Fleeting Forgiveness

About two years after my brother, Stephen’s, daughter, Justice, passed away, I was home cleaning my house when the doorbell rang. I wasn’t expecting anyone but when I opened the door I was really shocked to see Stephen standing there. He just looked at me and said “I have hugs and kisses for free if you want them”. I was so surprised by him being there that it took me a minute or two to wrap my mind around the fact that he was really there. I opened the door and invited him in. We hugged, and he kissed me on the cheek and asked if he could come in and visit. I showed him to the family room and asked him if he wanted something to drink. He said he had a coke and sat on the sofa. I sat in my rocking chair and we had an awkward moment not knowing what to say next as I was still trying to understand what brought him to see me.

Finally, Stephen said he hoped we could put our differences aside and move forward. I said I was willing to do that if we could do so without any more fighting. He agreed then he asked me how I had been and asked about my husband, Bill, and our daughter, Shantel. I said we were all fine and asked how he has been. He looked at me and said “well, I’ve been busy burying Justice, and trying to put my life back together after that. Then, he asked me why I sent a card to him when Justice died instead of coming to see him? I looked at him and asked “why did you really come here today?” He flew into a rage, again, and said “I can leave.” I said “yes, you can because I didn’t ask you to come here in the first place”. We both  got up and started toward the door. At the door I said to him “you seem to always need someone to be angry at so I’ll just be that person for you, and now you can go and be happy with the other people in your life”. Stephen left and that was the extent of our fleeting moment of forgiveness. The entire “visit” lasted all of fifteen minutes. However, a few days later, my mom told me Stephen visited her and told her he tried to come and make-up with me but I wouldn’t have him and threw him out of my house. Again, it amazes me how two people can be in the same room talking, and come away with two very different versions of what was said or done. It simply amazes me…

For the next six months, my mother hounded me every time I visited her to go see Stephen or to at least call him and “make-up” with him. She kept telling me dad wouldn’t want me to be fighting with my brothers. I finally had to tell mom “dad isn’t here, and even if he was it wouldn’t change anything as far as my relationship with Stephen.”  I told her over and over I had nothing to “make-up” for because I had done nothing wrong. I tried over and over to explain to my mom that I do love her, just as I loved dad, but I’m just not like them in respect to how I manage my life. I told her I don’t share the same thoughts as they say they believe when it comes to what I will accept in my life “for the sake of the family”. I told mom that I refuse to be made to feel guilty for putting boundaries around myself and insisting those boundaries are respected. I told her I had forgiven Stephen, but forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to be a door matt for other’s to walk on just because they are family. I said forgiveness, for me, is letting go of the anger, and not holding any resentment or bitterness in my heart towards the person. I told her forgiveness, for me, was for me. Then I told mom “with all due respect, I think we need to just not talk about Stephen anymore”.

As has been my experience with my mother, she couldn’t simply respect my request to let well enough alone with respects to me and Stephen. I am sure she hounded him about making-up with me too. Then, about a month after telling mom I didn’t want to talk about Stephen anymore, Stephen called me out of the blue one day using mom’s cell phone at the Care Center. My phone rang showing mom’s number on the caller Id. I answered it thinking it would be mom, but it was Stephen. He said “Cindy, it’s Stephen”.  I said “yes”. He said “I just called to tell you I love you.” I said “OK.” He said I just wanted you to know that and hung up. That was the last time I ever spoke to Stephen. He died unexpectedly a few months later.

Strangely enough, a few months prior to Stephen’s death, one of my dear friends of many, many, years, who knew my family, and all about my relationship with Stephen, told me one day I better be sure I could handle my feelings about not having Stephen in my life if something were to happen to him. I told her I was absolutely at peace with my decision because Stephen and I couldn’t be together without fighting, and I choose to not have that kind of negative energy in my life. I told her I loved Stephen with all my heart and always would, but sometimes love just isn’t enough to create a peaceful relationship. If we could all love our problems away don’t you think we all would? I belive sometimes you have to make a choice to just let go and that is what I did with Stephen. I just let go.

Next: Delivering Stephen’s Eulogy

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gotham girl
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 13:08:20

    “Just let go”…such words of wisdom and oh so powerful! xoxo More!

    Reply

  2. Megs
    Apr 20, 2012 @ 04:08:43

    You could give lessons on forgivenss. I am so proud to call you my friend.

    Reply

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