Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Letting go is a process

Sixteen years after my husband and I divorced, he died suddenly. It was a tragic and difficult time, especially for my three sons. I knew it would be for them. What took me by surprise was my own grief. And also a resurgence of some of the old anger.

I had worked hard following our divorce to understand what happened and to forgive, let go and move on. But after Doug's death, as so often happens, I was reminded that grief work is a long process, not a one-time event (even an ongoing one-time event).

What happened in those months following Doug's death was significant for me. In time I was able to forgive the young wife and mother I was at the time of our divorce for her failure to sustain the marriage. I saw that she had done the best she could given who she was and what she knew at that stage of her life. And I was able to forgive the young husband and father who also did the best he could given who he was at that time. I forgave him for his failure in making our marriage work, too. This was all really quite remarkable to me. It was another large piece in my healing process, one I wasn't even aware I needed. I thought I had moved on quite well, thank you very much.

I'm fully aware of how difficult forgiving and letting go can be—and especially how difficult it can be to forgive ourselves. I am at peace with that part of my life. At least for now. Who knows whether there might be another piece of the grief work yet ahead? If there is, I know I can handle it.

Do you have some grief work, forgiving or letting go that holds you back? If so, I invite you to take a look at it. Move into it and through it. Please contact me if you would like some coaching around the issue.


  1. Forgiveness is such a powerful and freeing act, whether given or received, and I think our hearts open wider when we get accustomed to doing this. As we've discussed so often, Sonia, that scene in "The Mission" when the DeNiro character is helped to finally release his heavy bag of guilt is always moving and an excellent reminder. And why is it so hard to forgive ourselves? Cheryl

  2. Oh, Cheryl, it is so freeing. And we truly are opened up inside when we give or receive forgiveness, aren't we? I really should buy that movie so I could watch the DeNiro character in that scene. I think of it so often. And why, indeed, is forgiving ourselves so, so difficult? But it's most often the last piece to go. Is it because we really don't feel lovable? Beloved? That whole thing about, "...if people really knew what I was like, they wouldn't love me"???

    Anyone else have thoughts on this?