This Suicide Survival Zombies Forgiveness post was originally a business lesson.
It appeared on TROOL Social Media. It began at the line... "It was the cleaver." that is NOT however, the full story.
In order to understand the depth of the impact this story had on me, I need to take you back to the beginning. The story in full is posted on this website, and the critical starting point is yet again, in my life... death. The suicide of my friend when I was 16.
I know. I know. That sounds sooo dramatic. For 16 year old me it was dramatic. It was apocalyptic. It was life altering. And in the end, it became the Gift from Andrea that allows me, no compels me to post this update here. And now. At age 65. Happy, Confident (for the most part) And Secure in the knowledge that this gift needs to be passed on.
Within the fabric of my life the gift has be woven over and over. Sometimes it was a patch, a repair that made the overall life-cloth function yet again. Sometimes, whole sections had to be replaced. Artfully incorporated into the whole, breathing fresh life anew. That gift has forced me to #ChooseLife many many times. Stories for another time.
This choosing, this continuous mind game is what made the zombie incident so revolting to me. I could perhaps accept my cowardice if I was the object of danger. NOT so when it was the life of my granddaughter that I put in imaginary jeopardy!
Now for the Zombie and ultimately the Forgiveness
The pasty, rotting, flesh on the bulbous nose, the face, full of festering wounds, were to be expected on a zombie. The blood that seemed to drip everywhere from the large wooden slab table also set the scene as it should. And yet I lost all sense of reality as the lumbering, undead menace lurched out from behind his macabre worktable with the upraised weapon in hand. It was the cleaver. That large shiny, glinting, sharp, cleaver.
I flinched, recoiling away from the dripping cleaver. Wouldn’t you? Except... I not only flinched, I grabbed my darling granddaughter and placed her between me and the cleaver! Between me and the hideous zombie butcher!
I'm screaming in my head. "What the hell are you doing?" I can’t believe I did that! I know I’d do anything to protect her. She was twelve years old, so I should have protected her. The fact that it was a haunted house didn’t really matter, it really disturbed me that my instinctive flinch, away from the cleaver put me behind the grandkid I love. [Until this incident I thought that love for her was more than life itself.. who knew??]
That moment of truth told me a lot about survival instinct. It showed me the sheer depths of the actions that happen purely on automatic. The limbic system takes over and we act without thought. Without reason.
Ironically, it was that flash of memory. The flash of my own failure that helped me make the mental leap. That helped me to let go of something that had haunted me for thirty-nine years.
At a day-conference, Refresh Your Passion Kathie Donovan spoke about courage, and the courage of letting go of the negative influences in our lives. We all have a story, and lots of our wisdom comes from the pains we have endured and the stuff we’ve survived. I am definitely older and wiser. we don't all ways get the wisdom right away. Sometimes it takes a few lessons.
Yet letting go is about understanding that there is more than wisdom that comes from the stuff we survive, there are wounds and scars, and negative thoughts, and fears. When we let go, that’s the stuff we let go of, so that we can get older and be wiser without being weighted by the past – we can be joyful.
Somehow, in that flash of terror memory of the zombie butcher and my darling granddaughter, it all came together in one of those AHA moments. I remembered a name I hadn’t been able to recall for thirty-nine years: Sgt Campbell.
The year before the day-conference, Kathie had made me realize I had a problem with this police officer when I froze up during an interview on her Inspiration in Action Show. As I related the details of the accident that shattered my life, I explained that the six foot tall police officer dove into the snowbank and saved himself, leaving me to be mutilated and thrown twenty feet through the air.
Compassion incarnate, Kathie said, “Well thank God he wasn’t hurt.” In that moment my reaction was completely emotional: what about me? I was abandoned and hurt. He was supposed to save me and he didn’t. How could he do that to me? As I lay on the pavement, broken and bleeding, he didn’t come to check on me. He didn’t even call an ambulance. (The kid who crashed his car into the two cars on that foggy curve in the highway, ran to the nearest phone, back in the day there were only landlines)
After the accident, for all the months I was in the hospital, he didn’t come once. Not the first year of hospital stays nor the second. I completely froze in that instant in the interview with Kathie. So swamped with bitterness and anger. Reeling in panic and pain, my head spun with all these negative thoughts that made no actual sense.
The second half of the interview lacked any of the real me, as I forced myself to continue. Even afterwards, I managed to suppress what had happened, and avoid thinking about it for over a year.
Now I get it. Somehow, during that Refresh Your Passion talk about courage, in letting go of the negatives and the pain and the drama, it came together for me.
I remembered using a twelve year old as a cleaver-shield. I suddenly realized that the cop had done the same thing: he acted on instinct to survive. How could I possibly blame him when my flinch had shoved my own granddaughter in front of me? I couldn’t fault him for something he was unable to control.
And in that moment, I was free: free of the bitterness, the anger and the pain I had carried for thirty-nine years. Free to remember his name. Free to realize that he was in shock, probably ashamed of his failure to try to save me, as I was ashamed of my failure to face the cleaver. He’s human, just like me.
My greatest shame, protecting myself with my own granddaughter, released me from a huge pain so that I could finally choose to forgive and let go. I chose to forgive him. I chose to forgive me. We have survival instincts. We react automatically. This is part of my self-healing journey.
I am grateful to now take the lesson, to let go...
Be sure to check out the podcast Suicide Zen Forgiveness available on all your favourite podcast platforms.