I’ve been surprised by grief. There are so many things about grief and loss that I had no idea about until it happened to me. I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since being widowed is how my heart has grown and forgiveness, over time, has come naturally.
Many act out after loss. Grief has a funny way to making people act wonky. Families can turn on each other over the slightest thing and life-long friendships can end over silly misunderstandings. Grief has a way of bringing out the best and worst in people.
After my husband died suddenly I did what I thought was the right thing to do and planned what I thought was a very thoughtful funeral and then a memorial service a few months later in his hometown. I went out of my way to make every detail perfect and exactly what Glenn would have wanted.
However in my best of intentions I upset some people. This really jarred me at the time. I remember being shaken to my core over this. My immediate response was hurt and then it turned to anger. How could anyone misinterpret my sincerity? Wasn’t I the widow? Wasn’t I the one who lost the most?
When Glenn died suddenly I immediately made a decision that I would not act out in any way and instead put any negative energy into healing. You see Glenn was such a kind hearted and loving man that I wanted to do whatever I could to honor him and by not acting out was my first step in doing so. This didn’t stop hurt from hitting me, though.
When this bad behavior came out towards me I did not fight back, I retreated, instead. Over time this anger from others went away and sadly, taking some friendships with it. As painful as it was I had to let them go.
During this time I was in deep study about grief and found that unwarranted anger can be a part of it all. I also discovered that in understanding this helped me to forgive. I also learned that forgiveness comes in many forms and doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to associate with someone who hurts us. Instead, forgiveness is an inside job where we make a decision to let the anger go and by doing so we can begin to heal.
When we carry anger around we are only hurting ourselves. The majority of the time the person who did the hurting to us has long forgotten and moved on. So, when we will relive these moments over and over we are only digging the groove deeper which can lead to long-term resentment, which can lead to health problems and so much more.
Nothing good has ever come out of holding on to anger from the past. And A LOT of good comes out of letting anger go – its freeing, actually. When we forgive, we forgive ourselves, we give yourself permission to allow love to enter our hearts.
I realize this isn’t always easy to do. When we are hurt by others its heartbreaking and when you add grief and loss to the mix its accelerated.
I promise you if you can allow anger and resentment to just pass by without grabbing a hold of it, grace will step in, in its place and help you on your path to healing. Forgiveness is a big part of this healing.