Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Et Tu, Brute? Relationship Loss After the Death of My Daughter

In 1999 I thought I had learned a lesson in betrayal and what it meant to kick a person while they were down. We had a house fire and lost almost every possession we had accumulated in our 17-year marriage, which meant our two teenage girls lost their most prized possessions, as well. Did I mention it was 15 days before Christmas? Goodwill, sympathy and offers to help poured in from family and our church. Not so much from my job.

Our fire happened on a Friday and when I wasn't able to go to work on Tuesday, I got a call from the lead attorney at the firm I worked for informing me I was fired for not showing up, even though I had been in contact with another partner over the weekend who advised me to take what time I needed. It took me a very long time to let go of the hurt and anger that caused because it just felt like a kick to the gut when I'd already been kicked in the head and still couldn't think clearly. Until now, that had always been a defining moment for me in terms of my idea of being kicked while down. Until now.

Relationships, especially family, have always been a priority for me. After my daughter died, I felt supported and loved by family and I gave as much support and love as I had within me to others who were also mourning her death. This summer, however, I learned a very difficult lesson about how sometimes your best just isn't good enough for some people. A relationship that I had fostered and treasured for 16 years was unilaterally dismissed. I had no say in the matter. I was simply told that he was moving on, had no place for me in his life anymore and, just in case I didn't understand his position clearly enough, he inflicted some financial cruelties on me. The irony is that he was able to do this because I trusted him. More importantly, my daughter loved and trusted him.

Devastation. The death of a relationship that was so important to me. I was in a tailspin and spent the next few weeks learning the true depth of the betrayal. I had a daily cocktail of embarrassment, hurt and anger. My mama bear instincts did not die with my daughter and they were at DEFCON 1 now. How dare he sully the beautiful memory and honor of my daughter? How dare he inflict more pain on my still-fragile heart? How dare he . . . ? Cowardice and selfishness. That's all I can come up with.

Rick Warren wrote a fantastic blog entitled Live At Peace - As Far As It Depends On You and hit the nail on the head.

The Bible says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). Notice the two qualifiers in this verse. First, it says “if” it is possible, not “it is.” Second, it says “as far as it depends on you.”

I will not allow myself to spend one more minute as an emotional hostage. If I can get through the death of my precious daughter, I can handle anything, and the cowardice and selfishness of one person is dust under my feet.

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