Jodi Cadman finds peace after forgiving man who murdered her brother
Oct 21, 2010
From the article by Cheryl Chan in The Province:
Jodi Cadman still recalls hanging up the phone in shock.
She had just been told that the man who stabbed her 16-year-old brother to death almost two decades previously wanted to get in touch.
"You literally get a phone call out of the blue saying, 'Would you like to receive a letter from the person who murdered your family member?'" Jodi says. "I was pretty shocked."
...Jodi didn't know it yet, but she and Isaac Deas, sentenced to life imprisonment in the second-degree murder of Jesse Cadman, had been on parallel paths -- one toward redemption, the other toward forgiveness.
Jodi was eventually handed Deas's letter. Sitting in her apartment in Vancouver, just before reading the two-page note, neatly penned on lined, yellow paper, Jodi remembers thinking: "I really hope he doesn't ask me for forgiveness."
Deas's letter was sincere and remorseful, Jodi says....They had been corresponding for several months when she was asked another unexpected question: Do you want to meet with
Deas face to face? This time, there was no hesitation. She said yes.
Through their written communication, Jodi had learned some things she hadn't known about Deas.
She learned that Deas, then still a teenager, had wanted to plead guilty, but was advised not to.
She learned that he had spent a decade in maximum security as a snarling, uncooperative thug, until one day he decided he wanted to change, and began taking whatever steps he could to make amends....They met in a windowless parole office boardroom with two mediators present.
Even after 18 years, Jodi thought she could see in him the baby face of the cocky, disinterested teenager who doodled his way through his trial.
Deas was stocky and rough-looking, but also soft-spoken and serene, like someone who had embraced Eastern religion, Jodi's mother would later say.
Jodi told him that she wanted to focus on the here and now.
She was kidding herself, she says. What she really wanted to know was how someone could get to the point where he could take someone else's life.
...Throughout their initial meeting, Deas said repeatedly that he was sorry. At times, when Jodi spoke harshly, she saw traces of redness creep up his face, she says. At other times, when they talked about her father, the emotions grew raw.
Finally, sitting across from him, Jodi says she had an unsettling realization: She liked talking to him.
"It's a really strange thing to reconcile in your head," she told him frankly. "Because I'll sit here and have a conversation with you, but you murdered my brother."
He nodded and said he accepted that. After three hours, they stood up to say goodbye. Deas repeated: "Sorry. I'm so sorry."
Jodi said: "You know what, you don't have to say that to me anymore. I forgive you."
Caught off guard, Deas managed to thank her.
Thinking back on that moment, Jodi says the words came surprisingly easy.
"In the spirit of everything, it was the right thing to do, and it was just as healing for me." But her forgiveness came with strings.
"I'm not giving it away freely. It's certainly not unconditional," she says. "But if he is doing everything he can possibly do to make things right, then it makes it easier."Read the full article.