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THE GIFT OF FORGIVENESS

Divorce is the end of a marriage and the end of lifetime dreams and goals you shared with your now ex-spouse.  It can be difficult to forgive an ex or someone that you feel has betrayed you or  broken your heart.

Forgiveness allows you to let go of the anger, pain, and most of all the blame for the failure of a marriage.  This can mean forgiving yourself as well as your ex-spouse.  Accepting the responsibility and role (whether large or small) that you played in the ending of  your relationship is one of the biggest gifts you will ever give yourself.  It also gives you the gift of freedom to move forward into a new beginning and the possibility of a new healthier relationship with a new future partner.

The holiday season is suppose to be the time of joy, laughter, family, love and sharing but separation and divorce can put a damper on the merriment of the season.  Three years ago I found myself in this real life scenario, facing my first Christmas alone.

My divorce had just finalized in October and visions of Christmas past were playing over and over in my mind. Thirty years of holidays spent together as a family.  Who would have known December 2013 would be our last holiday united as one family?  I never dreamed that divorce  was something that would happen to me and my family but it did.  Now I would have to find a way to  make the holiday as normal as possible for my children and grandchildren. Divorce is a life changing event for everyone involved and it had also affected the lives of my adult children.

I had decided to spend my first Christmas after my divorce with my daughter and granddaughter in Orlando.  That way my  ex-husband would be able to share the holiday with our two sons and grandchildren.  Truth was I couldn’t manage spending Christmas in our family home.  The home we had always decorated, entertained guests, and hosted the holidays together in. The thought was to depressing to me.

The loss I was feeling back then was so very painful. It felt like it cut through the very core of my being.  I felt empty inside.  My heart had been broken.  I had no idea how long it would take to heal.  So as I was reminiscing on what the true meaning of Christmas was I took a trip down memory lane to my childhood.

From the time I was a little girl Christmas was the holiday I cherished most.  My father had a trucking business and was not at home very often.  Christmas Day was one of the few days I knew he would be home.  For me Christmas meant sharing joy, love, and being together with my family.  I am from a large family of nine and my parents always managed to make the holidays magical for us. We didn’t receive a lot of gifts but we did know the true meaning of Christmas.

It was time to let all the bitterness, anger, pain, and hurt go.  I started remembering the guy that I used to know.  The young dad of my children.  The man who had worked so hard for his family.  The guy that went to school full time, had a 4.0 grade point, worked fifty six hours a week, and coached baseball.  The man whom I had worked side by side and built a respected business with.  The man who I spent over thirty two years of my life with.  Instead of the bad memories I chose to focus on the good qualities and the good memories we shared.

Driving up to that office was hard.  It was late in the day and everyone else was gone.  As I entered the building it felt somewhat foreign to me now.  He was waiting in his office at the end of the hall.  As I entered the room the tears were flowing and we embraced.  I forgave him and apologized.  At that time I think I was really just so sorry for all we had lost.  It was so emotional for both of us.  We will always care a lot about each other and I am so very grateful that he is the father of my children.  Together we have amazing children and grandchildren.

Forgiving a spouse or an ex-spouse can be extremely difficult but it is the first step to letting go of all that bitterness and anger that is causing you so much pain.  Holding on to that pain is only hurting yourself.  Forgiving yourself is the biggest gift you will ever give yourself.

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