Daily Post: Forgive and Forget… Possible?


The prompt for Today’s Daily Post is Forgive and Forget. Check out other posts, here. It struck me as so ironic when I saw it, because I instantly realized that I’ve just spent six days thinking about this.

This prompt comes at an interesting time. I have just arrived home, after five and 1/2 days in the hospital and nearly twelve days sick, so far. The first week, I didn’t take the situation nearly seriously enough, and no doubt that contributed in part to the much more significant health crisis that then evolved. I can only see that in hindsight, but it’s the truth. I’m used to pushing through; I tend to assume things will go ok, or that I can fix things. When I first thought something was wrong, I started some antibiotics and went to New York City, pushing myself to see everything possible, even as I could feel my body not fighting the infection, effectively.  I came home and dove into volunteer responsibilities, holiday preparation, salmon restoration and conservation, and all the stuff that just piles up this time of year. It was a good week; I got a lot done, and I while I didn’t feel quite right, I was in my usual “get it done” groove.

IMG_3842However, what started as a serious sinus infection, led to an extremely serious asthma attack, that has now lasted 9 days:  leading to two trips to the ER, and then admission to the hospital for full-time oxygen, and led to a partially collapsed lung. The infection is still not resolved (it is too risky to operate); my oxygen rates today are on a level that is generally the cut off for admission to the hospital, not release… but all agreed, that I do better when I have others around, and I can be managed at home for now, with home oxygen and lots of medication. Big difference: I take it seriously now. I’m not pushing any other agendas but healing.  This was a huge lesson in vulnerability and letting go. I had hours, and hours, and hours… and then some more hours, alone in a room, to think, to feel, to process things that have been swirling around me for a long time.

I’ve mentioned in other posts, it’s been a challenging three Decembers in a row. Enormous personal crisis 2010, Mother’s death 2011, and all of it catching up with me in 2012. This year has been the year of moving on and digging out. I was looking forward to December this year, aware that the really hard stuff has mostly passed. However, it has also been a time of huge upheaval with some important friendships, family relationship, marriage, and my own sense of self, and how I want to be– who I am, within all of those arenas. It became clear to me, early in 2013 that once all of the obvious bumps, bruises, and crises had begun to clear, there was a lot of lingering emotion and hurt to work through. It was clear to me that I needed to process a lot of things and figure out how to let go and move on. Ultimately, for me, that has involved forgiveness: forgiveness toward myself for the things I’ve handled poorly, and for hurts that I have felt from others.

I’ve spent months (years at this stage) trying to work through some of these relationships and how I’ve been impacted by them. I’ve struggled with how to be the wife and mother I want to be; the sister I want to be; the daughter; relative; the community person that others see; and, the friend within friendships, that often were as significant to me as family ties. As many of those relationships were challenged, during times of crisis and in my own journey, it has been very painful at times. Very important ties and bonds were cut, and I struggled over how to hold on or fix things, only finding myself hurt, confused and mired in a sense of betrayal, loss and a desperate need to hold on and fix things. When I could finally see that that wasn’t always possible, I was left feeling hopeless and lost for a while.

And then I had to step up and work on new directions. Letting go–> Acceptance–> Forgive. It’s been a process, a long one. As I’ve worked on these things, what I learned is that I could get there, I could forgive and even let go; but, forgetting is an entirely other thing. There has been far too much loss in my life, and ongoing loss (the specter of Huntington’s Disease always hanging over my life, and those I love), that I continue to feel these losses in such a visceral way, it’s stored in my body, in my entire wiring. I come to terms with a loss; I get that we’re not in the same place anymore and the ties are cut, a forgiveness and soften of sorts, but forgetting the loss is so damned hard!

No ties. Just nurturing.

No ties. Just nurturing.

Facing a crisis this week, that fact really rose to the surface. As I lay there, feeling so vulnerable, I realized what I have forgiven and what I’ve forgotten, and they are not the same. So many incredible people reached out to me: offering meals, love, encouraging words, support to me and my family at home, and offers to visit and jump in. And the offers did not carry the same weight, or the same value anymore. I asked help of those I know I can totally trust. I accepted visits from only a few people who I felt entirely nurtured and held by. Ironically, one of those people is an 18-year old boy, who I have forged such a meaningful relationship with, that the tiny fiber-optic Christmas tree he brought me, kept me anchored in a cocoon of love and acceptance, that was so simple and real, that it was a reminder each night, that I would be ok. The moving lights reminded me of the Aurora Borealis in the dark room, and the gurgling of the oxygen behind me, was a stream– bringing the only peace and total calm, each night. What a blessing it was, and such a simple, loving gesture on his part. (Of note, doses of morphine may have contributed to the magic, but not the emotion.)

I had a “Do Not Announce” order in place, which prevented anyone from calling or looking up my room, because the doctors demanded that I not speak much, and that I get total rest. I’m a social girl; that is really challenging for me. Normally, I’d be inviting others in, and asking for company. However, this was not a time to socialize, and least of all re-connect or figure out how I feel about someone. Being vulnerable physically, allowed me to really to look at whether I wanted to invite any emotional vulnerability into that room, our situation, my health crisis; and, I realized that I didn’t want that. I was very aware that some of the people and situations I have forgiven, I have not completely healed from, I have not forgotten, and for a change: I did not feel compelled to push through that and try to make others feel better. I am grateful for each kind word, and each gesture of love, each expression of concern. But I was well aware that some of the intimacy coming my way felt unsafe, and challenging to my overall healing. Relationships that have stumbled, limped or fallen apart were not where I wanted to be. I was scared. I had veins blowing and doctors telling me very serious things, and I did not have the energy to help others feel better, or included them in my world.    (Veins blowing; How do I feel? Sucky!; lungs blowing; food that blows; and too much equipment! It was not a party)

IMG_3836

IMG_3865

IMG_3845  IMG_3851 IMG_3870

Strangely, Facebook became a life line. When word got out to a few people who I was sick: when I cancelled a few things, or I was seen at the hospital, the calls and emails began. The crisis was very scary at first, but making calls was so far down on the list. Yet meals were appreciated, support was needed. I worried about who was with my boys, and what they were eating. I knew my youngest son was scared, seeing me so sick. I worried about my German exchange student– his first year away from his family and home, and there I was disappearing. I knew my oldest son was coming home, and as the days went on, I would not be there to greet him or do the things I want and like to do to welcome him. I knew that my daughter, far away in Israel, felt so helpless. The tree wasn’t bought; the lights weren’t up; some gifts weren’t ready; my head was spinning with expectations I had of myself, that I saw disappearing with each hour I lay there.

My boys bought a tree– a tiny tree, but the loveliest ever, and put the lights on.

My boys bought a tree– a tiny tree, but the loveliest ever, and put the lights on.

<– Letting go of what I thought I had to do, allowed others to do it for me.

I was in denial for a while.  I needed loving support to help me accept all the things that were rushing at me. It took me time to start accepting that I had to let go of a lot of those expectations and just focus on getting well. We realized that by posting selective updates (sharing what we were comfortable sharing) on Facebook, we could share what we wanted to, and others could express their concern and offers of support, without us feeling overwhelmed. I could turn off the screen, or plug-in, and feel less alone… or quiet and reflective when I needed to. I could cry for a while, and then laugh at the funny, sweet things sent my way. I struggled in some moments with it feeling voyeuristic and strange to announce our lives that way, but the pressure of not having to answer the phone, or texts, or all the other ways people tried to connect, was such a huge relief, and in the end a very good thing.

I got it. Every single person who reached out, wanted the best for me. I knew their intentions were loving. I felt waves of support and care, and I in all that time that I was lying there, I felt this issue of forgiveness moving over and settling on me. Yet, in the big picture of big, real stuff, it was so much clearer to me: that if we haven’t been taking care of each other in the usual days, if I haven’t been there for you, and you haven’t been there for me, if I don’t know how you are until it’s a Facebook announcement, no amount of past or lingering ties, makes me want to invite that loss back into a room where my single goal was to heal.

Left this with one of the many nurses who made it all bearable. The best!

Left this with one of the many nurses who made it all bearable. The best!

There were numerous people who called me or my family to ask how things were going, and how we experienced those various efforts was very different, depending on where we were in those relationships just prior to the crisis. It was strange to hear from some, who I haven’t seen or spoken to in months, while some of our closest friends knew just what to do, without a word. Both my husband and I struggled with how to feel about that. Whether to be gracious, and thankful for the gestures, and accept them as caring calls, or feel a mild sense of violation in the very strangeness of hearing voices that have become distant. The sting of a voice once so intimate and dear, that now feels a bit stiff and awkward…. “how have you been?”  The sting of who didn’t call– who we expected to hear from– who we wanted to hear from, but didn’t. The merest effort to think through those things, was a challenge for us at such a difficult time. I sat with those thoughts, with the clarity that pure oxygen provides, and isolation, and came to terms with some things.

These last few days is when I really got that I have forgiven and moved on. I have made enormous leaps in forgiving myself for not always being the mother, sister, friend, person that I want to be. I have forgiven others for not being what I needed, what I wanted, or expected… but I have not forgotten, and that makes all of the difference. Those memories live in my heart, and they don’t go away easily. When the chips are really down, there’s no extra energy for sorting those things out, for questioning motivations, expectations, or agendas. I needed to be where and with who I feel safe, plain and clear. Amazing how it took such a trauma to see it clearly. Forgive and Forget? They are not the same thing, and I get that now.

How do you deal with forgiveness? Is it easy for you? Do you move on, and forget? Or, carry it with you? Is there a difference?  Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
Aside | This entry was posted in Awareness, Blog, Blogging, blogs, Courage, Daily Observations, Foreign exchange students, Friendship, Honest observations on many things, Life, Mothers, Musings, Personal change, Relationships, Tales From the Motherland, Women's issues, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

72 Responses to Daily Post: Forgive and Forget… Possible?

  1. jgroeber says:

    You are brave. You are bold. And wherever you are, that is surely enough. Be well.

    Like

  2. What a journey you’ve been on! My thoughts and healing energies are with you that you continue to give yourself the space that you deserve and require to continue getting well. You are first on your list and need to remain that way to get well. I admire how you were able to move, step by step, into forgiveness. For me, I have been able to move into a place of forgiveness when I learn the higher perspective of why. And time also helps. A shift of perspective and perception can do it for me. And with the biggies, I deal with it in layers; one layer at a time.

    Sending you healing energy.

    Like

    • Thanks so much S… it’s a long journey, and I imagine my view of things is not necessarily how everyone else might feel it. But it is my experience, and I’m processing it in a way that makes sense to me. I’m working on the physical stuff, and emotional stuff seems so much more challenging sometimes. Thanks for the wonderful energy.

      Like

  3. Pingback: Daily Post: Forgive and Forget… Possible? | ugiridharaprasad

  4. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Forgive and Forget? | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

  5. I love the line “letting go of what I thought I had to do allowed others to do it for me.” That’s such a true and vulnerable statement. I’m so sorry to hear you are going through this and hope you get better soon!

    Like

    • Thanks so much for your well wishes… it’s been tough, but a good learning experience on so many levels. It’s so true that when we surrender a little, we open the door to allow others to jump in and help, which let’s them feel empowered and caring too. When I think that I’m THE only one who can do it, and no other way is as good, there’s no room for anyone else. My son was so proud and excited to get me a Christmas tree, knowing how much I wanted one. It was ready and waiting when I got home. He was worried that it was too small, but the thought was huge! Again, thanks so much for your thoughts.

      Like

  6. I agree the emotional stuff seems more challenging – for now you (and me to a much lesser degree – I’ve managed to get a coughing virus and have mostly lost my voice) need to let the physical stuff heal. A lesson to us both to just let go, let others do what needs to be done while we heal 🙂

    The tree is wonderful.

    Thinking of you xx

    Like

  7. Lillian says:

    This explains why you’ve been on my mind lately! I haven’t been great at catching up with my reading lately and I’ve been thinking of you, this makes more sense:) Thinking of you and wishing you well as you take your time to recover and heal!

    Like

    • That’s AMAZING! Last night, I was thinking of YOU, and missing your blog, and you. I had a terrible time following your new site… kept dropping my subscription, etc, and I gave up. But, I have SO missed your sweet, world of beautiful images and good things. Your solid, sensible words… you. I’m so happy you checked in. It means a lot, and feels good to know you’re out there Lillian! I have missed you. For real. xo

      Like

      • Lillian says:

        BOO, that stinks so much on the issues, especially since I have no clue why:( I changed the setting to basically allow anything and it’s still not nearly as good as the ease of WordPress I’ve missed you, too, glad to be following along a bit more consistently lately, especially with your fiction writing:) .

        Like

        • I’ll try again! Do you prefer the new site in general? I have a friend who is with Blogspot and is considering moving to WP… thoughts on that? Glad you’re getting mine again. It’s always great to see your face here!

          Like

        • Ok, so I tried following again today and this is the message I got: “We’re sorry…We were unable to handle your request. Please try again or return a bit later.” The post you have up right now is gorgeous and the the Lillian I miss so much! 😦

          Like

      • Lillian says:

        p.s. Hope you’re doing well and taking the time you need to rest and heal!

        Like

  8. Wow.. you certainly hid all this in your comments to posts, etc. Hope you’re better! Enjoy the holidays and relax! xo

    Like

    • There’s gracious, and there’s real. It was a rush of stuff coming at us, and there were a lot of interesting challenges in the process… no need to play it out on FB, but it was there. Thanks for the support Lisa… in so many ways. xo

      Like

  9. Katalina4 says:

    Oh Dawn, the photos of you in the hospital bed, all the scariness of the whole deal – are you really okay now? Is it all completely over? I can’t even get to the forgiveness question yet….

    Like

    • NOT over AT ALL. Things are pretty unstable still, but I’m glad to be home. On oxygen here, slow and uneasy on my feet, and infection still in place. But, it’s good to be home and I’m relieved to not be at the hospital… over all. There is something to be said for that magic call light, that brought help running. I have to be much more vigilant at home, not to jump up and try to “do it myself.” Bumped my head this morning, getting a drink of water… duh.

      Forgiveness.. it is an ongoing thing, I think A constant challenge. But, it’s the forgetting, that I now see, which keeps me from moving on. More work… it never ends, on this journey. 😉 Thanks for the well wishes.

      Like

  10. Carrie Rubin says:

    So sorry to hear you’ve been ill. 😦 I wish you a swift and complete recovery from this point on, as it sounds like it’s been anything but. Very sorry you had to spend time in the hospital, especially in such a festive month.

    Like

    • Long haul ahead, but glad to be home. I’m still taking it all in… adjusting to things not being what I thought they’d be over the holidays, etc and accepting all the love and support that’s been given. So glad we’ve connected this year, Carrie. All the best in 2014! A happy holiday with your amusing boys… I have truly read your elf story more than once, just for the laugh… and my cousin finally emailed me, that she loved it too! Something tells me her boys may be doing the same things in a few years. 😉

      Like

  11. The Waiting says:

    This has been quite a week for you, Dawn, and when I was reading the paragraph where you talk about the difficulties that almost always come in December for you, I couldn’t help but think that April isn’t so bad; it is December that is the cruelest month. I just want to be on the record as saying that you are one of the boldest, bravest people I “know.” Taking the time to process physical and personal pain is frightening and difficult, and that’s why most of us (myself included) don’t do it to the degree that we should. I am so glad you’re feeling a bit better and that you are surrounded by people who love you. Thank you for sharing these highly personal words. We all benefit from them.

    Like

    • Thanks Emily. Your support this week has meant so much more than you know. Wise words, caring thoughts, friendship and care. It has been such a joy and a pleasure to connect with you, and get to know each other… this year, in person. I’m making it a personal goal. I am thinking of a series of blogging meet ups and writing about it all year.. I love the idea, and you would be high on the list. Where are you? Tell me again… I’m O2 depleted. Speak slowly. 😉 Thanks for all the support, friend. The happiest of holidays to you,little Cee and all you love. xo

      Like

  12. MissTiffany says:

    Wow. Thank you for sharing something so personal and emotional. It couldn’t have been easy to put this out there. I am sorry to hear you have been ill, and I wish you a peaceful and happy recovery. Emotional problems I think, are often the most difficult to deal with, and it affects your whole body on top of any physical problem you’re having.
    The part about the little Christmas tree gave me warm fuzzies inside. It makes me happy to know you have people like that in your life.
    Lots of love, hugs and smiles to you.

    Like

    • Thanks Tiffany… yes, very personal, but that tends to be how I write. I hope you find some clarity in your situation and feel good going in whatever direction you head.

      The tree… oh that tree… such a sweet, sweet thing. 😉 Thanks for the love and support, it means a lot.

      Like

      • MissTiffany says:

        You’re welcome. As hard as it is to write the really personal stuff, it comes across as powerful and heartfelt and relatable. I’s what I love about your blog – it’s just so real, so down to earth.

        It did kind of help me sort out my thoughts a bit. And I am happy to report that I am already on my way to recovery, and hopefully back on the fast track for happiness.

        😀 You’re welcome.

        Like

        • Well, look at that: it’s a Christmas Miracle! 😉 Self-reflection is always a good thing. I try hard to write without filters… not sure there’s a point, if I want to say something. I’m glad that resonates with you. It’s not for everyone, but it’s what feels rights for me. Thanks for your supportive comments, Tiffany. They’re much appreciated! Hope that fast track is the right direction!

          Like

  13. Ruth Lerner says:

    Dear Dawn, I am running out of room for storing all of your blogs that I felt were worthy of saving, referring to, and rereading in the future. This one has to go to the top of the list. It’s amazing! Welcome home, and do your job now…your only job …to take care of yourself, pamper yourself, heal, and get better. There’s a new year coming up real fast. May you have much good health and happiness in the days ahead. Love, Ruth

    Like

  14. ginjuh says:

    I am sorry for the series of tough Decembers (and touched/inspired by your attitude and efforts for peace and acceptance). God bless

    Like

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment and well wishes. It means a lot and is much appreciated. The journey is a long one, if you are really seeking to understand, but it’s filled with so many rewards. Right? Thanks again, and my best to you in this new year!

      Like

  15. AR Neal says:

    Here is hope that the coming year will be one of joy and renewal for all of us and a year of great health for you!

    Like

  16. rarasaur says:

    It’s hard for me to forgive, much easier to forget. I’m sorry that you still aren’t feeling 100%. I’ve been sending healing thoughts your way since I heard about your hospital stay… and I’ll continue till you’re in the clear, I promise. 🙂 xo!

    Like

    • Thanks Rara. I think both are hard. I think if you are able to forget, you’re half way to forgive, right? I hold on and it’s hard to forget when it’s all in your head. Thanks for the kind thoughts and supportive words. Much appreciated! 🙂

      Like

  17. etomczyk says:

    Dawn: So sorry to hear that you’ve been ill. Glad you’re getting better. I totally understand what you’re saying about forgiveness, but not being able to forget. Forgiveness is necessary to set us free from dark entanglements, but it doesn’t mean we ever have to see them again.

    Happy Holidays and may God grant you peace and healing in the New Year.

    Like

    • So very true… forgiveness is a little clearer, suddenly. I didn’t realize how much of it is truly tied up in the forgetting… or, I guess I did. I continue to struggle with letting go, which, in essence is the forgetting part, right? All the best to you as well… so excited for your journey! Dawn

      Like

  18. Yara Damaj says:

    Dear Dawn,

    I am so sorry to hear about the series of past rough Decembers you’ve been having. I think that God loves us all and he loves you especially because he gave you such a strong big heart in which forgiveness, love and acceptance always win over other thoughts. You are courageous and inspirational always remember that. And though your healing has been a physiological one, I believe that if you dig deep into your soul you’d find that it is in fact a cleansing from inside.

    I wish you good health, always.
    Warm thoughts,
    Yara

    Like

    • Such a wise, wise, young woman you are, Yara. Yes, no doubt, much of this is healing from the inside out… You and I both know too much about healing, I think. You, my dear, wonderful writer, have many years to get ahead of me. You are well on your way! Remember that. May this New Year bring you deeper healing and peace. xo

      Like

  19. Cathy Ulrich says:

    I’m so glad you’re home and I know your body is healing in every way. For me, forgiving basically means that I’ve stopped judging – I understand that whoever hurt me (including me) was doing the best they could given the circumstances and their current level of consciousness. And it feels that, perhaps, that’s where you are now, too. To me, forgiveness, like many things, comes in layers and when I get to the place where I’m holding no energy around the person or event, I’ve forgiven it.
    Blessing to you, Dawn.

    Like

  20. Pingback: Freddie the Frog-fish « LargeSelf

  21. Dear Dawn,

    Sorry you’ve been presented with so many challenges of late. It makes me appreciate your dedication to Friday Fictioneers and what it can mean to a person. (It means that much to me.) My thoughts and prayers are coming your way. This note’s brief but my care and concern are not.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

    • Thank you SO much, Rochelle. I love your dedication and passion, because I relate to it. My writing has been my comfort for much of this week. Friday Fictioneers is something I wait for, and think of all week… Silly Christmas falling on a Wednesday! 😉 Thank you for your caring thoughts; it means the world. I feel it, exactly as you send it… sincerely and with an open heart.

      Shalom, Dawn

      Like

  22. I just saw this, via Cathy Ulrich, so I’m a bit late in praying for healing, a blessed Christmas and a 2014 filled with good things. Merry Christmas!

    janet

    Like

  23. DeDivahDeals says:

    I am “blessed” in not having anyone I need to forgive or ask for forgiveness from as I have no siblings, no parents, or grandparents, they are all deceased which is I why, I live each day to the fullest in all the happiness and positivity I can manage. Stay strong and be blessed.

    Like

  24. Dear Dawn, I hope you are feeling better and that soon we shall see you back on the blog and giving us more of those wonderful comments. We wish you well and hope to see you soon.
    I ope you have had as merry a Christmas as you could. My best wishes to you in 2014.
    Michael

    Like

  25. What you said aboutthe strangeness of a necessary trauma.. very.

    But that little puppy ! Oh !

    Like

  26. Mike Lince says:

    I could not find the to words to share with you when I first read this story. It was Dec. 23rd, our anniversary, and I was sitting out all of the holiday activity at home nursing my sore leg. I was relieved for you when I saw your family put up your Christmas tree. When I saw your doggie keeping you company I was less worried for your well-being. Now I am glad to see you back writing again. This is a connection that means a lot to me.

    I know some of the forgiveness you speak of. I have found forgiveness for each member of my immediate family, each of whom abandoned having any relationship with me. That was years ago. I have forgiven but I have not forgotten. How could I? And yet I have so much love in my life. I feel appreciated – by my daughters, my grandsons, my in-laws, and the friends I make wherever I go. I have even made a few friends through my blog. You should know. You are especially dear to me. – Mike

    Like

    • I can’t imagine the pain of having your family members truly abandon you, and honestly, it speaks volumes about you as a person, Mike, that you were able to forgive. Forget? How could you? That kind of hurt leaves a small scar that is hard to heal. Those who have truly abandoned me, I can never trust again. As I type the word “never,” I hope I’m wrong… but I fear it’s impossible. I am there for those I love, until you kick me to to curb… over, and over, and over again. I learned early that we lose people we love, and I’ve never taken that lightly. I have forgiven. I’m not walking around angry, or hurt… in the same way, about some of the situations that prompted this post, but it’s hard to imagine ever feeling fully safe in those friendships/relationships… again. The pain of that, is not something I forget either. You are especially dear to me as well, and I’m so glad this crazy world of blogging brought you into my life. All the best, friend… rest that foot; you have a lot of walking ahead of you! 😉 xo

      Like

  27. znjavid says:

    I’m so sorry to read about how unwell you were. I’m glad to see you’re doing better now. All the best for the new year! Zainab

    Like

  28. Pingback: Actions speak louder. Cliche but so true! | The Hempstead Man

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