I have a vivid memory of my parents being very loving and kind to one another. There are few of those kindnesses that I observed. I was 7 years old and they had just received a call that my grandfather, my father’s father, had died of a heart attack during the night.
At that time I could tell who like whom and who didn’t of my many aunts, uncles, and cousins. My parents did not like one another, yet this memory remains coming to my mind unbidden from time to time. I did not find out, until many years later, that my father and grandfather had a terrible argument that evening before his death a few hours later.
I have worked with many people who have not been able to make amends, share what they had always wanted to say to the one, now, no longer here. Resentments are the most dangerous elements of a relationship. From them come jealousies, hurt feelings and anger insurmountable in one lifetime.
Is it worth it to hold on to old grudges, where the reason why family members no longer speak to one another is forgotten but the hate remains? Sometimes the next generation carries the burden of resentments into their own lives. Nothing in life is more difficult than the regret of the unsaid and left undone after a death makes it impossible to get that chance back.
Kathy’s daughter wept throughout her mother’s Catholic funeral mass yesterday. Left motherless, Kathy’s daughter, who had been estranged from Kathy for many years, looked lost and alone even with all of the family and friends that surrounded her. I believe both carried deep resentments toward one another. There are always two sides, or more, to the back-story of resentment. If there were a chance to speak again to Kathy, would her daughter tell her how she truly felt? Would any of us do that in order to let go of hurt and emotional pain we are sure to carry for the rest of our lives?
Is the courage and bravery to reach out and make amends for our part in things worth doing? Will we receive love and kindness from the person or will there be even worse condemnation once we share how we feel about putting hate behind us? No one will ever know how these things will turn out yet, is it worth it?
Yes, every time.
Let’s talk about it.
Debra Whittam is the author of “I'm I Going to be Ok?" For any media inquiries or questions please contact: Contact@DebraWhittam.com