Always Forgive, Never Forget

Love heart

Love heart (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

I am sorry I haven’t been around for almost a week. I know it must be confusing, especially for my newer readers. Everything had been rolling along nicely, three posts a day, and feeling more productive than ever, and then things came crashing down around me, and my family. As I mentioned in last week’s Friday Nite Poetry, the story is not mine alone to tell, but I feel like it needs to be told, at least in abstract terms that protect the innocent but still convey the important lessons I have learned in the last week.

And boy has it been a rough one. Last Wednesday I learned that someone I love and trusted committed a horrible crime. It does not matter who or what. It  could be a sister, brother, parent, or best friend. They could have exploited a child, robbed from the elderly, or killed in cold blood. That is not the point, though you should know that the severity is in that range. It set the world for all of this person’s loved ones, myself obviously included, on its head. It was so unbelievable that even now, after the guilty party’s acknowledgement of their crime it is still so difficult to fit this into the reality of our world. None of us is in denial though, and I would like to think it is more than the confession (to which I was not privy) but because, and maybe I am being biased, we are all wiser and stronger than that.

Honestly, it is hard to be biased at this point. This person has thrown into doubt all of our judgement. If we could be wrong about them, what else can we be wrong about: each other, ourselves? All of our interactions with them are now painted in a different tone. We can no longer be certain that they were ever the person we thought they were. That realization sneaks its way into our thoughts, making it hard to trust anything, or anyone, though we manage.

It is so easy to be angry at them for that, and everything else they have done. They have victimized innocent people, something that I have dedicated myself to ending. They have exposed their loved ones to the consequences of their actions. They have removed themselves, at least for the duration of the sentence they will serve, and for some of us beyond that, from our lives. They have forced us into a new normal, one we did not want to, but know we have no choice but to accept.

Their actions have made it impossible to ever have the same relationship with them again. They will always be the person who did this terrible thing and it is so difficult to forgive them for this. I do think, though, that I must, for my own mental health more than anything. I cannot make myself not love them, though that love will always be tinged with anger as well. All of us that loved them need to forgive ourselves. We need to forgive our ignorance, casting aside the instinct to blame yourself for not seeing this coming. We need to forgive ourselves for being angry with them, resisting the urge to see love as an either/or proposition. Finally we need to forgive ourselves for the perfectly understandable selfishness we give into in these times. Yes, their victims have it far worse than we, but they twisted our world like so much taffy, and it is OK to be upset about that.

All of this forgiveness does not mean we have to have a relationship with them. I am not sure I can. There is too much hurt there and I have to think about my emotional well-being. I know I am not alone in this.  There are some, though, that want, even now, to continue to have a relationship with them, and that is not wrong either. In the face of all of this horror and confusion, the only wrong decision would be to hurt oneself or others. Through this all, the only thing I think is important to do is not forget. We need to not forget the severity of their crime, but we also need to not forget that this person was once something else to us. We need to admit to ourselves the (really, really) bad without discarding the understandably tainted good. We owe it, not to them, but to ourselves, and to those we still love who are also reeling from this. It is one of the best tools we have for moving on, and remembering there is still good in the world.

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One thought on “Always Forgive, Never Forget

  1. Pingback: What The Hell is “Fair” Anyway? | Hand of Ananke

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