Taking Unforgiveness to the grave is more common than regrets
As I found out when my brother died
Thanks for your thoughts on forgiveness. As someone who has recently experienced my brother’s inability to forgive, as he died, I appreciate your helpful suggestions.
What I asked of my brother as he lay dying
Forgiveness, but would he prove capable of giving it. Unforgiveness is not normal, but it is more common than regrets…
I had never given the subject much thought. As my brother approached his death I asked a social worker whether most people expressed regrets when their time came.
I shuddered when she said no. In her experience, the most common emotion was people hanging on to old grudges and refusing to forgive. The reason I was shaken is that unforgiveness was an issue tormenting my brother.
Both of my brothers expressed their hatred for our father. I held similar feeling myself until my late 30s.
One day I suddenly had the realisation that Dad was a product of his own upbringing, and he did the best he knew how. Seeing him as a struggling father gave me a modicum of empathy for the life he tried to create for us.
I wasn’t perturbed by my brothers clinging to their hatred. They knew my view. It wasn’t my job to change their minds.
My interest — at this time — was in helping my oldest brother Harry approach death on his own terms — not on the terms of the others. Carrying unforgiveness to the grave allows others to shape your death. That’s an unfulfilling way to depart.
There was also unforgiveness from other siblings towards Harry. I asked them to help Harry die well by being gracious enough to offer him their forgiveness.
My efforts did not have the dream ending that I might have hoped. I did my job, and others made their choices.
But I did learn that taking unforgiveness to the grave denies you, at your last breath, from being the person that you were looking for the whole time you that held it in your heart.
I don’t intend to do the same.
Hopefully, your article will give others the means to start their journey to unforgiveness, and not take it to their grave.