On my way to church yesterday
I saw a sign advertising an autumn festival at another church.
I thought back to all the festivals I used to take you to
that you loved, even at the end when you were thin and frail.
I loved having you at my house for a weekend or holiday,
surprising you with gourmet meals and delectable treats.
Then when I came to visit you at the home,
you would give me cookies from the nursing home kitchen –
that you know I loved but they didn’t like me.
But even though we were close,
There was a large rock in my heart because of you.
Though we never talked about it,
I was still hung up on the fact you and Dad abandoned me
so blatantly, when I needed you most.
Why? Why. Why. Why. W H Y ? ? ?
I was always your favorite daughter – how come you didn’t stand up for me?
You and Dad thought you were doing the right thing,
but it forever changed my life.
I got severely depressed (although I didn’t know what depression was back then),
so much so that I who was once a very rapid reader
had to read the same page over and over and over before it made sense.
From that point on, I told myself that I was such a horrible person,
that that’s why you and Dad didn’t stick around.
For years I didn’t trust anyone. I loved people, but couldn’t feel them loving me.
I’m so surprised that I got married. I did trust him, and I loved him, but
I could never, ever feel the love that he told me of and showed me.
That’s what led to our divorce many years later.
Certainly I am not blaming you for the whole thing,
but your abandonment of me put me in chains so I could not live freely.
And then in my mind I put you in chains,
mocked you behind your back whenever you said unkind things to me
when in my opinion you had a growing dementia, and you weren’t the same.
I’m so sorry I did that!
There is a happy ending to this story…
When I did walk up the church sidewalk yesterday, it all of a sudden hit me.
I can remember the exact spot where I stood when I remembered Jesus…
What He went through. If He could forgive his enemies,
then I must try to do the same.
All of a sudden,
I loved you again. I forgave you. What freedom I felt!
Then in the grocery store after church, I found myself
literally sprinting down the cookie aisle with my grocery cart, without stopping.
Normally that is very hard for me to do.
I am a very happy and contented person these days,
writing and writing and writing, though you never encouraged me.
There’s one thing I did give up on, though.
My piano teacher back in childhood thought I had a promising
future at Carnegie Hall,
but you didn’t see the importance. You still had to pull me off the piano from practicing “too much”.
You forced me to go to business college
and be a secretary, just because Sandra had done that.
I then took lessons as an adult, but the pain of your non-acceptance
did me in. I gave my piano away, the one you shipped to me once I moved out of state.
But I let that go now
because you did not know what you were doing when you mistreated me in those ways.
Please forgive me, too, Mom, —
And I still miss you.