Stabbed Almost to Death, She Lives and Forgives Her Attacker!
Attacked By A Woman She Knew
In 1986, Julie Chimes invited an emotionally distressed acquaintance into her cottage to wait until Julie?s partner, a busy doctor, arrived. What nobody knew, not even the woman?s family or her psychiatrist, was that she had taken herself off all her medication for paranoid schizophrenia. While they waited, the woman took a carving knife from Julie?s kitchen and began attacking her in a frenzy of stabbing and hacking.
Julie?s memories of the incident are vivid, ?When the knife entered me, something exploded in my awareness ?a part of me became detached from my body, calmly observing the mayhem with total understanding and even a sense of humour. I can remember shouting out that I loved my assailant, which, given the circumstances was as much of a surprise to me as being stabbed. The physical pain was excruciating but a phenomenal strength and focus arose within me, which guided me out of the cottage. Eventually a courageous passer-by managed to disarm my attacker, as she was trying to hack off my head.?
Police Assumed She Was Dead
Police eventually arrived, but upon seeing the amount of blood Julie lost and the severity of the many stab wounds she had received, they decided she must be dead. It was only the arrival of her partner, Tony, and his courage and certainty in a dire situation that pulled her back and helped her know she would live.
Her Mother Suffers Breakdown
Although her eventual physical healing was remarkable, the viciousness of the attack on Julie so traumatized her mother that she had a mental breakdown. Julie?s stepfather blamed her for her mother?s condition and she was banished from the family. After her mother died from an ensuing illness, her family asked her forgiveness. The assailant?s sister even called wanting Julie to know that her sister was desperately sorry and asked Julie?s forgiveness.
Forgivenes Brings Peace
Julie says, ?I am neither christened nor religious but Christ?s words about ?Father forgive them for they know not what they do? is the closest way to describe how I felt. As I blamed no one, there was nothing to forgive, but there was still a lot for me to learn and understand. I wrote ?A Stranger in Paradise? to offer back my insights and understandings of the entire experience. I now know when there is understanding there can be compassion. When compassion arises there can be forgiveness. Where there is forgiveness there is peace.?
Hero of Forgiveness Award
Julie Chimes will be honored as a Hero of Forgiveness at the 12th Annual International Forgiveness Day event on Sunday August 3, 2008 at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center in San Rafael. Heroes of Forgiveness are those people who exemplify the power of forgiveness by overcoming personal tragedies and traumas and moving from anger and revenge to the transformative release of forgiveness and reconciliation.