Saturday, October 16, 2010

30 days: self forgiveness

Something you have to forgive yourself for.

2002. Chengdu, Sichuan, China.

2002. Rural Sichuan, China. Rice Harvest.

OK, I'm already struggling with this a bit. I'm not too into public self-recrimination. I was raised to have as one of my core values that we speak directly with our Creator, and so do not offer confession to other people. It does defy some of my blogging, but I think processing is different from confessing.

I guess Day One was so obvious to me - this thing I really find terribly uncomfortable about being myself on a daily basis. I feel largely NOT in control of it. But now... something I have to forgive myself for? It's such a large response, so laden with history, and hopes lost, disappointments and shame. Put this in a blog post?

2006. Rural Sichuan. My father and mother-in-law.

There's something you might not realize when you first get married. In fact, you may never know it with great consciousness unless you find yourself at the end of that marriage; that is, when you marry someone, it is a bond of much more than two individuals. When the marriage ends, there is a great deal more lost than the already hugely significant relationship of those two people.

When D and I met in 2000, we were in his homeland of China. We lived there for two years before coming to the US - and actually, we never intended to stay here for as long as we did. While we were living in China, I grew attached to his parents, his sisters, and especially their children. There are three gorgeous children I met when they were wee things, and I will never see them again. They called me "Niang-Niang" - auntie - they trusted me, and I love them. They are lost to me. D's parents - I'm certain that both he and I ended up being a disappointment to them. Not only for the grandchildren I failed to bear while we were married, but for our weakness - our inability to weather the challenges of life and marriage as a unit.

2002, with my sisters-in-law, my nephew and niece.

2006, with my beautiful niece Ting-ting -
the same critter who is pouting something fierce in the first photo.

Certainly the dissolution of a marriage is not the fault of one person. Our marriage's failure is not something I masterminded. I am sad for mistakes I made, but I am wise enough, and take myself account often enough, to understand that these mistakes were unintentional, and were made trying to do the right thing. Who really cares who's fault it was anyway? But I did fail, and we did lose the family we tried to create, and to that whole family that was once mine... it is for those things that I need to find self-forgiveness. Should I do more to remain a part of these children's lives? I don't feel like I really can.

Thinking about it, though, I'm not sure that it's forgiveness I am needing, as much as time to heal from the loss. Such a sadness. The life I have since created is the one I always wanted, so it's not often I open the grief of what broke along the way.


Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.


  1. Oh mama. this is a tough one. I'm sorry for the family and love you lost. Thank you for sharing this with us. <3

  2. I'm speechless right now. I wish I could say why, but I cant find the words. I appreciate, more then you have any idea, that you shared this. I truly hope you're able to find that place where you can forgive yourself. Big, huge love coming to you from me C.

  3. C, I'm sorry for this loss... you're wise to name it and let it move through you, to process it. You're such a loving person and it makes sense that you stop to wonder, to remember, and I would guess they do the same... I can't imagine anyone who knew you could forget the light you bring. Lots of love & support from across the miles.

  4. I'm so sorry for your loss. You're right, it wasn't your fault, it just happened. But it affected you and others profoundly. The others are healing, as you are.

  5. Wow. This is really powerful. I found your blog a little while back and I've been following it a bit because I too suffered infertility, a divorce, and am now raising twins by myself (also from MA). I am also divorced from someone who is Chinese (I'm not). A lot of what you say in here really resonates with me. I appreciate your honesty.