Letting Go.... (forgiveness)
Since I was about 14 years old, my mother and I didn't get along at all! There were times, through my remaining 4 years of high school, I swore I'd lose touch with her once I graduated and left home. My mother was verbally and emotionally abusive as she called me vulgar names and put me down almost on a weekly basis. I didn't understand why someone could be so cruel to their own (and ONLY) child.
I wound up joining the Army during the summer before my senior year in high school. I couldn't wait to be out of the house and as far away as I could go. Over a year later I got my wish. The Army sent me to Germany and more than 2,000 miles from "home". I couldn't believe how homesick I was and anticipated going home after being overseas for a year. I went home on leave for 30 days and after 2 weeks there, my mother reminded my why I left in the first place. We got in to a huge fight as she once again came out of left field and verbally attacked me.
Through the next 10 years we had an on again/off again relationship. Somehow we always managed to get past the issues and I hoped and prayed she would stop acting like, what seemed like, she hated me. All I ever wanted was to feel loved AND liked by her. I wasn't a bad kid and tried very hard to get her approval. I wasn't a perfect kid but I truly tried to have a good relationship with her. It seemed I couldn't do anything right by her and it was very frustrating over the years. Once I had children she lightened up a little bit.
By Fall 2004, my mother had been diagnosed with incurable endometrioidal cancer. She was 55 years old and it was detected through a routine colonoscopy. That diagnosis was a turning point in our relationship. From that point on I detected when she would act like she was about to lash out at me and noticed she would catch herself. I think she knew her cancer was incurable and if we were going to have any kind of positive relationship, it had to stop. I don't know if she realized she wasn't so nice to me over the years or just felt it was something she had to do.
I find it an act of God and a finding of forgiveness for the past "pain" I felt she laid upon me during her remaining 5 years. Sadly, my mother passed away on my birthday almost a year ago this month. While she was under hospice care, I made sure she knew I forgave her as she in turn forgave me. I spent her last few weeks helping to take care of her and spending as much time with her as I could. I truly have forgiven her as I share my story with you all. It wasn't an easy road but I feel so thankfully blessed I had the opportunity to mend the ties with my mom. I now miss her terribly and think only of the good times we did have.
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but today is a gift. That's why they call it the present. It isn't always possible and you can't make people change but you can change the way you think. Mothers are a gift from God and should be loved no matter what.