Author Topic: Broken family --how do you forgive yourself?  (Read 984 times)


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Broken family --how do you forgive yourself?
« on: December 04, 2017, 08:01:35 PM »
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.


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Re: Broken family --how do you forgive yourself?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2017, 09:52:44 PM »
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.
"Until my last breath, I loved you more than life itself." ~Kirk, in his envelope to be opened only upon his death.  And now I to you, My Love, until my last breath...


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Re: Broken family --how do you forgive yourself?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2017, 10:58:28 PM »
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.


Life is short.  Love with all you've got. 

Barry 11/29/55-9/22/09       John  1/16/57-1/11/14

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Re: Broken family --how do you forgive yourself?
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2017, 03:45:21 PM »
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,


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Re: Broken family --how do you forgive yourself?
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2017, 09:24:47 PM »
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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Re: Broken family --how do you forgive yourself?
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2018, 12:21:17 AM »

PLEASE, forgive yourself. It has been five years for me. I met someone within a few months of my husband's accident. I was in the deep throes of grief. Thinking back, I don't know what the hell I was thinking, really. I do remember thinking I was dying myself. I truly, truly felt I was dying myself because my grief was so profound and unmanageable. There was a Saturday night I remember where I collapsed in a withering, bawling heap on the living room floor. I was hysterical and I felt like the walls were closing in on me. My 17 year old son called my sister while my 15 year old daughter called several of  D and my couple friends to come to the house immediately.

It was about six weeks or so after D died. Up to that point, I had been doing everything a grieving widow and mom is supposed to do. I was meeting with a grief counselor. I had seen a doctor to keep tabs on my health and started some meds for anxiety. I was also trying to be mindful of what my kids needed and striving to maintain a bit of normal for them, cooking meals, going to their activites.  My friends were there for me, but truth be told, it was at the point where even my most ardent supporters were returning to their own lives and the writing was suddenly on the wall that I was alone. My kids were becoming more and more independent with college on the horizon. It was a sudden reality check that I was unfathomably alone. The emptiness overwhelmed me and I had a true breakdown. I was completely nonfuctional for about a week after that.

At that point I knew I could only be there fully for my kids if I made a life of my own. I needed to survive and figure out what would make life worth living for me. All of my friends were married. My family lived states away. I only knew being married for 23 years. Truth be told, I wanted a friend and a companion. So, I decided I would try to meet someone. I was very careful, and I was also a bit lucky. I did meet someone within a few months and it turned out to be what I needed.  I was still very much grieving, and no doubt running from my grief, but he was ok with that. He didn't push me at all. My kids saw me getting out a bit and recognized that I was a better mom because of it. I am sure friends worried about me and some people no doubt judged me. In hindsight I sort of judge myself, but I also realize it was what I needed and fortunately I was clear thinking enough to keep my wits about me and not be taken advantage of.

Bottom line, we do what we have to do to survive, to get through this unspeakable loss the only we know how at the time. The way we do that is different for each of us, and sadly sometimes even we widows judge each other as I have found out on this board from time to time. We just have to do the best we can and try to make the most conscientious decisions we can for ourselves and our kids. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we make mistakes; we pick ouselves up and move forward.


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Re: Broken family --how do you forgive yourself?
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2018, 12:45:10 PM »
We've all done things we regret post-loss; my second year was one mistake after another. Please forgive yourself. No one else will understand the emotions that drove you to make those mistakes. You will get stronger!
Here's to my pretty young wife     sleepin amongst the stars           now they say what's hers is mine but I know what's ours is ours