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This is a repost from 2009, which was two years after I started this blog. I don't think any of you who currently read my blog have ever read this post. If you have, think of this as a continuation of things I've learned from this experience.

The reason I'm sharing this post again is because I've been thinking a lot about my father who passed away in 1993. I can feel him around me. In fact, I have felt him around me for the past nine months. And when I say, "feel him," I mean that I can feel his presence in my heart.  

The story you are about to read concerns healing.

And what I've learned about healing is that it doesn't have a beginning, a middle, and an end.  

Healing is a continuous journey that very often resurfaces at certain stages of someone's life, when a particular experience and the feelings associated with that experience need to be brought closer and revisited.   

In a way, I don't think anyone fully heals from an experience, but rather they keep moving forward; learning from it. And that is why it's called healing.

At least that's how I see it.

After you read the original post, I will be sharing more about what I'm still learning from that experience. 

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Coming Full Circle
-2009-

Most of you already know that my present mother is actually my stepmother, and that my biological mother passed away when I was 6 years old. But what you don’t know are the specifics concerning her illness and death.

As you read this story, I ask that you do not feel sorry for me because this experience has been a powerful teacher. In fact, I ask that you feel acceptance because I believe that everything happens for a reason. There are times when we all make choices that may not be for the best, yet every choice is something we learn from.  

Even when choices are made for us.

A year after I was born, my mother was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease and lived with this illness for five years. And at the young age of 40 she passed away, leaving behind a husband and three small children.

It was not until the last year of her life did my mother even know what was happening to her. You see, back in the 1950's it was believed “best” not to share the prognosis of terminal cancer with a patient. And out of genuine care and concern, my father made the choice not to share this with his children.

But by the time I was 6-years old, I knew something was up. 

Coming from an Italian family and knowing how dramatic and emotional Italian funerals could be, my father also made the choice not to allow his children to attend the funeral.

So a few days before my mothers death, my siblings and I were taken to stay with a relative. And after the two day funeral was over, the three of us were brought back to our home and then told what had happened.

I can honestly tell you that I have no recollection of feeling anything at the time. A part of me sensed what had been going on with my mother. But not to have had the chance to say goodbye, froze my ability to feel or express any emotion.

Yes, I know what most of you are thinking…

“Ron, how did you feel about your father making these choices for you?”

Throughout his life, we openly talked about it. He felt tremendously guilty and would every so often ask me if I forgave him. And of course I did, because even though his choices were not the wisest, I told him that I knew his intention came from a sincere love and desire to protect me. You see, my father was a good man with a good heart. He didn't make those choices to be nasty or mean, he made them because of his own fear of facing anything that was uncomfortable. Therefore, how could I not forgive him? I loved him. Not forgiving him or even being angry with him never even crossed my mind.  

However, as I got into my mid-30’s, I began to investigate and use various alternative healing therapies because I knew that I needed some kind of closure. And in doing so, it enabled me to finally discover that as an overly-sensitive child, I had unconsciously taken on the pain of my mothers death for my entire family (including my mother), yet had neglected my own. And it was during a session with my therapist, I had a very intense breakthrough in which I began the process of letting go of my own pain that I had been carrying around with me since I was a child. 

About six months before my father died, my stepmother called to tell me that he was terminally ill but avoided sharing it with me because he didn’t want to cause any pain.

So I wrote him a letter, telling him that I knew he was terminally ill and that he needed to allow me to be a part of it. I also told him that even though I forgave him, I would not allow him to make the same choices he had made involving my mothers death.

Which was to deny me closure as a means to avoid unavoidable pain.

My stepmother told me that when he read my letter, he sat down on the edge of his bed and sobbed because he was relieved that I had confronted him.

And oddly enough, it was through the process of allowing me to walk with him through his own death, did he allow me to also walk through my mothers death.

The choices had come full circle…

and we both began to heal our pain.

------------------------------------------

Last spring, during the pandemic lockdown, I had a lot of time to go within and reflect on my life. I used that time to bring several things closer and see if there was anything else I needed to learn from them.

I discovered that I did. 

And particularly when it came to issues of the heart and trusting. Even at my age, I still carry remnants of abandonment and fear of loving someone and having them disappear without ever knowing why. And for many years that is exactly the type of relationships I attracted. Men who would suddenly vanish from my life. Isn't it something that however painful it is, we tend to recreate the same scenario because it's familiar to us. 

It was at this point that I began to feel the presence of my father when I was in quiet mediation and holding my hands gently over my heart.

Not only could feel my heart open and soften, but I could also feel an inner dialogue form between my father and I. 

I asked him to help me let go of my fear of abandonment. 

I asked him to give me courage to leave myself open to a healthy relationship.

I asked him to give me the strength to trust again.

You see, it's never too late to alter your perception of what was once a painful experience. 

I truly believe that regardless of what choices a parent makes in a child's life, it is up to the child to learn from those choices.

That is why I don't blame my father for anything. 

I loved him with all my heart. And I still do. 

A parent's role is to guide and teach. 

And this, right here, is exactly what my father is teaching me. 


Have a great rest of your week, everyone!
💗

32 comments:

  1. Ron, thank you for sharing so openly and honestly of yourself in this post. This is a perfect example of the power in forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn't mean that everything goes away, it means that it gives you the freedom to begin healing. I can feel the genuine love you have for your father through your words.

    Your mother was so beautiful! xo

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  2. Ron, I want you to know how much this post affected me. I have to be honest and say that I don't know if I could have forgiven my father if this happened in my family. How does one move on after something like this happen? Can I ask, how did you (at such a young age) have the awareness not to be angry with your father and so understanding? I would think a child of 6 would be so confused.

    Something you said was so insightful--"In a way, I don't think anyone fully heals from an experience, but rather they keep moving forward; learning from it. And that is why it's called healing." I've never heard it explained that way but I think its true. We can't completely remove our past because it's part of our experience. But we can learn to live with it, move forward, and grow.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and wisdom, Ron. I plan on sharing this post with others because I think everyone can benefit from your experience.

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  3. http://ladyfi.wordpress.comThursday, January 07, 2021

    This brought tears to my eyes - so tender and loving. You are such an inspiration!

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  4. Hey there Candice!

    What you said about forgiveness is so true and so beautifully said...

    " Forgiveness doesn't mean that everything goes away, it means that it gives you the freedom to begin healing. "


    LOVED that! And you're spot on.

    This experience has been one of the most powerful things in my life because it has taught me so much. And continues to teach me.

    I loved my father because I know that his heart was good. He had issues with dealing with anything uncomfortable, so I understood why he made those choices.

    Thank you. Don't you love vintage photographs? Everyone looked so classy!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a great rest of your week!
    X

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  5. Thank you for sharing such personal experiences with us, Ron. I do remember part of what you shared and I’m grateful that you decided to open up about how you’ve been healing during the pandemic.

    I’ve also been grieving my father the past month, first with the holidays and afterwards while my spouse was dealing with putting his aunt on hospice. It was bringing up the months and final excruciating days that my dad was on hospice. I think we all put that sort of pain in a small compartment in our brain and have to open it back up again periodically to continue the healing process.

    While it seems horrifying to us today, I know you understand that what your dad did was out of love and a completely different era where feelings were not shared and children were not seen as capable of handling grief, etc. My parents never took me to a funeral, so my first time was for my grandmother when I was in high school. I never got to gradually get used to the death process and what follows and I still shy away from it as an adult.

    I love what you said about the reasons we recreate the same scenarios. You’re right, it’s the familiarity. I’ve struggled with that myself when it comes to my relationship with my oldest daughter. I’ve never had a normal relationship with my own mom, so I’ve had to work extra hard to do better with my own kids. Without a role model, it’s been challenging.

    I could go on and on because I love to talk about relationships and the reason we react the way we do. And again, I love how you said it’s never to late for us to learn from the past and grow. Enjoy the rest of your week, my friend.

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  6. Hi Daniel, great to see you!

    I know, many people have said the same thing. In fact, my stepmother used to say that she didn't know if she could have forgiven her father or mother for doing the same thing. I used tell her that I knew in my heart that my father was a good man who just made an unwise choices.

    I don't know, but all I can say is that I was never angry with him. And yes, I was confused. Very. However, as I got older I could sense that I needed to revisit that experience because I knew I needed closure. Also, being with my father as he was dying also gave me closure.

    "We can't completely remove our past because it's part of our experience. But we can learn to live with it, move forward, and grow."

    Loved how you said that!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a great rest of your week!

    X

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  7. Hello there, Fiona!

    I felt the desire to share this because it's an experience that I seem to revisit every so often, which had a HUGE impact on me. And in a positive way.

    I'm so happy that I was able to be with my father as he was passing because with both were able to have closure.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a faaaaaabulous rest of your week!

    X

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  8. I don't remember reading this the first time around, and I've got to say WOW! This is powerful, my friend -- very open, sensitive, honest, and thought-provoking. Not sure I could've been as forgiving as you were, but I AM sure you're the better for it. Forgiveness, you know, is like kindness: it's as good for the forgiver as it is for the offender.


    Something similar happened in my family, but we kids were younger than six and it was a grandparent (not a parent) who died. We hardly knew him, having lived so far away and visited so seldom, but I think it's difficult not getting to say goodbye. When Domer was just a wee lad, I took him to every visitation possible (probably erring on the opposite end of the spectrum, but he's never complained about it). In fact, I think it's made him kinder and more compassionate.


    I love what you said about healing. Grief is a process -- not a linear one -- and we all must work through the individual stages of it at our own pace. True for people ... AND for pets!



    Looks like you might be in for some snow soon -- get out and enjoy!! xx

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  9. Isn't it something how grieving is a process and takes time? And everyone is different because for some it happens immediately and for others it happens at specific time, such as the holidays because there is so many memories surrounding the holidays.

    "I think we all put that sort of pain in a small compartment in our brain and have to open it back up again periodically to continue the healing process."

    Yes! You are so spot on is saying that.

    "...what your dad did was out of love and a completely different era where feelings were not shared and children were not seen as capable of handling grief, etc. My parents never took me to a funeral, so my first time was for my grandmother when I was in high school. I never got to gradually get used to the death process and what follows and I still shy away from it as an adult."

    What you shared was VERY similar to me. For YEARS after my mother died, I was scared to go to a funeral. I literally had to force myself when I was in my 20's just to get over my fear. And what you said about it being a completely different era is so true. Back in the 50's, there were so many taboo's that you never talked about.

    Yes, and I think we recreate the same scenarios not only because they're familiar, but also to eventually learn something so that we can move past it.

    Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by and sharing your feelings and insights on this topic. You've added much!

    Have a faaaaaaabulous rest of your week, my friend!

    X

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  10. Hey there Debbie!

    "Forgiveness, you know, is like kindness: it's as good for the forgiver as it is for the offender."

    AWESOME words! And you're right. But I have to say that there was never even a question in my mind about forgiving or not forgiving my father for his choices. I know that may sound strange, considering how much his choices have affected me, but I guess I've always had an awareness that they were choices "I" needed to learn from.

    ".... I think it's difficult not getting to say goodbye. When Domer was just a wee lad, I took him to every visitation possible (probably erring on the opposite end of the spectrum, but he's never complained about it). In fact, I think it's made him kinder and more compassionate."

    I love that! And I admire you for your choice because it taught Domer a very important lesson about life -- death is inevitable and so there will come a time when we all have to say goodbye.

    And yes....that perhaps to our pets as well. Good point!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a super weekend! Looking forward to possibly getting some more "white stuff" this weekend!

    X

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  11. Ron, I knew that you had a stepmother and that your biological mother passed away when you were young. But I did the specifics of her death. Wow! I was riveted to your every word as I read this. I don't know how I would have reacted if this had happened to me in my childhood. As much as I would like to think that I'd react as you did, I don't think I would have. I think I would have been pissed off because I didn't get the chance to say goodbye. And it's no wonder you hold feelings of abandonment and don't trust. That's only natural.

    I really admire and respect you because you walk the talk when it comes to facing things honestly and look for the lessons that you need to learn. You do it, you just don't say it.

    I love what you said about the process of healing. Healing takes time. And each person moves through it at their own pace.

    Thank you so much for sharing your life lessons with us. You're an inspiration. And I really mean that.

    Much love to you, Ron! xxxxxxxx

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  12. Hola Denise!

    I think it's hard for anyone to say how they would have reacted to this because we're all different. For me, the way I processed it was how I processed it. It's almost as if I could see my father's side of why he made these choices immediately, and it wasn't until years later did I know that I needed to process my pain. But it had nothing to do with being angry with my father, it was more about doing what I needed to do to move through it.

    By being with my father in the last days before he passed away, was so therapeutic for me because it was like having closure on the deaths of both my parents.

    I've always been one to face my fears because I don't like being afraid.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and for you sweet words, my friend. Have a faaaaaaaabulous rest of your week!

    X

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  13. Thank you for explaining, Ron. Happy to know that you were able to have closure.

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  14. Me too, Daniel. And that is something I will forever grateful.

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  15. That's one of the most potent and beautiful things you shared about your experience, which is the closure that you and your father shared in being together as he passed away. I'm so happy that you both had that, Ron.

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  16. Me too, Denise. I feel sooooooooo blessed about that.

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  17. Ron, your mother was such a beauty. Between her sweet smile and eyes, I can tell what a beautiful heart she had. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I didn't know about your mother or stepmother because I wasn't reading your blog back then. I can even imagine having to go through this as a child. It hurts my heart just thinking about it. I know it was your way of looking at it that moved your through it and brought you to a place of healing. And I agree with you 100% about healing being a process because as someone who has had some pretty challenging things happen in my childhood as well, I'm still healing from them.

    You unconditional love for you father is so touching. And I know you were a great comfort to him in his passing.

    Thanks again for sharing this, Ron. It proves that even through pain, comes beauty. xo

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  18. Hello there Elaine!

    Thank you for your sweet words about my mother. Even though I was only 6 when she passed away, I remember the bond we shared. And as I got older, my family members used to tell me what a gentle and sweet personality she had. It's funny because I facially, I look like both my parents. The top part of my face looked like my father, and the bottom half looked like my mother. I was split in half between the two of them. LOL!

    "And I agree with you 100% about healing being a process because as someone who has had some pretty challenging things happen in my childhood as well, I'm still healing from them."

    I think many of us have things from our childhood that we heal from. And that's not a bad thing, because as I shared, those are the things that end up being our greatest teachers.

    I was with my father for the last nine days of his life, and I know this may sound crazy, but they were the most beautiful nine days I ever spent with him. We didn't speak much because he was very ill, but just sitting next to him and caring for him was incredibly healing for the both of us. And on the day that he passed away, he died at sunset, which was his favorite time of the day.

    Like you said, even through pain, comes beauty.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, neighbor! Have a faaaaaaabulous weekend. I heard we might be getting some snow. Yahooooo!

    X

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  19. Ron, I read this yesterday but I wanted my girlfriend to read also before I comment. We both got very emotional reading this because it's so direct, honest and raw. That's what I really admire about your life stories, you share so honestly and I really respect that. As I've shared with you so many times in the past, you forever inspire me. And I'm hoping that when the day comes and I have to face life's challenges, I can see them as lessons. What you said about healing touched me the most because I think it's true. Healing is a process that takes time.

    I don't know how you did it, but I'm so happy that you and your father talked about this and were able to move into a place of peace. The part about you and your father healing your pain through his own death, really got me. That is not only beautiful, but powerful as well.

    Thank you for sharing this, dude. Wishing you continued peace and healing.

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  20. Hiya Matt!

    Your comment was so thoughtful and sweet, thank you.

    I've always known since I was young that I would be facing my fears head on. And that's what I'm hear to learn in my life. To face my fears. And let me tell you something, I fear a lot of things. People have said to me that I seem so fearless, but I'm not. I do fear, but it pisses me off to be afraid, so it makes me want to walk through them. When I was doing theater performing live, it scared the shit out of me, but I did it because it was something I wanted to do, yet it petrified me anytime I had to walk out onstage.

    Having that time with my father was a HUGE blessing because it gave us closure. And thank God for my mother letting me know about my father's illness or perhaps I would not have had the chance to have closure.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Wishing you and your girlfriend a faaaaaabulous weekend!

    X

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  21. Oh, my goodness, Ron, what a beautiful, moving post.

    I am truly thankful that you shared your insights with us.

    I love your observation that it's never too late to alter your perception of what was once was a painful experience. We can often find healing in some very dark places if we adjust our vision.

    But I am even more impressed with how you shared your experience with us. A great part of healing comes from helping others heal.

    I was devastated when my mom died and after the pain finally subsided, I vowed that I would do anything I could to comfort people who had lost their parents.

    Helping them helps me and I feel it's my duty to guide people through those awful times.

    Our parents were just human beings doing what they thought best. I used to get mad at my father a lot, but now that he's gone, I realize that he grew up during the Depression and then fought in World War II, where he saw several friends killed before his eyes.

    I cannot imagine what those events did to him, so I try not to judge him.

    I still have a long way to go on my journey of healing, but your post gives me new strength and I cannot thank you enough,

    Take care, buddy!

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  22. Hey there Rob!

    I love so many of the things you shared in your comment!

    "We can often find healing in some very dark places if we adjust our vision.

    A great part of healing comes from helping others heal.

    Helping them helps me..."


    YES...to all those things! It's so true that through sharing your healing journey helps (and supports) others on their journey's. And I think that's because we can ALL relate to so many things (such as childhood experiences and death). They may not be the "exact" experiences, however, everything is in someway relatable.

    I know that you've shared several stories about your father on your blog and I think it's awesome how you've moved to a place of acceptance, understanding, and compassion. Our parents (just like us) have a history that they have had to move through and heal from. And I think it's because I know of my father's family history, I understand why he made the choices he did. Like I said, he was a good man with a good heart, but he had things he was working through.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experiences and insight. You've added much to this post.

    Have a grrrrreat weekend, buddy!

    X

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  23. Hi, my friend Daniel emailed me this post and I wanted to come by and tell you how much I appreciate you sharing your story. Beautifully written! Such a bittersweet story and one that I can relate to because something very similar happened in my own family. What you said about healing is so true. It's a process that takes time and you revisit. It happens in stages. Like you, I'm still healing.

    I am so happy to know that you and your father had closure. And good for you for not allowing the pattern to repeat by writing him that letter. It was good thing for both of you.

    Thanks again for sharing. You have a very diverse and interesting blog.

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  24. Hi Julia! Thank you for taking the time to stop by and sharing your thoughts.

    I think healing is something that is meant to take time and come in stages because it would be too much to process all at one time. For me, I knew I needed to investigate a way to start the process and I was fortunate to meet a therapist who was very gifted because she knew exactly what I needed, and when I needed it. And she knew exactly when to speak and when not to speak in our sessions. It was after my father passed, did I start my therapy because I knew it was time.

    It was so nice meeting you. Please stop by anytime. Wishing you the very best in 2021!

    X

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  25. This is just beautiful, Ron, and moved me to tears. I'm so glad you got to a place of healing with your father. My dad and I were able to work through some terrible hurts and rebuild a relationship. When he died, I was deeply grateful that we had done that and that I never had to doubt that he loved me in spite of my difficult childhood. The very last thing he ever said to me, a brief lucid moment in his dementia, was that he loved me.

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  26. Me too. I feel so blessed to have had that time with my father. It was such a bittersweet time we share during his last nine days because it was a combination of sadness, but also a this wonderful feeling of "release" because it was like letting go of my mother and my father at the same time. And I can remember that as if it were yesterday.

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing about your father. I was moved to tears as well.

    "The very last thing he ever said to me, a brief lucid moment in his dementia, was that he loved me."

    That's so wonderful! And I'm sure it such a beautiful thing to remember for you.

    Again, thanks so much for sharing, my Libra friend!

    X

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  27. Thank Ron for sharing this story, which really hit home for me. My mother passed away 6 years ago right before Christmas and I still regret that she may not have known how much she was loved by me.
    I was at the hospital before she died, but she had collapsed and was in a coma until her death. While I did talk to her as she lay there, I will always wonder if she heard me. It's been said that comatose patients do hear their loved ones and that's why talking to them is encouraged. But, to this day, I still wonder if she heard me.

    How fortunate that you and your father were able to work through some past painful issues and to be there for one another. I regret not being there "enough" for my mother. In some years prior to her passing, there were some family issues, which have since been mostly resolved unknown to her.

    There are days, when I know that I'm still trying to resolve some of my own issues. Thank you for sharing your story here.

    Your mother's portrait oddly enough reminded me of my late mother who was also of Italian descent with dark, long wavy hair. Both were very lovely women.

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  28. Hey there D!

    "I was at the hospital before she died, but she had collapsed and was in a coma until her death. While I did talk to her as she lay there, I will always wonder if she heard me. It's been said that comatose patients do hear their loved ones and that's why talking to them is encouraged. But, to this day, I still wonder if she heard me."


    Yes, and I truly believe that she did because on a much deeper level...she heard you.

    I remember the last two days before my father passed away when he was lingering because he didn't want to leave us. And I just knew that was why he was lingering, even though he was unconscious for the last two days of his life and couldn't talk. So, I sat down next to him on his bed; held his hand; and told him that is was okay to go and that we would all be okay. And I knew that he could hear me because he began to try and talk back to me, but couldn't. I kissed his him on the forehead and told him that I loved him and that it was okay for him to leave.

    And about 20 minutes later, he passed away.

    So believe me, your mother heard you. I just know it.

    "Your mother's portrait oddly enough reminded me of my late mother who was also of Italian descent with dark, long wavy hair. Both were very lovely women."

    Thank you. Aren't vintage photographs the best? Everyone looked so classy!

    Have a great week. And thank you for stopping by.
    X

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  29. Ron, thank you for sharing the last nine days of his life. How beautiful that he passed at his favorite time of the day. And I don't think that sounds crazy at all because so many people have shared the same thing. It's bittersweet. X

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  30. My eyes are leaking. There is power in forgiveness and no one can truly move on until they can truly forgive or feel forgiveness from another. Some events in our lives leave emotional scars, but as with physical scars that heal....they never completely go away. There's always a reminder of the event. That's were forgiveness comes into play. We forgive for ourselves, not for the other person. Looking at our nation today, it's hard to imagine how it can heal from all the horrible things going on now. Perhaps it will only happen one persona at a time. Beautiful post. Your mom was lovely! X

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  31. Lisa, I love what you said here in your comment....

    "Some events in our lives leave emotional scars, but as with physical scars that heal....they never completely go away. There's always a reminder of the event. That's were forgiveness comes into play. We forgive for ourselves, not for the other person."

    ....how true that is.

    And it's funny, forgiveness came natural for me in this situation because even as a child, I knew my father did what he did out of a need to protect and his own fear. But at the same time, I knew it was not a wise choice. But it's what his choice was. And that is something that I continue to learn from.

    "Looking at our nation today, it's hard to imagine how it can heal from all the horrible things going on now. Perhaps it will only happen one persona at a time."

    Yes, I agree. And that's the only way it will happen. I've purposely disassociated myself from the media (particularly now) because that's what I need to do for myself, so that I can see what is false and what is not.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words, my friend. Have a great weekend!

    X

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