A Grief Recovery Project Post
Considering we teach children that forgiveness is a good thing, we really suck at it as adults. It’s been the hardest thing for me about my Grief Recovery Project. In the quiet hours when we’re alone, it’s all too easy to go back to the dark side of anger and blame.
It took a long time for me to realize how much anger I was holding on to. Once I finally acknowledged the rage that had been simmering under the surface, I had the monumental task of working my way through it. Remember playing hot lava as a kid? I was unconsciously jumping over that anger, which was making it impossible for me to move forward with healing. Feel the feelings, remember? Those of you that had a front row seat to my Hulk Smash mode know that I did finally explode. Thanks for sticking with me when I was a big, green, rage monster.
After lots of crying, screaming, and gnashing of teeth I forgave. I forgave the doctors for not saving him, and for their role in stretching out his suffering needlessly. I forgave Dan for dying and leaving me. I forgave a lot of people for a lot of things. And I eventually forgave myself, although that took a lot longer. Funny how much easier it is to forgive someone who took advantage of you in your moment of vulnerability than it is to forgive yourself for failing to save the one you love the most. But forgiveness slowly happened, and my burden got a titch lighter.
You know I like to dissect things, so I still look at forgiveness often. I’ve come to view it not only as a powerful and necessary grief recovery tool but lately as an important part of the Live Now philosophy. You’ve heard me talk about living every moment to the fullest, of making sure your friends and family know how much you love them, and of not letting fear stand in your way of living. Well, life is also too short to deprive yourself of peace because you are angry.
If only we could forgive as quickly as we cut people out of our lives. A few years ago Dan and a family member severed ties. When he knew he was running out of time, he wanted to mend fences, but the other person wouldn’t cooperate. (Geez! Hatfields and McCoys got nothing on Bains). It created a lot of pain for Dan that he was going to die without being able to say his final peace. By the time the other individual agreed to meet, Dan had lost most of his ability to speak. He’d also lost his interest in ripping this individual a new one. He’d figured out that forgiveness was all that mattered. He knew that at the end, being right wasn’t important. He’d learned that the time we waste being angry and hurt only deprives us of any possibility of good things that may come from forgiving, even if the other person doesn’t care to receive it.
I’ve come to believe that forgiveness is what allows us to move forward with the new lives our grief journeys lead us to. However you get there, I wish you the peace it brings.
The Wandering Widow
Live Now. Dream Big. Love Fierce