Forgiveness

Forgiveness

Thank you all so much for the outpouring of love and good wishes sent to me this past week after posting about my mom’s death. I would love to have answered each message personally, but I spent these last days making arrangements to bring my mom home to South Louisiana and bury her next to her husband of sixty-three years.

Last Tuesday, in the First Tuesday Write and Read, I gave participants the prompt, “Forgiveness Given or Received” and told them a little about what brought that topic to mind—my mom.

My dad began his deep descent into Alzheimer’s disease around 2012, and my mom took care of him at home, much to her detriment. She refused all help I offered because she wanted her only child to move back to our 400-person hometown and care for them both, something I could not and would not do.

All my attempts to avert a sure crisis failed, so I waited.

Professionals and friends helped me create a plan, so I knew exactly what to do when the time came. And it did.

The crisis arose in November 2017 when my parents were forcibly removed from their home—the one they built with their own hands some sixty years before.

My mother raged and blamed me. She was vicious in the things she said to me and about me. I knew she needed someone to blame for what her life had become, but I shed many tears during those years.

I don’t think she could bear life without my dad, so my mom sank into dementia and eventually forgot she was mad at me.

But every now and then, my mom rose to the surface, just for a few moments.

One day in 2021, as officials lessened COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, I sat on the patio of the assisted living house my mom shared with three other women at one of the most prestigious addresses in Orlando. We remained the required ten feet apart on a cool Orlando afternoon. I talked to her about the plants and trees surrounding us, pointed out the squirrels, and urged her to listen to the birds.

Then, out of the blue, she sat up in her wheelchair a bit straighter and said in a clear, strong voice, “Patricia, I’m sorry, for everything.”

We had many pleasant moments together after that, but her aphasia kept us from having any real conversations. Nonsensical words and sounds tumbled from her mouth, and I responded like I understood what she said.

Tears filled my eyes, and I told her I too was sorry for anything I did to hurt her, but she was gone again by that time.

It felt nice to hear those words, but I no longer needed them. I had long before forgiven my mom, and that forgiveness allowed me to love her and care for her until she died last week.

I read a quote I loved by Paul Boese, a Kansas businessman and writer, who said, “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”

Forgiveness did enlarge the future I had with my mom, even as her world shrunk.

Did someone forward this email to you?

If you aren’t getting them already, sign up to follow the Life Writers vlog and Sunday Stories and receive our thank-you gift, Five Tips to Help You Write Your Life Story.

Please note: All grammatical and typographical errors have been put in this article for
your enjoyment in finding them.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
11 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Idalia
10 months ago

It’s so difficult to let go of the life you’ve lived even in the midst of the trials of Alzheimer and/or dementia. No one wants to release themselves to the reality that they can no longer exist as an independent thinking human being. It’s a definite dilemma in life. Thank you for sharing your conflicts in caring for sick parents. It’s especially difficult when you’re the only child. I’m so glad your mom and you shared few words, time and memories to mend those scars of the past.

Nancy Archibald
10 months ago

Thank you for sharing your story about the struggles you had with aging parents over the years. Being able to forgive your mother prior to her saying she was sorry was a gift to both of you to help you move forward in your relationship with her. My hope is for old memories of days gone by to surface, so you can be at peace with your parents’ lives.

Judy
10 months ago

Patricia. That was a hard story for you to tell, I’m sure. Thank God your mom had that moment of clarity to say she was sorry and that you were there to hear it. A small miracle to some, but a major blessing for you. Now good memories can prevail.

Betsey
Betsey
10 months ago

That was absolutely beautiful tho tearful all in one. Forgiveness frees one’s soul.

Sharon Harrington
Sharon Harrington
10 months ago

I am so glad you received that moment of grace with your mom. It was so important to have that and not have squandered it. It helped give you closure and put you both at peace before she left you. It is one of the most important memories you will have of her from these years.

Monique Cobbs
10 months ago

Forgiveness   It is not every day that we do right. At times the things we do and say cause pain and sadness to our fellow man.   At other moments we speak falsely to shield someone, or even ourselves. We carry guilt for ranking our importance first, for unkind thoughts and selfishness toward a friend.   For all misdeeds as these we need to rue and ask forgiveness from the ones we hurt. And if it’s we who have been wronged, let us be wise and let bad feelings go –   to keep the peace within and shed… Read more »

Nancy Tunnell
Nancy Tunnell
10 months ago

Thanks for sharing that touching story, Patricia.

Etya
10 months ago

Beautiful story, Patricia. I too believe that forgiveness frees the forgivers and allows them to move on. Your love for your mom helped you do that. Hugs and love and healing energy are sent your way as you go through this difficult time in your life.

Rose Couse
10 months ago

A beautiful story of love and forgiveness. Thanks for sharing.

Vera
10 months ago

Very touching, Patricia. Esspecially in light of myhaving dealt with my husband’s dementia the last several years. Even when it’s expected, death is difficult to deal with so I know something of what you are dealing with. Sending you a big virtual hug.
Vera ((Another Louisiana girl)

Linda Murphy
Linda Murphy
10 months ago

Excellent story, Patricia! Thank you! I have begun to write again and am writing one short story a week. Thank. you for your inspiration and for continuing to mentor us!

11
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x