I forgive you. . . three powerful little words, but how do you find the courage to say them, let alone mean them, when you are dealing with a situation as huge as the death of your child?!
In the ten years since my son, Garrett, was accidentally shot and killed while hunting, I have met hundreds of other bereaved parents and every one of them has struggled on some level with the concept of forgiveness, no matter how their child died.
Whether those parents had to forgive:
someone who was directly involved in their child’s death
the workers at the tire shop who completed the last wheel alignment on their child’s vehicle
the healthcare professionals involved in their child’s treatments.
or whether they needed to forgive themselves for something they felt should have been done differently.
It is human nature for us to want to seek out answers or to find someone else to blame. After our children die we feel so helpless and we feel that our situation is out of our control, so expressing anger and blame feels like we are all of a sudden in control of something.
Forgiveness is something that you can control too.
Forgiveness does not mean that we are okay with our situation; nor it does not mean that we are okay with those people who were involved.
What it does mean is that we are choosing to let go of some of the anger, some of the blame and bitterness, so that we can move forward and begin to heal. Until we are able to let that go there will be no healing.
Forgiveness isn’t necessarily about the other parties involved. Forgiveness is a gift that you can give yourself. The letting go of those negative emotions can be a huge weight off your shoulders and your mind.
Let’s face it, there is no amount of rage or hatred that can bring your child back. But living with the rage and hatred can lead to a large number of mental and physical health problems and deep down you know that that’s true.
You also know that no amount of punishment for the parties involved will really give you that much peace of mind.
Sometimes it’s easier to be angry and blame than it is to accept and forgive. But the best thing you can do for yourself is to find a way to release those negative emotions.