The Ultimate Blessing

Forgiveness – the ultimate blessing.

This weekend I’ve been consumed with a story that has lain dormant for years. I still don’t know how the saga will end, but I’m hoping for a happy ending.

Years ago, families seem to have been much closer than they seem to me to be today. I remember annual family reunions and I KNEW who my cousins, aunts, and uncles were. We visited often and were close. Today, families don’t seem to be so closely knit.

One of the fun things some of my family members would do as I was growing up was go to stores looking for sales. One of my aunts was what I would call a real “garage-saler.” That was just the way she was. When her sister-in-law died, she acted accordingly. I totally believe she meant no harm or disrespect in what she did and said, but her unthinking words at the time, when feelings were raw, cut some of my cousins to the core. Being the “deal seeker” that she was, she asked what was going to be done with certain items belonging to the aunt who died. Unfortunately, this was while people were still gathered together, either prior to, or just following the funeral. Sadly, her words and my cousins’ reactions created a gaping rift. What had once been a closely-knit and fun-loving family, now became a family hurt and torn apart. This went on for years. I don’t believe Aunt #1 or her husband ever understood what caused this rift, which, to the onlooker (myself), seemed extremely painful.

Fast forward a number of years. Aunt #1 died. Uncle #1, now carrying the hurt of two persons himself, still not understanding what happened so many years ago, asked me to not relay the news of his wife’s death. Respecting his wishes, I complied.

Now three more years have passed. A few days ago I received a phone call from Uncle #1. He is now 91, is being treated for multiple health problems, and, I believe, he feels his life is nearing an end. My sense throughout the phone call, and afterward, was that it was a call to say goodbye. He asked for nothing else beyond prayers. However, I felt, and still feel, helpless. In the conversation, however, he did NOT ask me to NOT say anything about him to anyone. So I contacted one of my cousins.

I didn’t mean to “dump” on my cousin, but if there is a chance that hurt feelings of long ago could be repaired on both sides, I believe now is the time. I’ve hoped for years that that would happen. I would love to write the last chapter of this story on the power of love, forgiveness, and healing. For now, though, all I can do is to hope and pray.

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The Prisoner's Prayer Book

Louise is author of The Prisoner's Prayer Book which evolved as she became a volunteer in prison ministry. Retired from a career in social services, Louise resides in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.