How To Forgive A Dead Person


Captivating duo Jen (Christina Applegate) and Judy (Linda Cardellini) are your typical pair of frenemies in Netflix’s latest binge-worthy obsession Dead to Me.

Okay, I take that back, maybe they aren’t so typical. Jen is an explosive mix of emotion, anger, and brutal honesty while Judy is the unstable yet supportive other half. You can’t blame Jen for her rage because her husband was killed by a hit and run and you can’t blame Judy for her instability because she was the one who murdered Jen’s husband with her car, on accident, but she still drove off and left him for dead. Their situation is a bit messy, and naturally, it gets messier. While Judy is hiding her deadly secret, and Jen is fighting to face her grief, she discovers that her dead husband had been cheating on her for nearly two years with a girl half her age. To twist the knife further, Jen’s deceased husband had killed her, metaphorically, of course, lying to his girlfriend by claiming he was a widower raising two kids alone. Stricken with grief outweighed with betrayal, Jen struggles with how to gain clarity and how to begin to move on from the infidelity by a man she loved until his last dying breath.

She can’t face him, and he can’t explain himself. His time was cut short as the opportunity to speak for his actions has been ripped away, making it feel nearly impossible to accept, grieve, and forgive the ultimate deception.

Ironically, the path where she’s able to forgive her dead husband starts with her forgiving herself first. She feels guilty for not knowing who killed her husband (even though the culprit is quite literally right in front of her) while blaming herself for his infidelity. After undergoing a mastectomy, she felt undesirable and unworthy rationalizing his strayed behavior. The more he distanced himself, the more Jen got hurt until he unwillingly distanced himself for good. Their last interaction was a regrettable argument that gained clarity after Jen discovered the affair.

Like anyone else in a similar situation, she wishes the impossible. She wants to confront her husband, and she wants to know why. She has questions without answers and assumptions without proof. By accepting her less than ideal reality, she’s able to come to terms with the fact that she can forgive him by forgiving herself. She must first accept that she cannot have the interaction she so desperately longs for. Letting go of what she can’t control allows Jen to let go of her past. Forgiving him without knowing everything helps her move forward and keeps his deceit and heartbreak in the past. Forgiveness can be evolving for anyone. Sometimes it’s as simple as accepting the things you cannot change and putting energy into what you can change.

You are always in control of taking care of yourself, whatever that looks like for you. Whether it’s mental, physical, or spiritual. We all have a level of personal power that often goes unused.

Forgiveness transports you from feeling trapped in the past while simultaneously pushing you forward. Lead with compassion, and you’ll always be facing the right direction.