For my part, I am experiencing a dramatic paradigm shift regarding forgiveness. Our communications turn my worldview upside-down. Here, finally, I am experiencing from Karl the openness and protestations of love I yearned for. And I know I am not imagining our communications. Only Karl would speak that way, in his distinctive German style.

On 27 November 2016, I tell him about my changed perceptions, my new paradigm:

All I wanted was for you to be your full self.… As my heart softens, I come to see more accurately who you really are — how complex, precious, and beautiful your spirit is. Just imagining you making that card of apology, atonement, and love! I’m crying as I write this. I will never, ever underestimate anyone again. I am determined to see the good in everyone.

Vowing not to blame

As 2016, my first year of mourning, comes to a close, we both vow not to blame each other or ourselves. Karl is relieved that I appear to be recovering from the crash (a concussion, soft tissue injuries, two crushed vertebrae and a blocked vertebral artery but no brain injury). Again, he apologizes for my injuries and for leaving me:

I have been rewiring your neural circuits. There was quite a lot of damage. I am sorry for that. As the months have gone on, I’ve also been relieved that you are not angry at me. I believe that’s true. Right, Wadie? I certainly did not mean to hurt you. It was so huge — my decision to leave — and I worried so much that you would be harmed. Now that I see my old Wadie coming back to life, I feel much better!

RADICAL Self-acceptance

For a man who struggled with low self-esteem, Karl is becoming an expert in what he now calls “radical self-acceptance”. 

Now Karl explains how that concept could work in my life:

There is no limit to the blessings that you can receive — that life can bestow on you. I know it’s a bit ironic, coming from me, but you also need radical self-acceptance now. Then, from that place of peace and openness, you can truly receive — and experience the beauty of all the blessings that life has in store for you!

Over the years that follow, Karl continues to explain the circumstances of his death and to beg my forgiveness. A year after he died, at the end of January 2017, he writes:

My nightmare was that you would hate and reject me — and close the door on our love. So I have got more than I could have dreamed of. Oh, Wadie, I wanted to stay with you. I love you so, and I loved my life with you. That I can have this love — this communication — so open and flowing — it’s more than I ever would have dreamed when we went over the cliff.