“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”

Mahatma Ghandi

I’m feeling like I haven’t wrote anything down in forever. That could be because I haven’t had anything all that morbid to say in a week or two, who knows? In this next entry I want to talk about something a little different, or maybe it isn’t all that different. I remain slightly unsure. I want to talk about forgiveness. The title is a huge giveaway this time. So let’s see, where to begin…

The majority of you who will be reading this probably already know the circumstances surrounding my Mother’s death. Those of you who don’t already know, I can only assume that you assume yourselves by now that her dying wasn’t a result of an illness or a disease. A direct result of this was that I developed a small problem with finding forgiveness. It became a big thing for me, forgiveness and the fact I was unable to forgive my Mother or even myself for that matter.

My sister’s and I saw a Psychic Medium just before the first Christmas we had without My Mam. She visited us at home one evening and spent time with us individually. I remember, we removed every helpful hint and tip from view because we didn’t want to give anything away. My younger sister’s were disappointed with their own reading. I went last because I wanted an idea of what I was letting myself in for. By the time the girls were both finished it is safe to say I didn’t have very high expectations for my own reading. When it was my turn, I remember still feeling quite nervous, it was as though I was preparing myself to speak directly to my Mam. What was she going to say? Would she have the nerve to say anything at all? Was she happy? Was she sad? Was she watching over us? But more importantly, was she sorry? All of these questions ran through my mind as I sat down and the Medium asked me to pick six tarot cards. I didn’t want to give anything away and I knew she could tell. She talked me through this and that, she knew I had been pregnant before; she told me it would of been a boy had I not miscarried. She told me that he was being looked after in Heaven. She knew I had lost my great grandparents as she explained she could feel an older presence in the room around me. She knew they died peacefully. She had asked about my parents before this and I was careful to not let her onto the fact that my Mam was dead. She never picked up on this with my sister’s either so when she started telling me there was someone who wanted to “come through” and say something but they were too scared all the while I was thinking, “bingo”. She started off telling me this, about how there was a figure in the corner near the door who was cowering and seemed to be fidgeting, a figure who she couldn’t quite make out, she couldn’t tell if they were a man or a woman at this point. I sat very still, adamant I was not going to give anything away while the Medium talked this “spirit” into the room, promising it was a safe place and explaining that they needn’t be scared. The Medium began explaining to me what she could see. A red haired woman with her head bowed in shame. She described to me her clothing; jeans, a blouse and flat shoes. Nothing fancy, she told me. She asked what my relationship was with this woman and I just looked at her, my lip quivering and she whispered “is that Mum?” I simply nodded, by this point I was too frightened to open my mouth because God only know the sound that would of came from it. The Medium began explaining how she knew it wasn’t a peaceful death, she described it as tragic and sudden. She told me how ashamed my Mam felt, she told me it was an accident and that she didn’t mean to do it, she told me it was important that I knew it was an accident. She told me that my Mam was sorry for leaving us, she told me that no matter what my Mam wanted me to know what she would still always be there. The Medium asked about a tattoo and told me that my Mam was really happy with the tattoo. The girls and I hadn’t got any tattoos in honour of her yet but my Mam’s longest friend had. The Medium let me know that my Mam really liked this tattoo that was on her friend’s arm in honour of her. At this point I was silently sobbing away uncontrollably. I could still hardly speak, so when she told me that my Mother wanted to know if I could forgive her my response was only “I don’t know” because I didn’t and I haven’t ever since.

I haven’t seen a Psychic Medium since. That night I wanted to believe, and there were moments that I did. That night I wanted above all else to find closure and I just didn’t. I had high hopes for that night, I wanted to feel peace but it just left me feeling deflated. That night was two years ago now and I still ask myself the same question every single day, “can I forgive her?”.

In the first few months after her death I couldn’t help but think about how much easier it would be if I had God to give me an explanation. I thought a lot about Heaven and what I believed Heaven to be like. I wondered if what was happening in my life was supposed to happen. I wanted to know if this was all part of “God’s Plan”. I remember, I would look up at the sky and wonder if it was all even real. Did I truly believe that there was a Heaven? If God was real then why would he let this happen? I would look up at the sky as though the clouds held all of my answers.

I thought about my faith a lot in that first year. I wasn’t trying to find it, I was that self absorbed I was hoping it would just find me. I wanted a sign, a sign to tell me that I should believe. I wanted to cook toast one morning and find Jesus’s face burnt in the bread looking back at me. I wanted something, anything to show me that God was real. Of course, that was never going to happen.

Over exactly one year later and I’m having a cup of tea with my local Vicar and his wife. I was honest and explained that losing my Mam made me have so many questions. Questions about faith and if I had any, questions about beliefs and if I had any of those either, questions about God and why we should always turn to him. He told me about the Christian faith and what it means to be Christian. He told me the story of how he found his own faith when he was a similar age to me. He told me how he found love through the Church as that is where he met his wife. His stories made me smile. I could feel their faith just from listening to them talk about it. I knew in that moment that although I still didn’t know what I believed, that I wanted to feel faith again.

Two weeks later I attended my first Sunday Service as an adult. Walking into Church that morning I felt a warmth that I couldn’t describe, I felt welcomed as if I had been there 80 times before. I still kept an open mind though, I didn’t know if I would enjoy the service, I didn’t know if it would even make any sense to me. Although somehow, someway it did. I found myself relating. I found myself praying and really meaning it. I felt grateful. I felt peace. I felt acceptance.

I found three things in Church that day and I continue to find them each time I attend. I found comfort, I found family and I found forgiveness. The main thing I have struggled with this past year has continued to be forgiveness. Forgiving myself, really. I carry a lot of guilt around with me. I feel terrible for some of the choices and decisions I have made. I feel awful inside for the words I have sometimes chosen. I feel such remorse for every worry I have ever caused those closest to me. My Vicar told me on that very first day over tea that as Christians we are all already forgiven but it’s what we choose to do with that forgiveness that counts. I have messed up a few times since hearing that and I work on trying to forgive myself every day because how could I possibly forgive her when I struggle to forgive myself?

I’m still unsure of what being Christian means to me. I’m still unsure of what it is exactly that I believe but I just think that, as long as I continue to find those three things at the end of every week then I really don’t mind continuing figuring that one out for myself.

I still ask myself every single day “can I forgive her yet?”… and I wish every single day I had an answer. Much like everything else with me, forgiveness is a work in progress.