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Is It Okay Not to Forgive Someone Dying?

Posted by Regine Louise Mendoza on May 31, 2024

Forgiveness is often touted as a virtue, a pathway to peace and emotional freedom. But when faced with the imminent death of someone who has wronged you, the question of whether to forgive can become exceptionally complicated. For many, the decision to forgive or not can be influenced by deep emotional, ethical, and psychological factors. This article explores whether it is okay not to forgive someone who is dying and provides insights into the implications of this choice.

Understanding Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the act of letting go of resentment or vengeance towards someone who has wronged you. It is often associated with emotional release and healing. However, forgiveness does not necessarily mean forgetting or condoning the harmful behavior. It is more about releasing the hold that the negative experience has on your life.

The Complexity of Forgiving the Dying

When someone who has hurt you is dying, the situation becomes more complex. Here are some considerations that might influence your decision:

Emotional and Psychological Impact

  1. Unresolved Feelings: Facing the impending death of someone who has caused you pain can bring unresolved feelings to the surface. These feelings can be intense and conflicting, making forgiveness seem daunting or even impossible.
  2. Emotional Well-Being: Forgiving a dying person might provide emotional relief and closure. However, if the wounds are too deep, forcing forgiveness can lead to further emotional turmoil.

Moral and Ethical Considerations

  1. Pressure to Forgive: Society often places a moral obligation to forgive those who are dying, believing it to be a final act of kindness. However, this pressure can be unfair and emotionally burdensome.
  2. Personal Ethics: Your own moral compass and ethical beliefs play a significant role. Some may feel that forgiving a dying person is the right thing to do, while others might believe that it is not necessary or even possible.

Practical Considerations

  1. Closure: Forgiving someone who is dying can provide a sense of closure, both for you and the dying person. It can be a way to resolve unfinished business and say goodbye without lingering resentment.
  2. Boundaries: Maintaining personal boundaries is crucial. If forgiving someone compromises your mental health or sense of self, it is okay to choose not to forgive.

The Role of Time

Forgiveness is a process, not a one-time event. It often requires time, reflection, and emotional processing. It is important to recognize that it is okay to take your time and not rush into forgiveness just because someone is dying. Your emotional journey is valid, and taking the time you need can lead to more genuine and lasting resolution.

Alternative Ways to Find Peace

If forgiveness feels unattainable, there are alternative ways to find peace:

  1. Acceptance: Accepting the situation and your feelings can be a powerful step towards healing. Acceptance does not mean condoning the wrongdoing but acknowledging that it happened and choosing to move forward.
  2. Setting Boundaries: Establishing clear boundaries can help protect your emotional well-being. It is okay to distance yourself from the dying person if that is what you need to heal.
  3. Seeking Support: Talking to a therapist or counselor can provide valuable support and guidance. They can help you navigate your feelings and find a path towards peace that works for you.

In conclusion, it is okay not to forgive someone who is dying if that is what feels right for you. Forgiveness is a deeply personal decision that should be made based on your own emotional needs and boundaries. While society may pressure you to forgive, it is important to honor your own journey and take the time you need to heal. Whether you choose to forgive or not, finding peace and emotional resolution is the ultimate goal.

Remember, your feelings and choices are valid, and it is okay to prioritize your own emotional well-being during this challenging time.


  • Regine is a writer for Golden Haven Memorial Parks, Inc. With a passion for story-telling and helping others, she brings a unique perspective and warm voice to Golden Haven's blog. When she's not writing, you can find her in the kitchen whipping up something delicious or outside exploring the great outdoors.

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