all the hurt, and the embarrassing moments. I hated this man for leaving me like my dad did. Hated him for abandoning his son and leaving me to raise him alone. I hated him for not listening to me when I was trying to steer him the right way. I JUST HATED HIM. 

And Then I Stopped!

After he was sentenced, I stopped answering phone calls, writing, and visiting. I felt like the whole ordeal was a heavy burden I no longer wanted to bear, and I was okay with that. 

As time went by, we would talk about once a month just so he could talk to his son, and one day he wanted to speak to me. We had a heart-to-heart, and he asked me how I felt, and I was FINALLY able to tell him. I let everything out, and he cried, I cried, we cried together. He apologized for cheating, lying, and choosing the streets over his family. I felt relieved but not fully healed.

Kelli's son says "My mom is strong."

To Forgive 

Because I was raised in the church, I could draw strength from God, other women, and the elders in the church with whom I opened up to assist with my healing process to FORGIVE this man, and I did. I knew I could no longer harbor ill feelings toward a man who still had to deal with my son. I realized harboring hate for him would only make me bitter and miserable. Not only did I forgive him, but I also forgave my dad for causing the same hurt my child’s father did to me. So, my forgiveness experience was extra dope cause I forgave the two men who hurt me the most at the same time! 

Being able to forgive made me better, stronger, and wiser. It allowed me to be no longer held down by the hurts and pains they caused me. I realized I could forgive, but I didn’t have to forget. I’ve learned that I am much stronger with the strength to forgive, and now I can move on burden-free.