Wasting Time on Anger and Unforgiveness

It is late--almost 2:00 a.m., to be exact--so if this doesn't make much sense or has typos, I hope you understand.

I'm writing a memoir article, "The Journal," for a writing contest. The journal I'm talking about is one that I gave my dad about eight weeks before he died. I wanted him to quickly fill it up with all sorts of things that he wanted me to know or just to read. I thought this was a great way for him to tell me how he felt, since he wasn't a big talker who regularly poured out his feelings.

Unfortunately, he fell and broke his hip two weeks later, having only written two pages in the journal. Once he broke his hip, the cancer took over and he began to slip mentally as his body worked harder on healing that bone than it did on fighting the cancer.

Dad developed hypercalcemia, which is too much calcium in the blood, from the cancer having spread to his bones. The nurse explained that basically his bones were leaching calcium into his bloodstream. Symptoms of that include dementia and memory loss--both of which dad suffered from increasingly, after breaking his hip.

A week after his surgery, he was taken to a nursing home for therapy because rehab places wouldn't take him in his stage-four cancer state. I hate nursing homes, and this place wasn't an exception. I visited him there as often as I could, which wasn't as much as I would have liked. My husband works all the time, and my children were too upset by the condition of their grandpa for me to keep taking them with me, so I had to wait for his days off to visit dad.

After Dad went in the nursing home, I began helping my mom to manage paperwork--bills, insurance things, and her checkbook. While at Dad's desk, I found the journal and discovered that he'd written just two pages. I wanted more.

I brought the journal with me the next time I visited him, and I asked him if he would write in it for me. He said, "Yes," and I put it on the table beside his bed. It lay there untouched, until he died.

I found it again, on Dad's desk, after his funeral. I grabbed it up, hoping for more content, but I was quickly disappointed. I was on autopilot through the funeral, especially since my family and I had been packing for a move to a new house three weeks later.

When I saw that Dad hadn't written anything else, grief hit me like a tidal wave. Now I couldn't take the journal to him and plead with him to write more. He was gone, and that was all I would ever get. It is impossible for me to explain how profoundly that hurt. The 100+ empty pages dwarfed the two that were written upon, dashing my hopes of reading how my dad loved me and thought about me and wished things had been so different between us.

The article I'm working on is the first time I've written about Dad. All the memory diving has made me weepy and unable to sleep, which is why I'm still up, even though my body is telling me I'm nuts and this is gonna hurt in the morning.

But, if I learned anything from processing my grief, it is how unimportant are those things that make you mad and keep you holding onto unforgiveness, once that person you are angry at is gone. I was so angry when I was younger, and I didn't care about building a real relationship with my dad. When I got older, I was too busy.

Since my dad died two years ago, I have resolved not to hold grudges--something that I'm good at--because most things don't really matter, in the light of eternity. Life is way too short to waste time and energy on something as unproductive--and destructive--as bitterness.

If you are struggling with extending forgiveness to someone who has hurt you, please take my advice and LET IT GO- before it is too late, and that person dies and you can't resolve your feelings.

God's grace covers all, but the pain in still there.