This I Believe

Samantha - Oak Forest, Illinois
Entered on April 18, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: forgiveness
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She Forgave

I believe in forgiveness. Forgiving someone frees you of the burden of contempt and resentment. I recently learned that “to err is human; to forgive divine” is completely true. In this case, the person that my mom trusted and loved the most, also hurt her the most. I’ve learned, from my mom, that forgiveness is necessary, not for the person you are forgiving, but for yourself. My mom had a type of childhood that people make movies about. My grandma and grandfather were both alcoholics. My grandfather was abusive in every possible way. At 13, my mom was freed from my grandpa’s alcohol induced abuse because of his death from cirrhosis of the liver. His death increased my grandma’s alcoholism, which made her abusive.

After his death, my grandma found a job to support her four children. Being the eldest daughter, my mom became the homemaker. As her two brothers played high school sports and partied, my mom did all the cooking and cleaning. By the age of 16, she worked two jobs along with her family responsibilities. At one of my mom’s jobs, a local drive-in, my grandma would often show up, spying on my mom. When my mom would return home from work, my grandma would interrogate her and greet my mom with insults, calling her a whore. When my mom would try to deny these accusations, my grandma would slap, punch, and kick my mom, all the way into my mom’s room, where my mom would finally close the door on my grandma and try to find some solace. My mom cried herself to sleep most nights only to wake up and repeat this cycle daily.

My mom eventually told me these stories. When my grandma became ill and could no longer live by herself, my mom took her into our home and cared for her. When my grandma had to take morphine for her pain however, she would sometimes let things slip. Eventually, I asked my mom about the things my grandma said and was told about my mom’s childhood. At first I felt extremely nauseous and felt like I had been lied to my whole life, but I realized my mom’s wisdom eventually. My mom was able to forgive her mother for making her most important years a living hell, which constantly amazes me. When I think of the saying, “To err is human; to forgive divine” I think of my mother and the power of forgiveness. I believe in forgiveness because my mom was able to forgive my grandma and give me the childhood that she never had.