When my dead cat Coe took me to the World of the Dead during my first stroke in 2004, he showed me that it would one day be important for me to put my burdens down, and one of he ways to do this is to forgive everyone who has hurt me during my lifetime. But perhaps this is a two-way street–maybe even ghosts need to put down their burdens and face what they’ve done as well.

I’m pretty sure I’ve forgiven my Dad, who’s been turning up lately, but it will be extremely hard to forgive my stepmother. After my real mother killed herself, she married my father and was extremely cruel to me. But I’ve realized I’ve got to do it: This is the Big One. Am I up to this degree of "soul cleansing?"

I sensed my stepmother’s ghost was around, but it wasn’t too obvious. It started with a box of missing baggies. One of the ways I fancy myself to be ecological is that I reuse baggies, drying them off after I used them. Lillian was a rather fanatic housekeeper who made me clean like some sort of Cinderella, and relegated me to the basement the rest of the time, away from the rest of the family. I was called by a buzzer when it was time to go upstairs for meals.

There were strange little indignities–for instance, wasn’t given any Kleenex (I still blow my nose on toilet paper today), and when I used too much toilet paper, I was told I was going to be given the "rough stuff."

Whitley actually remembered taking a baggie from the missing box, so their disappearance was a real mystery. Then I thought: Maybe Lillian is saying that she was too strict–that I should be easier on myself that she was(on herself and on me). Perhaps it’s a stretch to say such a small thing is a message, but maybe not. Maybe she’s telling me to take it easy, and not make some of the mistakes she did. In any case, no matter where the guidance comes from—chance or Mom or wherever—I can still make use of it!

If you’re there, Mom, I’m listening! Heck, if you can’t learn from the dead, who CAN you learn from?

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  1. Dear Anne
    This is one of your

    Dear Anne

    This is one of your most powerful and beautiful entries. And the topic of forgiveness touches close to my heart. Thank you for these words.

  2. Dear Anne,
    I can relate to

    Dear Anne,

    I can relate to this. It’s good to hear that you’re receiving help from the other side. When it came time for my own “Big One” forgiveness, there’s NO WAY I could have done it without spiritual help. And like you, some of my current behaviors are a result of how I was treated. For instance, I don’t allow myself simple pleasures because I don’t think I deserve it.

    I think part of forgiveness is not just forgiving the person, but also liberating ourselves from their influence (that’s easier said than done!) My heart goes out to you…

  3. Dear Anne,
    Forgiveness is not

    Dear Anne,
    Forgiveness is not something we do for other people. We do it for ourselves to get well and move on. It doesn’t minimize, justify or excuse the wrong that was done. Nor does it mean denying the harm and feelings that the injustice produced. It is a letting go of ill will to the person who wronged you. It is not letting them off the hook, it is about freeing yourself. I wish you healing, peace, happiness and love!

  4. Wow…
    Thank you for this

    Thank you for this post, Anne! Even if one had a decent childhood, the topic of forgiveness and lightening one’s burdens is a soul-searching one.
    I hope that I can forgive those whom I’ve perceived as having wronged me when the time comes (i.e., when I can summon the courage to let go). This piece denotes the importance of shedding one’s worldy cares in order to progress.
    I also hope that we have you around for a good, long time to come! Your wisdom and insight are beyond price!
    I, too, wish you health and happiness – and just a bit more time with us down here!

  5. It does take a great deal of
    It does take a great deal of will to get past the evils done to us, especially by those who should be caring for us, but Edgar Cayce said in one reading that there is no force greater than our will, when we apply it. So you will eventually find a way to release whatever pain and anger is still within you, and to forgive. If you ask for help, though, as I did, give much thought to what you actually ask for. One night, after realising how much guilt, anger, pain etc I was still holding inside despite all my inner work, I made an intense plea for help. “However you do it, I just want it all cleared out once and for all. No matter what it takes!” The next day, I vomited for five hours straight and for about a fortnight after, experienced intense headaches and body aches….as though I were going through a serious detox. My body is still feeling the effects, but emotionally, I feel unusually peaceful, confident and light, as though all that baggage has indeed been cleared. My prayer was answered, but I think I could have avoided such strong side effects if I had asked for the clearing to be gentle! So if you ask for help, as for it to be gentle. You don’t need more difficulty. God Bless.

  6. Dear Anne,
    Thanks for the

    Dear Anne,
    Thanks for the touching post. I have forgiven so many people in my life. I mostly feel sorrow thinking of what it must be like to live inside the head of a person who could be so careless or cruel to another. And just because you forgive someone, it doesn’t mean you have to like or respect them. I live by the let go or be dragged philosophy. Took me 50 years to figure that one out. Soldier on, girlfriend. I’m right beside you!

  7. Anne, I know how hard it is
    Anne, I know how hard it is to forgive when someone has wronged you so badly. My wife of 16 years betrayed me by cheating on me, leaving me for another man and had been planning to do it for several years. I was devastated emotionally, financially, and spiritually and had lost everything that I had worked so hard for.
    During an intense prayer/meditation session where I was honestly contemplating giving in to my despair and my gun was in front of me when a voice said “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”. It startled me and I thought that either I was having a psychotic break or just had a spiritual experience. That passage are the words of Jesus in Mark 11:25. When I heard that I realized that I had to forgive my ex for my sake not hers. That if I didn’t forgive her then that anger, pain, and venom would eat me up like an acid.
    I forgave her and after that the pain, anger, and rage was gone and replaced with a sadness that I could deal with.
    This forgiveness did not bring back my marriage or any of the things that I lost nor excused what she had done, but I regained the most important thing–myself and hope for the future.
    I know how hard it is to forgive, but as I found out you will feel better after you do and much of the pain will go away.

  8. I agree that forgiving is
    I agree that forgiving is something you do to heal yourself. I feel a kinship with you since we both had strokes together and near death experiences together, and both suffer from face blindness as a result.
    My mother was persistently and not very subtly abusive, physically and emotionally. I was constantly badgered about my weight even though I was never fat.
    Now my Mom is in a facility a day’s drive from me suffering from dementia. A recent visit was painful and exhausting, but I feel I need to keep in contact while she is still living. She is physically healthy and may outlive me, but the meanness is gone. She is like a little child. I daresay I feel sorry for her now.

  9. Loved your frankness Anne,
    Loved your frankness Anne, and I am sure everyone who read the article has a story to tell….I do believe that sometimes one of the lessons in life we must learn is to forgive…I forgave my father…and felt the welcome feeling of release when I let it all go… but I forgot to tell him…when he brought the “issue” up during the last year of his life I realized he had been suffering needlessly for a long time – and that he was really sorry … it was a great cleanser for us both…taking the high road calls for courage, but it is worth it…

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