THREE GUILTY FEELINGS WHEN TRYING TO BECOME INDEPENDENT
There are several memories that flash through my head when I remember moments that I disappointed my family. I don’t know why I hold onto them so tightly. Are these the things that keep us wound up?
It’s harder to forgive myself than it is to forgive others.
- My grandmother
- My father
- My son
My grandmother was dying. I didn’t know it, but she was. Her last few months of life were spent at my parents’ house. She stayed in my room. I came home from camp early after being gone a week. Oh, did I mention she was bedridden? She could only transfer herself from bed to portable toilet, which sat beside her bed.
She anxiously waited for me to share my news of the first time I was away from my family, my tales of independence. Instead? I said hello and went into the living room. There was no one else home but us. I left her in there. I don’t know why.
The guilt of what I did to my father? My husband and I came over to play cards with my parents one evening. He was drunk. Not completely toasted, about half-gassed. Enough to make his words slurred and turn face was red. He went to sleep. So we ordered burgers and shakes and played other card games without him.
A few hours later he came out of his bedroom, clean-shaven, showered, and sober. I told him I didn’t want to play cards with him. He turned around and went back in his bedroom.
My son? I run a business. I answer to others. But one afternoon I promised that he and I would have a play date. It would be just him and I. I was late. His little voice called on the phone: “Mommy, are you still coming?”
I did, but I was late.
These things, they’ve been forgiven. I know they have. I vow not to repeat the same pattern and stay present, listening to what others need. But just as important, I vow to listen to myself. Forgive myself. I am not perfect. I am a work in progress.
What are your memories of guilt? Have you forgiven yourself?
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