To forgive or not to forgive?

Why is it so hard to forgive?

This troubles me as, until this last year, I have always forgiven easily. Or did I?  I question that because things that I thought I had forgiven have crept back up; this time more difficult to get past.

I’m far from perfect and I make mistakes every day. No one is perfect and I don’t expect that from people in my life. People will disappoint you and let you down. It’s human nature. I feel like I can typically let things go. But what about those things that caused a hurt so deep that you just can’t seem to move past? How do you deal with those things?

“I have always believed that forgiveness is a gift that you can give someone; one that doesn’t cost a thing. But it does cost. It costs dearly I have found.”

I used to forgive people for them. But, I have since found that it is actually more for me. I really can’t stand to hold grudges or have the feeling of unforgiveness in my heart. So, if I can’t do it for them, I should just go ahead and do it for me. I guess I’m just not there yet.

To be continued…

Loving Someone Who Has Lost A Spouse

This blog post was written by (what we call in the widow world) my “chapter 2”. This is his perspective on being with someone who has lost a spouse. I know it can’t be easy as those of us who have loved and lost are traveling a very difficult road; one that most people couldn’t fathom. I so appreciate his patience and understanding.

When I was first asked about writing a blog, I wasn’t sure what to think as it is something that I have never done or even thought about doing. It was suggested that I write to those people, whether it’s a man or woman, who are dating or want to date someone that has lost a spouse.

Since I’m a man, I will cover it from my perspective of falling in love with a beautiful woman who lost her husband in a tragic auto accident. Let me be clear from the beginning, loving a woman that has lost her husband is not easy. Of course, nothing about love ever is! Whether it’s your first love in high school, your college sweetheart, or the woman you marry; love isn’t easy. However, when you mix in the fact that the person they love is no longer here, it becomes extraordinarily tough. Then…

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The Empty Chair

I wrote the following at this time a couple years ago:

Here we are again, another special day without you. I know you would want me to be happy, I will try to push through. I’ll do my best to smile. I’ll try hard not to be sad. I will think of treasured memories, in spite of missing you so bad. No matter what I do though, it still feels so unfair. Because despite my best efforts, I can’t ignore the empty chair.

SANGRY

Yep, that’s right, I’m sangry. As a widow, there are lots of days that can’t be adequately described. So what do we do?? We just make up words! So yeah, I’m in sangry mode. I’m sad. I’m angry.

Sangry started on Sunday awhile back as I was thinking back to what Sundays used to look like… I woke up beside my best friend. The day revolved around God, family, and church. We were together. The four of us.

I got to thinking about what a big part of our lives church was. It was our history, our present, and our future. We had so many plans. I had so many hopes for the future. I could see how it would play out. We would do it together.

Absolutely everything changed on June 19th, 2012 when he was taken from us.

Where does one go from there?? We went from a family of four to a family of three. I went from being a wife to being a single mother. My kids went from having a father to being fatherless. In an instant.

As difficult as it was to walk back through those doors without him, I kept my kids in church every Sunday that I was able. For me, it felt like going to the funeral again. Every Sunday. I was trying to “do the right thing.” I was trying to maintain some sense of normalcy. Trying is the key word. What was “the right thing” was no longer clear. Normalcy no longer existed in our world. After 8 horribly difficult months, I realized that there was no way I would be able to move forward while being there every week. There was too much history there.

I found the Lord there at the age of 18. I was only visiting; watching my (then) boyfriend play the drums. A year later he asked me to marry him there; from the stage, in front of everyone. That same year we were married there. Shortly after, we had two children and we raised them there. After making it through some very difficult times, we renewed our vows there. And then… His funeral was there. 

I tried, I really did, but I just couldn’t be there anymore.  It hurt too much.

I didn’t want to leave but I genuinely felt like I had no choice. I was torturing myself trying to “do the right thing.” It was painful and I felt completely out of place. So, we started going somewhere else. It was still difficult, just not in the same way. Close to a year later I decided it was time to go back. By that time I had felt much further removed than before I left. But now it was more about conquering something. Walking back into something so that I could say that it didn’t get the best of me. And that’s just what I did.

I won’t go into all of the reasons surrounding leaving for good nearly 9 months ago, but I did. I will say that it was extremely hurtful to watch what “should have been” my life, play out in front of me; a different cast while I look on from the outside.  For those of you who don’t know my history, my husband was the Praise & Worship Leader at our church.  When I thought about the future, it entailed him evolving in his ministry while I did the same with mine.  But, we would do it together.

I did some “church hopping” for awhile but never landed anywhere permanently. And now, I rarely go. Don’t worry (to any of you that gasped with **insert reaction/emotion here**) I haven’t gone to the dark side. I’m no more of a sinner than anyone sitting in a pew on Sunday. I’m just a little lost right now. I still love God. I still pray. I’m just trying to find my own way. I’m trying to examine my heart and my hurts and then search for something real.

My post wasn’t meant to be about church. I only intended to use it as an example as it was such a big part of our lives for so many years. The point is that everything changes when you lose someone that was such a huge part of your everyday life. I’m reminded of what I wrote in 2014:

“When you lose someone that was so much a part of you, you lose your identity too. Learning to live again is so difficult. You don’t know your place, where you fit anymore. Everything is different. Nothing will ever be the same.”

Here I am almost 5 1/2 years later and I’m still so lost.  Don’t get me wrong, I have done a lot of work; I have come a long way. But, I realize that there are still so many things I need to work through.  The sadness, most likely, will never go away although I look forward to it lessening.  The anger shouldn’t last if I allow myself to feel and work through it; eventually accepting things as they are.  But for now, I’m sangry and I’m okay with that.

The Struggle is Real

There are things that I hate to admit; mainly because of how I am supposed to think and what I have learned to believe. Those aren’t the things that I would typically write about. But, I realize something… If I only write about the things that would “sit well” with others, I’m not writing with real honesty. I have believed in everything I’ve put out there; I just tend to leave out the things that might make me “look bad.” Thankfully, I’m learning not to care so much about that.

I truly believe that, popular or not, it’s the things that we are afraid to say that are what people really need to hear. We need to say them out loud. We need to talk about them. In turn, others will feel freer to do the same.

Writers should inspire others. Inspiration doesn’t come from “rainbows and sunshine” writing alone. Positivity and self-help is extremely important but, so is talking about real things; what it’s like being in the midst of struggles and all that it entails.

I talk a lot about the beginning of an issue and being on the other side of it. What about the times when you are stuck in the middle of the struggle; when you can’t seem to find your way to the other side?

What’s the good in talking about the victory without mentioning the truth that is the walk through the struggle?

IMG_2922 2I say all of this to say that I want my writing to be real. My life is very real. My struggles are very real. Why hide the parts that could truly help someone? Nothing helps someone more than to be able to relate to someone going through the same thing; someone who truly understands. Good, bad, everything in between… That’s where I go from here.

We jokingly say it all the time but the struggle really is real.

Hurt n’ Church

I read a FB post about how important it is for Christians to be careful how they treat non believers; especially when it comes to correcting wrongdoing. I have to say that it is also as important to be mindful of how we treat other Christians. Just as much damage can be done there! 

I hate to say it but to be perfectly honest, I used to get annoyed when I heard about Christians getting upset and leaving church over something that offended them. That’s not exactly what I’m talking about because offense and hurt aren’t necessarily the same thing, but still… I always thought that they should be less easily offended and more understanding. Not only that but; it’s not God’s fault! But, I have a different heart these days for people who have been hurt by others who call themselves Christians. Because I’m one of them!

I love the Lord with all my heart and no amount of hurt caused by others will change that. That being said, I’m leery to fully commit to a church again. I hate this; especially because I know in my heart that the actions of few don’t speak for the body as a whole. 

Do you have an experience with Christians that has negatively impacted you and how did you get past it?

Kids n’ Grief 

As incredibly difficult as it has been to deal with pain and loss as an adult, I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like for children. Sure, I see the ways they struggle and I’ve been there to witness how the void left by the loss of their Father effects them. But, I still cannot fathom how their young minds and hearts process and deal on a daily basis. 

As their Mother, I am there for them in every way I know how and am able. I can give hugs and wipe away tears but I can’t fix it. What a helpless feeling to have as a Mother! I try to encourage them to be positive, push forward and to look on the bright side. I have to be honest though, sometimes you just have to say, this really really sucks! 

These kids get up and do life, while having to deal with something that no one else sees. They are strong and amazing. But I have to be honest, not only does it completely suck; it pisses me off! 

I don’t bother asking the question why anymore. I’m way past that; but still… It is so far beyond me how two young kids can have to bear so much. 

They didn’t just lose their Dad. They have suffered loss upon loss upon loss. Dad. Home. Relationships. Church. Innocence. I could go on and on. It’s just not fair. No, life is not fair but all of this… I don’t get it. The saddest part is that I feel like they receive more judgment than compassion. 

All I can do is keep moving forward and walk beside them the best I know how. That, and pray that they don’t grow cold from it all.