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Sometimes life brings things we would never expect. I have experienced quite a few unexpected things. Some good and some bad. I have learned to not let the bad unexpected events control my happiness.

My life changed in an instant when I was hit by a drunk driver and my husband and daughter were killed and I miraculously survived. I had to learn how to live again. Live now as a single woman and not continue to raise my daughter. I never expected to experience the immense pain that has accompanied as I have had to learn to live without them. Time has not healed my broken heart and has not stopped the tears from flowing. Time has allowed me to learn to lean on my Father in Heaven and trust in Him and His will for me. 

I never expected to fully forgive, befriend, and learn to love the man responsible for the drastic change in my life that occurred February 27, 2003. Edgar Vasquez Hernandez made the choice to drink and then to drive without having a clue that would change his future and mine. Our paths collided on the freeway as he was driving the wrong way at 98 mph. Things have not been the same for either of us. My family was killed, I miraculously survived, and he had to learn of the news that he killed two people, and would have to spend at least 13 years on prison. We were strangers that have become connected in a way no one would ever ask to be connected.

After years of feeling grief and loneliness, an opportunity came to write Edgar a letter and ask him if he stays in touch with his family as he has to live in the walls of a prison cell. I was happy to receive a letter back from him very quickly. He answered that he was able to keep in touch with his wife and two sons and continued the letter by apologizing and asking my forgiveness for changing my life in such a traumatic way. I never expected to to feel healing and happiness as I read this first letter from him. 

After many letters were written between us, I gained the desire to talk to him face to face. I asked him if he would mind a visit from me and the next letter I received told me he would love that and included a visitor application. I filled it out and sent it back in to the prison waiting with great hope I would have the opportunity to get to know this man that unexpectedly changed my life. I received a yes to be a visitor at the prison and was delighted. During my first visit, Edgar told me I was the first and only person that had ever come to visit him as he had been in prison for seven years. That made me very sad to think how lonely he must be as he serves his time. I never expected the first visit to turn into many. I loved talking to him and getting to know him. I was learning what a great person he is and my heart was healing.

Life brings surprises for the good and the bad. I am grateful for the surprise it has been to love talking to Edgar. I enjoy my visits. I have learned what a great man he is. I am thankful for the forgiveness I offer him and the freedom that has given me. "To forgive is to set a prisoner free and realize the prisoner was you." -Lewis B. Smedes


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