This is about forgiveness towards people who have hurt you.
Forgiveness towards a
foe is the ultimate gift
you can give yourself.
I felt angry. I felt hurt. I felt abandoned. I felt like the one person I could always rely on, my mother, had given me away, and she had - but not by choice. It was what she had to do to ensure that we would survive, and we could all be together again one day. That day came a little at a time - and it was painful for all of us – my sister, my brother, and myself. We were all scarred for life by the events that transpired, and for years I blamed her and damned her for the way she had ruined my life.
I also rejected my father for years because of things that had happened. Even when he was crippled and blind and was asking for my forgiveness every day, I turned my back on him and told myself I didn't
care - I didn't care whether he lived or died - he meant nothing to me. So, when he died, I stayed away from the funeral. I rejected any gestures made towards me by my half-siblings. I wanted nothing to do
with any of them, and inside I was hard as nails.
Little by little the wall that I had built around my feelings started to crumble, though. Sleep eluded me. I started having nightmares, horrible nightmares. I heard voices, so softly I was uncertain I had heard them, but so recognizable. I wanted to put it all together. I wanted to understand. So I wrote. I closed my eyes, and just let whatever it was that I saw in my mind flow onto the screen. For four days I did that, stopping only to use the toilet. No eating, and no sleeping. I drove myself crazy.
I got in touch with my feelings - all of them. Rage. Humiliation. Sadness. An emptiness that depleted me and left me with nothing. I no longer had the rage, the humiliation and the sadness I had felt. I had nothing. I felt nothing. I ended up in the psychiatric unit. Slowly, though, I've been able to restore my feelings towards my father and come to terms with who he was and what he really meant to me.
In her own way, my mother was just as damaging. She suffocated me. She fed my anger and hatred towards my father. She denigrated him, while reminding me of how much I looked and acted like him. Then she would tell me how much she loved me. She poisoned me against him, and I came to feel that if he was so horrible, since I was his daughter, then I must be horrible, too. There are a lot of negative feelings towards both of them, and rightly so. I can't live with that rage anymore, though. I can't go around feeling like I'm a horrible person. I can't go around afraid that everyone is trying to hurt me. I just can't do that anymore.
My mother is eighty-five now. She's not going to live forever, I know that, and somewhere along the way I had a shift in my consciousness. I was hurt a lot by my father. I was hurt a lot by my mother. For years, I just let those wounds fester, and I only hurt myself. I made a conscious decision to forgive my mother. I didn't do that with my father, and that will haunt me forever, but I can with my mother. I still have the time, and I'm trying to be the most loving, supportive daughter I can be. I've never talked to her about this – I've never said to her “Mom, you hurt me but I forgive you.” I never will, either. I don't have to say it - I am showing her.
My sister can't understand this. She still harbors deep resentment towards our mother. She doesn't understand me, or what I am doing. Selfishly, I do not want that regret, that emptiness, to claim me once again, but it is not a shallow act of forgiveness that I am engaging in. I honestly have forgiven her, and whatever my motives are, I am sincere. I want to be there for her as she goes through this last stage of her life. I no longer think that all the things she did were out of maliciousness, rather they were made by a flawed woman who made some bad choices in her life. I don't think she deserves to have to take her regrets with her to her grave.