And most of all, I believe in forgiveness. Nearly a year ago, my mother died after a struggle with cancer. She was not dying at peace with herself, with others, with life, or with God, but instead held on tightly to past hurts, both those she inflicted, and those others inflicted on her. She could not forgive. She could not let go. She could not die in peace. She openly said so.
Once in the hospital, she looked at me and said, “I know there are things that you are angry about from your childhood.” I was tempted to lie, as I had done so many times, and say, “No. There is nothing. There is nothing I am angry about. There is nothing.” But instead, for a reason I don’t fully understand, I said, “Yes. There are things, many things, that I am angry about. There are things.” A silence waited between us, then my mother said, “I’m sorry. I did the best I could.” And again, for a reason I don’t fully understand, I said, “I know you did.”
Now later, after she entered hospice, and we all knew that she would die, my mother said to me, “It’s because of your forgiving nature that I am able to forgive and die in peace.” Within a week, she died.
I want to believe in the ability to live a happy life and to die in peace. I choose to believe this happiness and peace lie in forgiveness, a forgiveness that may really be an acceptance that ultimately nothing exists to forgive. We simply are as we are. I think that I gave, through forgiveness, my mother the chance to die in peace, and I’ve lead myself to believe that I gave myself a bit more peace in this life. And I believe, for practical reasons as much as religious, that I, and everyone, can forgive everyone in our lives over and over and over, to the end of time. This is why I believe in forgiveness.
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