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Today is my mom’s birthday. She made her transition 11 years ago, and I’m celebrating her today. I’m so grateful that I have no sadness, no tears of regret, no unforgiveness of myself or my mom.
In so many ways, my mom was my greatest teacher, as I may have been for her, too.
My mom had a lot of issues with her mother and they informed our relationship in so many ways. My grandmother had a lot of issues with her mother, too.
My great-grandmother had three children and was married for life to an alcoholic who would sometimes be a great provider and sometimes not. He was unpredictable. He was a gambler. He would bring other women home and sleep with them in the house with his wife and children. He was completely disrespectful in his drunkenness.
My grandmother once told me that, at 13 years old, she sometimes had to take the car and go get him out of a bar. My grandmother was not even five feet tall as a grown woman. She said she could barely reach the pedals and also see over the steering wheel. She’d go into the bar where her father had been drinking and gambling, and she would have to ask the other men to give the money back so they could buy food. I can’t even imagine what that felt like for her.
My grandmother was the oldest. She had two little brothers and, quite frankly, I’m sure at 13 years old she was more of a force than my great-grandmother would ever have been – and that’s why she had to do it. They needed to eat.
Now, we can certainly judge my great-grandfather for being drunk, and gambling, and womanizing and all that, but he did somehow manage to support the family. The judgment won’t help us. It’s just what happened.
My great-grandmother, whom we all called Nana, passed away when I was about 10. When my grandmother got married, after my great-grandfather had passed, Nana came to live with my grandmother and my grandfather. Nana helped to raise my mother. My grandmother had frail health after my mother was born – my grandmother spent the last half of her pregnancy in the hospital, and my mother was a premature baby they never thought would live because she was born three months early. It was a miracle that both my grandmother and my mother survived the birth.
Nana was a great cook. Good old-fashioned southern cooking. Cakes, pies, muffins, biscuits, roasts, and ham and the whole nine yards. In my family, the legend grew up from my mother and grandmother that Nana was a practically a saint for all she put up with.
My mother’s father, my grandfather, died before I was born. He had extreme high blood pressure, and back then they couldn’t cure it and it took his life at 47. About a year before my parents married, my grandmother, whom I called Muz, at age 50 married a man who was 15 years younger, Frank, who stepped in and was my grandfather. Nana lived with them when I was growing up. Every time I visited Muz and Frank, Nana was my roommate, so we became pals.
Tragically, Frank also died at age 47, leaving my grandmother a widow once again. My Nana passed within a year of Frank. I was about 11 at the time.
It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s and 30’s that I began to really see what was going on in my family. Muz’s brother, my Uncle Stanley, had a “drinking problem” like his father did. Apparently both Nana and Muz thought Stanley’s wife, my precious Aunt Chris, ought to have been able to control him better. They blamed Chris for Stanley’s going downhill, and not being able to stop drinking and every other problem he had.
So my Nana and my Muz both judged Chris, and made her feel “less than,” because Stanley had an alcohol problem. Stanley had also been to battle in WWII and had seen horrific things that he could never even talk about, but somehow his PTSD was all my Aunt Chris’s fault. Hmmmmm.
Yet, Nana was a saint for having put up with my great-grandfather. Hmmmmm. No one blamed Nana for her husband’s shortcomings. Hmmmmm.
It wasn’t until Muz was making her transition, and until my Aunt Chris was at the end of her life, that I began to see everything from a new perspective.
I saw that Muz, as a little girl, couldn’t handle being angry with her mother for not doing better to protect them from her father’s drunkenness. She accepted that her mother didn’t have it in her to stand up to him. The best Nana could do was stick with her husband on behalf of her three small children. So, at age 13, Muz had to step in for her mother and become the parent, the strong one.
From the long view, I could see that Muz’s bullying nature, her mean and vicious side, was a result of having to deal with her personal terror as a child, facing those men in the bar and dealing with her father coming home drunk and having sex with another woman in their house, with her mother right there. I can imagine that it was quite a job having to bury all of that rage at her mother for allowing it.
After all, it would be pretty hard for Muz to be that angry at BOTH of her parents. She needed her mother’s love and nurturing. So, she had to bury her true feelings in order to survive.
Isn’t this what we all do?
And don’t the feelings always come out some other way?
Often, projected onto some innocent bystander?
When my mother was a child, Muz, her mother, would threaten her precious daughter. She’d tell my mother, “if you don’t do exactly as I tell you, I won’t love you anymore.”
Nana let her do that to my mother, just as she’d let her husband subject her children to his abuses.
Muz and Nana, my grandmother and great-grandmother, turned their self-hatred, their blame and their shame against my innocent Aunt Chris and made her the bad person because she couldn’t help Stanley get over his PTSD from the war and stop his drinking.
Sheesh! These are the family emotional legacies that we inherit.
Muz really feared death. I wanted to help her in her last days. I was in my mid 30’s then. I had finally been able to see some of what was going on and why Muz could be so cruel. I knew that she feared death because she felt so guilty.
I talked with her gently about it. I said that maybe her mother, Nana, wasn’t a saint. Maybe Nana just did the best she could and that maybe, even as a child, Muz had more strength than her mother.
I certainly let Muz know that I didn’t hold anything against her, even though when I was a child she would say mean things to me to try to manipulate me to do what she wanted, just like she’d done with my mother.
On some level, my mother really hated her mother’s ego personality that was so cruel to her for her entire life. I could forgive my grandmother, because I had seen that same cruel wild, “cat trapped in a corner” hysterical viciousness in myself, too, many times to count. I was learning to love myself, which absolutely required me to forgive myself and to release the self-hatred born of my guilt, and that gave me compassion for my grandmother.
It wasn’t until recent years, after my own mother’s passing that I saw how — because I’d been so cruel to my mother and my own anger at my mother — was actually my own guilt about the way I’d treated her projected out onto her. I blamed her for letting me be mean to her, and I felt an intense strong debilitating guilt that I took out on her until I forgave myself.
It wasn’t until I started to truly LIVE A Course in Miracles and practice the teachings each day that I could forgive myself. And then, I began to see all the deeper threads of all these patterns, without judgment, and with gratitude for my sight. And that is what has compelled me to keep sharing with others the extraordinary and miraculous healing that we can all have, when we are willing to practice true forgiveness.
I haven’t had any children, but I’ve stopped this pattern in myself. When my mother and I were in her final days, I reached total self-forgiveness which enabled me to see that there was nothing to forgive my mother for. We were completely at Peace together, and in a place of unconditional Love and Joy together, and that was miraculous to me. It changed my perspective on everything in my life. My consciousness completely reoriented because of it.
I’ve shared a lot about my journey with my mother in the final years of her life, and how it was my mother who became the impetus for me to forgive EVERYTHING I’d ever held against anyone, including myself, so that I could fully Love her and myself with my whole heart.
This is the back-story of my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. I’ve never shared this in writing until today. I share it only because everyone’s family has a backstory of pain and suffering. We all have resistance to healing the grudges and the complaints. We manage and cope with them instead of doing the actual healing.
There was so much that I couldn’t really see or comprehend UNTIL I did my own inner forgiveness work.
When I was growing up, I just thought Muz was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One minute she would be telling me I was the person she loved the most in all the world, and the next minute she’s telling me I’m the most selfish little girl in all the world.
Muz constantly tried to guilt or shame me into doing what she wanted, and then she’d turn around and shower me with Love and praise. It was intense. I learned to Love her as she was, and not to put up with her manipulations. She helped me become strong and independent of her intensity. She helped me find my inner strength and determination.
That inner strength I have is extremely valuable to me. Now I use it to be fiercely loving, no matter what, and to cut through the illusion and delusions of other people’s personalities and my own.
I feel it is my personal responsibility to forgive all of these things I have inherited from my mother’s family. I have turned them from the darkest anger, depression and insanity to my personal bed of roses. I give thanks for all of my ancestors and everything I inherited, because it has helped me to be strong, dedicated, and determined.
This work is mine to do. I don’t resent or regret it. I give thanks for it. I feel blessed by it. I could not have the strength of heart I now have without it. I am truly blessed!
I have felt compelled to let this ancestral tragedy and insanity end with me. I know that I absolutely have brought my family’s madness to the Light of Love. I feel the Freedom every minute of every day. I feel the liberation.
I proclaim: I AM a liberator!
My family, despite anything that happened in the past, has taught me to fully Love. I can fully Love now because of what I inherited. No mistakes have been made. All is well.
There comes a point when we absolutely MUST step into our role and purpose in this life. As Light Workers, we are compelled to do what is ours to do.
We cannot curse the darkness.
We must bring it to the Light.
This IS ours to do.
If we don’t do it, if we allow ourselves to complain even a little bit, we will feel despair and depression. This is the truth of it.
When you are sad, know this need not be . Depression comes from a sense of being deprived of something you want and do not have. Remember that you are deprived of nothing except by your own decisions, and then decide otherwise. A Course in Miracles T-4.IV.3
We have a purpose for our lives. We all share that same purpose, and it is to forgive ourselves so we can fully Love. There is no other greater purpose.
ACIM tells us that all forgiveness is self-forgiveness.
And that is what I learned and proved with my own life.
This class is so powerful and transformative that it’s also a requirement for my Spiritual Counseling Certification Program.
I haven’t offered this class in six months, but I’m thinking of offering it soon. I’m thinking of doing something special next time I offer it, so that people can do the class with a friend or family member, as there is definitely strength in joining with a partner. If you’d like to be on the waiting list so you can join me next time I offer it, you can go here to sign up for the waiting list and I’ll keep you posted.
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