The path to forgiveness after cyberloss


Hi, friends.

Forgiving seems to be a recurring theme here, perhaps because it can be such a long journey. Thankfully, I feel more like I’m getting there now. I don’t usually bring politics or current affairs into this blog, but just recently, I’ve been greatly moved by the plight of Tony Nicklinson  who fought a legal battle to have the right to end an intolerable life with the help of a medical professional.

Unfortunately, his wish was not granted, and he slipped away yesterday after refusing food for a week, ultimately losing his life to pneumonia. Whatever your perspective on this particular issue, human suffering is surely on the fringes of what we would consider tolerable.

From reading about Mr. Nicklinson and reading what his family posted on Twitter in the wake of his death…a final tweet read ‘Goodbye world, the time has come. I’ve had some fun’ I have come to the realisation that there is only one issue with forgiving. I shouldn’t be constantly thinking ‘I need to forgive Kim’ and following that with ‘why?’. Forgiving her is simply the right thing to do. Surely loving somebody means respecting their choices.

I think this might be a bit more of a ramble than a blog post, but I’d appreciate your comments on what it means to forgive. Do we have to respect other people’s choices in order to forgive them? Or is it possible to forgive somebody in spite of their choices? (I’m also working on coming to terms with the idea that there was no choice, but I have a long way to go with that.)

Wishing you peace and strength on your journeys,

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About Casey Bottono

I am in love with language. I write poetry and fiction in a wide variety of genres. Most recently, I have been shortlisted as a finalist in the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities' Pen2Paper contest.
This entry was posted in Grief Loss and Bereavement and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to The path to forgiveness after cyberloss

  1. We tend to think of “true forgiveness” as making an end to bad feelings, and causing us to forget the pain of a lost one’s choices– I think that’s a lie, though. We can forgive truly on one level, and still have touches of resentment, anger, frustration– because for some us, forgiveness isn’t so much a process, as it is a single strand in a complex cable, that grief and powerlessness has woven into our experience with a certain person.

    The loss of my oldest sister, for example, left me with quite a bit of anger that she refused diagnosis, and then treatment, till her worst nightmare scenario came true. I do believe her choice was her right– but that doesn’t stop me hating that choice, all the choices she made regarding her cancer. She is not The Unforgiven, but she’s not off the hook either. Because her pains led to mine, and my family’s pains, too. We’re all stuck in the hole she dug.

    That’s love, right? And that’s where her loss doesn’t get better with time– the hole of her loss grows with every grandchild she doesn’t meet and every glass of wine she isn’t around to share. Letting go of the righteousness of anger, doesn’t necessarily make it let go of you.

    • Casey B says:

      ‘We’re all stuck in the hole she dug’ – that’s the best way of putting it I’ve ever heard. Although the situation to which I’m referring (I hesitate to own it, because it’s not my experience) didn’t directly involve me, it’s left its mark. ‘Letting go of the righteousness of anger doesn’t necessarily make it let go of you.’ – I know that, but I’m hoping at least admitting that I can let it go might expedite the process. 🙂

      Take care,

      Casey

  2. t says:

    For me forgiveness simply means you realize that the person who wronged you is no worse or better than you, and like you, they are capable of making poor choices. Forgiveness also means that you hope they will treat you the same when the poor choice made is yours.

    • Casey B says:

      Thanks for sharing, T. That’s a beautiful insight…’no worse or better than you’. That embodies the struggle to make peace with others’ ‘decisions’ in my view.

      Take care,

      Casey

  3. Galen Pearl says:

    We all agree that forgiveness is so important, but it’s so hard to practice. As the saying goes, “Forgiveness is like setting a prisoner free and realizing that the prisoner was you.” Great post.

    • Casey B says:

      Thanks, Galen. That sums up how I’ve been feeling lately- I realised when I returned to faith that I’d made a dreadful decision in abandoning it. I’d decided (!) that there was no God, and in so doing, made myself very unhappy. Of course, I couldn’t see that at the time…but thankfully it’s all too clear now.

      Take care,

      Casey

  4. InJensMind says:

    Forgiveness is sort of a tricky thing. You need to forgive so you can set free of the pain you are holding on to. You need to forgive so that you can move forward and stop placing blame. You want to forgive because it is the right thing to do. But, even when you decide to do it, thoughts, feelings, emotions will creep up and hit you out of the blue. Those moments reignite the pain, blame, unanswered questions, and accountability that you once had for that person. Even when someone apologizes directly to you and you now feel you can forgive them, you still can end up back at square one. I’ve lived this most of my life. There is no real way to forgive and forget and if you don’t forget are you truly forgiving? I believe the answer is no. The brain and heart are tricky organs; they don’t know how to fully let something go. When it comes to forgiving I try to forgive everyone as soon as I can and I try to keep it that way, it never stays that way. But, I’ve learned how to reflect and turn those negative and painful memories into something more positive once I feel I am slipping back into the anger/blame game. You can only do what you feel is right for you, if you cannot forgive than don’t. And if you can, even better. It all comes down to taking each moment at a time and dealing with them as they come. Hope you have a great weekend.

    • Casey B says:

      Thanks, Jenni.

      There’s truth in every single word you’ve written here…and truth is what I seek in my healing. I think the ‘forgetting’ part of ‘forgive and forget’ takes a lot more doing than forgiving eventually. I’m still working on every inch of that equation. My hope is that I’ll eventually be able to bear losing Kim with the same equilibrium I have over Chris’ transition…but the love I had/have for both of them is different. With Chris, there was nothing to forgive…with Kim, everything has to be forgiven. It’s a long way to letting go.

      Take care,

      Casey

  5. I heard about Tony only yesterday and it was sad to see how much he suffered, yet I’m not sure euthanasia is the way out. However, that’s a whole other subject of discussion. Forgiveness is something that I struggled with too a lot in recent years. It was only when I realized I couldn’t do it on my own that I prayed for strength and forgiveness and healing came in a variety of ways but mostly in my dreams. I kept dreaming of the people I had to forgive and I’d wake up and pray for them – perhaps that was one way of being healed. It’s a life-long process no doubt but I know I’m further down the road than when I started.

  6. MamiSili says:

    Forgiveness is complicated but understand, that forgiveness is for you. Oprah puts it beautifully and I’m about to butcher that quote but its something like: forgiveness is accepting that the past couldn’t have happened any other way.

    Forgiving allows you to move forward and doesn’t put the power in the other person’s hands. Most times we are holding on to something while that person is living their life.

    I hope that helps. I’m typing this without the aid of coffee to clear the cobwebs.

    Love and light…

    • Casey B says:

      Wow.

      Thank you so much for those wonderful words. ‘Forgiveness is accepting that the past couldn’t have happened any other way.’..I’m almost there with regard to Chris, but with Kim it’s taking me much longer. Never mind the absence of coffee, your words ring with a special truth even without.

      Love, light and blessings to you, my friend. Take care.

      Casey

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