SELF LOVE PROJECT | DAY TWELVE| FORGIVENESS
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. -Martin Luther King, Jr.
Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness. – Marianne Williamson
Oh my this is a tough one to talk about. I know the tears are going to start flowing because this subject is one that I push down to the depths of my soul and only pull it out in moments of weakness when I feel like I can’t let go of a grudge or forgive someone who has hurt me deeply. I have to remind myself that I can’t be set free until I do. Let me start off by saying I am not perfect. I chose to harbor hatred, jealousy and envy in my heart against a man that means more to me than any man on this earth. And to this day I still regret that decision I made as a teenager. And wish I could turn back the hands of time and do it a different way. In order to tell this story I will have to reveal some really personal parts in my life and talk about all those that were involved. I apologize. Know that I love you. And this is my story that I have to tell. Even I have never told you in such a way that I will reveal today and how I experienced it in the eyes of a child.
I was probably about 6 or 7 years old. I was a spoiled little brat. And remember my mom and I were out shopping all day, probably for that outfit I needed and a matching pair of shoes to go with it for a special project at school or something silly. I needed an outfit for EVERY occasion. And there was always an occasion. Ask my mom. Well this day was different when we came home. I will NEVER forget it. It may not have happened exactly like this but its what I remember vaguely at that age. We walked into the house like normal. I ran to my room to try on all my clothes and do my fashion runway show like I always did after shopping. My mom was the only judge. And she always gave me a 10. I walked into her room and saw her as pale as could be with a note in her hand. Tears streaming down her face in disbelief. I didn’t know what happened. The closet door was open and some dresser drawers as if she was in a mad frenzy double checking to make sure this was all just a nightmare. But it wasn’t. My dad was gone. And little did he know that he dragged our hearts out the door with him as well that day. Twenty years of marriage gone in the blink of an eye. I remember watching her world crumble as the days went by. She hid it from me very well. Always waiting until I wasn’t around, to break down. Some nights I would hear her crying herself to sleep as I laid with my ear pressed up against my wall to make sure she was ok. And I silently cried with her. My mom is the strongest woman that I know!!! She really is. You’ll learn all about that in the days to come. Life never got easier for us. I wish I could say it did. She gave us the best life she could and there were times it was amazing but the divorce really tore my family apart. It affected my brother Jerry the most. And his story will be told at a later day. When I was younger I spent the weekends with my dad and enjoyed being around my dads other family. I didn’t know any different. I loved them. My whole life I grew up with them. We hung out with them every weekend for as long as I could remember. Two families merged into one. Going on family vacations and camping trips together. It was my mom’s best friend. I was too young to understand why this was a problem. I didn’t understand why my older brothers hated the situation or why my mom stopped talking to her. When I was 13 or 14, that all changed. I became curious. I started asking my mom questions. Just like my daughter now asks about my relationship with her father and why we aren’t together anymore. And my mom isn’t one to hate anyone. Or to talk ill of anyone. So she just answered my questions as honest as she could, without upsetting me too much. By the end of our conversation. I was so pissed. I think I even used the word BITCH (sorry Noni!!!). And even though my mom told me to watch my mouth, she smiled a little at that. I told my mom I didn’t want to go over there anymore. And I refused to go to his wedding. I was just so angry. Angry that his new family got a better life than we did. Angry that I was stuck in the ghetto, with my brothers who chose to do drugs and get into gangs. I dreamt of a different life. A life where my dad would have stayed. Would my brother Jerry and Michael still be alive? Would I have gotten pregnant at such a young age? Would my brother Sammy have went a different route and stayed out of prison? I blamed my dad for all of this (I know now none of this was ever his fault). I never had the guts to tell him how I felt until he was on his death bed. I was probably around 19 or 20 when I finally decided to forgive my dad. I was older and wiser. I had just gone through a horrible break up with my son’s dad. I was exhausted from blaming and pointing the finger. I was emotionally drained holding such a strong grudge against this wonderful man. Because he was such a wonderful man. I know this post does not make him out to be. But he was. (Please remember this is just a snippet of my life.) I realized at that age that love can make you do crazy things!!! You can’t help but fall in love with people. It’s not a choice. It just happens. And when you do, you will move mountains to be with them. I don’t blame them for what happened anymore. I know we are all in charge of our own choices and decisions in life. And we can’t blame others for the road we choose to go down. We can only blame ourselves. I was lucky enough to spend 5 more amazing years with my dad, before he passed away. Patching up our relationship and getting things back to normal. Taking my kids to see him. He loved my kids so much. We have so many fond memories of him. He was everyones favorite uncle, favorite brother, favorite friend. He was my everything. And I wasted so many years without him there every step of the way. He was diagnosed with Cancer in 2003. And it took him really quick. He lived for 8 months after we found out. I remember the day he went in for surgery to remove a piece of his stomach to get rid of the cancer and them coming out saying… they didn’t go through with the surgery. It had spread to his liver, his lungs, his kidney. And there was nothing they could do to stop it. They said he had about 3 months to live. We all sat there devastated. How can this be? I don’t want this to happen. I need my dad in my life, in my children’s life. He has to watch them grow up!!! He has to help me be strong. I can’t do this on my own. I remember him coming to stay with me for a few days when I first moved into my new house. I was a single mom yet again and scared to death to be on my own. I was 25 or 26. And my daddy was there to protect me. It felt so good. He was placed into hospice the last week of his life. He wanted laughter and stories. He didn’t allow any crying while we were there with him in the room. He wanted Mariache’s and a celebration. My daddy was full of life. Even up until the day he died. He was charismatic, outgoing, a people person. He constantly helped those in need, he had the best smile, the best laugh. He told amazing jokes. He was giving. Loving. And was always there to help me even when I was so mean to him. He loved my mom. I know he did. He loved us all so much. He knows he has been forgiven. I had a long talk with him before his passing. I told him I was so sorry. So so very sorry for acting the way I did. His memory still lives on strong in my household. We talk about him often. Life is just too short to hold any grudges against those you love. I am very much a part of my stepmom and stepbrother/sister’s lives and I adore them to pieces. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Please, please find the peace in your heart to forgive. Once you do, you will fill your heart with love instead. And love is so much more powerful than regret, loss and emptiness.
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. -Lewis B. Smedes