Forgiveness can be a huge part of our grieving process. Forgiving ourselves is often the biggest challenge of all.
From the Grieving Heart:
Please forgive me. I'm so sorry.
I can almost see you sitting across from me, smiling. Are you telling me it's okay? Are you telling me I'm forgiven and to let it go?
Forgiving myself is hard. Technically speaking, it should be easy. My heart, however, doesn't seem to want to move on.
Move on? I can't believe I just said that. I don't want to move on if that means leaving you behind. They say that those who leave are never far from us. I know you're in my heart, and that's close indeed.
Is my reluctance to forgive myself an attempt to hang on to you?
Perhaps I have this backward. If I cling to guilt, I'm making it about me. I want this to be about you, and about us. Maybe I need to look in the mirror and into my own eyes and say, "I forgive you."
I know you forgive me. You would want me to forgive myself.
This is hard. Everything seems to remind me that you are gone.
Forgiving ourselves can be hard
Forgiving ourselves for actual and perceived wrongs is tough duty. Our hearts want to hang on, perhaps in an attempt to cling to our loved one. Forgiving ourselves feels like letting go, and that's the last thing we want to do. We don't want to move forward. We would rather back up and have life the way it used to be.
We know what was. We don't know what will be. And right now, we're stuck in the middle, in some weird state of limbo. This emotional roller-coaster is terribly taxing. Getting rid of unnecessary and unwanted baggage can be extremely helpful.
Lack of forgiveness distracts us from loving. Refusal to forgive ourselves hinders healthy grieving. Holding our own hearts captive will not bring our loved ones back.
Perhaps looking in the mirror is a good idea. Saying, "I forgive you," to ourselves can be powerful. Some write down what they feel guilty about and then tear it up and toss it in the trash can or burn it in their fireplace. Others find an object to represent their regrets, grip it tightly, and then intentionally release it.
The key is getting the guilt out. This is part of grieving. Forgiving ourselves is an important life skill.
I will say to myself, “I forgive you.” This is part of loving and honoring you.
Adapted from the newly released Comfort for Grieving Hearts: Hope and Encouragement for Times of Loss. To watch a brief video about the book, click here.