Sometimes it’s okay not to forgive

As I travel from the U.S. to Ireland to scatter my husband’s ashes, all I can think about is that this incredible man is finally at rest.

He struggled to maintain a relationship with his children after his divorce from their mother, and when the grandchildren started coming along, he fully expected to be a part of their lives.  Unfortunately that wasn’t to be.

But he put all of that aside and lived his life to the fullest.  His motto in life was:  It is what it is.  So when he was no longer permitted to see his beloved granddaughter — a granddaughter who had been a part of his life for several years — he took it in stride and went on with his life.  He enjoyed his family and friends.  He enjoyed his hobbies.  He enjoyed life.

When he learned he had a life-ending disease, he made no effort to contact his daughter — the one who had ripped his grandchildren out of his life.  He had his reasons for that decision.  And, in the end, it was his decision — and his alone.  No one else had the right to make that decision for him.

And he was certainly entitled to make that decision as his life was ending.

He often said he could never forgive his daughter.  And you know what?  That is okay.  Why should he forgive someone who wasn’t sorry for the pain she caused?  When he learned he was dying, it was okay for him to — at long last — think about himself.  Throughout the 35 years he and I were together, he always put me and our family first.  And it was wonderful to see him — finally — thinking about himself for a change.  It was nice to see him in a better place, at peace with his decisions, rather than attempting to forgive some who wasn’t sorry for their behavior, and someone who continuously let him down.

Here’s a quote I found about forgiveness:

“Many people fail to realize that we all have our own ways of healing after being hurt or betrayed. While some people feel the need to forgive and let things go, others struggle to do so.  Those who do struggle shouldn’t be made to feel bad or inadequate. Does being unable to forgive someone make you a bad person? Of course not. Does it make you weak? Certainly not.”

My husband had his own way of dealing with the hurt that his own daughter brought on him.  He wasn’t a bad person because he couldn’t forgive her.  And he certainly wasn’t a weak person.  He was the strongest man I’ve ever known.

At the end of your life, it’s you who have to live with your feelings.  And my husband — wise man that he was — realized that.

And, at the end of his life, it was okay that he put himself first and remove the toxic people from his life.


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