Last night I received a phone call from a friend from back home. She is going through a difficult time right now, she lost her dad suddenly just over a month ago. Her and I are friends on facebook of course and her status updates crush my heart at times because I know exactly what she is going through from her head to her heart. She contacted me through facebook saying she knew I would know what she is going through and if I had any advice for her. I was touched. I told her to call me or the message would be a novel. She did. We talked for over an hour about her struggles, her emotions, her anger, her heart. I told her it would get better. When you lose someone like a parent that is the last thing you want to hear. I know this from experience. Someone would tell me that I wanted to punch them in the face. I told her I know how it makes you feel when you hear this but to know it is the truth. It won’t be better tomorrow, it won’t be better next month, it might not even be better in a year but eventually it does. It took me 2 years after my mom passed for it “to be better”. I reassured her that I did not want to scare her with this information because her time will be different than mine, but it will happen. You must be strong but you must let yourself grieve…deeply. That is why it took me so long because although I did grieve I didn’t let myself grieve deeply for almost 2 years. I was too busy being strong for everyone else, being a mother and wife to look into myself and deal with the pain. I look back and the 2 years that I was a walking robot, numb and just going through the motions and it is a blur. A complete blur. That is not healthy. You must dig deep within yourself and let it out, let it go. Not let go of the person, the memories, and the love but let go of the anger, the hurt, the pain of your loss. That is what gets in you and eats you up inside, it’s what makes you numb. Everyone has their own timeline when dealing with a loss, for some it’s easy to get through and for some it crushes them down to where they can’t function. You have to find a balance. You have to take care of yourself, you have to deal with what is inside of you to move on.
She has been struggling with the fact that no one knows what she is going through. They say they can assume but really, unless you have been through it yourself, you don’t know. What makes her and I’s stories unique is that we lost our parents when they were still young and very suddenly. It’s not that our grandmas passed away after a full life of 80 years. No, our parents were in their 50’s with grandbabies, with their own kids that still needed them. People don’t understand the hole that is created in your heart when this happens.
Through the entire phone call I could relate to every single word she said. I had been there, I had felt the pain, I had felt the anger. I have been through wanting to shut the world out because you don’t want to hear what they have to say from it’s going to get better to everyday comments in a conversation about other people’s parents who are still with them. You can become very bitter towards people. It’s a hard thing to do at the time but you have to learn how to turn a cheek and smile and nod. It’s easier said than done when you are grieving but you have to learn how to do it.
As we were getting off the phone I told her to call me anytime, whether it was to just talk about everyday life, to vent, to cry or to scream, my phone was always on. I told her to take care of herself, to make sure to let herself grieve. I reassured her that it is ok to cry, it’s ok to scream and hate the world but just not to let the hate consume her. I told her that still after 6 years I still cry on random days, I still cry on her birthday, on certain holidays. It’s ok to do that and not to ever let herself think differently.
She said to me “I’m putting your number in my phone as ‘My Angel’ because you truly are my angel”.
I got goose bumps and cried.
I received a comment this morning on my post from yesterday “What is forgiveness to you?” from Quidmont asking me: “So let me ask you please … If you found something so terrible that you could not forgive it, would you feel like your life was in any way diminished by carrying around the hate or other bad feelings you could not let go of? Or how would you handle it?”
Good question..good question.
Hate is such a strong word, emotion. When you feel or have great hate within you I think you can feel weighed down, you become heavy. It’s easy to allow the hate to consume you and almost take over. You have two choices when have it in you. 1. you can go on walking around with it, letting it control you and define you as a person or 2. you can decide you don’t want to be confined to the hate, make a point to come to terms with ‘yes this has happened to me, it was awful, painful, hurtful but I don’t want to defined by it any longer’. You have to let yourself in some way become free of the hold it can have on you. I don’t know if I could really ‘forgive’ so to speak but I would have to in some way come learn how to live with it and find a way to be happy.
Bad things happen, awful things, evil things. When you are the victim of a horrendous crime (this is what I would think) you can continue to be defined about what has happened to you but I would think there would come a point in your life, and this could be many many years down the road, where you don’t want to feel that weight anymore, you want to be happy, you don’t want to be defined as the victim any longer. If something horrendous would happen to me I of course would be scarred for life, it would never leave me but I think I would have to at some point in time have to move on. Move on in order to find myself again, relieve the weight that it brings, be happy..be me. This is easier said than done because I have never been through anything like that so I can only assume. I know therapy would be needed, friends, family, I don’t think that ‘freeness’ can be achieved alone. I think it would have to be talked about to free your mind of the emotions, the hate, the history. It would never fully leave your mind but you would have to get it out in one way or another so it doesn’t eat you from the inside out.
Its easy to let yourself become consumed by hatred. It’s like a disease in my eyes. It can take over your mind, consume your thoughts and you in turn become miserable, a prisoner in your own cell of hate. You must find a way to break free..but you also have to want to break free.
When it comes to the question of what is forgiveness, if I was to put myself in a victim’s shoes I honestly don’t think I could forgive the person or persons involved that did the crime to me. Never. I could never forgive them for what they did. They did it, they, at that moment in time had a choice.. to do the right thing or not and they chose not to therefore I could never forgive them for their choice. They can go on to do their time and say they have been saved by god and now they are asking for forgiveness..I would still say no. You did it, you made your decision to do it, I don’t care if you are sorry 1000x over or if you are a different person now, you still made that choice and now you must live with the guilt.
So to answer the question at hand….
“If you found something so terrible that you could not forgive it, would you feel like your life was in any way diminished by carrying around the hate or other bad feelings you could not let go of? Or how would you handle it?”
Here is a personal experience where I walked around with hate in my heart, now it’s not a crime that was done but at the time it felt like one had occurred. My mother passed away almost 6 years ago suddenly to cancer, my mother was taken away from me. I walked around after she passed for almost 2 years pissed off, just down right mad, angered, and most of all sad. I would have headaches everyday, I was not much fun to be around, I was on edge all the time, quick to snap but there came a time where I was tired of being like that. I had let it consume me. I don’t know who I was mad at, I had no one to blame for her being gone but I was looking for something to blame. At first I blamed “God” because that is who everyone was telling me took her, because “he” had another higher purpose for her. That infuriated me. So “God” became my first place of blame. I was just mad at the whole situation, why me?, why my mom? What did I do that I deserve my mom being taken away from me? What do you mean “he” needs her, I need her, my sister needs her. I came to a point where I didn’t want to be mad anymore, I didn’t want to feel what I was feeling anymore. Being pissed off isn’t going to bring her back so I realized I needed to come to terms with it and be find a way to fully 100% happy again. I don’t want to sound like I had lost the ability to be happy during those 2 years because I was happy but not fully. There was always that nagging in my head, that anger. When I realized it was time to fully deal with the situation that I had gone through I felt a lightness in me again. The headaches stopped, my attitude changed, I felt true happiness again. I will never forget her, I still to this day think of her everyday that passes but I know she is gone and now watching over me from where ever she might be and I allow myself to feel her in my heart.
Now I know that doesn’t have anything to do with a crime done to me personally and in all honesty I can’t compare death to rape or another horrendous crime but I would think the healing process might be the same in a few ways. The way that you have to free yourself of the hatred, of the feelings. You have to find you again even though you don’t feel complete anymore. You have to find a way to move on, to be happy again or it will eat you from the inside out. It’s a choice.