for Aug. 29, 2001

Idella R. Allen

VALDOSTA -- Idella R. Allen, 92, of Valdosta, died on Monday, Aug. 27, 2001, after a lengthy illness. Born on Oct. 4, 1908, in Midville, she was the daughter of the late Charles C. and Florence E. Smith Rogers and widow of the late Ralph H. Allen. Formerly of Atlanta, Mrs. Allen was employed with Lipscomb-Ellis Insurance Company and the Coca-Cola Company. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Valdosta, past member of the Peachtree Road Lutheran Church of Atlanta and the Wesley Chapel Presbyterian Church of Decatur. Mrs. Allen was past president of the Peachtree-Dunwoody Garden Club and member of the Glen Manor Garden Club, La Sentonea Civic Club, and Wesley Woman's Club. Voted Miss Atlanta in 1928 and Civic Leader of Raleigh, N.C., in 1950, she was also a member of the Tau Beta Phi Sorority. Survivors are a son and daughter-in-law, Dr. Ralph C. and Libby Allen of Valdosta; grandchildren, Brent Allen of Valdosta, Jessica Allen and Brittany Allen of Atlanta. Graveside services will be held at Greenwood Cemetery in Atlanta. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First United Methodist Church of Valdosta. -- Carson McLane Funeral Home

Charles E. Runyon III

JENNINGS, Fla. -- Charles E. Runyon III, 54, of Jennings, passed away Saturday, Aug. 25, 2001 in Bexar County, Texas. Charles was born on June 9, 1947 in Valdosta. He was retired from the U.S. Navy where he worked with the Under-Water Demolition Team. He also worked for a number of years with Hamilton County and Lowndes County (EMS) Emergency Management Services and was a former employee of Francis Lake Golf and Country Club. He was currently employed by Werner Enterprises Trucking Co. Charles was a member and deacon at Jennings Missionary Baptist Church, Jennings. He is survived by one son, Brent Runyon, Columbia, S.C.; one daughter, Nikki Wood (Marty Jr.,) Jasper, Fla.; his mother, Mary McCall Runyon, Jennings; one sister, Starr Runyon, Palatka, Fla.; the mother of his children, Dorothy Mills Runyon, Live Oak, Fla.; and two grandchildren, Christopher and Victoria. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Jennings Missionary Baptist Church. Internment will follow in Sassers Landing Cemetery near Jennings. The family will receive friends between the hours of 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Harry T. Reid Funeral Home, Jasper. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Jennings Missionary Baptist Church, P.O. Box 141 Jennings, FL 32053 or WAFT Radio, P.O. Box 338 Valdosta, GA 31603. -- Harry T. Reid Funeral Home, Jasper

Doctor Bright McConnell, 73, of Winter Park, Fla., passed away Aug. 26, 2001. Funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at First Baptist Church of Winter Park with Pastor Tommy Vinson officiating. Interment will be in Palm Cemetery, Winter Park. Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. Friday at Carey Hand Cox-Parker Funeral Home Chapel. -- Carey Hand Cox-Parker Funeral Home, Winter Park

Forgiving those who have wronged us is one of the most powerful ways to begin to heal.

Religious leaders and relationship experts tell us to turn the other cheek or to forgive and forget when we are wronged. Ideally, letting go of the bitterness and anger we harbor against someone will lessen the personal toll that holding a grudge takes on us as we stew and sputter over the matter.

Forgiveness usually does not come easily to most of us, however. When we are wronged, we feel that it is our duty to hold the offending party responsible and to seek punishment, penalty, or penitence. To forgive too quickly may make the wrong done seem less hurtful or damaging, or suggest to the offender that we are an easy mark for another attack.

Some are easier to forgive than others. A child's foolish mistake, a spouse or partner's hurtful words spat out in anger, or a friend's inconsiderate behavior can often be overcome. Viewed in terms of the quality of the overall relationship or the overall character of the person, a single hurtful incident can be forgiven-though perhaps not forgotten-when we know there is more to the person than the single act.

Some of the most difficult forgiveness for me to offer is forgiveness from afar to those I don't know but whom I hear about on the news or read about in the paper. Trying to understand and forgive some of the horrendous acts committed by humans against other humans takes more compassion for the guilty than I can easily muster.

I still have trouble letting go of my outrage at the depressed mother in Texas who drowned her five young children. The sheer overwhelming cruelty of the act makes it hard for me to be very sympathetic, even though I understand she was mentally unbalanced at the time. When she does recover from her depression and is thinking rationally, I can't even image the grief she will suffer. Her own husband has forgiven her, perhaps because he knows her not to be the monster that her monstrous act suggests.

The millionaire pharmacist who sold diluted chemotherapy drugs to cancer patients has exceeded the limits of my forgiveness. Such cruelty is almost unimaginable. Holding a gun to the patients' heads and pulling the trigger would have been more humane than deceiving those facing death with the false hope that his fake drugs offered. If you can murder someone twice, then he is guilty of taking life from the dead and hope from the living.

The government says that as many as 150 doses of the diluted drugs were distributed, while the pharmacist claims it was only about 30.

Even one would have been too many. Anyone who has watched a loved one or close friend grasp at straws for whatever hope or relief that can be found from the ravages of the disease knows just what suffering this man's greed has caused.

For this man, I find it hard to even consider that he be forgiven-at least not by me, not now, not anytime soon.

In memory of D.M. Fike, D.C. Fike, Judy Fike, Grady Green, and Grace Kannady.

Darrell Fike's column appears on Wednesday's. He lives and writes in Valdosta.

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