Wednesday, May 16, 2007

her final gift to me: the ability to forgive

My grandmother died Saturday. We drove to the visitation and funeral yesterday--ten hours or so round-trip with the rain. I hadn't seen most of my family for about fifteen years; I hadn't seen my dad for about four years.

I'm glad I went. I'm glad we went.
One of the greatest gifts Anne has given me is insight into my father. The final gift my grandmother gave me was the ability to forgive him.

I guess they've all mellowed. I guess I have, too. I guess they're no longer enigmas, enormous forces of nature. I guess we're all just people, just grown up people with our own lives and our own ways. And, I guess I'm ready to finally let go of my grudges.

I carried so much bitterness from my childhood, and it clouded my dad and his family. I resented him for so much for so long. I'm glad to have the growing wisdom and understanding that only comes with aging, and that while I've been growing, he hasn't passed away. I'm glad I haven't missed my chance to know him.

I'm glad, too, for the way he put his arm around her when the four of us had our picture taken together--my dad, his wife, Anne, and me.

He wasn't and isn't the person I wanted him to be, the father I wanted him to be. He's just who he is. And, I'm lucky to have people in my life who filled in the gaps his absence made. I'm lucky to have so many people in my life who love me, my father among them.

And I forgive him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it sounds like it was a great thing that you went to that funeral. something you needed to do.
its weird though... because while i've had really no harsh feelings, grudges, or whatever toward our father (maybe because i was younger, maybe because i'm a dude, who knows), and i've had way more contact with him over the past few years, i seem to be way more detached from him and his family than you. when i found out that his mom died, it was hard for me to care. and i'm still not sure if i do (any more than i do when any other random grandmother dies of old age). i'm not indifferent about most things, its funny that i'm so indifferent about this.