Friday, November 26, 2010

The Healing Power Of Forgiveness

Forgiveness… once again the truth posts bring us to this topic. Yet this week it is forgiving someone other than ourselves.

Truth #4:  Something You Need to Forgive Someone For

I have had many things occur throughout my life, both young and old where forgiveness was necessary in order to move on with myself in a healthy manner. I like to think that I am able to deal with such issues a bit better than in previous times yet I am always wary to say anything like that as it is somewhat like praying for patience.

Yet in my life an event occurred that taught me a great deal of the need for forgiveness and the true gift that it can give to one if they chose to act upon it. Growing up in an alcoholic/abusive family was by far not the most fun I have ever had. Sometimes I think my saving grace was the fact that my father did not like me. In fact he made a point of telling me just that whenever he did speak to me which was seldom. Because of this I managed to escape much of the behavior that my older sister and brother had to endure. Unfortunately I did not escape it entirely.

When my mother finally got the courage to leave him, I thought that it was finally over and we could commence to have a “normal” life. Yet never say never as I learned later on in my life. It was several years later, when I was thirty years old that I would be faced with decisions I thought I would never have to make. My father was ill, or so I was told by my aunts and uncles and he needed to be taken to the VA hospital. I am really not sure why yet it fell upon me to do this task.

I will be honest and say that it was something that I did not want to do. If I never set eyes on this man again it would not bother me. He had taken so much from me as a child. Not only did he take my ideal of a father figure, he also took my family life away. I struggled with the wonderment as to why he disliked me so and why he said the awful things he said to me. I struggled with the abuse he brought to my mother and older brother and sister and later myself. I did not wish to have to “be nice” to him.

Maybe it was the Christian influence in me that gave me a feeling of being obligated to tend to him I am not sure. But the fact is that I eventually did take him to the hospital. It was a humbling experience that first time I saw him again. He was definitely sick and I could not help but feel sorry for him and also ashamed at myself that I had been so selfish with myself.

Over the next few years we would take him to his doctor appointments and such. I even allowed my children to meet him as I did not want to be the reason they never knew their grandfather. Fortunately this did not happen too often as I am not sure if I could have taken it on a regular basis. I remember my older sister and myself going to visit him one day. He was sick and it was a matter of time when he would finally pass. We asked him to consider coming closer to where his family was so that his last days would be with family. He refused. I remember before I left I confronted him in regards to earlier times and much of what had occurred. He sat there speechless. Yet when I left I remember feeling at peace.

That night I awoke from a dream. In it I could hear my father calling my name. He kept asking me to help him. Yet I could not see him. It was dark and foggy and regardless how hard I looked I could see nothing. When I woke, I remember looking at the clock. It was 12:43 AM. The next morning I received a call that my father had passed the night before. It was not until some time later that I learned that his time of death was 12:43 AM.

I was the only one in the family that cleared their conscious with my father. I was the only one who “forgave” him. It was more the starting process of forgiveness, yet in doing so it released a huge burden from me. My brother and sister did not forgive him before his death. I have seen the implications of this over the years and it has only strengthened my beliefs for the need of forgiveness.

Yes, I still get upset with others for things they do or don’t do. I still do not always release my anger and/or resentment immediately. Yet I have learned that inevitably it is something that will need to be done. Forgiveness is never simple yet it is always necessary to move on. Forgiving my father was not an easy task and there were many at the time who did not understand my actions. Yet at the time it was what was right for me and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to do so. It is a burden I no longer carry.


~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

You have written a touching and heartfelt post that I could have almost written myself...I have been struggling with forgiving family members and your post has given me something to think about. Thank-you for sharing this part of your life with all of us this morning.

greekwitch said...

It is true that some dark parts of our soul, where shadow resides only the loving power of forgiveness can shed light to. I strongly believe that forgiving is an act of love first to ourselves and then others.
Brightest blessings,

Debra She Who Seeks said...

You were a cute kid! The most startling thing about abusive people is that they don't see themselves as abusive, when it is so painfully obvious to everyone else. Thank you for this wise and beautiful post -- it shows the truth of the saying that forgiveness is a gift we really give to ourselves, not the person who wronged us.

Linda in New Mexico said...

Forgiveness is one of life's double edged swords. It can both cut and heal.
You are a fortunate one for having been able to use forgiveness as a positive tool in your life and have some closure. Blessings friend, The Olde Bagg

Teresa said...

Very personal and triumphant post. There is a video called "Forgiving Dr. Mengele" which is about Holocaust survivor Eva Kor and her realization that forgiveness is for yourself, not the one who has wronged you. Blessed be.

Cottage Tails said...

((HUGS))) I'm sad to read that wee sweet child in the photos had a tough childhood.
My adopted father was abusive, I have forgiven him, but also now don't tolerate his behaviour. Our children have never stayed the night at my adoptive parents home. He is getting a very old man. I wish I was brave enough to confront his bad behaviour - one day. Your post will stay with me & maybe one day I will.

Love Leanne

Faerie Sage said...

What a blessing in disguise. It seems odd to say I know, knowing that your father was not a kind person during your childhood years, but really it is a blessing that you found closure and that you could forgive, both for him and for you. What you did took courage, first to let him into your life, then to let him into your children's lives, then to ask him to come closer and finally to confront him and allow yourself to forgive. Blessings to you & your family this holiday season!

Wendy said...

What an amazing post on compassion and the slippery slope of forgiveness. You were such a beautiful child and truly guardian angels protected you to be the victim of your father who was so full of fear and unhappiness. Your heart and spirit show us all that forgiveness is necessary for US and that it doesn't mean forgetting, excusing or making amends with someone who has hurt us so much. Thank you for this beautiful post.

hope and love said...

touching post.. i too had an experience recently when forgiving healed me of the wounds. thanks for sharing ur thoughts.

Kristen said...

WOW we are kin in our childhood. I did the same with my mother although we loved each other there were many things between us that needed to be resolved. When she went into the hospital after being diagnosed with cancer I found the opportunity to confront those issues and get them off my shoulders. It was uplifting to say the least even though a problem occured and she had no memory of the conversation I had forgiven her and myself and that was all that mattered. It is so much better to forgive and get on with your life than to let those feelings linger and harm who you can be!

Hugs and Blessings