Forgiving Oneself

I’m on my way to say goodbye to my grandmother. The journey has already been hard to physically get home then to fly to her new home in rural Oregon. I had a stupid accident this morning. It is April Fools Day after all, a perfect time to accidentally made a fool of oneself.

Packing, I found a card I had addressed to my grandmother last week after our last conversation where I tried to reason with her to be happier and to appreciate the positive of life over the negative. She had ranted about how awful everything was in her new home and how she no longer wanted to live. After our talk, I went out and bought her a card and reiterated that, promising I’d visit her soon, probably around her birthday.

That night, she had a stroke.

I had the card in my bag and I never mailed it. The content seemed wrong in delivery upon the news but I thought I’d bring it to her in person. So I schlepped it around from New York to Miami to LA. Then last night I was told the end is near and we got last minute tickets to trek to see her. When confronted with packing, I found the card – and its physical presence tore at me. And then just now I thought her life is short, she never needs to read this and nor do I.

So I took the card, sealed, stamped, ready to go and shoved it in the paper shredder. As it cut into slivers, I thought it was the kindest thing I could do for myself in this excruciatingly sad time. And that I wish it was easier to let go like that, to just admit defeat sometimes and uncover that once you move beyond that, the burden simply leaves.

I felt instantly better, reminding myself I need to live in the real present, not the reimagined past or the fantasy future. And sometimes what comes along with these other timelines needs to be eliminated too.

One of my favorite pieces of advice I tell others is to be kind to oneself. It’s not a piece I often act upon myself. But sometimes I listen. See you soon Grandma P.

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