Forgiveness and Stuff

I have been wrestling with forgiveness lately.  There are so many people I could be angry with!  Pediatricians, the government, pharma, Bill Gates, the CDC, etc., are all wonderful candidates for my wrath.  To be honest, though, I think that the anger I feel towards those people/agencies is rational and even acceptable.  If you have read any of my previous posts, you likely know that I am a Christian first and foremost.  So, when I am wrestling with something, I look to God to help me deal with it and understand it.  In the Bible you see that Jesus himself got angry.  It was a righteous anger; it was when He confronted the moneychangers who had infiltrated the temple, and turned it into “a den of thieves.”  I think that the anger I feel toward pharma and the medical system is similar to the anger that He felt.  I think it’s a righteous anger.  In fact, I think it is the normal, natural response to the situation we are in today. I also think that it can be useful.  We can use our anger to speak out about what is happening in our world and hopefully keep it from happening to other kids. We can use our anger to spring us into action.  Our anger can potentially change what is happening.   I honestly don’t see any possible way to forgive those who are harming our kids until they ADMIT what they are doing and STOP DOING IT.

No, the anger that I feel toward “the system” is not my biggest problem.  My problem is the one person that I hold the most responsible for my son’s illness:  MYSELF.  The anger and contempt I feel toward myself is unlike anything I have ever dealt with before.  I am not angry at myself because I didn’t know not to vaccinate at the beginning of my son’s life.  I am angry because I didn’t see what was happening to him as autism set in and began to take root and grow deeper with each set of shots.

Oh , NOW I can see it.  All I have to do is look through my son’s baby pictures. Instead of bringing me joy, they bring me great pain.  I see how attentive he was back then, how he looked and smiled at the camera when he was 18 months old (something he lost and still doesn’t do now at age 10), and just how much more “with us” he was. His regression was much slower than a lot of kids; it wasn’t an overnight loss of skills, but rather things disappearing rather gradually, and language that just would not progress at all, even though he said his first words at around 10 months old.  It wasn’t until he was five years old that his behaviors turned violent; he changed from my sweet, compliant little boy to a self-injurer.  So, when I look back at his pictures, I see “before self-injury” and “after self-injury,” and I kick myself repeatedly for what I didn’t know then, and how I continued to vaccinate him year after year.  Why didn’t I know?  How could I be so blind? If I had stopped vaccinating him, he would be so much better by now. Look what I did to him!  It’s all MY fault!

I’d been struggling with that for a while, when the Professor’s blog post came up last month about her infant son’s birth and subsequent death.  It was these paragraphs that really spoke to me:

“I have come to believe that what seemed like a failure of intuition was not really a failure at all. I received messages; they just weren’t messages I could act upon. And I think that’s because there wasn’t anything I could do about what was to come. This is my own personal belief, but I think there are certain challenges that are determined ahead of time — whether we ourselves determine them, or God, or fate, or providence, or whatever you want to call it. There are some things where the outcome is already determined and, no matter what you do to try to change them, they will still happen.

The true test of a parent is how you handle these challenges. Make no mistake: they can break you if you let them. Or you can accept what has happened, pick yourself up, and look for ways you can change the future. I’m not going to kid you; it could be the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do. But it could also be the most important.”

That really spoke to me.  This is the lesson that I need to learn.  I have to accept that what happened, happened.  Why I didn’t see it, I don’t know.  But as a person who believes in God, I know that if He had wanted me to know, I would have known.  He would have gotten the message across earlier.  Instead, we are here, at this point, and I have to believe it is for a reason.  There is a reason why my son is going through what he is going through.  There is a reason why I am going through what I am going through.  I do believe there is a purpose.  I may not understand it all right now, but there is a purpose.  That doesn’t make what happened to my son right, and I will never stop trying to keep it from happening to other kids.  But it is what it is, and it happened the way it happened, and I cannot go back and change it.  I can only move forward, and try to make things better for my son.

Last week, a good friend of mine, who is the mom of a very healthy young son, told me something I thought was very wise. She said to me, “I think awareness trickles, and that is how awareness grows…. We impact the people that cross our path and let God illuminate what he wants seen.” That was an amazing statement to me.  That was how I finally became aware of what was going on.  Awareness trickled in slowly; it didn’t suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks.  It trickled in until I was ready and able to accept the truth.  I wasn’t able to accept the truth until the exact moment I accepted it. I think that is how we should expect others to come to awareness as well.  In our quest to educate the public, we can keep speaking loudly and strongly.  They probably won’t all of a sudden believe us, but we can let it trickle and hope and pray that, eventually, the truth will get through to them.

I think, for me, forgiving myself will work much the same way.  Just as awareness came trickling in for me, perhaps little by little, forgiveness will come the same way.  In the meantime, whenever I start to feel angry with myself, I need to recognize that unlike the anger I have for the medical community, there is nothing useful about beating myself up about my past failures.  In fact, it is only a barrier to recovery – my son’s and my own.  I hope that one day I will be able to completely forgive myself and let it all go.



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13 Responses to Forgiveness and Stuff

  1. Pingback: 1 year, 24 parents, 300+ blogs: My Top Picks | The Thinking Moms' Revolution

  2. B.K. says:

    Thanks to all of you for your kind posts. This has been a long struggle for me, but talking about it has helped a lot and I feel like I am starting to finally move past the guilt and forgive myself. So good to get it out in the open! xoxo

  3. Rachel Arazashvili says:

    O my!!! I felt you were reading my thoughts. Your feelings are my identical twin. I’m not much of a writer so please please believe me when I say…Thank you for sharing what I have been going through..Its great to know I’m not alone. This journey or should I say “this awakening” began for me May 3, 2012 five months ago. I’m still trying to shake the righteous anger as I actively, aggressively, strategically move forward with faith in my Heavenly Father in healing my Noah.

    If only I could reach out and hug you!


    • B.K. says:

      Hi Rachel, thank you so much for you kind words, and please forgive me for being late to reply! This was such a hard thing to write about, but I knew I wasn’t the only one facing these feelings. The hard part is learning how to forgive ourselves and move past it! Extending God’s grace to others is one thing, extending it to ourselves is another. Thank you so much for your cyberhug! ((((RACHEL)))) — Love, B.K. 🙂

  4. Ana says:

    May God bless you and May God give us the chance to see our kids healed completely!!
    I hope to have strength, life and health to keep going!
    I don’t want to have any more regrets and I don’t want to be angry at the friends that left me anymore!

  5. Ali says:

    Beautiful post. I identify with it on many levels. I am able to forgive everyone but still struggle to forgive myself. I’m a work in progress and I know I’ll get there.

  6. Chitra says:

    “Mom”, kudos to you and your husband. As the parent of a 21 year old, let me tell you that things will get better when your child’s channels of communication open up. One day, she may very well amaze you. In fact I suspect if we were able to climb into their heads and experience what they do, it might amaze us that they keep it together as much as they do. The wheel turns. Just hang on.

  7. Nan Tubre says:

    I’ve watched my friend with an autistic son carry on with dignity, bravery, and even humor. But the most endearing to me is the courage she has now to not only forgive herself, but to carry the torch, so to speak, for the cause.
    Courage + love + effort = Sue Cranmer

  8. Kerri says:

    I would cry and hold myself responsible on a weekly if not daily basis for years. Then one day, my NT 9 year old son asked me why I was crying. I told him it was because I never read any books on vaccines and that I was the one who took Patrick and vaccinatied him so…I caused his autism through my ignorance. He told me “Mommy, it is not your fault. If you would have known that the vaccines would have given Patrick autism you would have never had taken him there”. I don´t cry very often now. My NT son is correct.

  9. Jaci VW says:

    This post resonates deeply. It mirrors my journey quite closely. I have had a lot of difficulty forgiving myself for vaccinating my son with autism. I get so angry with myself for shrugging off any slight worries I might have had about vaccines because it was inconvenient, and I was an overwhelmed young mom. Self-forgiveness is the hardest. Forgiving others is far easier, because we can offer someone the benefit of the doubt. We can’t do that for ourselves. It is a long road that I am still walking down. Keep moving forward and do the best with the knowledge you now have. Blessings to you on your journey.

  10. Mom says:

    One thing that I have learned is that I am a much better person than I ever thought that I would or could be. Our parents deserted us. Our friends left us. Our life is really, really tough but you know what I am here all day every day. All night. 24/7. I don’t give up on my daughter. I don’t brush her off onto other people because I cannot deal with her. Not that I have many options because no one wants to help but I think that is part of my journey. The times when I really, really needed help the people I begged for it turned their backs on me – literally – and I made it through despite it all. Some days I just congratulate myself that I (1) didn’t lose my mind; (2) didn’t leave; (3) didn’t turn to drugs or alcohol – not even anti-depressants and that (4) some days are actually enjoyable now. I stopped caring what other people think. I dug my heals in. My daughter is now in all-day kindergarten. Big break for me – 30 hours a week of normalcy. Except they call almost every day with problems they have with her. Some break. Every week so far I have ended up at school for hours at a time. But that’s ok. Am I mad that the doctors failed – oh yhea – really mad. Am I hurt our friends are fair-weather friends – yep. Family desertion hurts the most. I am proud of my husband and myself – we stuck it out. Held it together. I am not sure my daughter would have made as much progress if we would have had help. Being totally on your own MADE you figure out things that could have been missed if she would have had babysitter or day care.

    • Ana says:

      Yes you are so right family and friends desertion hurts so much but we have to keep fighting for them and to keep our marriages alive and healthy and full of love!!

  11. Sue Cranmer says:

    Those darned little “if onlies” will kill you if you let them. I finally figured out that for my own sake but more even for my families sake, I had to let them go. I had to decide I was doing the best I could at that moment in time with what I knew and then move on and learn from it so I could do better.

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