Time Frame > Beyond the First Year (1+ years)

Broken family --how do you forgive yourself?

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After almost 20 years with my husband, being high school sweethearts he died tragically and unexpectedly in an accident. Our daughters in their late teens,  I felt I was doing good for a couple of months being strong for them and then lost myself and engaged ina new relationship which allowed me to escape the pain of grieving, but hurt my children horribly. I was incredibly selfish in my actions, and also know it was probably the only thing that helped me to remain sane through it all, but nonetheless I caused great pain and damage to the relationship with my children that is unforgivable. Now over four years later, I think I'm finally strong enough to be alone and face the grief I ran from, but have to live with the pain I caused in that running. I'm starting to talk about it now, hence this post, but I honestly hate this new world I live in, the loss of my family as I knew it, and the pain I've caused my children in my own weakness. I know I have to heal myself in order to heal the relationships with my kids, and I guess that's why I'm here. Hoping to start that process and find a way to forgive myself so I can be the mother they knew and deserve again.

You did what you needed to do.  Your kids didn't understand but nobody.  NOBODY.  NO BODY understands.  Only the widowed understand what actually happens when we are widowed.  And no two of us react the same way.  You reacted in the way you needed to at the time.  As you said, it kept you sane.  NO BODY understands.  Nobody has the right to judge but judge they will.  Don't be so hard on yourself.  You survived.  And in those early days, that is really really iffy.  hugs.

Hello, Crystal,

I don’t have children, so I really don’t have the same perspective that a parent has. I met my second husband just 6 months after my first husband died. I know how it is possible to connect with someone new soon after losing a spouse.

But I’m hearing you say that you have damaged a relationship with your children. I’m sorry that happened. It can be really hard to repair relationships, but you seem to understand the first step, which is to admit the reality and your role in the fallout. It doesn’t seem to do much good to continue to berate yourself. You may need to muster up as much humility as you can find and admit your own shortcomings to your children. It is generally hard for most people to do this. You probably need to ask for forgiveness and take the reconciliation at the pace your children can accept.

I wish you well as you navigate what you need to do.



Captains wife:
Admittedly I haven't always made the best judgements after my husband suddenly almost 6 years ago. Please don't be hard on yourself. And the  first step is that you recognized the issue and are looking to fix the relationship issues with your kids. Your post wasn't specific but I'm sure your actions are forgiveabe. Getting outside help might be usefiul too during this times wishing you all the best,

I second getting outside help if you aren't already.

Parenting is tough on the best days, when we're at our best. The last couple of years have not been the best days and you have not been your best.  And your kids haven't been their best either.  It's been crappy for everyone for chunks of it probably. But you're taking steps to better days, and they'll see that. Be honest with them, take the fair hits they'll probably deliver, but don't become their punching bag - you did what you thought best for you at the time, what you needed to for survival. Now it's time to transition out of survival mode and back into living mode.


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