Immediately after hanging up the phone on my mother for the second time that day, I felt the heavy weight of guilt and overwhelming sorrow. "Should I call back and apologize?" I asked my husband. Actually, I was looking for re-assurance that I did the right thing and he read me. "No" he said with biased conviction. "You did not do anything wrong!" He added. Hmmmm... Just what I want to hear from my spouse but I still felt uncertain. After all, it was an ugly and intense shouting match. Decades of hurt and hostility crammed in that two phone calls.
The relationship between my mother and I can be described at its best as volatile. A small spark can start an ugly fire. Most of the time it is hostile. The feeling started early on within me. It became worst since I moved to this country. Probably, the openness of the society and my so-called "Americanization" fueled this hidden anger. Or, maybe I see myself too much in her and I want to change it. It is a very complicated love-hate relationship. Dysfunctional is what I described it. But I know that if I don't resolve our recent fight, it will just bring me down for a long time as it did before.
After several minutes of serious contemplation, I realized that it is the past that has the gripped of us. Everytime there is a new irritation between us, the past always comes out. I blamed her for all my troubles and she did the same. The intention is to hurt the other person. It did just that and made each defensive. Very unproductive use of time. So, I decided to call back. She answered with a sad hello. I told her that I want to call a truce. I told her that I just want to start anew. We cannot change the past that tied us in the dark, unforgiving emotional state but we can forgive each other and promise not to bring the past in our next argument. Both wanting to move forward, we made the pact.
My skeptical husband who witnessed so many verbal fights between myself and my parents, said just take it one day at a time. This time I think is different, I hope.
Genuinely realizing that I cannot change the past nor my parents for that matter, it seems like a heavy weight lifted from my weary shoulders. According to Anne Lamott, "Forgiveness is letting go of all hopes of a better past." That's the forgiveness I want and need.