Following Karl’s death, I dive deeply into my forgiveness issues.
I am weeping and purging. At that time, Karl says little about forgiveness. It takes several months for him to articulate the core forgiveness issues he wants to address. In late 2016, after I settle into my new accommodation in Brisbane, Karl decides it’s time to tackle some hard truths. We have sold the Nimbin property, and my dream is progressing to move to a permanent home, probably to Vancouver. Apparently, Karl feels it is time to look more closely at what he calls “our items”.
A few days after the crash, Karl communicates through a clairvoyant that he had in mind a new partner for me: a man we both knew. In early 2020, the jury is still out on his prediction.
Nevertheless, in mid-2016, Karl wants to explain some critical aspects of intimate relationships from a man’s point of view. And, more particularly, he wants me to understand significant aspects of our relationship from his perspective.
Watch that sensitive male ego
In the time following his death, Karl offers me compassion, boosterism, coaching, encouragement, and strategic advice. Now comes romantic relationship counseling. It takes nearly a year of conversations before Karl gets to his point. He says that for me to go forward into a new relationship with anyone, I must be careful not to treat any man in what he calls my “dictatorial and dismissive ways”.
I read his words in my journal with a sinking heart, knowing how accurate they are. I feel genuinely remorseful.
Karl is initially hesitant, saying that he does not mean to be hurtful. However, from his perspective, the crux of the matter is this: there were times when he knew I did not respect him. He felt deeply hurt when I “talked down” to him or lectured him in my imperious, preachy tone. He felt humiliated, small, insecure, and even a bit “dirty”. It did not bring out the best in him.
“Never do that to another man.”
These words from Karl are flowing from my pen, but they are not my words. I breathe, take another sip of my coffee, look around the café to see if anyone is noticing my tears, and keep writing:
It’s hard for me to say these critical things to you, Wadie, but I feel I must. You must be careful never to do that with any other man. Men can be proud and private — respect means the world to them. A man must never, ever, be disrespected. The male ego is a most fragile thing. It needs great care, especially from a powerful and assertive woman. How you have treated me in this last year has gone a long way toward healing those wounds. They were deep and are not quite healed yet, but they are healing now.
I feel deeply sorry. I am devastated.
Karl is right, of course.
My apology is as thorough as his analysis of my failings.
A “SORRY” CONVERSATION
Our conversation on 10 February 2017, a year after Karl’s death, captures a powerful moment of forgiveness between us, as he challenges me to be fearless in moving forward following my begging of forgiveness:
I am sorry. I am deeply sorry. Truly I am! Disrespect is a horrible thing. What my friends (and I — finally) saw in you was/is a truly refined soul. Rough around the human edges, maybe. A man with a gentle soul, who was genuinely committed to being a peaceful man. As I uncover — and honor — the deeper dimensions of your soul, I want to connect more deeply with you. I do not want to miss this chance for my soul growth! I am so greedy for soul growth.
My precious Wadie! We hurt each other. We are making amends. We have both apologized — and I believe we have been sincere. Now we need to cement it in as we go forward. More directness and honesty. No avoidance. We are both on the spiritual journey of our lives. All our lives. This is all there is. I am giving it all I have. Join me, Wadie — and be your fearless self.