They tell us to “forgive and forget.” It’s one of the most easily tossed around pieces of advice to ever be spoken.
But what if you…can’t?
I’ve seemed to do just fine with the “forget” part. How does that work though? If I’ve forgotten about you, then surely I’ve forgiven you at some point, right? Yet that isn’t the case with this. Not with you.
Sometimes, I almost believe you never really existed. Like I imagined this entire part of our lives we had together, as if it were just one of dozens of fiction books I love to take in. Almost like a long and drawn out dream that I finally woke up from. You rarely cross my mind in my day to day interactions, because time is merciful and great at slowly removing details of the past from memory.
So why can’t I forgive you, entirely? I forgave you for a lot of things, you know. I forgave you for breaking my heart. I forgave you for wanting me to change. I forgave you for a lot of things you probably don’t know, not because you needed forgiveness, but because I didn’t want my heart to be bitter towards you. The things that happened between us were an isolated event. They really didn’t affect anyone else and they wouldn’t follow me once I moved on.
Yet the one thing I can’t seem to forgive is the one thing that still follows me around.
You showed me what it was like to watch someone fall out of love with you.
People fall in love every day. They also break up, grow apart, make different choices…but it’s rare that you really get a true glimpse of what it’s like to watch the person you love so strongly, so honestly, and so deeply love you a little less every day, until you can’t find a trace of it anymore. What starts as grievances brought to your attention, turn to constant complaints. What starts as not receiving “Good morning beautiful” text messages turn into barely having a conversation. When you don’t hear the love of your life tell you that you’re beautiful or special to him anymore, when you took for granted him saying it almost every day.
I watched as eyes that once lit up when they saw me dimmed and flickered out. As the voice that used to hold so much emotion and kindness uttered the words “I just don’t know how I feel about you anymore.” It was the most devastating feeling in the world because I was trying. Oh how I was trying for months, to no avail.
Watching something like that take place before you is a unique kind of pain. And it trailed into my other attempts at relationships. Now that I had seen this happen once, I knew it was always possible. Anytime I went a day without hearing from someone, I wondered if this was the end of his interest. When I had a fight with another, I was devastated because I was so certain that this would be the day I would remember as the beginning of the downfall.
You followed me and you didn’t even realize it.
It’s a work in progress. Yet I know it’s going to happen. You won’t know it, nor will it affect you in any way. Yet, we are taught that forgiveness sets you free. That even if the person doesn’t deserve it, forgive them anyway, because you’re only hurting yourself if you don’t. That forgiveness is the only way to truly be free from the past and to move forward.
So this forgiveness isn’t for you. It’s for me. It’s for any person I choose to love. It’s for my future children who are going to learn how to forgive if it’s the only thing I teach them in this life.
Because your actions aren’t worth remembering. They deserve to be forgotten, and the space used for something better. So I’ll start by saying this.
I will forgive you. I may not yet, but I will.