she stood in front of the headstone,
the past whispering in her ears,
encouraging her to remember the unsaid.
her strained eyes rested for a second
as she heard footsteps quietly approaching.
she looked up at the last person she expected to see
his eyes were rimmed with pain, his face stained with tears
he took one look at her, and he crumpled to the floor.
she stared at his heart, which, for the first time,
was weakly beating on his sleeve.
dagger-like shards poked out
atop numerous bruises and scars.
she took him into her arms, closing her eyes,
caressing his heart with gentle fingers
after a while, she whispered, "you okay?" and he said,
"I saw you here for years, and I couldn't approach you.
You would leave, and I would visit this headstone
right after you, and the sins weighed me down.
I finally had the strength to approach you today.
You can leave me here - it's your choice."
she looked directly into his eyes, tears streaming down her face.
her voice broke as she said, "I'm not leaving you here.
You can release these sins and we can walk together.
You can heal your heart, and I will stand with you."
she felt his heart pounding, saw the doubt in his eyes.
she stood up and extended her hand towards him.
he placed his hand in hers and rose to meet her.
they quietly prayed in front of the gravestone,
then walked away, hands intertwined.
behind them, the spirit -
the inhabitant of the gravestone -
smiled and began her ascent,
surrounded by the purest,
whitest, all-encompassing light.
For me, forgiveness has released the chains on my heart. Forgiveness is a personal choice, and you are not obligated to forgive. You can decide what healing looks like for you.