by Cesca Janece Waterfield
At only 11 years old, Fredric Almond lay in a hospital after watching his mother die in a brutal attack in his Los Angeles home. A burglar had stabbed the child 39 times and left him for dead.
“They said I was going to die in a couple hours,” Fredric says. “I hoped to God that I would live, and I lived. They said I wouldn’t talk or walk any more. [Later] I was able to talk and walk again. They couldn’t believe it. They called me the miracle child.”
His survival may have been a miracle. But the forgiveness the 37 year old says he’s given his mother’s killer might be equally astonishing. His book, “Scarred for Life: Stabbed 39 Times and Forgave,” details his harrowing story. He’s appeared on the BIO Channel’s “I Survived” and the 700 Club.
‘A God-changing Experience’
After he recovered his health, Fredric received psychological counseling for the trauma. But five years later, he was still struggling to cope with the death of his mother.
“They physical [recovery] was easier than the mental,” Fredric admits. “I was doing pretty bad. I was hating myself, hating life, hating other people. I had gotten into a big fight and I was about to go to juvenile detention.”
After a hearing, Fredric was spared juvenile detention, but he was sent to live with his brother Joseph who had joined the Army shortly before the attack.
“He invited me to church,” Fredric remembers. “He never really pushed anything on me. He allowed me to get where I needed.”
It worked. With a note of wonder, Fredric recalls, “When I went to church, there was a great presence that I felt, that I’d never felt before. It was like everything that was in me, I was able to release it out – the pain and the hurt. It felt so wonderful that I could get rid of it – not that I didn’t have any other issues! But that main burden of just feeling hopeless, feeling defeated, like, why do I need to be alive? All of the above, it gave me hope again. That’s why I say it was a God-changing experience.”
In 1992, Fredric followed his brother’s example and joined the Army. He was stationed at Fort Eustis and met his wife Rose. The couple bought a house in the area. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and served as chaplain in Saudi Arabia. Today, Fredric is a veteran and specializes in human resources management. He and Rose celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary this month. They have three daughters and a son and live in Williamsburg. Fredric and Joseph are still close. “We talk all the time,” Fredric says.
A Purpose to Prove
“I refuse to allow my mother’s life to end as a tragedy,” Fredric says. “I feel like I’m purposed to prove that my mother’s life was not a tragedy, that it was a victory. I’m determined to end my life in a positive way, to prove to the world that you can overcome a situation and make something out of it. I’m trying to be an encouragement and an inspiration to anybody. I was able to forgive the person who took my mother’s life. That changed my life. Forgiveness is not as hard as we think, we just have to trust and believe that we can forgive.”
After such trauma, why is forgiveness important to moving on?
Fredric answers, “I found out in my life as I was developing and growing, that I started suppressing and ignoring it, but it would just come up in my life and I was always challenged with that scar. I found out that the pain of unforgiveness was stopping me from being who I was. Sometimes we’re just afraid to be who we can become. I said, I’m going to stop being afraid of who I am and let this thing go. Through that, it’s really changed my life tremendously.”
Have you experienced trauma? You can talk to someone.
Chesterfield Family Guidance Center, 6603 Irongate Sq # A, Richmond, Phone 743-0960 www.cfgc.net
Commonwealth Catholic Charities, 1512 Willow Lawn Drive, Richmond, Phone 285-5900 www.cccofva.org
Cross Over Ministry, 108 Cowardin Ave., Richmond, Phone 233-5016 www.crossoverministry.org
Fan Free Clinic, 1010 N. Thompson St. Phone 358-6343 www.fanfreeclinic.org
Pathways Free Specialty Clinic, 1200 W. Washington St. Petersburg, Phone 862-1104 www.pathways-va.org