forgiveness after loss

Healing is a journey. At many points in the past decade, I felt like I was healed from the trauma of Jay’s death. Then something comes up that I need to look at again and I realize that healing is not a destination- it’s a journey of learning more and more about myself. When I look back at what has helped, one thing sticks out that changed everything.

My best friend from high school and I still keep in touch. Even though I don’t see her too often, we have a bond that can’t be broken. She is one of the few people that I talk to about deep emotional and spiritual things in my life. About 8 years after Jay passed away we were at lunch. I was feeling pretty good, but there was still a part of my heart that didn’t feel right. As we talked, she asked me, “Do you pray for Jay?” I said, “No. Why would I pray for someone that is dead? He is living with God, so He knows what Jay needs.” She said to think about that a little bit and consider praying for him. Just because he has crossed over to the other side, does not mean he doesn’t need prayers and help. Interesting… I had never entertained this idea before!

I had to consider what I believe once you are dead. Are we still growing and getting better? Yes, I think so. Then prayers would be helpful to anyone who is continuing to become a better version of themselves- even as a spirit.

When I got home I went to my closet, of course! It is the one place in my house where I can’t be bugged by kids, phones, my dog, etc. I used to think my car was a good place, but the kids figured that one out. Here I am again in my closet! I got on my knees and prayed. A heartfelt prayer. I remember talking to God about where I thought Jay was at the time. As you know, Jay took his own life. Over the years since he died, I have considered the beliefs that I was taught when I was younger – if you commit suicide you go to hell because it is murder. I do not believe this is true anymore. I think mental illness has a lot to do with why he died and this was a trait given to him when born. I also know that a lot of people believe different things about this concept and that’s ok. I only can go by what I have studied and felt was right in my life. I believe that Jay is in a loving, learning place in heaven. I guess he could be living in his own “hell” watching us try to live with his choices. I’m not even sure about that – there’s always more to consider and probably won’t ever know for sure. I wanted to tell God out loud that I had forgiven Jay. One thing I have wondered is if Jay is being held back from moving forward in heaven until we forgive him. I’m not sure that’s possible in heaven, but just in case I begged God to let him go forward. Even if these things don’t matter in heaven or aren’t a part of the other side, they mattered to me in my human brain. Forgiveness is for me in the NOW. Telling God that I forgave Jay for anything he did, released ME! I know that in a committed relationship both parties are responsible for a healthy marriage. If there was something that bugged me, I was responsible to work on it and communicate my feelings about it. I was NOT good at this. So I take responsibility for our marriage- the good and the hard stuff. Taking responsibility gave me my power back. Forgiving everyone involved (including myself) empowered me. Doing this took me out of the victim mode, too- which made everything about healing change.

I also found another way to forgive and let go besides prayer. It is with meditation. One meditation I did from the book “Judgment Detox” By Gabrielle Bernstein helped me immensely. During this meditation I visualized a tight rope being tied to me and the person I wanted to forgive. I felt it still had a hold on me. So I pictured a huge rope-like one at a ship dock that held him and me together. She told me to visualize getting a huge pair of scissors and cutting the rope. I did and I set it free- everything that hurt that tied me to that person. Now if my mind goes back to the hurt, I remember I let it go. These people don’t even need to be present in your life- just think about them and forgive and let it go.

Forgiveness is a key element in healing. I didn’t think I needed to forgive any more than I had already done. But taking time to seriously contemplate this changed everything. I felt so much better after. It felt so good that I decided to take the time and effort, lose the ego and forgive anyone that had a part of our story. I asked my kids each separately to forgive me. I’m sure in my chaos I have hurt them and made choices that they didn’t like. This helped my relationship with them, too. Anything that is making my head feel cluttered is a work in progress and one that I need to delve deeply into. Forgiveness is something that can help your body- not just your mind. From what I have studied, it is all connected to your body.

Consider this:


Watch this music video and hear the incredible story of forgiveness:


Watch this movie on Netflix:

I can only imagine movie


Read this book:

Judgment Detox Gabrielle Berstein


Think through your beliefs. Process each item that is hurting your heart. You can’t just go over the grief, go through it and start to heal your precious heart. The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. ~ Mahatma Gandhi. BE STRONG!

the weak can never forgive. forgiveness is the attribute of the strong Gandhi