When It’s Time to Forgive  Ourselves

Recently I was a guest on Cathy Cooper’s KKNW radio show, Loss and Found. We talked about how the loss of my mother helped me find my relationship with Dad. It was an honest conversation that became an apology for a lifetime of misunderstandings and mistakes, dissension and discord.

I was a difficult child to raise. “Challenging” might be a better term. I challenged Mom and Dad regarding everything I was told, everything I was asked to do, every parenting suggestion, every expectation. Remembering that parenting requires many moments of ~ dare I say it ~ parenting, my defiance created a tension in our family that enveloped all of us all the time and continued to define our relationship long after I left home as a young adult.

When Mom died, the buffer between me and Dad disappeared. But rather than drift further apart, Dad asked to have lunch. Yes, lunch. At the time it was a painfully long and uncomfortable endeavor. A time of stilted conversation and forced niceties. One hour. Sixty long minutes.

Then he asked for another lunch. And another. And slowly we learned to be together. A small moment of kindness hovered over soup. A dash of tolerance found its way into a shared salad. A little understanding accompanied dessert. And then one day I looked across the table at the man whose only fault was to love me with everything he had as best he could and I found kindness, tolerance, understanding, acceptance and my own messy, imperfect love.

Dad died just two years after Mom, long enough to reconnect in ways I could never have imagined, never expected. We still griped about “those flaming liberals” and “those darn Republicans,” but we also laughed over parenting fails.

Dad and I were passionate people of faith who shared a deep and abiding love of family. I will be forever grateful that he insisted on lunch after lunch after lunch. I will also be grateful to Cathy who asked me to talk about the loss of my parents, a time to find forgiveness for a challenging child.

Is it time for you?

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Deanna Nowadnick

Deanna Nowadnick

Speaker | Writer | Author


Deanna Nowadnick

Before my father died, he reminded me that Mom had asked me to write a book. At the time the boys were in college, and the notion of writing was unfathomable. Writers write books. By the time my boys were adults, I’d run out of excuses. I was also at that age when I could pause and reflect.

Fruit of My Spirit: Reframing Life in God’s Grace was my first publishing endeavor. My second was Signs in Life: Finding Direction in Our Travels with God. Both are collections of stories that tell of God’s love and faithfulness. Both tell of His remarkable grace and mercy.

When not writing, I serve as the Client Service Coordinator for The Planner’s Edge, an investment advisory firm in Washington state. I’m active in my church, serving on the Leadership Team and gathering with a wonderful group of ladies to study and giggle over lattes and chocolate. On my desk is a rock with the words “Choose Joy!” etched in it. It’s my inspiration for each day. As an author, it is my hope that my own words might share that joy we find together as children of God.

With Him, it can be so.


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