I have never been the type of person to hold a grudge. When someone does something that offends or upsets me, I am usually quick to forgive. This is not the case with all people of course. When a person refuses to forgive someone, that grudge can eat away at their very soul and cause them to become a cold, bitter person. Sadly, I have witnessed what an unwillingness to forgive can do to people. I believe that to live a content and peaceful life, you must forgive and forget because no one is perfect.
Helen Jones, or Muma as my cousins and I called her, was not your average great-grandmother. When my family and I would visit her at the nursing home, the first thing she would always say is, “Let’s go outside so I can have a smoke”. On the weekends, she could typically be found gambling with my grandparents at the local racetrack. I always thought she was the funniest person when I was younger, but as I got older I realized how truly sad and empty she was. Muma had two sisters. In general, she got along with them well. But when her parents passed away, they left the sisters and inheritance. Muma and her sisters got into a huge argument over the money which had a devastating outcome. Muma stopped talking to her sisters. Their names were never mentioned and they were soon completely isolated from each other. The argument was so bad, that Muma never forgave nor talked to them. Even after their deaths, she remained bitter and indignant.
This was not the only incident in which Muma was unable to forgive someone close to her. Anne Wallace was my great-grandmother’s best friend for many years. They were very close, but once again, they were separated by a petty argument. Not surprisingly, they never spoke again. All of these lost relationships are examples of the devastation that an unforgiving heart can bring, but perhaps the worst loss was between Muma and my great-grandfather. They fought often, and many times, over small, unimportant issues. But, there was a time when my great-grandfather cheated on Muma. Of course, in this situation, Muma’s anger was justified. Over the years though, she let her anger consume and destroy her from within. She was constantly miserable and almost never smiled. My great-grandfather tried desperately to make amends and regain her trust, but his efforts were in vain. Muma never did forgive him and my great-grandfather passed away a few years ago.
I loved Muma very much and she was always kind and warm to my cousins and I. She passed away January of this year. Even though her story is a sad one, I have learned so much from her. Forgiveness is the only way that we can move on and be happy once again. As Robert Muller said, “To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” This I believe.