Everyone will go through a point in their lives when accepting something goes against the very nature of who they are, but it will be their only option. Everyone will have to forgive someone else or themselves for a past they would give anything to change.
No one is safe from the tragedy of acceptance (no matter the situation), nor from the internal conflict of forgiveness. But everyone is worthy of the peace those two bring.
I have to accept that I couldn’t save Lilee when every fibre in my body was desperate to. I have to accept I made mistakes, mistakes that took time with Lilee away from me. I have to accept that I fought too hard sometimes, and sometimes I didn’t fight hard enough. I have to accept that I let my body take an unhealthy beating for a moment’s worth of comfort. And I have to accept that Lilee is, undeniably, irrefutably and devastatingly dead and there is nothing I can do to change that.
Not only do I have to accept these things, I have to forgive myself for them too. Whether it was eating my feelings, or not looking into alternative treatment as hard as I could have. Whether it was having to spend time away from my daughter because I didn’t fight hard enough, or spending any fraction of time (albeit minimal) I had with my daughter, fighting with someone else. The reasons for those things are irrelevant; I had an excuse for all of it. It was a reaction, not an action. It was comforting during a time of suffering. I was fighting for her wellbeing and for my maternal rights. It doesn’t matter if my excuses were extremely good or extremely bad, it wont take away the feeling of guilt or of regret.
But its not about validating excuses, its about taking it for what it is. The ugly, the dirty, the beautiful, the sad, and the horrible. Taking it, not understanding it, and moving forward from the acknowledgement that it was there, that it happened and there is nothing you can do about it. Its tragic and its liberating.
Acceptance is a double edged sword. We deny things because we are afraid of what accepting them will mean. And for the most part, we are right that acceptance can be painful and difficult. It can debilitate you, and throw you into darkness. But it isn’t until we confront our demons and accept the things we have no control over that our steps take us forward instead of backward, or gives us the courage to take steps at all.
This is the season of forgiving myself to be able to move forward with the added weight of a heavy heart. But as I slowly forgive myself for all the things I feel I need to, my feet feel a little lighter, I gain a little extra energy and maybe a little more peace. I stop making so many excuses, and I start pushing myself toward who I am going to be.
It’s a long road, acceptance and forgiveness, and its bumpy as hell. Up hill both ways, in the snow, without shoes or a jacket, just like how our parents use to get to and from school.. or so they say. Its rewarding some days and some days it seems impossible, but I have to believe that each day is a little bit closer to a better me, a stronger me, and a less broken me. I have to believe that acceptance and forgiveness may be the key to opening my heart again to faith, hope and love.
With one step forward,
“The greatest gifts that you can give to yourself are acceptance, forgiveness and love, give them to yourself in abundance and in doing so you will give them freely to others. “
-Clare E. Stevens