A few months ago, I wrote a post on The things we keep, the things we sent, the things I let go. I deleted a whole section at the end that I wasn’t ready to share.
Forgiveness is the theme for this month’s 1000 Voices for compassion project, so I’ve decided to post it.
Before Zoe’s cancer relapsed I was still carrying the hurt, resentment and anger of a failed marriage with me, though I tried not to let Zoe see it. It had been further complicated by some things that happened after we split up.
Zoe’s Dad was living in a different city when she relapsed and she had recently had her first flight by herself down to see him. When I messaged him that she had been admitted to hospital and what her haemoglobin count was, he booked the next flight north. I didn’t really want him to, simply because it meant I had to face what I didn’t want to know, how serious this was, not just a routine virus as previously diagnosed.
When we learned Zoe’s cancer had returned and was terminal, he took leave from his job and moved into my house so that we could both spend all of our time with Zoe for the short time she had left. Our divorce had come through officially only days previously.
To get through it, I had to let all of my hurt, anger and resentment go. It wasn’t even a conscious decision, it just fell away as we shared the part of a parenting journey no-one wants to take. With all of the grief, I just didn’t have room in my heart any more for anything other than our shared love for Zoe.
I wish I had been capable of this earlier, but I’ve learned to accept we can’t change the past and that like grieving a child, grieving the shattered dreams of a broken relationship takes time too. I forgive myself for that, but today, as I sit here needing to forgive a couple of people and need a little forgiveness from them myself, I try to remember the lesson of how forgiveness made room in my heart for more love, for more compassion.
[Edit: after Zoe’s dad visited the other day, I took the perfect photo for this post]