I once knew a woman we will call her Ruth. She was grey haired with a meek disposition. Ruth was in her mid seventies when her husband passed away, Her husband battled heart issues beginning at the young age of 35 when he had his first heart attack. He lived into his seventies which was longer than some family members expected because of the health struggles he did have. Ruth’s husband was the breadwinner and took care of finances. A year before his death he took his lovely wife on an extravagant cruise of a lifetime.
A year later he got sick and eventually the choice had to be made to remove him from life support. In the wake of his death Ruth came to realize that despite the comfortable life they led he had left her nothing.There was no life insurance no savings and now he was gone. She was left blindsided and alone. She felt betrayed and was left wondering what else he may have been less than honest about.
This is just one example where someone has been hurt by someone in life and may struggle to process their grief after their death. There are many ways that a person could have been hurt. In the story above the women did not fully realize the hurt and betrayal until after her husband’s death. For others they spend a lifetime being hurt by the person. A spouse who was physically or mentally abusive, a mother who never was able to give that love that mothers should have for their children, or even someone who got sick and could no longer take care of themselves and entirely changed as a person. These are just a few of the endless ways that a person could have been hurt by a person. When someone who hurt you dies it can be mix of emotions. It may be hard to pinpoint how you really feel. There may even be relief when they are gone. Feeling relief in the wake of someone’s death can create feelings of guilt and even anger. Often at funerals or memorial services we highlight all the great things about a person and reminisce on all they ways they loved us and the way that we love them. What if they were not so great? Even worse what if they looked great to everyone else but they really hurt you. How can we grieve someone when we are not sure that we are sad they are gone.
It is important to give yourself to permission to feel the loss and sadness because they are gone. In many cases you did love them. You wanted them to change but they never did. It is also important to process that anger you may still feel toward them.
Forgiveness is key. It is often said that forgiveness does not really have to be for the other person. It really is for our own peace. Especially after the person has passed on. There is no longer the opportunity for conversation and for the person that hurt you to ask for forgiveness. It takes a strong person to forgive someone who never asked for it, but it can allow room for peace in your heart. Maybe after their death you can reflect on their life and think: often hurt people, hurt people. It is not fair and you did not deserve the pain they put you through, but to reconcile our own pain we must often recognize their pain. Forgiveness is not to say that it was ok but to say that you want to move on from it. You want to release that bondage they gave you and move on to a healthier place.
Thank you for this article. My father just died. We never had a close relationship. He was not a good dad, and we lost touch cor decades. I didn’t want to have anything to do with him, until this year when someone contacted me that he was already very sick. A week before he died, we talked on the phone for a few minutes. That was the first time we talked for more than 25 years… and the last… I have been crying so hard… hurt and sad…because I wish things were better between us. I wish I had a loving father…I wish…
I happen to be a college student. My professor told us this story the other day. He was never all that close with his father. He did not speak to his father for the last 25 years of the dad’s life. When his father died, he wasn’t even sad.
I wish J saw this before, as I went through the same. That is exactly what I went through when my father died. I migrated to be as far away as possible after mum died. When he died I cried not because I lost him but because I started wishing if only my relationship with my father was better,. Years later I visited my country again and as I was not at his funeral the first thing I wanted to visit his grave. The only reason was not to pay my respect but to make sure he was 6 foot under. After that when I went back I started to heal but I still get the few days when the past come back to me
Thank you. Today, I found out that a man who was like a father to me died. He hurt me deeply 5-6 years ago and I cut off contact for my own health. Despite having a cancer diagnosis, he never reached out. Narcissists never like to grant closure.
Your article tells me my instincts are correct and indeed I was already most of the way there.
My ex fiance died six months ago in a farm accident he was living on his friends farm and working there spring and fall seasons when off his semi i had to get our car back when we were together my name is on the car title I had to go where he died and get my car back. About five and a half months later a ex friend of mine had a baby girl she looks identical to my ex fiance james I found out she and him were being together and he fathered her child anna no one told me as I discovered this my own self. After her daughter was born the baby her features started to remind me of someone I put a photo of her him and his sons all match up pretty clear he’s the dad. He was very narcissistic James and abusive to me I’m glad I never married him I’m trying to forgive him her and I know its not the poor innocent baby child’s fault. I’m praying I can find the strength to let it all go and forgive him.
My best friend was my safe haven, my hero, my protector… or so i thought. When he died i learned that in addition to the thousands of dollars i freely gave him, he cleaned out my savings over a period of years and i unwittingly bankrolled a severe alcohol and shopping addiction. He was a liar and a thief who lived off of me, his mother and his ex and never bothered to pay a bill — he leaves me without my savings and with a ton of debt i did not create. Everyone loved him but nobody knew him for the bum he was. I can’t tell anyone and it makes me sick how people sing his praises after what he has done to me. He betrayed me on so many levels. I grieve someone who wasn’t real and i hate who he really was. How can i ever forgive him?
I fought my child’s father Looking at child porn 4mo into my pregnancy, and again 2months post partum, then I found undeniable evidence he had been using crack coaxing, and then I found out he had molested 13 people in his youth. I immediately flipped on him, he was only allowed supervised visitations, he never acknowledged these things he just said my fear and anxiety was changing me. Then he came between my best friend and I and we haven’t been the same since. I’m so angry he wouldn’t get help. I’m so angry he wouldn’t be honest. I’m so angry everyone thinks he has been sober for 4 years, and that they all believed him when he said I was confused and post partum. I’m relieved he is dead for my daughters safety, but I mourn for the man I fell in love with up until my Fourth month of pregnancy. My family and I could have lloved him, we could have helped him. It’s just so difficult.
Thanks. My eldest sister recently passed away after a long illness. She treated me very badly and I have found it vary difficult knowing how I should feel. We did used to be friends, but then she betrayed me behind my back. She broke my heart and then proceeded to post vile comments about me on social media and my family. Now she is gone, I find it difficult to express my feelings. I’m sad, then angry, then unfeeling. I need to forgive.
I’m sorry 🙏, I know how that feels. I lost a boyfriend 5 months ago, he was a cheater, a narcissist, didn’t care about anyone else but himself, abused me emotionally. He died in a car accident, now i dont even know how I feel, I’m angry, hurt, sad because he died. I don’t even know where to direct my anger and feelings to.
I lost my boyfriend of 5 years to a drug overdose 3 weeks ago. I found out after he passed he lied the whole relationship. He cheated, stole, lied to me about me, He was using crack and meth. He was very controlling narcissistic and very much gaslighted me often. I’m having a very hard time letting go of the anger and hurt I have for him! I can’t emphasize how much I hate this person now! It makes me feel so bad because I once loved him or who I thought he was.
I was with in a three year relationship, I was cheated on lied to he used gaslighting and hurt me physically and mentally he suffered addiction he was an alcoholic and used Heroin he never wanted to admit he did awful things to me but I’m a empath always thinking just a little he’d change never did he told everyone he was sober for ten months on a vivitrol shot which he was but he used cocaine, he’d call me crazy or drama queen other nasty names the last message I got from him was “he hated me” blew my phone up Oct 30th was the last time I saw him but we had spent the weekend together which was good the day I left he was calling.me bum loser under his breath obviously not true fast forward to Nov 7th I got a call from his father that my boyfriend had died! Have so much more to say
My ex- husband was emotionally troubled and drank to cope. I finally left him after 23 years. I moved on to end up in another bad relationship.
I just learned he died in a fire related incident. Years ago he was abusive to me, leaving me partially blind, unable to drive and scared of everything. It took me years to get over it. One of the worst things he did other than electrocute me was get in one of his, “states” threatening to burn our home down. Had I not been there back then, he would have. He died on the way to the hospital, never to recover and his dog was taken alive to someone’s house. The fire was believed to have been caused due to passing out drunk, smoking. I feel guilty that I really am not surprised. RIP Bill D.
So sorry for what people have to go through
This article was very helpful for me thank you. I’ve been tearing myself lately. My ex-husband was an abuser but somehow I didn’t see it until months after his death. I wish more than anything that he just would have beaten the living daylights out of me, but his abuse was emotional and gradual, and when my children were teenagers I was too broken to defend my beautiful children and be the kind of mom I always wanted to be. It wasn’t until after my husband died that I realized that he was actually an abuser. I gave him blanket forgiveness and a blanket apology for any part that I may have played in the demise of our family. I want to be forgiving, but I feel cheated because I never got the chance to say I forgive you FOR [the list of the many many times he abused all of us]. I hope that I will always remember your comment in this article that, “It takes a strong person to forgive someone who never asked for it.”