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Personal Essay

Letting Go: Leaving Guilt in The Past

About a year and a half ago I walked into a small family-owned funeral home down south. I was there to plan a proper burial for someone I loved. The days leading up to this visit were incredibly difficult to say the least, because the person I was planning a burial for was my mother. I never thought in a million years I would have been burying my mother in my twenties. It was a thought that never even crossed my mind. I simply could not even fathom it. I was certain she would see the birth of my first child or milestones such as my thirtieth birthday.

My mother developed a rare form of aggressive cancer that took her out in a matter of months. While she battled cancer she never actually told me how sick she really was. “Brandon, I just have to get a few doses of radiation and I’ll be fine”, she would assure me. Every time I tried to get information the doctors would give me a concerned look and would stutter while trying to explain to me that they couldn’t give me any information and that it was best I talk to her. She was a very secretive person and I am sure she was just trying to protect me, but it definitely did not make it easier.I found out just how sick she really was after she passed away. The first few days after her sudden death were painfully difficult. Thoughts like, “why didn’t I spend more time with her?” consumed me as I prepared to bid my final farewell.

Everyone in life experiences guilt at some point or another. It is a powerful emotion and can certainly cripple our progression if we allow it to. Everyday we are faced with moments in which we wish we could have done and said things differently. This crossroad is engrained in the human experience and is without a doubt a fact of life. After burying my mother I dealt with intense guilt. I felt like I should have been there for her more than I did. I had no idea she would pass away but guilt doesn’t care. You name it, I felt it. I knew some of the things I felt were rooted in grief but it still hurt like hell. Somebody somewhere right now is feeling the intense sting of guilt. Your guilt may not have came by way of the death of a loved one like me—maybe your guilt may have been the result of a promise you broke or a commitment you were not able to fulfill. Maybe your guilt came by way of hurt you caused someone years ago.

We are all human and we are not perfect. While guilt is truly an emotional prison, self acceptance is the first step to finding freedom from guilt. Letting go of the past is another step to finding true freedom. Today is a new day and it is time to look toward the future through the lens of joy and promise. Make it your mission to no longer allow the unhealthy cycle of guilt to rob you of your liberation. Today as I look back over my life, I no longer feel the guilt that surrounded me after I laid my sweet mother to rest. I made a decision to not allow those thoughts to be a stronghold in my life. I encourage you to do the same. Don’t allow another day to go by allowing the past to beat up on you. Choose to live a life a liberation because you deserve it.

By Brandon Mckay

Brandon (B.W. Mckay) is a black Christian Writer, Author and Entrepreneur from Washington DC. "Living life unapologetically great" is a mantra he lives by daily. He is also the CEO and Founder of Mckay Media Works and World Wide Mckay.