When your past comes back to haunt you

This weekend I traveled out of state to my Grandmother’s funeral.  It was a chance to say goodbye to a loving, wonderful woman who accepted me with all my faults and loved me with all her heart.  It also afforded me the opportunity to connect with extended family that I haven’t seen in many years.  I was looking forward to this trip with both anticipation and trepidation.

Within my extended family is a person who harmed me in the past and in 40+ years, I have worked overcome the damage that was done to me and to forgive this person.  I have struggled with anger, regret, sorrow, and fear in relation to this family member.  For the past 20 odd years, I have come to the place where ignoring this person’s existence has been the most successful way of coping with the other emotions tied up in this relationship.  However, this past weekend, I was forced to once again acknowledge this person’s presence in my life.  Needless to say, I didn’t handle it well.

My therapist would be appalled that years of therapy went flushing down the drain as I fought with my emotions and my reactions this weekend.  Where I thought I had finally found healing and acceptance of my past, I instead found an old wound still open and festering.  Though admittedly much less encompassing than this wound has been in my past, it was still sufficient enough to throw me emotionally off-balance.  My husband made note that something about me was “off” all weekend.

I battled for three days with fears that I would have sworn were conquered and no longer had control of me.  My anger was close to the surface as were my tears.  And the underlying sense of helplessness that I felt, insured that I slept poorly for the two nights I was on this trip. Obviously, I still have a lot of healing to do and a lot of forgiving as well.  I thought that I was well beyond this point but sadly I am not.  I can only assume that this is God’s way of showing me where I still have some work to do on myself.

I see where I need to improve and especially, I can see where I have yet to learn to forgive the actions of one who has caused me harm.  I keep telling myself that I am not judge or jury and that if I do not wish to be judged, I cannot be hypocritical and judge others.  Right now, these are hollow platitudes.  As I once again find safety and security within the walls of my home, surrounded by my children and my husband, I hope those words will begin to gain more substance in my own life.  But for this moment, at this space in time, I am thrown back into my past where all I feel is helpless, vulnerable, and incredibly alone.

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