Mary Johnson, while at work in February 1993, experienced a mother’s worst nightmare. She received the news that her son, Laramiun, was killed.
Just like any other kid his age, Laramiun had been out partying with friends when a fight took place, leaving him dead.
His killer goes by the name of Oshea Israel, .a 16-year-old boy at the time.
During that time, Mary was hurt by the death of her son and had been filled with rage. “In court, I viewed Oshea as an animal,” she told The Forgiveness Project.
“The root of bitterness ran deep, anger had set in, and I hated everyone. I remained like this for years, driving many people away.”
Twelve years later, she would come across a reading that would make her approach her anger from another angle.
Although each of them had undergone their own rough journey, Mary and Oshea are now said to be closer than ever.
“Tell me the name of the son you love so,
That I may share with your grief and your woe.”
So the poem, “Two Mothers”, was led by a conversation amongst the mother of Jesus and Judas, relating to the similar lost the’d share without even knowing one other.
“It was such a healing poem all about the commonality of pain, and it showed me my destiny,” Mary said.
At that moment, she realized that it would take more than just words to show a true act of forgiveness. Blocking out the past just could not be an option. In order to forgive Oshea, I mean truly forgive him, she’d have to do so unconditionally, with love. Help him get his life back on track.
Freeing him was the only way to set herself free.
“Forgiveness isn’t forgetting,” she said in a phone interview. “People need to learn that forgiveness is for them, not the person that hurt them.”
Off she went to pay Oshea a visit in jail, face to face, for the first time since they last crossed paths.
Without a doubt, it was not an easy task, and many questioned her reasoning and intention for doing something so “out of the ordinary”. But the gift of inspiration and healing that was experienced was like no other.
Follow the inspiring bond between Mary and Oshea below.