She calls her mother every Thursday at around 8 pm.
She’ll pour herself a glass of wine, and sit there in her kitchen, on the phone with the woman who caused her so much pain, so much self hate growing up, and try and make things right. She’ll try and be the bigger person. She talks sometimes for over an hour, relaying to her mother all the things she did to her that hurt her, that fucked up her up, and how she’s trying her hardest to move past all that now. How it was her therapists idea to not call, but she couldn’t resist, she had to do this. How this is beneficial to her well being, to her moving on with her life.
She probably shouldn’t drink while she does it, she knows this, but it sometimes helps her get the words out, especially since the words are quite harsh, and yet in the end she is asking for forgiveness. She wants to forgive her mother, and forgive herself for not talking to her about how she treated her for so many years. For not confronting her sooner for how horrid she made her childhood. Always criticizing her weight, always criticizing her looks in general, her taste in fashion and music and anything at all. How she’s made her daughter grow up to question anything and everything. Her interests, her hobbies, herself, even her relationships with other people. This goes on for months.
Doesn’t even matter that she’s just leaving messages on an answering machine.
Until that day comes when finally, someone picks up the phone on the other end and asks her, very politely to please stop leaving these messages. That it’s scaring their children. That they know she is doing this to ease her grief but this isn’t her mothers number anymore, and they’re sorry for both her loss and what her mother had done to her to make her feel the need to do this. She understands. She knows her mother is gone. She knows she’s been leaving these messages on a machine tied to a number no longer associated with her past. She promises not to do it anymore.
She eventually calls back a few months later.
The line is disconnected.
Grief, forgiveness, these are hard things to deal with together. When you hate someone for hurting you as much as they did in the way that they did, and yet you want to forgive them because you don’t want to carry that hate around inside of you. So many people these days say you don’t owe these abusers anything, and while that is true, and it might work for some people, it doesn’t work for everyone. Sometimes letting go isn’t just cutting a cord. Sometimes letting go means letting go of how bad they made you feel too, and knowing that they themselves often only hurt you because someone hurt them. Cause and effect. She doesn’t want to hold onto anger anymore. She wants to move on, but it’s tough. And it’s tougher when the abuser has died.
She left a bunch of messy, rambling messages, but she does sleep a little better these nights.