One hundred twenty-six participants pre-submitted Let Go sentences that were collaged into my ArtPrize Nine painting. One letter stated: “I forgive you for the pain you caused, and I release you from any responsibility to heal me.”
After reading this profound statement, I contacted the writer to see if she would be willing to share her story. She agreed. The following vignette shows the healing progression from a wounded heart to extending forgiveness to finally letting go. In many cases, the journey towards healing can be difficult but not impossible.
You said that I shouldn’t be affected by your decision to divorce my dad. What you didn’t realize was that you not only closed yourself off from Dad, but from me as well. When you would shut yourself away in your room and tell me not to bother you, I learned that I no longer had a mother to depend on; I had to fend for myself.
When I left for work one day, you changed the locks to prevent my dad from coming in. But you didn’t realize this: you shut me out too. Over and over, you chose your “freedom” and your “own” path, in exchange for me. Your choices cut a deep wound in my heart.
Then one day, I realized that you would probably never apologize, so I needed to forgive you or my bitterness would end up consuming me. I had to accept you for being you, instead of wishing you were some other mom.
Mom, I’m letting go of my expectations of what our relationship should look like. I forgive you for the pain you caused, and I release you from any responsibility to heal me.
Let Go and Keeping Hope Alive
Karen was sexually abused as a child. Although her parents ignored the situation at the time, she is now, as an adult, seeking the necessary professional help. Amazingly, interactive art has been part of her healing journey.
I am letting go of the emotional and physical abuse. I’m going for help. Letting go of the anger releases me from resentment and frustration. Just writing this helps me to understand how wrong the abuse is and that I do not need to own it.
Note: One hundred twenty-six participants pre-submitted Let Go letters and sentences to be collaged into the painting. The names and some details have been changed to protect identities.