Tuesday, January 19, 2010


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.


geri said...

Hugs Loraine. It can't be easy to be at odds with a parent. I remember my shouting match with dad before I left for the U.S. and guilt is not a good feeling to have. During Evan's first days, it was my father who I thought of the most - knowing he had held me in his arms, rocked me to bed numerous times just as I did with Evan. Good luck to you both.

malor said...

Thanks Geri. I just realized that my parents are not all that bad. They sent me to school, fed me and brought me stuff when I asked them. I wish that I would forget all the years of hurt. It will be a lifetime of work for me. But it's okay. I am very lucky to have an opportunity to be the parent I want to have to Benji.

Cristina said...

That is my favorite definition of forgiveness...hello, girl!

Cristina said...

I have the same sentiment about my folks. I had come to a better understanding of what choices they may have had during their time as parents of growing kids like us -- now that I am one. Maybe they made the decisions that was best, given their options. But, it is very true that this is our moment...to re-live our childhood and be the parents we wished we had.