The Importance of Forgiveness

7:30 AM


In August of 2008 my ex-husband passed away. He was in a car accident without a seat belt and under the influence of drugs. He had always told me he wouldn't live to be 30 and he was exactly 30 when he died. The news of his accident and then his eventual death hit me a lot harder than I thought and it was for many reasons. It would be years later before I realized while it still haunts me to this day.

My ex-husband was a drug addict. He cheated on me, emotionally and sometimes physically abused me, but it took a long long time for me to walk away. When I did, I had no contact with him for years. I refused to, because I knew it would be so simple for him to draw me back in if I did.

After years of not talking, I noticed him on Myspace one day (this was four years ago, cut me a break.) I messaged him to sarcastically suggest that he start paying child support and to my surprise, he agreed. I remained cold in my correspondence with him as a way to defend myself, since he once again claimed to be "changed" and "clean." Apparently he had been clean for over a year, but this wasn't the first time and I didn't want to be hurt again.

So, I held onto my anger and my grudge. I had good reason for these feelings, but in the end I am burdened with them forever now. In March of 2008 he began paying small payments. By June or so, the payments stopped and I knew what was up. He had started drugs again. The day of his accident, I wrote him a not so pleasant email that I still regret. I unleashed years of hurt and pain in that email and told him I would take him to court. That night I got the phone call of his accident. To this day, part of me wonders if it was my fault. I know it wasn't, but I feel awful that that email was sent the same morning of the accident and I pray he never saw it.

The point is, I never got to say goodbye. I never got to say that I forgave him or to clean the slate. If you have an ex, you may say you wouldn't care. That they deserved the harsh words and it wouldn't bother you. I can promise you it would. Forgiveness is important. Not for the person who hurt you, but for your own well being. I understand now, that holding onto hate and a grudge only hurts the person doing the hating. Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. So the next time you are brooding, remember life is short and just let it go.

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21 comments

  1. Hugs, Kathleen, and no that was not your fault in any way, shape or form. But it was unfortunate timing. What you said about forgiveness is so true. I held onto anger for my brother over a business deal for about 5 years. When I finally forgave, I had instant peace. I'll never forget or trust again, but the forgiveness was the release.

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  2. If he hadn't died, you wouldn't feel this way. You didn't do anything wrong, and when people hurt us it's not a good thing to keep it bottled up inside and just suffer and take it. He made his choices as an adult, and you didn't do anything wrong.

    Don't punish yourself for his choices anymore, and that he died is sad, but you can't forgive someone who isn't sorry. You can let go and forgive their weaknesses in your heart (and it sounds like you did) but until he changed, telling him it's all ok would only have made him worse because he continues to get away with bad behavior and doesn't need to change, everyone just forgives it.

    Kathleen, you didn't do anything wrong, and where ever he is now, he knows how you feel. And you are a good mom, that is what really matters in the end (and to protect yourself and your boys? You did the right thing!)

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  3. I'm sorry that happened to you. I have an ex who is an alcoholic and was less than kind to me (although we weren't married) that I walked away from while I was pregnant with our child. Although we have no contact and he has no parental rights, I want to keep track of him so he is on my facebook. I have nearly made snarky remarks to his status updates many times. Thank you for reminding me to be kind.

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  4. Thank-you Penelope. I definitely know I made the right decision by divorcing him and not allowing him back into the children's lives until he had proven he was clean. However, I would have greater peace of mind now if I had at least been more civil and let him know that despite what he had done I forgive him. If I had done that, it would not have meant I would have to let him back in my life, but just that I was letting go of that anger and pain.

    It doesn't have to mean you accept what someone has done, it is just a conscious choice to forgive them and move on without it continuing to fester and destroy your life.

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  5. It took my a long time to forgive my stepsons mother. Once I did, I could start feeling better.

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  6. I don't know why forgiveness is so hard, but it is.

    I'm so sorry, Kathleen.

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  7. You were in no way at fault. But your story does prove as an example to do just as you say, "forgive." Because forgiveness is truly for the forgiver. It's a way of letting go. And just because we forgive, doesn't mean we are saying what someone did/does is/was okay, or right. *hugs*

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  8. This is a powerful post. I agree with forgiveness when it is something that you as the forgiver are ready and need to do. I don't know that "everything" is forgivable. I'm so sorry that you had to deal with this in your life and you are a wonderful person for feeling the way you do. It sounds like you have forgiven him and it is never too late.

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  9. Life is too short to not forgive those who have hurt us. It can be so hard to, especially when one feels like their pride is at stake. However, it feels so liberating once you do.

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  10. You had a moment of weakness that was ill timed, yes, but still human. It's taught you a lesson to let go and so you should embrace this experience. I'm sorry you have been so hurt by him. <3

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  11. I see where you are coming from but you can't be so hard on yourself. .. Many people say things they shouldn't but that is because of how they feel. What you were feeling were true emotions at that time. As time passes you will feel better about the whole situation..

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  12. Forgiveness is not easy, but so freeing.

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  13. I'm sorry for your loss. Forgiveness is hard and it's something I struggle with. After years of my dad being absent I'm working on being nicer to him and forgiving him but it's hard. However, I try and I'll keep trying.

    Know that you didn't do anything wrong and I pray that you are able to forgive yourself.

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  14. What a story, forgiveness is such an important part of life! I have had some unfortunate events that I had to forgive because I knew what it may do to me mentally if I did not and it was for the best. You are a beautiful woman and deserve all the happiness you can have!

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  15. That's a hard thing to live with. Thanks for sharing, I know that had to be hard. It's an important thing to remember. Life is short, and holding onto anger isn't worth it.

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  16. It's important to learn how to let go of things as there is no point in being hunted by the daemons long past.

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  17. Thank you for this. I wonder why we refuse forgiveness and it's power over us. It's like if we let this go then we won't have it anymore. That is scary but necessary in order to move on.

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  18. I can't imagine what you have gone through. I hope you can find forgiveness toward yourself in knowing you didn't do anything wrong. You can't control other people's actions. What a beautifully honest post. ((Hugs))

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  19. {{HUGS}} What a powerful post! I have learned that you forgive for YOU, not for the other person. It releases negativity and pain yet it's one of the hardest things to do.

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  20. Bad things come bad things go live on for the good things to come.

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