Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Project Heal: Capture Your Grief: Forgiveness and Humanity

In an effort to ease my hurting heart this Fall, I am participating in Project Heal: Capture Your Grief . It's a photography/storytelling project to honor the babies we've lost.

Day 20: Forgiveness and Humanity 

If you were to ask me if my heart's grown warmer or colder since I lost Riley, I would say "both."
Forgiveness has never been one of my strong points...not even as a kid. I can hold a mean grudge. I'm talking years and years. I also have one heck of a temper. It takes a lot to bring it out, and that's probably for the best.
A few years ago, Ella bought a lamb to leave for her sister at the cemetery. She went to a lot of trouble to pick out the lamb, and for a 2 year old to do that on her own was a big deal. She carried on for a long while about how much Riley would like the lamb because it's soft and warm. One cold November evening, we secured the lamb to a metal vase and went home, Ella talking excitedly about how sweet and pretty Riley's lamb was. A few days later, we returned, during the day to find the lamb gone from its spot in front of the vase. At first I thought the wind had merely blown it away...but then I found it, a few graves over.
My blood boiled.
I'm pretty sure I saw red. WHO WOULD DO THAT?
I was so close to marching down to the main office there and screaming at someone, when Ella tugged on my sleeve.
"Mama. It's okay. Maybe they didn't have money for a lamb."
She was right, of course. Maybe they couldn't afford a lamb for their baby. We left it there.
I'm that much more likely these days to forgive things because I don't know what someone's been through...especially another loss parent. Loss hits us all so differently.
And then there are the things which I'm almost positive I can not forgive, as un-Christian as that sounds.
I bought an ivy plant for the cemetery once. I babied that ivy for an entire spring, and an entire summer. It grew big and beautiful. One Saturday, I went to water it...and it was gone.
And then I did flip out. I asked every single worker I could find if they'd taken the plant or seen anyone who could have. I asked a fellow loss Mom if she had taken it (the one instance in which the plant being gone would have been OK) and she hadn't.
I never did find the plant...but a few weeks later, I heard of a story from a friend where someone was stealing the flowers from baby graves and selling them at the flea market...and that sent me over the edge.
Why would someone steal flowers from a baby's grave? Don't they know that this is ALL THE PARENTS HAVE OF THEIR CHILD ON THIS EARTH? Don't they know how much that hurts?
I know everyone is human, and imperfect. I'm willing to forgive imperfections...when someone harms the innocent...that's something I have a harder time forgiving.
I'm still working on forgiveness.

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