Forgiveness: Do you really have to forgive?  It’s an individual choice

Tuesday of this week I was dropping my daughter and her family off at the “Go Station.” On the way back I had to pass by the cemetery where my mother is buried at her mother and father’s grave site. I haven’t been there for a long time and wasn’t planning on making a stop. As I was approaching the cemetery, I heard a voice inside me saying “Go in.” I thought no, I don’t want to go in, and was going to keep going.  Again, I heard “Go in.”  With a deep sigh, I thought “fine” and drove into the cemetery.  I couldn’t find the plot the first time, and thought “oh well” and was going to drive out and go home. Well that wasn’t happening.  Again I heard a voice say, “turn around” I turned my car around and drove down the road, and there was the plot.  I sat in my car for a while, thinking, and looking at the headstone on my Grandma’s grave.  I thought, “well I’ll go talk to my grandma, she always makes me feel good.”  
My grandma loved me and I love her so much and still miss her to this day. She has been gone now about 40 years.  She was the one who always hugged me, would tell me she loved me.  Really cared. How I wished I heard those words from my mother.
I started clearing away the weeds which weren’t too bad, and talking to my grandma, telling her how much I missed her and would be back to clean the angel on her headstone.  I went to my mother’s marker cleared away some of the dirt that hid the cross and said to her, “if only you knew what dad and your cousin did to me.  Why couldn’t you ever tell me you loved me? Why did you only yell, hit, curse at me. I didn’t do anything bad to you but you chose not to show your good feelings to me.”  I started to cry, and at that moment forgave my mother for all the things she did to me and didn’t do for me.  It even shocked me to say out loud the words, “Mom I forgive you.”  I had never wanted to forgive her.  I was able to move forward in my healing journey, became a survivor/thriver, and lived my life my way with the support of my husband and family.  Forgiving was never in the equation.
When I returned to the car, I sat and thought, “Our Creator wanted me to come in here, his voice was the voice I heard.  It may sound crazy, but I truly believe this to be the case.  I had no desire to go into the cemetery that day, but our Creator had other plans for me.  I never felt any incredible joy or feel a weight lifted, by forgiving her, but in a sense I feel that by forgiving my heart feels compassion for her. Something I never felt before.  
God does work in ways we may not understand at times.  Now whether I forgive my dad and mother’s cousin, I don’t know. If it is to be then it will happen otherwise, I can move forward, help others by writing my blog posts, writing my prose, hoping someone will feel better and understand themselves a little ore by what I write and that they can move forward and can heal from abuse.  
Mary Graziano 
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