As I think of resentment, anger and pain I also remember those who are no longer with me, I think of what they taught me and how they still shape every part of who I am.
David, my uncle, to watch how helpless he was those last few months, made me become grateful for every muscle, tissue, fiber and breath. He died of ALS in 2004.
Papa, smiled ear to ear the minute he saw me. He taught me joy, he taught me strength and perseverance. He taught me love. Died in 1992 of congestive heart failure. He made the decision to stop fighting, to stop all the surgeries and to let nature take its course.
Woody, my great grandfather taught me simplicity. He loved his routine, he loved when I would sit next to him, hold his hand and not say anything at all. Died of old age you can say, at 100 years old.
These men have taught me in their last days what was truly important, to see them and witness who they were near the end of their life versus who they were just years before that. When I think of forgiveness I think of death, I think of letting go, moving on and pressing forward. I believe that is where true happiness lies, is being free from that pain, that attachment to another outcome.
Each of these family members are long gone, yet the memory of their lives is forever with me, it moves me forward in my life, to look back at how they changed me, they altered my thinking in a sense, they allowed me to believe in a great many things. Each one of these men knew that they were dying, it gave them an opportunity to give, to let go of possessions that no longer seemed important and to release the pain that others had caused them. I look at my own life and understand that I have let the actions of others hurt me, so much that I have built up a wall of resentment and anger causing me stress and worry. The gift I give to myself this holiday season is forgiveness, to sit in quiet, to write letters to those that have offended and to free myself of any bad thought towards that person. I want to live a happier, cheerful life and that starts with my past pains all the way to present day. I choose this life, and to live it in the best way I know how.