Thursday, February 2, 2012

To the One I Must Forgive

I have struggled for close to two decades to find forgiveness for you. There have been times I thought I was close, but then old wounds would reopen, or new ones would pierce my being, and I'd be back to square one. When I was 19 years old, a former therapist suggested that I didn't have to forgive you. That sometimes, forgiveness isn't possible, isn't practical, and that instead, I should try to make peace with that. Maybe I've been hiding behind that all these years. Maybe that was the easy way out.

Either way, it didn't work. The anger and pain in my heart still poison me, still chafe at my soul every day. As I've struggled to seek out every avenue possible to help heal my baby's beautiful skin, a friend pointed me in an unexpected direction. Could it be that the hurt that poisons and chafes me is poisoning and chafing my beloved daughter? Perhaps. At this point, I'm willing to try anything, and even if it doesn't help, it certainly can't hurt.

The biggest barrier to forgiving you is that in your mind, you've done nothing wrong. This has been my sticking point. How do I offer my forgiveness to someone who doesn't want it? Someone who finds it unnecessary? Someone who thinks I'm nothing but a spoiled child for daring to question the treatment I've received? I realize now that this forgiveness is not for you. It's for me. So I'll try.

Deep down, I know that you who hurt me was also hurt. You faced things as a child that no child should have to, then you internalized and became those very things that tore at your own being. The abused became the abuser. I know, even if you do not, that you are very, very ill, and that your illness is at the core of your treatment and impossible expectations of others. It causes you to demand respect without reciprocating it. It causes you to demand that your thoughts and feelings be heard, while refusing to entertain or even hear the thoughts and feelings of others you've knocked down in your path. It's an illness that will likely never be healed, because the illness itself makes you blind to the fact that it exists. It poisons you from the inside out, and it poisons me. I can't let it poison my daughter, too. I won't let it poison her.

I have compassion in my heart for you. For the child that you were. For the suffering you've experienced. For the illness that you don't, and maybe can't recognize.

I don't know how exactly I'll do it, but do it I will. I will find away to focus that compassion into forgiveness. When the thoughts sit heavy on my heart, as they do every single day, about how I wish things were different, about how much it hurts, I will try to take a moment to be with them, then let them go. I will go back to working with my therapist (not the aforementioned former therapist from years ago) to process and let go of the anger and pain. For even if I can believe that you know not what you do, it doesn't make it hurt any less to be on the receiving end of such toxic poison. My soul needs a cleanse, and I hope that detoxifying it will allow me to move forward in forgiveness without allowing that which has poisoned me to poison my child.

You'll probably never know that I forgive you, because forgiving you doesn't mean that I'll let you back into my life. But I do. I forgive you. I love you. I feel a strange sense of kinship with you, knowing that you've likely experienced many of the same feelings that I do. I feel hopeful that I am equipped with tools you were not, tools to pry away your grasp on my life. I am the only one who has the power to release your suffocating grip on my soul's throat. I release it. I set it free. I forgive you.

Peacefully,

Joella


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