Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Nothing To Forgive

I posted this song once before. And now again as it's meaning has unfolded and fallen in to itself. Please take a moment to listen to the words before you read this writing.

And so it was that over 2o years has passed and he decided to find his son. My son. I was stunned when a message came to me from a people search called 'My'. The message said, "where and how do I find _______? (I am leaving his name out intentionally). I was really taken back by this 'out of nowhere after decades past, request'!! I called my son. He was quite surprised and then said he needed a few days to think about it. I certainly didn't like at all that his father was searching for him. I maintained a neutral place so my son would not be influenced. I had always told him, that when we created him we loved each other and for a time we loved him together." I never bad mouthed his father after he left us.

A few days later my son called and asked me not to respond and told me that he had no intention of replying to the search and would I just leave it alone. I honored his decision. A few days ago my son called me to tell me that his Father found him on Face Book and that the message and reply went something like this:

"I know it has been a long time. I Lost your mother's phone number 20 years ago and the court said I wasn't allowed near you or your mother back then. I am sure you are angry at me and think I abandoned you. I always loved you. I know from your uncles how well you have done and I am so proud of you. I want you to know how sorry I am and I hope you will forgive me. Your loving father, _____.

My son replied something like this:

In regards to my being angry, I am not angry at you at all because I feel nothing for or about you nor do I hold you to anything. There is nothing to forgive you for either because you didn't leave me, I LEFT YOU!!. You are no more than an abandoned blip on some strangers radar screen. Don't contact me again and certainly don't contact my mother.

My son's words are quite powerful. I must admit that I feel like I won some kind of victory which is odd because after all these years I didn't know I was still at war. My son is very clear that he wants no relationship with his father and blocked him from further contact, via Face Book anyway. And for him, it was done. - Just like that! Done. I am the one carrying some old wounds and resentments for all that never was. I wanted him to say he was sorry for many, many years, and to ask for forgiveness, and truth be told? I feel a sick joy that his request was dismissed - not denied, DISMISSED which empowered my son and dis empowered him in ways that I never could have done. I can't even imagine carrying such a need to be forgiven by my child and when I finally asked to be forgiven that which I was painfully sorry for, for many years - I was invalidated and actually was told it NEVER even existed!!! My pain was for naught. My son, in one line, got right to the crux of it all.

And so the song I posted. I recall when it first came out and the radio announcer said, "if you are driving, pull over because this one is a tear-jerker!!!" I did pull over and I did cry. I cry every time I hear it, and now because a dream I had has ended - in that one line written on one day to a man who has no meaning, "There is nothing to forgive you for, you didn't leave me, I LEFT YOU...." and so it goes, so it goes.................

Love Gail


Val said...

I am gonna a stab at something and say: I bet there will be some people who read this who will assume your son is not REALLY okay, but that he is putting up a front in order to put up a wall and protect himself from hurt.

Here's my take, though: Your son is a strong man, validated in his own sense of self with no need for his sperm donor's approval. And I am betting he meant EVERY SINGLE WORD he said.

No doubt you have raised him in love and truth.

goatman said...

It is sad when things donot work out and time goes on, people change, people look back and see their mistakes and try to correct them -- but usually it is too late. An attempt at connections long lost and not to be re-plugged. I hope he goes on with whatever life he has built for himself after the leaving. I know that your son did.

By the bye, I feel pretty good now, still don't have anything but "degenerative joint disease" to go with; no meds prescribed so I take Vita. D, and search the net for guidance. The pain is a dull ache but is managable and less than others' have to deal with I am sure.

Happy blobbing!!!

Eileen said...

Gail, you might not like what I have to say, but I am afraid that 'sick joy' you say you are experiencing now may not last. That self-satisfied feeling of seeing him 'undone' is most likely fleeting.
I'm not trying to bring you down, bask in it while it lasts, I'm just afraid that soon it will fade and the old unsettling, unsettled feelings will once again arise.
And if that does happen, I want you to see what I see, that you are not about any of those negative feelings.
I see a positive, uplifting, "put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward" person.

I may be speaking out of turn, but speaking from personal experience, I just felt a need to say something. Your experience may be very different from my own, but just in case, keep my comment in mind.
The day that you've thought of probably over and over again in your mind has come and gone, no matter if it played out exactly as what you had in mind (maybe even better) or not, it's done.
And believe it or not, now the hard part begins.
You and your son are in my prayers,

Gail said...

Hi Eileen-

FIrst, your opinion and thoughts are welcome here. Now in regards to the "sick joy"? Fleeting? Yes, absolutely - certainly not a feeling I would want to linger. It only had a brief victorious moment or two. And I don't actually see it as negative either, I earned that moment. But more important? My son earned his right to finally say "ENOUGH!! If you listen to the song again that was my ideal outcome. Until now.

Love to you

Gail said...

Hi Goatman-
Nice to see you. And my son's life is so very full and kind and accomplished. My life is humble and peaceful, content and so loving. He and I are right where we are suppose to be..
I am sorry to hear of your illness. I have M S as you perhaps already know. If you go back a few posts I write of my illness at the five year anniversary of my diagnosis - June 30th.
Love abd peace

Gail said...

Hi Val-
Your words were my fear exactly. ANd you are SO right. His clarity is so amazing and YES, He meant EVERY WORD HE SAID!! Thanks Val, thanks SO much.

Love to you

Margie said...

I have mixed feelings after reading your post & do not want to ramble on about my feelings!
So, I will just say, "I wish much peace to you & your son!

May life bring joy & blessings to both of you!


Gail said...

Hi Marie-

Wow, this post is certainly bringing things "up" in people. My, my, oh my.

My son is very much at peace and beyond those moments of 'odd-sick-joy' I too am at peace. I appreciate your wishes for us both.

Love to you

Bernie said...

Hi Gail, I too have mixed feelings about this.....probably because of a similar experience in my own family.
I hope all works out for all of you and that everyone moves forward in love, compassion and understanding....forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. Many hugs to you my friend.....:-)

Gail said...

Hi Bernie-

Thanks for your wishes.

I am surprised at how this post has affected people.
And just to reiterate - my son didn't believe there was anything to forgive him for - he had already moved on, long ago.

Love Gail

Anne said...

I too have mixed emotions about this. I wish you and your son much peace, happiness, and understanding. We can forgive and forget or we can forgive and not forget.
Hugs to you and your son.

Gail said...

Hi Anne- (Choices)

I really am SO amazed at the 'Mixed feelings" this post is causing. And I don't quite understand -

I was honest about a real situation and folks seem to have turned away. And I am not writing this to you, per se, rather I am just writing.

Love Gail

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

Dearest Gail, I KNOW ... It was 37 years before I faced the father that "left." And in the confront, there was resolve. A renewed glory of SELF, WHOLE, with no shadows to fear. Blessings...

Gail said...




Mark said...

Without a doubt this is a tough situation. It is our ego that wants to feel the vindication of what transpired. Our spirit only knows love and that love pours out for both you son and your son's father for they both are hurting over this. Your son took a stand, and it is understandable, however in the end, I doubt that this is as cut and dry as it seems from your son's words. I am sure that within your son there is feelings that need to be resolved by forgiveness for what has transpired between him and his father. You love you son and that is clear. I also feel the love that you expressed between the lines for your son's father, not talking of romantic love. I am speaking of the love for another being and the empathy that you expressed for how he must now feel. Forgiveness will set both you and your son free. May his father find a way to forgive himself as well.
Blessings of love my friend.

Gail said...

Dear Mark-

Thank you for your kind and loving words to me this day. And yes, I felt for his father too, feelings of love and loss understood - and the song I posted are my sentiments - that in finally speaking they would both be set free. My son took his own road to achieve this, and for today his choice is good as it empowered him in ways never before realized. Again, your words mean a great deal Mark - your kind and real insights are true.

Love to you

Andy said...

Well, Gail, you wanted me to comment and, as my connection is now restored I can do so.

I first read this post when it only had the first one and half or two paragraphs. When I came back to latest version I was, somewhat, shocked at the way it had all turned out. Shocked and a little saddened.

Now, the problem with written English (and I should know this well given the last 3 weeks or month of my life) is that the words written don't always tell the whole story nor can you hear the emotion that's wrapped up with them. And, worse, depending on the frame of mind you're in, can be read in more than one way.

Your son's response, to me, read that he was angry. Very, very angry. The use of capitals says that as there is no way to shout when writing. The question is - was he angry with his father in general, angry that his father contacted you or angry that his father found him on facebook (ah the joy of the internet and people's ability to find someone else if they try hard enough)? The way I read it was that he is angry with his father as the words shouted were 'I left you'.

If that's not what he meant then fair enough. But all I have are the words written to go on.

You took his words differently (and, maybe, you spoke to him too) and I understand your 'sick joy' - after all, you are the one that raised your son, probably with many hardships and sacrifices along the way. Undoubtedly, you have raised him well and he loves you in a way that a son should love his mother. This reaction from him possibly (and please note that I only have the words in the post to go on) gives you some sort of self-justification that you did a good job (but, really, I'm not sure you needed that as you have, obviously, done a good job anyway).

Unfortunately, I don't know what happened to the father in all these years so I don't know if it's genuine or not. And there are some people who say that it's never too late to say you're sorry. I'm not sure that I would behave in a different way to your son having not had contact with my parents for about 20 years but that doesn't make the reaction good and I have pondered what my reaction would be over the years.

When I will say 'no, you're apology counts for nothing because you are not a part of my life, nor have been for all these years' - sure, it will make them feel bad (this is assuming that a) I get an apology in the first place and b) that they can find me to give me the apology) and I will get a certain amount of satisfaction from that - but, deep down, I'm not sure that it will be good for me, in the long run.

So, although I have made this really long comment, at the end it comes down to written English - without a voice, without the emotion, without anything. Only you, he and the father know the truth of it all and what was really meant.

In some ways, the Internet is a really bad place.

Sorry Gail, but you did ask and, perhaps, now you see why I didn't comment before.

lynetteb said...

hi gail, i am new here and linked from tobeme... i don't know how old your son was when his father left. but i imagine that there may be sadness about not having had a father that biologically belonged to him as others did growing up. however, seeing as there has been no relationship for 20 years, i imagine your son spoke truly and from the heart when he says he moved on and let it go.

i do believe that even though full forgiveness is a gift we give to ourselves, there are some things that should not be forgiven. otherwise where do the values and beliefs and standards that speak to how we should relate to one another and treat one another with decency, respect, value, and love come from? there are some violations that we can perhaps release anger over, but that are not possible to forgive.

even God, if you believe in a God (and i do, but not in a formal way), shows righteous anger, punishes for wrong-doing, and yet is all-forgiving if we come back to him (and i present the jewish view).

your insight into your own reaction is lovely -- another step forward in your own letting-go.

best wishes for peace and well-being,

Gail said...

Hello Lynetteb and welcome.
I am thrilled you came by and I am equally if not more thrilled by your well stated, thoughtful, wise and honest comment. Everything you said rings true. Your words about forgiveness touched my heart deeply. I truly appreciate the time you spent in writing this thoughtful and caring comment.
I will find my way over to your blog very soon and please visit again and perhaps peek back and some other posts to get a "feel' for my truth.

Love Gail

Gail said...

Hi ANdy-

I SO appreciate your honest and validating comment to me. First, I must apologize for the use of capitals. He did not use capitals when he wrote to his father, I used them to make "MY" point about how strong a statement I thought that was. It took my breath away. And in that your point about words lacking all the other human elements is well made.

I so appreciate how you shared of your parents and what you would perhaps do were you ti receive an apology. And again, your point is made so well that the internet is a bad place for such dialogue because so much is lost.

I love that you took the time, and I know you are honest, as honest as is possible given the information you have and this forum. I love that you didn't back away. Thanks Andy

Love to you

Mickbic said...


Thanks for sharing this painful story. Both me and my ex-wife have had occasional rough spots with our two daughters, now in their thirties, but usually not the both of us at the same time.

You did remark that the father of your son was restricted some over the years by a court order. In that case the father of your child may have to do some soul searching about how that came about and learn to forgive himself for the kind of man he was.

Thanks for your comment on my blog.


Gail said...

Hi Mick
Thanks you for visiting me and for your true and well intended comment. And yes, there was definite reason why there was a restraining order back then - however, I always had a phone line for him to call - and a visiting schedule - anyway,thanks SO much for your understanding. As you can see folks have had a mixed bag of responses. Such is life, huh?

Love Gail

Wanda..... said...

Life is complicated and outsiders not knowing full details, of the situation cannot help but feel for the father and his pain...the mere fact he reached out is enough reason for our empathy for him as well as you and your son. Pain is pain...right or wrong.

Peace of mind is what we all search for...and we all change with age...We all have our own truth.

Take care Gail,

Gail said...

Hi Wanda-

thank you for your words that touch on all sides of this sensitive matter. I keep asking folks to listen to the words in the song because it speaks of my heart. ANd yet, when ny son's words took my breath away I was stunned, gratified, sad and oddly joyous all at once. You are right, life is complicated and pain is pain.

peace and live

Bernie said...

Gail, I feel I have let you down with my response, from the bottom of my heart I didn't mean too. When I spoke of forgiveness as a gift one gives themself, I was speaking of your son's father. One can forgive by oneself but it takes two to have a relationship. Your son has chosen not to have relations with his father and that's okay, he has his reasons, his father is obviously trying to work on forgiving himself by asking for your son's forgiveness, and that's okay. I loved the song, it brought tears to my eyes....Gail, it is not important to me to be right but it is important for me to do the right thing which I thought I had in my response but if by doing so, I hurt you I am sorry.
This is a place where you should be able to share your heart, as we all share ours....sometimes we are not always on the same page but always there has to be respect for each other and their feelings.
My son passed away 5 years after his dad passed, he was never able to accept his dad's death as they had some rough roads in their relationship so perhaps I associated to closely with my own situation.
Have a good weekend my friend....I want you healthy and happy...Hugs

Gail said...

Hi Bernie-

"Thank you" SO much for your writing to me again and sharing with me more intimately. It means SO much to me. I did feel badly, like somehow I was being judged in some way that some folks decided not to respond to because they didn't agree or whatever. I felt uncomfortable because this is such an important issue and I needed to share honestly. I love everything you just wrote to me and I understand so much better now what you meant and why.
Love to you Bernie