I forgive you.
Today there are only scars, but it wasn’t very long ago that these scars were fresh wounds. I use to relive each awful memory, all the inflicted pain, in an unhealthy repetitious cycle. Even though you’d vanished from my life, you still had this unexplainable power that enabled my heart to stay broken.
As a parent now, I am more aware of the mistakes that can be made along this journey. I also know that we have to take responsibility for our actions and hold ourselves accountable for the things we do that often hurt others, even if it’s unintentional. All of the mistakes for which you refused to take responsibility outweighed everything good. You could have said ‘I love you’ every other minute and it wouldn’t have spoken as loudly as your actions.
With all that weighing me down, it’s no surprise I was held hostage to anger and hate. Over time, those emotions turned bitter. At some point along the way I realized that, instead of letting myself heal, I was only allowing the wounds to fester. I didn’t want to be captive to bitterness, so I had to make a change.
It took time. It took patience. It took grace. One small prayer at a time, I lifted each memory to God until one day, I realized that I no longer felt the same kind of hurt. I looked at my children and I was heartbroken by the choices that you had made in your life that would drive your own family away from you. Instead of being angry or hateful, I was saddened by the great loss you had created for yourself and I found myself hoping that you would see it before it was too late.
On Christmas one year, you gave me a book called ‘A Short Guide to a Happy Life’. On the inside you wrote a beautiful letter and somewhere in your own words you said ‘No matter how great or how awful your life is, there will always be the little things that God reveals to us’.
I read that book, mom. I read it all the time. I savor every word that Anna Quindlen wrote. I have put emphasis on them in my life, taught them to my children and shared them with friends. There have been days, when I’m in the middle of reading a page for the umpteenth time, that I’ve contemplated sending it to you. I imagine how free you could be from the negative emotions that hold you back from all the little things in life, the little things that you told me to experience and remember. If only you could, then maybe I would get a glimpse of the kind of mother who actually meant the words that she wrote that day in December of 2001.