Originally published PsychCentral
My mother came to visit recently. We have a past issue between us, that I have not been able to forgive. It has to do with when my brother was very symptomatic with a mental illness during my teen years. I have avoided talking about it. She always seems to want to keep to light, happy news and it never seemed appropriate,
She has changed lately. Become a little more down to earth. She brought the issue up on her own and told me of one thing she had done over those years. She had checked out housing for my brother, and told me that she had done all she could. She believes she did everything. I don’t think I did everything. I feel we failed him.
The best thing I can do is let go of the resentment. I will also have to work on forgiving myself another time.
It is hard for me, but, as Lily Tomlin says, “Forgiving is giving up all hope for a better past.”
I think it will help me mentally to not have this bitterness inside and forgiving can protect against the tolls of stress.1
I am trying to have compassion for how my mother must have viewed things. I know she has a lot of anxiety. Maybe, she did/does feel helpless.
There was a lot I did not understand at the time, and still don’t. Mostly, I feel guilty that I had a second chance after a breakdown that did not happen for my brother.
I still have some bitterness. I am a work in progress and forgiveness will take time.
The rest of my siblings have moved on. Maybe things did not trouble them as much or they are more forgiving.
I am hoping to build happier memories with my mother in the future.
She wouldn’t understand if I said it to her, “For what?” but “Mom, I forgive you”.