Thought for the day – forgiveness


A friend posted a “poster” on her Facebook page that read: ” Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it”.   Well that certainly covers a lot of territory.

As parents who have lost a child we are pretty hard on ourselves with the memories.  We think through the past, both distant and recent and find ourselves spinning our wheels in the mud.  We wish we had had a premonition, a clue, a sign, an indication of what was coming so we magically could have prevented it.  Had we known and not been able to prevent it – we wish we could have spent more time – so-called “quality” time with our child.  We didn’t know.

We didn’t know that the parents who had lost their child before we lost ours were in so much pain.  We didn’t know what we should say or do.  We didn’t know that there was nothing to be done except acknowledge the loss and to go do little things-things they could never ask for – like grocery shop or pick up the dry cleaning.  We didn’t know that sometimes all they needed was someone to come and sit, quietly and maybe read a book to keep them company.

We didn’t know that anything could bring this much pain and sorrow.  We didn’t know that life could change so abruptly and then continue to mock us at every turn.

We were not aware of our own short memories when it came to other’s grief and pain and are shocked at how forgotten we feel in a very short amount of time.

We did not know that we could feel so uncomfortable in our own skin.  Holidays and visits from dearly loved friends could become objects of dread.   We did not know we would have to plan escape or alternative routes to try and participate in what used to be every day events.

We did not sign up for this course and we are unwilling participants.

We are the only ones keeping track of our attendance and performance.

To those so unaware we have for the most part successfully  masked ourselves and appear to be “getting over it.”

And we get angry for all the things we did not know.  We loved our ignorance and did not know how fortunate we were to dwell in it.    We find it hard to forgive ourselves for not knowing.  It is easier to be angry at ourselves than our departed loved one.

So, in as much as it is possible, I hope to grant myself a  little forgiveness today.  I plan to take off the gloves that  I keep battering myself with.  I plan to look in the mirror for a moment and not inventory the lines of grief and pain, but rather see the person my son loved.

I am the person my son loved.  She is still here and loved by a daughter and a husband and friends.   She was able to love a son and a provide a nurturing environment for him to become a good man.  She has learned that life is short and it is not worth anything to dwell on frustration.  She has learned to breath in to the count of 7, hold it for 7 and release for 7.

She has learned that nothing is guaranteed, control is an illusion, love is all that endures.

It takes practice to be present in the moment, but it is worth the effort.

I hope we can all forgive ourselves a little today.

About pathfinder

Artist, Writer, Walking wounded.
This entry was posted in Coping with the Death of a Child, Death, Faith, Family, Friends, Holidays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Thought for the day – forgiveness

  1. grahamforeverinmyheart says:

    I’ll try. It’s very difficult not to find reasons to blame myself for things, even if they were beyond my control. It’s almost impossible not to practice the “if only” game and it takes a great deal of effort to stop and be in the present. But I will keep trying.

    • pathfinder says:

      Trying is the only thing any of us can do. Ours sons would expect it of us. ((((hugs))))

      • grahamforeverinmyheart says:

        I think the problem I have with trying to be in the present, is that I no longer “like” the present. Yes, I know, it’s all we really have. But, since my son isn’t here, in the present, then I prefer the past when he was still here on this earth. Frankly, I still haven’t even grasped his absence, it’s too big and horrible to accept.
        But I am trying to at least forgive myself, as you suggest.
        Many hugs to you, too.

  2. Michelle says:

    Crying!!!!! You have a great talent for writing. This is how I feel. Almost 4 years and forgiveness will not come. Thank you for sharing

  3. cecemom says:

    Thank you. This brought tears to me this morning but I will try and forgive myself this day. My boys need their mother….

  4. It is definitely difficult to forgive yourself – especially when you let go of her hand. Sometimes you simply need someone to blame. In my case, I cannot blame the ocean so I blame myself. I agree with you and logically I know you are right to try to forgive yourself this day but emotionally it is not always that easy. Thank you for your post.

    • pathfinder says:

      The moment they were born we let go of their hand. I wish it were not so. My daughter posted a quote she heard yesterday. “To have a child is to embrace a future you cannot control” I am so sorry for your loss. I blame gravity . . . and isn’t it amazing that two such powerful forces – the ocean and gravity are so important and yet have exacted such a toll on our lives? Peace for today. This is a long road, be kind to yourselves with your memories.

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