Now comes the last forgiveness—my mother, who killed herself when I was seven years old. If I had killed myself when my child was that young, I have wondered, would I feel guilty, looking back from beyond life?

I think that I would, most definitely. I would see that what I did created so many unintended negative consequences in my child’s life.
Would my guilt be right, though? Certainly, the consequences were very real and very terrible, at least in the life of the little girl left behind—me.
Before she died, she had instructed me that if anything happened to her, I was to go to our next door neighbors. One morning when my father was away I went into their room and found that I couldn’t wake her up. So I went to the neighbors.

Much later, I realized that a lot of my father’s guilt probably had to do with the fact that he had left knowing that she was likely to commit suicide. Maybe struggling with her mental illness was simply too much for him, and he decided that, rather than trying to save her, he would just leave her to her own devices.

My mom was what is now called ‘bipolar,’ but it was called ‘manic-depressive’ back in the fifties when this happened. Manic-depressive is a much more accurate name for the syndrome, as it involves alternating buckets of tears and gales of laughter.

I remember standing by her coffin. My mother appeared to me as if she was still alive, only asleep. I watched my father take her wedding and engagement rings off her finger. They weren’t much. The engagement ring was pretty poor and pathetic, in fact. They had very little in those days, my parents. I know how the ring looked because my dad gave it to me, and to this day it is still on my finger, my link with my mother lost in time.
My mother and I used to love to go to old movies together, usually musicals from the 1940s. (There must have been a revival house in Ann Arbor where we lived.) After the movies, we’d always go to the local drugstore for a hot fudge sundae. (I describe the special pleasure of these moments through the eyes of the main character in my novel “Little Town Lies.”)

All of these years, I have borne deep in my heart anger at my mother for what she did, but it has come time for me to put that burden down. She couldn’t help it, and not only that, my father couldn’t help her.

In those days, there was no treatment for her illness. Perhaps he knew that he could not keep her in this life, and simply faced the fact that he had to let her go.

I’ll never know, but I do know this: I forgive her and I forgive him, as I have already forgiven the stepmother who followed her as my father’s second wife, and put me through such hell .

Dreamland Video podcast
To watch the FREE video version on YouTube, click here.

Subscribers, to watch the subscriber version of the video, first log in then click on Dreamland Subscriber-Only Video Podcast link.


  1. Believing, trusting,
    Believing, trusting, waiting,hoping…praying for you!

  2. Forgiveness is very freeing
    Forgiveness is very freeing and healing. So, who knows what may occur since you forgave your parents?

  3. Hello Anne. This is such an
    Hello Anne. This is such an important Diary entry. Forgiveness, in my opinion, is one of the most healing/freeing emotions a person can hope for; it calms the mind and dissolves the harmful ego. Thank you so much for this.

  4. Anne: This has to be your
    Anne: This has to be your most moving diary entry ever. I am reading this having just returned from church. I joined this parish because of the experience of forgiveness that went through this parish 17 years. It became the subject of a documentary called, “A Justice That Heals”. The incident in question was a murder perpetrated by one of our young parishioners on his high school graduation date upon being recruited by gang members in his neighborhood. He shot to death a youngster about his age who was riding home in his parents car after running an errand at a local food pantry. He’s been in jail since then. Some time after sentencing, Mario wrote to the mother of his victim requesting forgiveness. The mother responded back that she forgave him and was now a part of her family.
    Today at Mass, our retired pastor arranged for Mario’s younger sister to thank St. Nicholas parish for the hands of outreach to Mario and the family of the victim. He began his homily with the question, what is the right thing to do? He said the parish, the parents of the victim have extended forgiveness for the purpose of healing. The second collection today is targeted for a special trust fund to help Mario when he leaves prison next year or 2015. Mario has worked with infirm and dying prisoners (even those with AIDS) and has availed himself of every educational opportunity.

    Lastly, is there some synchronicity going on with your post and what I heard at church today?

  5. You have reached a good
    You have reached a good place, Anne. May your message help others to find that inner place as well. God bless you.

  6. Anne, thank-you! Your
    Anne, thank-you! Your message of forgiveness has helped me to find that place within me. You continue to be a compassionate and brave inspiration. Love and Healing to you.

  7. Anne, it’s very hard to
    Anne, it’s very hard to forgive but once you do a huge burden is lifted from you.
    It’s a very sad situation all the way around and really no one is to blame here.
    Your mother was the victim of a dread disease and really the disease is to blame for her death–not her. Ask yourself if she did not have manic depression, would she have committed suicide and of course the answer is no. Your poor father just couldn’t handle it and probably had horrible guilt for the rest of his life. And the poor little girl –you– suffered the most most of all.

    You have suffered enough Anne and it is good to let all of that go and forgive and move on. I’m sure that your parents are happy and healthy now on the other side and when you join them someday it will be a joyous occasion.

  8. It takes effort, and there is
    It takes effort, and there is much to overcome, but I figure if holocaust, apartheid, terrorism and war survivors can do it, then I can forgive the slights that I have received.‎

    To me, forgiveness and reconciliation are at or near the top of the list of requirements for humanity to survive and grow.

    One of my favorite groups is fellowship of reconciliation. Wish I had stayed put long enough to do more with them. Future opportunities will be welcome.

  9. God bless you Anne. You are
    God bless you Anne. You are an example to us all! Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.

  10. I wish everyone could read
    I wish everyone could read this.

  11. Anne,
    The Israel National


    The Israel National News webpage had a story yesterday about a new treatment develo.ped by Israel for the type of cancer you have. I pray for your recovery.

Comments are closed.