Forgiveness of Oneself

Jan 12, 2021


It was the day my heart was completely shattered.

A fear of never truly forgiving myself of something that wasn’t even partially my fault haunts me to this day.

It was Monday, March 2, 2009. The day started off pretty normal. My ex-husband, Joey, was making breakfast while I was preparing for the day. It was my first day back to work since maternity leave. So I was over the moon excited to go see the families I worked with in Niceville, Florida.

At that time, I was working as an Infant Mental Health specialist and I was in love with my career. An Infant Mental Health specialist offers emotional support to families who face immediate crises related to the care of their children. The specialist pays strict attention to the expressed concerns, e.g. the birth of a sick baby, the death of a child, the abandonment of a parent, the hospitalization of a baby. This was, without a doubt, my true calling.

So…back to that excruciating day. As I was getting all my files together and getting my developmental tools ready, I remember looking at Joey and saying, “What, What?! Samuel just slept the whole night through!! It’s a Christmas miracle! I can hardly believe it”…Yes, I remember it word for word.

So we laughed and giggled and after a bit longer I started to think it was a bit odd that Samuel was still asleep. This is the moment my life forever changed.

I walked into his nursery to honestly just check on him, and he was lying there lifeless in his crib. I picked him up. Put him on the floor. And started to attempt to breathe life back into him. I called for Joey. When Joey got to the room, he lost it. However, while I was performing CPR on Samuel, Joey was able to call 911, as well as my momma. It felt like hours I was lying over him trying to save him, but years later, I would find out it was merely minutes.

All of a sudden, two paramedics ran into the room and scooped Samuel up. I was pushed to the side and told to, “get out”. But, in that very moment I knew Samuel was no longer alive. I started screaming, “My baby, my baby. I want my baby. Please save my baby. I need my baby. Sir? Sir?”

The next few moments are kind of hazy. I remember my mom putting her arms around me while I was screaming. Tears were flowing while I screamed until I couldn’t scream anymore. My voice was now gone. I saw someone softly shut the nursery door as I was carried into the master bedroom. I was then told he was no longer alive. Samuel Cole Union was dead. My life would never be the same.

At that moment, I asked myself, “Am I the one that killed him? How could a mother kill her own child? And what do I do now cause I have no desire to live nor do I deserve to live anymore?”.

You see in weeks to come after my son died and I planned his funeral I tried to commit suicide. If I couldn’t be with Samuel, I had no reason to live. Well, I was not successful. I started therapy immediately. Over time I did learn I was not the one who killed Samuel. But, I’ve never fully accepted that. How did he really die? What caused him to die? Why did he die?

And how is it so damn easy to forgive others when I can’t even forgive myself?

I might never ever truly have all the answers until I am standing in front of our Lord and Savior. But, today, I am going to CHOOSE LIFE. Today I am going to CHOOSE JOY. Today I am going to CHOOSE LOVE AND LAUGHTER. And today I am CHOOSING my FAITH. Because I know all too well, we are NOT promised a tomorrow.

So if you need a shoulder to cry on, call me! If you need someone to listen, call me! If you need someone to just hug you, call me…because one of the greatest gifts of being a military family is I know people all over the world…so I WILL find someone for you. You ARE worth it and even more importantly…your children need you, momma. Forgiveness of oneself takes time. It’s the first step to loving you again.