The day my mother passed was the day I began to mourn not just her but also the people that began to wither out of my life. After her passing, I had no idea that I would lose so many close friends and family members in addition to the monumental loss of my mom. The only difference was those friends and family members were still alive physically, but their presence from my life vanished. I would often hear eulogizers remind others at the funeral to check in on the family from time to time because the mourning and grief extend far beyond that particular day. And before my personal loss, I can admit I was guilty of not calling and checking in on grieving families also, but after burying my mom, the phone stopped ringing, the texts weren’t as frequent, and the visits ended altogether.
The people I expected to be there the most during that difficult time in my life weren’t there. I was confused, hurt, and broken. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t hearing from them. Why did they stop making sure I was okay? The hurt and confusion turned into anger and, at one point, even rage. I told myself I was just going to cut those people out of my life for good. The anger lasted longer than I wanted it to; I couldn’t let go of how I felt. Even my therapist couldn’t convince me to forgive them and let it go. It wasn’t until almost a full year after my mother’s passing that I came to this hard revelation: not forgiving these people was blocking me from going any further in my healing process.
The Holy Spirit met me when I was learning how to forgive telling me to be grateful for the people that never left my side and the new people that came into my life and pay much less attention to the hurt caused by people I expected to be there. The people that were calling, checking on, and praying for me were God sent and I realized how much his hand was on my life when I focused less on who wasn’t there and more on who was. After lifting the weight of unforgiveness, God revealed to me that those people that removed themselves from my life were unable to help me grow any longer. There are certain seasons in your life that God may have to send people that are equipped to help bring your greatness, confidence, and strength to fruition. God had to disseminate the past relationships so the new relationships could bloom and grow.
Throughout my healing process, I learned some tips along the way that helped me understand why certain individuals withered out of my life and gave me the strength to forgive them and move on from the hurt.
- Relationships Change: With grief, it is very common for your relationships to change. Unfortunately, some family and friends you previously thought you could depend on may fade out of your life. The truth of the matter is people who have never experienced grief or loss may not be able to relate to your pain, so it is difficult for them to know how to be there for you.
- New Relationships: The upside of grief is if someone has been through grief or loss, they may be able to speak directly to what you may be feeling causing those relationships to awaken, bloom, and deepen. They are able to relate to how you feel and think, so embrace those relationships with gratitude.
- Forgive: I often try to reference Luke 23:34, Jesus said: “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.” This scripture made me realize I really had to forgive because the people that I felt hurt by probably really didn’t know how to be there and they may have not known what to do. Harboring unforgiveness hinders your healing progress. Forgiveness is another layer to healing from grief; honestly, it may be one of the hardest layers you have to peel through to get to the core of your healing.
- Love & Move on: Once you have forgiven, learn to move on from the hurt that was once there. If I could be honest, I convinced myself I had moved on and forgiven those who I felt hurt me by not being there. The truth is I really didn’t move on because when there were family functions, I didn’t want to attend or answer my phone. I convinced myself I had forgiven and I just rather not be around certain people, but not talking to and/or isolating myself from them doesn’t equal forgiveness. Your relationship with them will probably never be the same again, however your love for them should never die. Love them and move on.
I pray these tips will help you not only forgive, but also look around and be thankful for those who never left, continued to call and just be there for you during the toughest time in your life. If any new relationships have blossomed in your life, I hope you realize God sent them for a reason. They are planting seeds in your life to help you heal, grow and maybe even uncover your purpose in life.
We often hear the phrase “life is short” and we sometimes never fully grasp how short it is until the people we love the most are no longer here with us. I know some of you might feel hurt and saddened by the people that we once thought would be the people we could depend on during our difficult moments in life but if I could leave you with one last thing, I would tell you difficult moments like these won’t kill you. They only help you to discover the strength that you never knew you had. Trust the process, but most importantly trust God.
I love you,
Ashley ( Healing Daughters)