The Power of Forgiveness

February 9, 2012

in Guests


It can be the most difficult thing to give another person, but it can be the most liberating. Forgiveness can bring about an inner peace for the one forgiving.

When I asked Kimberly of Rubber Chicken Madness to guest write for me, I let her choose any Thursday in the upcoming two months, but explained that today would have to be on the topic of relationships. She decided to write today, choosing to share an open letter to her ex husband.

What I hope for Kimberly is that the act of writing and sharing makes today a little brighter for her. I am confident she will feel a weight lifted and increasingly happier with each passing day. Sometimes one has to dig deep inside to find the ability to forgive, but it is a rewarding experience.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ~Lewis B. Smedes

Read Kimberly’s letter and congratulate her on this big step towards freedom and inner peace. Then go visit her blog, follow her on Twitter, stalk her on Google+, and like her on Facebook. I do (yes, even the stalking part!) and you should too.


An Open Letter of Forgiveness to my Former Husband

Dear Former Husband ~

A lot of water has flowed under the bridge over the past twenty years. While I’d like to think that by being angry with you and keeping you at arms length, I can keep you from affecting my day-to-day world. What I’m actually discovering is that holding on to my anger in regards to you holds me back from my best life.

I keep thinking that time and distance will reduce the bitterness. It does not.

I have grieved because I didn’t have a fully-supportive, collaborative marriage, in which we raised the two children we have and maybe added one more.

I resent the fact that I’ve raised our kids without your help. And, quite honestly, I deeply resent the fact that now that most of the hard work is done, you’re ready to be a part of their lives again. Somehow you come out looking like a rock star, when you’ve done very little of their character building.

But all this grief and resentment isn’t good for me. And it certainly isn’t good for our children.

So, it’s time to let go of all of that anger and all the animosity. It’s time to find a way to forgive. It’s time for me to acknowledge my own part in our failed marriage.

We were doomed from the start. Would we have married if I hadn’t pushed the issue? I don’t think so. I was so focused on the perfect wedding that I failed to see the train wreck of a marriage just ahead.

We had issues early on in our marriage with the serious issues not dealt with before our walk down the aisle.

But we had made a commitment. We tried to honor it. In the end, it was not possible to hold on another minute.

Did we love each other?

Yes, in some ways we did, but did we have a firm foundation of common bricks on which to build a life together?

Sadly, no.

But from our union came two of the best, most amazing kids. So, although WE didn’t work as a partnership, our genetics collaborated fabulously. And for that, I’m forever grateful.

While it needs to be clear that I will not ever want to try to put our marriage back together, I am tired of being so angry. I am tired of carrying the animosity.
I want to release the anger. I want to be able to interact in a genuinely civil manner for the well-being of our children.

I want to be at peace.

So, with my heart full of gratitude for the life we did have, which gave me the best parts of myself in our children, I thank you for giving me the best that you had at the time.

I forgive you for not being able to be what I wanted you to be.

More importantly, I forgive myself for wanting us to be what we could not.

And now I am free.

Your Former Wife

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Brett Minor February 9, 2012 at 10:02 am

Very touching and she is right, it is liberating. It took me a couple of years before letting go of the hurt from my wife who cheated repeatedly. Once I let it go, then my life was able to move forward.
Brett Minor recently posted..Stuntman Training Accidents #1My Profile


Naked Girl in a Dress February 9, 2012 at 11:52 am

Such true words Brett. Moving forward is possible once you let go of the past.


Random Girl February 9, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Wow, this had me breathing a long sigh of relief at the end. I could feel how this was just freeing her thoughts and her heart from the situation, really beautiful!
Random Girl recently posted..Another Vegas Weekend DeconstructedMy Profile


Kimberly at Rubber Chicken Madness February 10, 2012 at 6:56 pm

I breathed a sigh too! Just as soon as I sent it to Kelly. I hope I can hold on to that feeling…even when the old issues come back to the surface.
Kimberly at Rubber Chicken Madness recently posted..Ten Years Ago Today (Give or take a week)My Profile


Naked Girl in a Dress February 13, 2012 at 10:24 am

I felt honored Kimberly chose to share the letter here.


Kimberly at Rubber Chicken Madness February 9, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Wow. Seeing my words in black and white make them even MORE real than just writing them in the comfort of my office.

Writing them is the beginning, fully embracing them is the task ahead.

But I’m open to it. I’m ready for it.

And those are the two most important prerequisites.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share this important letter.
Kimberly at Rubber Chicken Madness recently posted..Ten Years Ago Today (Give or take a week)My Profile


Naked Girl in a Dress February 13, 2012 at 10:25 am

I am so happy I could provide the space for you to share the letter. You are on the road to an even happier life than you already have with your special friends and two fabulous boys!


David February 10, 2012 at 8:32 am

Thanks so much for sharing this. It looks like you have given yourself the antidote to bitterness. Be well and enjoy the day.


Naked Girl in a Dress February 10, 2012 at 8:51 am

Enjoy your day David and thanks for stopping by!


yvonne@attractedtoshinythings February 10, 2012 at 10:52 am

This was beautifully written and very powerful. The anniversary of my ex-husband’s death is coming up soon, and I’ve been dreading it, because April is filled with memories. April 4th – The day he proposed to me. A year later on April 6th – Our wedding day. April 8th – the beginning of our fabulous honeymoon in Jamaica. April 10th of last year – the last time I ever saw him alive. April 15th – the day I stood outside of the door to his apartment and fought the urge to knock on the door for at least 10 minutes, because I knew he’d relapsed and I wanted to “rescue” him. I ended up walking away, and texting him that he needed to call his sponsor. That was the last time my daughter ever heard from him. April 17th, a day burned into my memory, the day I went to his apartment, because I just had a bad feeling. He was dead. The police and coroner arrived and it’s all just a blur. Three hours later I returned home with his elderly cat (my kids were at a neighbor’s), and I had to look my children in the face ( 8 and 11) and tell them Daddy was dead. April 21st- the day we buried him. April 22nd -the day his sister and her husband snuck down to Peoria and removed every single thing from his apartment, including my childrens’ toys they had left there to play with. April 23rd – The day I found out what they had done, and I had to tell my children all of Daddy’s things were gone. That same night, my angry, grief-stricken daughter got on facebook and wrote on her aunt’s wall, calling her a liar and a thieving pig. April 24th – we found that my daughter’s aunt had unfriended my 11 year old daughter and blocked her. (I got everything back, fyi. I had my attorney remind their attorney that they’d committed theft, since Ira’s children were his heirs).

Wow, I definitely got off topic, sorry. Excellent post.


Naked Girl in a Dress February 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Thank you for opening up and sharing this. It is such a difficult thing to keep track of the anniversary dates of the difficult events; I do this too. I find I am taking a pulse on my life: this time last year XX happened. What was my emotional state then? How do I feel now?

Sometimes when I look back, I am happy with what I see; I am stronger a year later or I am happier.

I know it must be raw–what happened less than a year ago. When April arrives, be kind to yourself and allow whatever you feel to come forward.


Kimberly at Rubber Chicken Madness February 10, 2012 at 7:00 pm

I cannot imagine that kind of pain. My heart breaks for you. Truly. But I have the sense that you’re stronger than you know.
Kimberly at Rubber Chicken Madness recently posted..Ten Years Ago Today (Give or take a week)My Profile


Kindred Adventures February 12, 2012 at 10:35 pm

That was more beautiful then I could have imagined. You have a beautiful voice and your writing has an amazing flow and pace. This is such a beautiful letter. Your strength to let go and move forward leaves me in awe. I am so happy for this moment and hope it offers you the forgiveness you seek. You are one amazing woman!! MWAH -LV
Kindred Adventures recently posted..I Hate YouMy Profile


Naked Girl in a Dress February 13, 2012 at 10:28 am

Kimberly is a beautiful person. I am so happy she shared her letter here and that she is finding greater peace and happiness as a result.


XLMIC February 14, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Forgiveness is beyond liberating. I once heard that “failure to forgive is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” You have taken antivenom in writing this letter. Some might not really understand the power of forgiveness, but now you do :)

Many hugs and heart-felt wishes with your healing :)
XLMIC recently posted..To run with my son…and other stuff…My Profile


Ado February 14, 2012 at 9:48 pm

They say that a resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die from it. Sounds like from this post you know that and have let the resentment go – you are so lucky. I have witnessed several people not let it go and the bitterness has consumed them. You are so very wise.
Ado recently posted..The Greatest Love of AllMy Profile


Naked Girl in a Dress February 15, 2012 at 8:21 am

Bitterness and resentment really does destroy the person harboring the feelings; I completely agree.


Sarcasm Goddess February 15, 2012 at 12:46 am

I applaud and congratulate Kimberly for taking steps toward forgiveness. It is not an easy thing to do, especially when the person you are forgiving has disappointed you and hurt you so deeply. I hope this letter helps her find peace and I am confident that her bravery in sharing this is helping others to take their own steps toward forgiveness.


Naked Girl in a Dress February 15, 2012 at 8:17 am

Her letter is a powerful reminder to others to free themselves through the act of forgiveness. I am happy Kimberly chose to share this here.


Alison@Mama Wants This February 15, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Kimberly, I know this could not have been easy to write so I’m really proud of you for sharing this. I hope this first step sets you on your path to the life you absolutely deserve.
Alison@Mama Wants This recently posted..LostMy Profile


Lenore Diane February 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Good for you, Kimberly. Congratulations on tapping into forgiveness. It is not easy. May you feel stronger as a result of ‘letting go’.
Lenore Diane recently posted..Project 366: Day 47My Profile


Jennifer February 16, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Kimberly, What an amazing letter. I love that you can focus on the positive thing that came out of your marriage–those fantastic children. I hope that this forgiveness will set you free!
Jennifer recently posted..Denial, It’s Not A River In EgyptMy Profile


Nadia March 10, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Kimberly- Thank you for this! Very well written :)

Yvonne, I am left dumbfounded! Oh my God, the things you’ve been through! Phew! But you are strong and can make it through this :) Sending you lots of love and good vibes :)


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