Today is Easter Sunday. It doesn’t look like a typical Easter. We are in the midst of a world health crisis like no other in our lifetime. Storms are raging outside my window. Storms. It’s a great metaphor for my feelings today. Secretly, I am relieved that folks can’t dress up in their Sunday best and post pictures on Facebook of their happy, healthy families. Holidays are hard.
A friend shared on her Facebook timeline a beautiful graphic that stated, “Because He is Risen. I am Forgiven.” And, it struck me. Forgiveness. I struggle with my own forgiveness. I am not as forgiving as I should to those that have hurt our family. It’s not hurting them. They likely don’t even realize the pain they’ve caused. Yet, I am not letting it go. I must let it go. It has ripped out my soul and left a shell of the person I once I was. I want me back. Desperately.
And, so, maybe writing will start the healing. Facing the hurts and feeling the feels one last time will bring forgiveness. Please, I need to forgive.
To the neighbor that said, “You need to be a better caretaker to your husband.” I forgive you. I understand that you could only see my husband’s disease through your very narrow lens. I understand that being an engineer makes understanding the unfamiliar difficult. I understand that despite your best efforts empathy is not in your being. It just isn’t for some. So, when I wave at you, it will be sincere. I can let this go. You are forgiven.
To my sister-in-law that wrote, “Our families are connected by blood but blood isn’t always ‘family’. I have learned in life we choose our families, God gives us our relatives.” This was just a few sentences from the 2,275 word email that essentially told me how awful I was for asking for help from her husband, my husband’s only sibling, his family. I was at the end of my rope and needed a lifeline. She cut the rope and waved at me as I drowned. She inserted herself unnecessarily. Yet, I forgive you. I forgive you because I cannot let you have power over me any longer. I forgive you because we all have our own demons. I did not create your demons nor perpetuate them. They are yours. And, you were right. We aren’t family. Family would never be so cruel. So, your words cannot hurt me any more. You are forgiven.
Lastly, I need to forgive myself. There are so many questions that continue to plague my thoughts… did I give up too soon? should we have explored new medicines before placement? why didn’t I ask more questions before having kids? why couldn’t I be more accepting of my husband’s new behaviors? have I done enough for my kids? should I have insisted on counseling? is it my fault that we’ve alienated ourselves from friends and some family? could the stress have been managed in a less destructive way? I have to forgive. There will always be questions and doubts. There was no road map for managing this disease and my husband’s care. There were so many battles with doubters. It hardened me. Dreams were lost. Futures altered. It is ok. We will be ok. Forgiveness. I forgive me.