Fran Wohlenhaus-Munday and Jack Munday
Recently Jack made a presentation at a Lutheran church in South Minneapolis during the adult forum hour, reading from his recent book “Marlys In Heaven.” He noted that we present a talk at Metro State University criminology classes with students studying to be law enforcement workers. He said that the topic of forgiveness comes up every time we speak.
Then Jack read from parts of the book to give the group at the church a feeling for some of the issues he imagined Marlys facing in heaven. The first scene had Aristotle the Greek Philosopher come to talk to Marlys, where Aristotle tells Marlys he knows that when she sees someone without a smile, she gives the person her smile. This leads to Marlys meeting a boy she knew on earth who had died before her in a rock climbing accident. In another scene Aristotle comes back and asks Marlys what the opposite of the outrage she felt about the murder. That section leads to a discussion of forgiveness but Marlys does not accept that with Aristotle,
We then opened up for a discussion of forgiveness, heaven, and other topics. Some of the participants had their own personal stories to share, while others had questions for both of us, especially wanting to know how Fran dealt with two major questions. How did she survive coming home to find her daughter had been attacked and did not surviving the attack? How did she survive waiting almost twenty years to finally have the answer to why she was attacked?
We shared a lot of the feelings we had over the last 34 years. And we repeated our belief that we share in this column about how one reaches the path to healing. We said that effective healing is a three step process. Step one involves our real need to tell our story. This leads to step two and a decision that we eventually make that we want to be healed, out of love and respect for the memory of the lost loved one. Having made this decision, we begin to find healing in step three as we reach out to help others and in so doing one becomes able to function again in society.
We believe we helped those in the group who were trying to make sense out of all the tragedy in our world. That is the path to healing.
Fran and Jack Munday have worked with the bereaved for more than 30 years, and write frequently on grief issues. E-mail: [email protected] Information about Jack’s latest book, Marlys In Heaven, can be found at www.johnsmunday.com.