How Do You Forgive the Teen Who Murdered Your Son?

Jaime Gough was a curious 14-year-old Miami boy who loved sports and music. In 2004 his best friend Michael Hernandez lured him into their middle school bathroom with the promise of a revealing a secret. Instead he slit Jaime’s throat, stabbed him 42 times with a serrated folding knife, then casually walked back to class covered in blood.

According to his own journal, Hernandez wanted to be a serial killer and had to start somewhere. So he killed the easiest target, Jaime. His notes revealed ambitions of mass murder and a step-by-step plan of how to begin with those closest to him.

From Fighting to ForgivingJaime’s parents, Maria and George Gough, struggled through the ordeal of the funeral and then came the trial–the agonizing process of allowing the system to work. In the middle of that trial, they decided that the only way they could live with themselves was to forgive Michael.

“Maria and I have forgiven him,” George said. “When I put myself in the place of Michael’s parents I began to understand. They had lost their son too.”

In the nine years since Jaime’s death, Maria and George have been telling their story on TV, on the radio, and person to person. They have also turned their story into a book, From Fighting to Forgiving: Learning to Let Go, by Jason Wood. They believe they’ve kept Jaime alive by telling the tale, over and over. They say the “fruit of forgiveness” has honored and given Jaime a legacy, the process of showing other victims of tragedy how to let go of hate and anger.

Read the full story: How Do You Forgive the Kid Who Murdered Your Son?

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