I seemed very set back yesterday in my childhood, not just in my two blogs but also all day long in my mind. I know I do that at times and I think yesterdays journey was totally triggered by the fact it is Easter. Like everyone else I have good and bad memories but unlike most I have more time to think about them, I’m never totally sure if that is a good or a bad thing. Living in the past isn’t a good thing for anyone to do too much, but it can help to heal the bad memories. A memory can sit in your mind like an Ogre waiting to squash you, sometimes that Ogre is hiding in the sunshine and you still don’t see him. In some myths Ogres are said to turn to stone in the sun but it depends on the myth you read, I’m not sure if I can turn an Ogre to stone but I can and have brought them down in size.
No matter how hard I try I can’t remember the start of this memory, the actually subject we had arguing about and why it rose to a point were my mother slapped my across the face but I do remember what she said as she hit me.
I was about 9 or 10 and I remember that my mother was pottering about in the garden, we had been sniping all day and I had been sent to me room, from my window I could see her pruning the rose bushes and as I watch I got more angry until I did what I felt I had to. I left the room I had been sent to, walked straight out to the garden, across the grass and shouted at her. I told her with all the hate and spite I could muster, that I hated her guts and I wished that I had never been born to such a horrible person. I was stood proud and satisfied at having said my piece, of course as a child I actually hadn’t thought forward to what would happen next. I got handed a cold hard truth, re-enforced with a hard slap to my face and I was informed that I shouldn’t have ever been born. I was an accident through a condom and the Dr refused to abort me. That is the kind of Ogre that stays around for a long, long time. What I don’t get now is how my parents seemed to be surprised that for the rest of my childhood years I was rebellious and showed little to no respect.
It wasn’t until reasonably recently I put this memory finally to bed, I’m not saying that I don’t hurt when I think about it now, what I mean is, that it is quietly sleeping not having nightmares and disturbing everything around it. So OK she shouldn’t have said it, but if you can tell me 100% truthfully that you have never let slip words you wished you had never said, sorry but I’ll call you a liar. We have all done it, so step one dealt with. What she told me was the truth, it may have hurt but the truth frequently does, I can’t blame her for that, step two dealt with. Why did she say it is also something I can’t blame her for either, I had gone out there hitting her as low and hard as my child mind could come up with, she retaliated. I asked for it, I started it, step three dealt with.
The big one was still to be sorted in my mind and that was the facts of what she said. That was the bit I had had trouble with for years and it was having time to think that through which brought the breakthrough. I put myself in her position in 1960, she had a son aged 7 and daughter aged 5, freedom was round the corner and they had the perfect family. My mother had never been allowed to work, she had dreamed as a child of being a nurse but her father refused to allow his daughter to work, she tried volunteering but that was also stopped. So when she married at 21 and they had a family, her life was planned out again. Once their children were both going to school, Dad and her had agreed she could volunteer as a nurses aid, her dreams were about to come true, then she was told she was pregnant. Abortions where impossible to get without strong reasons and the Dr just wouldn’t do it, they rightly said that there were no grounds for an abortion as they could easily afford another child. Another 6 years of her life planned out holding her as a prisoner to her home. By the point that her ungrateful daughter was stood there being hateful, it had happened all over again with my 5 year old brother, step four dealt with.
It is the final step which is the one that most people either choose to not take or don’t want to take and that is forgiveness. It took me years to realise that if I was to be happy in myself as a person I had to learn to forgive. Each of the 4 step are vital, you have to put yourself on the other side, try to look through their eyes and think with as much as possible their minds, if you can see how and why, then forgiving is a tiny step. There is one point though that I think is important you can forgive, without agreeing. There have been far bigger thing happen that I will never agree with the person actions, but I can forgive them, because I can see why it was done.
I have for a long time thought that we should teach our children to debate, it is a very old fashioned thing now for schools to teach but I fully believe that it was learning to debate on the side of something I totally disagreed with and winning the debate, that taught me to forgive. Old fashioned education still has a place and we have thrown too much of it away.