Asked & Answered

Stepping back to a time of animosity, hurt or discord is truly not how you want to remember the last days you have. How many times have you prayed for acceptance of the things you cannot change? Until this moment, you had it. Do not let it go.”

When any relationship ends, a propensity to go over every detail of every interaction in its minutia rears its head. In it, emotions cascade from satisfaction to disappointment and from understanding to anger. To what end?


wedding cakeWhen you were together, all of these things were less important than the moment. Every once in a while you may have taken a moment or seven to think about being slighted by inconsiderate or unkind words, infidelities or massive disruption of what you believed Mate’s character comprised. You shrugged them off or pouted for weeks. Either way, the feelings subsided.

When Mate was doing something inordinately thoughtful for you, your sheepish smile hide a mountain of guilt for some egregious sin against your relationship you had committed. Rather than sully the beautiful or romantic moment, you tucked that feeling away firm in your belief you would come clean and ask to be forgiven. That moment never came.


chinese anger symbol


When absent to answer for crimes you are convinced Mate committed, the frustration is phenomenal. You want to scream at Mate for this injustice or some other and demand an explanation to your satisfaction. You want Mate to beg for forgiveness and agree to months of penance. Better still, you want Mate to suffer at a minimum as much as you did.

How do you sleep at night knowing Mate will never know your side of the story? You want to have Mate hold you close so you can confess and look with sincerity into loving eyes when you ask to be forgiven. Magnanimous Mate then waves away the hurt and the guilt, to say you are worth holding onto forever.

Guess what?

It is not coming. Neither you nor Mate can be forgiving of any past indiscretions or indignation. You have to stop and ask yourself, Why now?


Are you one who can quote the Serenity Prayer? Think about the line for acceptance.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.”

Before Mate was gone, you had it. It may not have taken the form you desire for it now. The stark reality is once Mate is gone, there is no chance you are going to change the level of serenity you have without accepting you cannot change the past.

How long did you live with it? Before today, it was a white elephant you were perfectly willing and capable to walk around in the living room or bedroom.


The reason you want to have some closure for things held closed with a bandage (or silence) now is because you regret not having done something before the chance was gone. You played the odds the perfect moment would come where you could smooth it all out, and everything would be as idyllic as it was before the cataclysm (or secret avalanche).


Haunting of past misdeeds, be they yours or Mate’s, are a reality. The only way to lay the ghosts to rest is to reassert serenity. If you feel like you cannot accomplish this without words, write them. Put the letter in your treasure box. Go to the cemetery and read them.

Either way, once you are finished, take back the serenity you always had.


Have you ever wanted different closure? Did you realize you had serenity before? What is the far better solution than going this path?

Thank you for joining me on April’s stop on the Widowed Blog Hop. Stop by to see the amazing things the others on the hop have prepared for you today. Being widowed is not the end of the world; it is the beginning of a new world.

The opening passage is a quote from Killing Us Softly. You can pick up your copy of KUS today.

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  1. Forgiveness is not a suggestion…it is a command, Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us. We can only ask to be forgiven…have can make a choice to forgive.
    Bo Lumpkin recently posted..Things ChangeMy Profile

    • That is a choice, Bo. Not everyone believes it. Less than a third of the world believes it is a commandment. Indeed, it is a choice.

  2. I found myself reading through this, becoming overwhelmed with..sadness and wanting to shed a tear or two.. ok i did.. my situation is different but the chance to have the answers is probably gone more from waste of memory but death will follow if not soon then sooner than I would be able to ever hear the clearly spoken words.. Overall I have forgiven but I am still angry somedays and hurt and somedays I am completely floored..still. Some may say that is not true forgiveness – but it is as much as I can or am willing to forgive – some of it not, unless I want to say oh its ok..forgiveable but most days I have accepted the way things are.. not why.. but some days I rage and cry and think.. if I just knew the truth of some things … I would have the serenity all the time… Grant me patience Lord..but hurry!? I think patience is a strength and comes from within.. not granted by God.. I do not blame God for my misfortune why think he is the reason I have strength… and I don;t mean that in a derogatory way.. to each his own.. I believe my own way and maybe it is a higher power.. but.. I dunno..or whether I will be more accepting or more angry in the end… its hard to say… and to think about…
    Much Love..these posts.. they always get me all soft ..
    ♥ Lizzie
    Lizzie Cracked recently posted..A-Z Challenge; C is for Comfort FoodMy Profile

    • Liz, I do not think there is a lot of difference between the Mate who is dead physically and the one who is dead either mentally or emotionally. Although this post does address the Mate who dies, there is equally no return from the Mate who cannot conceptualize participation, exacerbation or precipitation of the chaos or the Mate who cannot form the empathy to see how actions and inaction lead to the hurt.

      I know these speak to you. This one in particular was difficult for me to write, as I have experienced all three.
      Much love ♥ xxx

  3. Given I do not believe in the traditional forms of forgiveness, certainly not as a commandment I read this and considered serenity its personal nature.

    Do we easily forgive?
    Do we live with trespass?
    Do we find serenity within our relationships without discussion or our needs?

    I know I do not easily turn a blind eye to real hurt, but do easily let small stuff go. This one made me consider what is worth fighting for and whether it is myself or ‘us’.
    Valentine Logar recently posted..DOMA DammitMy Profile

    • I think more do find serenity without discussion or needs being met than will ever admit it. Bear in mind, silence is not always acquiescence. I believe it is the fallacy of many generations: The silent agree. In many cases, the silent are tired of screaming for better. xxx

  4. I have tried to put in to words what you just said in this post. I did walk around with some unanswered questions and some things that I did not get a chance to share with my spouse. I was filled with this for so long that I could not sleep at times. The fact that you share the serenty prayer is a perfect way to describe how you need to get through it. Samantha

    • Samantha, serenity is something we should all seek; however, I believe it should not be the first line of the mantra. Instead, I find courage and strength far more uplifting than acceptance. Glad to see you.

  5. Ultimately you’re the one who has to live with it, what you have done, or what was done to you. It’s certainly better if you can find some sort of closure or acceptance of it. But it certainly isn’t easy.
    Binky recently posted..Honest FashionMy Profile

    • I think the best solution is not to be looking for closure, but to be in a healthy relationship which does not harbor those things which require acceptance after the fact. Then again, I prefer proactive to reactive. It truly is easier. Call me lazy if you must.

  6. Red, this is so apropos for me right now… Like Liz, it’s hasn’t been a physical death situation, but certainly an emotional one. It is so easy to assume during the stage of a relationship when all is wonderful that, like yourself, Mate is “who he says he is” — embodying a baseline of integrity and values that do not change. Even in the face of anger. Even in the face of hurt. But to discover that this isn’t true, whether due to a narcissistic disorder or some other diagnosable thing (dissociation comes to mind), is devastating. Knowing that the last communication (letter) is only how surprised and disappointed I am… never hearing an exchange of love, or thanks for the memories, or I’ll always care about you. Because to have a conversation with End of Relationship Guy (a stranger) is like taking a deaf person to a concert… maybe he’ll hear a few vibrations, but that’s it. Still baffled over where Beginning of Relationship Guy went. 🙁

    • Terrific analogy, Laura. It really is useless. The transformation of Mate into someone else is as definitive as death. Although the body remains, it is housing a different person. In some ways, it can be more difficult. There is not a finite end, a point in time where you can say, “It was over on Thursday, at 1145.”

      Glad to see you today, Laura. xxx

  7. Thoughtful post Red.
    I know there is a 50% chance of my greenness in the area of widower/widowhood becoming eradicated, as I learn to deal with the harsh reality of ‘the true divorce’…
    I bow to your obvious knowledge and probable unwanted experience in this area and will be purchasing your book soon.

    As you’ve mentioned, there is an obvious difference in dealing with physical death and the emotional death of a person.
    Mistakes of the past just have to be laid to rest with the former but the latter at least offers you the hope of entering some sort of dialogue, whatever the outcome.

    I have been on the receiving end of forgiveness for wrongs in a relationship as well as having to forgive others.
    I’m a great believer in the fact that the most compassionate, merciful and forgiving people are the ones who acknowledge and accept that they have been forgiven of a great deal themselves.

    As with most people in long-term relationships, Lois and I have been through enough highs and lows to realise full disclosure makes for a more secure and stronger relationship.
    Obviously, to get to that stage requires a lot of trust, strength, composure and forgiveness to be able to bear the ‘naked truth’.
    Some would rather live in partial ignorance, I understand that…but we personally, don’t want to have regrets, thinking of what we woulda, coulda, shoulda have said or done.
    So we air our thoughts, no matter how challenging and we learn to listen carefully to each other in order to gain a greater understanding.
    I have personally found, the more open, honest and forgiving I am, the less room for any whispering negativity to encroach on my relationship.
    Phil recently posted..Matrimonial TestimonialsMy Profile

    • In some cases, the possibility does still exist. With two of the cases you are seeing discussed here, the person who was in the relationship no longer exists. Mental illness can be brutal to a relationship. I have seen long term marriages dissolve or be destroyed because the person the spouse married ceases to exist. It is not a matter of coping with growing up or away from one another.

      I have never been one to live in any state of ignorance. I much prefer to know. It makes the eventual fallout easier to clean.

      Glad to see you back, Phil.

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