As I was writing my last post, something struck me. It was this sentence in particular:
"I still struggle daily with many of the things that have happened to me over the last 5 years, and yet, I am still able to find joy and happiness in many parts of my life."
5 years. I have spent 5 years of my life grieving for my dad, for regretting things I did after he passed, for hating myself for the hurt I caused people I loved and holding grudges against people that hurt me.
5 years is a really long time to spend angry at oneself, angry at God, and angry at members of your family. And what I have come to realize in thinking about my life the last few weeks/months (been doing a lot of thinking since I found out I was pregnant), is that I've spent far too long in this rut. My anger and sadness have impacted my life in ways that I cannot possibly describe, and in ways that I never would have thought...and I let it continue to do so for far too long.
After my dad passed, I was a terrible mess. I was so terribly unhappy and haunted by what he had gone through and losing him that all I can remember doing during that time period is making trips to the farm on weekends and spending the week days in bed watching seasons of "Friends." I think I really just made my way through in a zombie-like state. I latched on to anything that brought me any form of "happiness," regardless of what it meant to those around me. There were some people that took advantage of this. And others who I hurt terribly in the process. I became a person I did not recognize, but could not find my way back to the person I once knew. Granted, that person would never be the same, but I could not even find some modicum of her in me, even though I wanted to.
Eventually, I worked my way through my grief...it was still there, of course, and I know it will always be there, but I was able to manage my life and function again with a halfway sense of normalcy. I did the best I could to right wrongs I had made...although I could not change them, and the people I hurt forgave me. Yet, I could not forgive myself, and I could not forgive the people that hurt me. I would think about things I did and cringe. I was ashamed and embarrassed.
There have been many times over the last few years as I struggled through a bad period of depression, and felt myself lack motivation and direction in life, that I wondered why? Why did I continue to feel so awful and why could I not pull myself out of the feeling that life just wasn't that enjoyable most of the time? I often let myself wallow in pity for myself, and I can't say it was fun. But even though I had a desire to change, I didn't really want to change. I have gotten better in the last year or so, but not to the point I should be at. And I have come to realize through my reflection, that unless I release my anger, shame and embarrassment, I will never fully get past those things that once happened. I need to forgive myself. I need to forgive the people that hurt me. I need to write a letter to my uncle and move past the hurt that is there. I need to move on and live in the present. The very wonderful present that God has blessed me with...my husband, the baby in my belly, our farm and our families. Yes, the past hurt. It will still hurt at times, but without those experiences, I wouldn't be where I am today. It is time to move on.
5 years is long enough to beat myself up for things that happened. 5 years is long enough to punish others for things they did to me. And starting today, I'm going to make the necessary steps to forgive myself and others. It won't be easy, but I'm going to stop living in the past and move forward.