I have been contemplating how to share what I have been feeling these past couple of weeks. My emotions have been all over the place. There are so many ripple effects of the choices made by difficult children. They reach far and wide and sometimes reach into years. As some of you know, I shared that my nephew was murdered. I flew out to be with my sister and family for his funeral. While my nephew called my sister and brother in law "mom" and "dad" he was technically their grandson. He was taken from my niece at an early age due to severe neglect. My sister raised my nephew and he grew into a very compassionate adult. Always willing to help and perhaps too trusting. He met a guy where he worked who was wanting to move out on his own but couldn't afford it so my nephew talked to him about them renting an apt. together. The young man was wanting to make a poor decision and my nephew tried talking him out of it, telling him it was not a good idea. This didn't set well with this young man and he snapped. He killed my nephew. While I was with my sister and family I learned more about the young man that took my nephews life. He was born to a meth addict and was found wondering the streets at age 3. He was adopted by a very good family and was raised in a loving, nurturing home. I spoke with people who knew this family. They said this young man has always had emotional and anger issues. With his birth mother actively using meth while pregnant and God only knows what he experienced those first few years of life I am not surprised. This however does not negate the fact he murdered someone but does offer some insight. My heart breaks for the loss of my nephew, it breaks for the grief my sister and brother are enduring. Not only is my sister grieving for the loss of her son but she is dealing with her daughter (nephews birth mother) who has been trying to insert herself into the role of "mother" since his death. She has made claims of being very active in life of my nephew which is not true. She showed up for holidays and birthdays and only because my sister invited her. My heart breaks for my niece also. It's so sad that she lost custody of this child and watched her own mother raise him as her own. My nephew made the choice to call my sister "mom" and that has always bothered my niece, my nephew called my niece by her name. She has never really owned up to the truth of why she lost custody. Typical difficult child behavior, she blames other people. I feel bad for my niece in that she does not have the network of friends that my sister and brother in law have. They have so many people reaching out to help them. My heart goes out the family of the young man who took my nephews life. I can imagine what they are going through. The wondering "if only we had done this or that". The guilt that they couldn't stop their son. While their son is alive, they have still lost him. It's highly unlikely that he will ever get out of prison due to the circumstances of the murder. I hope they can find a site like this to help them navigate all the emotions that go with having a difficult child. In a discussion with my sister and family we all agree that none of us harbor any ill feelings towards the parents of this young man and while we hate what he did, we do not hate him. We discussed forgiveness and how it's for us not the young man who did this. We have a choice to carry in our hearts bitterness towards this young man or love for the memory of my nephew and those who are still here. We choose love. I am reminded of the quote: "Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die" Yes, we choose to love and forgive. This has also had an impact on my son. He has reached out to me via FB private messages telling me he wants our relationship to be better. I too would like that but am also very aware that I need to proceed with caution. We shall see how it goes. The ripple effects of choices made are far reaching and long lasting. Thanks for letting me share this.