Well recently my adult child told me they could not forgive me… I struggled with that, deep, deep in my heart. First I was mad…how dare you not forgive me!!! If that particular child knew the magnitude of forgiveness I have endured in the last 20 plus years of their life , if they could see only a glimpse of the situations in which they needed forgiveness even a tiny part of the whole of their life in which I was injured offended, embarrassed, lied to, stolen from…ect…you get my point. How dare them not forgive me… the mom who has forgiven them year after year transgression after transgression. SO as usual I called my mom to vent.
In response, my mom asked me to write a letter to her and one to dad and she insisted after I wrote my feelings I would understand my kids feelings. HA fat chance mom!!! This was beyond my comprehension because I was a good parent (unlike the life I had experienced). I felt what could my kids possibly have against me? I did not get it. I saw no point in it. I feel I have said all I need to say to my parents and my kids, my emotional upkeep is usually pretty current, I compliment myself on the fact I keep myself pretty strong and clean on the forgiveness issues through consistent,habitual daily repentance and the offering of forgiveness (tho few of my kids have ever come to me for requests LOL). I actually thought I was a decent mom…oh how surprised I am to learn very few of my children are really able to connect on an intimate level with me, the sadness of that fact is enough to take my breath away, but my allegiance will remain to listen to moms advice.
Yet, I obeyed my moms silly request. I submitted and wrote my parents separate letters. Since my dad died I have prayed mine to him and read aloud my moms to her. I am sharing these letters with the intent, for others in similar situations, in hopes they too may find a way to relate my life to their life or the life of another loved one. Warning If you had amazing parent s growing up, then this blog is definitely not for you so just move on to something you can relate to and stop reading this now.
If you had difficult parents in your childhood I encourage you to find a way to get past it and I encourage you to only read my letters to use them as an example to attaining peace in this life and to live out practicing forgiveness and mercy before you or your parents enter the grave.
I figured I never had “real”parents as a child, and when I grew up it was a potential reality that I could have continued without parents( in relationship) for my adult life. Thankfully, I eventually realized that would be my LOSS, I would never outgrow my need for parents, no not ever. Even at 50 I need the support and prayers of my parents, now actually more than ever before because it is now as my children have all become adults I realize how difficult personalities and relationships are to maintain and navigate.
Along with that thought, my parents did actually change, they grew, they were not the same young neglectful parents that I recalled from my childhood …they never transformed to become amazing parents, they never had or gave me anything of value, their advice was more of what …not to do…in opposition to… how to successfully navigate life. But in the end my relationship with my parents was healed …it is healed and it continues to heal daily.
My parents both did the best they could. They both put much effort into that transformation process over the years…No, they never were normal, but I eventually realized, they were all I was going to get(and that normal is highly overrated and rare in this generation)! Unfortunately, there is not a parent machine anywhere that we can pay a certain amount and receive new parents (LOL) . You get one set and thats it, like it or not, these people hold your genes and they are all the parents you will biologically get. Adoption is an alternative but rarely are these parents up to par of expectations either. I did not want to spend my adulthood without them. No, it did not come out all tidy and neat. No, they never had me over for a Christmas or Easter dinner(in fact I became the family matriarch @18 and have persisted alone for more than 35 years . I was always the only child who tried to keep or get the family together ( so I spent many years trying to connect a family that just did not have the emotional balance of ever connecting). This reality continues with 3 brothers that choose not to be a active part of any family involvement.
The reality will always be that Yes,I had pretty awful parents…according to my parenting standard, I mean they were amazing people, they just were not good parents nor did they ever find a way to really count on each other or to parent together. They had so many kids and so many issues (drugs, mental health, poverty, sexual abuses) and they were so young and neither had proper models of any type of faith or morality…I called them poor souls for many years, I set out to prove them wrong, to make a different life, to raise all my kids different from how I was raised. Every birthday or mothers day or fathers day purchasing a card was like torture…what card could explore the reality of our relationship…all the mushy “you have always been here for me”…well I never would buy that card…we all knew it would just be a LIE. I had to be as generic as possible to find even a drop of truth written in a hallmark card. I did write them a letter and if your interested I will share it with those of you who have had to forgive your parents. My moms request did not immediately subside my pain from my childs lack of forgiveness but I will share that journey in a different blog.
I think this is silly writing a letter, I talk to you and about you in my prayers so I feel like I have said and do say all I want to enough, but maybe for others well being I will go into their world and believe as many do that once you are dead, you are gone from all communication. This is a letter of all the things in life I wanted to tell you when you were alive, most of which I have told you after your death (although I do not have the pleasure of knowing how you will receive it) but I will do it via letter, in my own way.
I know you see me and your proud of me, I have thankfully overcome so many struggles that our family of origin handed down (the generational dysfunctional cycle). I finally realize I am the better for each dysfunction. I am who I am and I am accepting of that. I am happy to have been given the opportunities I had in life to become this person. Even so, I would hope that you have seen my life and know that I love you unconditionally, and that you are assured that you are forgiven for anything you ever did and hopefully you have been able to purge, the sin of not forgiving yourself when you were laid to rest in this life. I know forgiving yourself completely for any wrongs you chose in this world will finally allow you to really feel the impact of true forgiveness on others. I hope, now that you are in the grave and experiencing life everlasting, you have realized all the things you thought you wanted, independence, freedom, respect, were all things you accepted as part of you. I am proud that you did choose to change the things you wanted to change to the best of your ability. Yet, obviously in this life, you did not have the courage to change some of these things and I pray that is a process you are perfecting in glory. But let us not dwell on the things you did not change, rather the things you did. I was blessed to have watched your living testimony that drugs and alcohol can be overcome, if that is, the you you wanted to be chose to abstain to become whom you want to be remembered for on this earth. It is knowing that change and hope are possible that I cope with having a son who has struggled all his life with addictions.
Anyway, thank you for getting clean dad it meant so much to all your kids, especially me. I love you dad, I know in this life you may not have felt you were much of a dad, and in many ways you were not. This is the reality of your life lived. However, I know if I can forgive the past, especially the years of incest then you can eventually forgive yourself for the father you were, I trust when we meet in heaven we will have a reunion of peace. I realize how all these petty little problems with “he said …she said” really have no meaning in eternal life.
As long as you know I was proud of you, and I am keep your memory alive in my heart and I can think fondly of you and I can still pray that you are continuing to perfect the real you, that you that always desired acceptance from your children. I can still imagine you dad, I still feel little pieces of your memory in my life from day to day. I love you with all my heart dad, my memories these days are all for good, the past is dead in my mind. I know I became the woman I am, supported by the strength I saw you practice in hard times. Dad I love you, totally, completely, I pray you have found healing for all the wounds this world inflicted. The wounds of your mother and your father, which were far deeper than anything I ever experienced. Thank you dad, that after a lifetime of disappointments I finally got to see the good you shine forth, the one I would call when I was lonely and first moved here. I remember I just cried and cried to be so far from home and all my friends and family. Yet, you continued to encourage me and helped me be strong and I realized with time I got a whole new life here in atown. I now have a lovely family and I too see through the eyes of a parent…so all those times you threw me out of the house with nowhere to go…they were all my journey …my destiny!! I have no not a one hard feeling toward you today, I am honored to have called you my father. I love you and will continue to light a candle for your soul. I trust God has overwhelmed you with HIS mercy, and you are well in eternity, where all truth is revealed? Now you can see and understand it all and you can see those who believed in you and loved you… not for what you did for them rather just for being your intellectual true purposeful self. Memory, your memory, is eternal to me dad, I will see you again in the after world and we will all truly understand everything then. May you rest in the loving arms of Our Father who has all eternity in his hands.
Hey why do I have to write you a letter when I can just talk to you here and now. I don’t think I have anything to say that you shouldn’t already know. Most of my life we have been pretty honest about our relationship. But if your gonna die and I must write one letter that you will remember I guess I can do it. I love you mom, you’re a strong woman, you’ve been through so much…I never saw that when I was struggling through my child-raising days and struggles, but I now realize you had much more than I ever had to struggle with .. especially since God blessed me with such an amazing husband to help me raise our kids. I know you were always so weak and so alone but I hope you gain comfort to know my strength, persistence and endurance in life was developed and inspired by you. I became who I am because I watched you struggle so much. I am strong, independent, and happy and much of that is thanks to you! The rest is all Gods grace and Mercy. I am proud of you finding and searching for God, mom…You made it…you squeaked through, You are who you are and who you are is ok with me, I love you..the all of you …not just the good but the bad had purpose as well. Bad parenting I have now realized often inspires loved ones to work harder and try more. On days like this, when I can barely keep trying…with my own children, I have come to realize how many times your children, myself included have broken your heart. Oh, how you tooo must have a broken heart over your boys and their relationships, none of them have been very good at making or keeping the family together…with you or really any other woman in their life(especially their sisters) I know its gotta be hard to love your kids so much and see them just…not even talk to you with respect or to see them take advantage of you or just not even acknowledge you exist (for years and years and years). Knowing all your kids think you are nuts I imagine is very discouraging, I can see that from my own kids who have little respect for all I have been through or learned…but how could they…maybe they too, after they have raised their own, will come to understand that feeling. I feel that pain you feel, on way too many days, sorry to admit, but I hope you never continue to feel that way about me. I know we had a rocky past but that is the past and I hold nothing against you, I feel I have been forgiven by you and I have forgiven you all those rocky years. I will always love you and I always feel I can talk to you about anything, and I hope you can always talk to me…now and in 30 years from now. I love you mom. I do see all you have done and I do care for all that you went through to become the person you are…and look at that !!! you are you…and you take care of your shit and you love life and you make me smile and laugh so hard I pee my pants sometimes! I would have never been happier with any other mother in the world. Mom you are enough I want you to really feel that…you …just being you…you are enough…you are loved by me mom. I hope you never have to worry as you age..that I got your back and I will always be here to care for you mom with all my heart.