The process of ceasing to feel resentment, hurt, indignation or anger for a perceived offense, difference or mistake, is sometimes difficult. For many of us, we cannot see beyond our own point of view to recognize that we share in these transgressions. To forgive another prevents harmful thoughts from festering and causing havoc on one’s well being. When we are ready to forgive, we release stored up toxins in our own bodies and cast a sheath of love and understanding on to the person to whom we are holding this pain. My most valuable lesson in forgiveness is with my mother.
My mother was immersed in the family disease of alcoholism. She was a functioning alcoholic but I actually never saw her drunk. What I did experience was a cold, self absorbed woman who was selfish and non-communicative for most of my youth. In my book, “It Had To Happen This Way,” I have shared bizarre and chaotic experiences growing up in our dysfunctional family. For many years I blamed her lack of support for my loneliness and insecurity. These feelings continued well into my 30’s.
When I began working on my own mental health I was able to step back and analyze my mother’s actions. Although I do think my mother had a propensity for alcoholism because it was in her DNA, her challenges were monumental. I realized how she needed alcohol just to get through each day.
She was widowed at the age of 35 when my father died of heart failure leaving her with a debt of $10,000 in medical costs. The five years proceeding his death he had six heart attacks and wasn’t able to work during that period. This was the 1950’s when they weren’t doing the miracle heart surgeries they do today. It was also very difficult for women to find jobs. My mother was barely surviving working as a hair stylist and trying to support two children. She became both the mother and the father before he actually passed. What made matters even worse was that my mother suffered from thrombophlebitis (blood clots) and standing on her legs all day was very painful. She would come home each night and go straight to bed with her cocktails. My brother and I began to fend for ourselves at an early age. Life was hard.
My recovery from Codependency took several years. My mother has long since died in 1979. Although I felt silly at first, I started talking to her in my head telling her how much I loved her and that I totally forgave her for everything that I perceived to be harmful or painful to me and my brother. I did this often.
Two months ago she began coming to me in my dreams. She seems so happy and peaceful on the other side. This is what she said to me, “Kay, I was not a good mother. I am sorry for that. I love you very much. I know you have forgiven me but I want to know if I can mother you from here.” You bet she can. I welcome her love in the form of angel guidance. Now I am able to forgive myself as well for holding disappointment and anger toward her for so long.
“I forgive myself and others for any and all offenses and differences we share.”