It’s difficult to forgive someone who does not want to be forgiven, or perhaps thinks they have done nothing wrong, or doesn’t realize the extent of pain or hurt they have caused. But how do you forgive someone that doesn’t ask for it, does not care, or simply isn’t here to accept forgiveness?
There is someone that I have to forgive…
This woman caused nothing but pain and was the source of constant stress in my life and the lives of those in my family. For years, we weren’t good enough for her until she needed something. She taught her children about pain and heartache and that selfishness was okay and that violence was the answer.
She made my father go to then ends of the earth for her without so much as a thank you, and still expected more. It was like she walked on water and could do no wrong, all the while creating more drama.
It was because of her my parents fought during the early years. It was because of her I didn’t feel like I had extended family, like we were excluded. When we were included, we were still left out. As a child of 10, I sat and watched every other child, every other relative, every cousin get gifts at Christmas and on birthdays, and I never so much as got a card. Because of her, we were the outcasts. Because we wanted to be better than the drugs, the alcohol, the constant calls to the cops, we were the black sheep in her eyes.
Because of her someone died. And because of her, someone isn’t getting the help they need. And because of her, other families are left out because she had to have things her way. It was her fault that there was dysfunction in the family. And she would never admit to it.
In the end, she tried to become saintly, speaking about philosophy and religion like she had been talking about it forever. In the end, we are not better off now than we were then.
I don’t know some of my relatives. I have cousins who have gotten married and started families, and I will never be a part of that. I have cousins that I just don’t know, and it pains me to say that I’m not sure how I feel about that. I have aunts and uncles that I have no interest in getting to know because as a child, they cast me in a role I did not ask for: black sheep. My children will never know that side of my family because this woman made her decisions.
This woman is no longer with us. And I’m sure if you asked one of my cousins, aunts, uncles, or even my brother, they might have seen things differently. They might have had a different experience with the same woman. However, my experiences were painful. I didn’t see how hurtful they were until I got older and finally understood all the things my mother once told me about each individual incident.
The memories I have… they didn’t hurt as much then because it was normal. Christmas was normal. Birthdays were normal. My parents tried to make up for the fact that we had extended family that wanted nothing to do with us unless they needed something. They overextended themselves at Christmas to make up for the fact that we had a grandmother who did not give us gifts when all the other grandchildren were receiving only the best and most expensive things. They went out of their way to make sure that we didn’t miss anything by being left out. They went out of their way to pretend this hurt did not exist so that we may have a chance at having normal lives.
There are tears in my eyes as I write this. Not because it still hurts. It does. But because I didn’t realize how much it hurt then, even if I didn’t know it. I am sad because I don’t know how to forgive her now. I’m sad because I had to write this and accept everything my life is because of how things were.
However, now I understand life better. I understand that people make decisions in life, and they have choices and sometimes the choices available are not idea. I understand that maybe she wasn’t ready. I understand that she did the best she could. I understand that she may not have known how much hurt she caused.
I forgive her for her ignorance, but not for her actions. I forgive her because it is the right thing to do and because it would mean something to my father to do so. I forgive her because someone has to, and because maybe it has to be me.