Step-Mother Teaches 5-Year-Old to Forgive Murderer
MSNBC.com – Melissa Oxley was asleep next to her husband when he was shot and killed. Melissa was the first suspect in the killing, but was subsequently released. The boyfriend of Mr. Oxley’s ex-wife has been convicted of the crime and is currently serving a prison term.
Mr. Oxley’s daughter, Alyssa, now being raised by Melissa, spoke with the murderer following his conviction. She told him that she forgives him for killing her father. This theme of forgiveness was initiated by Melissa in 2008, as she began teaching Alyssa, then 5-years-old, the importance of forgiveness so they do not have deep anger as a part of their lives.
Melissa calls Alyssa, age 5 at the time of the murder, a “strong little girl.” After the ex-wife’s boyfriend was convicted of the crime, Alyssa asked to speak to him. “I told him that I decided to forgive him and that I wanted him to have hope,” Alyssa said.
Melissa said that from the first, she told Alyssa that they would approach her father’s murderer with compassion, no matter who it turned out to be. “I always told her, pretty much from day one, whenever we found out who did this we’d have to be able to forgive them at some point in order to go on.”
The widowed stepmother emphasized the importance of forgiveness as a way forward in her grief, and said she wants Alyssa to be able to grow up without anger being a part of their lives.