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I got a lot of feedback for my previous blog. Most of it was positive but, I did get emails from friends who felt that I was just hurting myself for not being forgiving and for letting people that had wronged me “rent space in my head”. When I got home today, I put my IPOD on shuffle and “Heart of the Matter” by Don Henley came on. I listened to it over and over and over and by the the fifth time, I found myself crying. It really hit me hard.

“I’ve been trying to get down, to the heart of the matter, but my will gets weak, and my thoughts seem to scatter but, I think it’s about, forgiveness, forgiveness – even if, even if you don’t love me anymore.” Another wonderful quote “There are people in your life, who come and go, they let you down, you know they hurt your pride, you better put it all behind you baby, cause life goes on, you keep carrying that anger, it’ll eat you up inside”.

So, I thought, what better time to write a blog post about forgiveness than a couple of days before the birth of Jesus. I am going to share a list of people I forgive, some are light hearted and some are pretty deep but, they are all necessary. I’m sure I’ll forget some but, just know that I mean to forgive all who have hurt me. And so, here we go.
First, I forgive my mother for giving birth to Chrissy. Although I love her now I was very traumatized by her birth and even went as far as to throw her in the garbage pail when she was an infant. I also scribbled out the names on all of her baptism cards (yes, we still have them – it’s embarrassing every time we look at them.) As anyone who knows us now knows, we couldn’t be closer. Literally. So, I was angry at Mommy for doing something that, in the long run, was one of the best things that could have ever happened.

I forgive my birth father for leaving my mother (on the night before I started kindergarten). Well, I just forgive him for leaving, period. He was messed up and not a good father and we were much better off with the second man that Mommy chose. Although I am sorry that he never made it right with me, I go back to the part of the song, “you better put it all behind you baby, cause life goes on, you keep carrying that anger, it’ll eat you up inside..” I realize that the reason that I was so devastated that he left was because I loved him so very much. I was abandoned and hurt more than I can even express in words. I know lots of other people who have gone through the same thing and, please listen to the song when you finish reading the blog. Maybe you can stop letting them “rent space in your head” (thanks for that one, Trish Doyle).

I forgive Christian Carpenter for hitting me in the hand with a pencil. Christian was my “elementary school” boyfriend and I was crazy about him. I don’t remember the specifics but, he hit me with a number 2 pencil in my palm. I still have that piece of lead in my hand and, you know what, as angry as I was when he did it, I feel nostalgic when I look at that little piece of lead. It’s like it’s something that will always tie us together. He was a good boyfriend, as 10 and 11 year olds go, and he will always hold a special place in my heart. I hope he forgives me for never returning the book “Carrie” from the Commack Public Library that I took out under his card in 1981. I still have the book.

I forgive Francine Guarino for moving into town in I think it was fifth grade (although it might have been sixth) and stealing all the attention from the boys away from me and Tara. Francine, with the beautiful lips, shiny black hair and sweet as pie disposition. We ended up being the best of friends and spending almost all of our time together. I love you Francine.

And, Vincent, oh Vincent. Where do I begin? I forgive you for giving me dirty looks over the cereal box when your mom had to watch Chrissy and I before school because my mom had to go to work, for spraying me with the hose in front of the neighborhood kids when I was wearing all white, for scaring the crap out of me with the Ouiji board, for never letting me pick out what we were going to watch and for making me watch “A Nightmare on Elm Street” when I was way too young. It gave me nightmares for years. I would let you do all of those things to me again (and things that I won’t mention because they are just for you and me), if I could only have you back again. I miss you more than you can ever imagine. You were the brother I never had and I am crying on my keyboard as I am writing.
And, I guess this is a good place to tell God that I forgive him for taking so many people I love too soon; Vincent, Jerry, Chuckie, my mother, Deb’s husband, Jean’s huband, Angie’s mommy, miscarried babies that were not mine but, hurt just the same, ,Angie’s cousin Patrick, Olivia Grace, Kerri’s brother, my good friend John’s father and sisters and more that hurt my family and friends so much. I know that it was their time. I know that it was “in the book” but, God, it hurts down here on earth. It hurts a lot. I forgive you. And, I love you.

I also forgive you, God, for taking our animals away from us at such a terrible time. First mommy, then, not even a year later, Barkley and Chief Brody but, again, I trust you have your reasons.
I also forgive my body, for betraying me. I have lost so many body parts and gone through twenty surgeries (some of them over twelve hours). I have endured countless painful doctor visits as well as losing my hair, gaining over twenty pounds (from the steroids ann another pill I am still on), shots once a month, x-rays, CT Scans, MRIs. Sores in my mouth, pain in my legs so bad that I couldn’t even walk, stomach issues, a lowered immune system, a recurrent staph infection that still “pops” up from time to time. The list goes on and on. But, not only do I forgive you, I get down on my knees and thank you. I am still here, I have lots of beautiful things in my life, most of all the people. They accept me for how I look now, the limitations on what I can do, etc. I sometimes feel like the luckiest girl in the world, as crazy as that may sound.
I forgive our client, who decided to leave us after almost fourteen years. I believe it was political, since there had been no service issues and we had saved them money last year nonetheless, I believe that one door closes, another opens. Things are looking good for us now and, we may not have gone after these things so aggressively had we not lost you so, good luck with your new provider and thank you for the fourteen years we were able to service your account.
Believe it or not, I don’t have much to forgive Jill for. She is the most awesome best friend anyone could ever have. We had one fist fight when we were kids (not sure what age) but, we were both wrong so, I forgive you for that and I’m still not sure that you didn’t cheat when we were playing Life (or was it cards?) but, just in case, I forgive you for that. Otherwise, you have always been there when I’ve needed you and I love you so very, very much. One of my biggest fears is that something will happen to you so please, please make sure that you take very good care of yourself, I can’t imagine a life without you in it.

My baby sister Lori, I forgive you for being young and unable to realize just how much I was going through when I was diagnosed when Jack was four months old. You weren’t there the way I needed you to be and we have already talked this one out. I know that now, having had your own children (or even if you were a few years older), you would have reacted very differently. I know that whatever was done (or should I say “not done”) was not because you didn’t love me more than anything, it was because you were just incapable of understanding the gravity of the situation. Other than that, I totally forgive you for being a pain in the ass little brat when I was a teen ager (the horror). I know that that was normal and SO not a big deal. Most of all, I love you with all of my heart and soul and I am trying so hard to at least fill one quarter of mommy’s shoes. The card you wrote me recently made me cry. About me fulfilling a role for you. I really am trying, Lori. And, I am sorry I don’t always get things right but, I thing we will work them out. We have the rest of our lives to do it. I’m in it for the long haul.

And my Dad, Bob. I forgive you for being so strict when Chrissy and I were little and were used to mommy’s very laid back way of parenting – to say the least (LOL).  I know now that you inherited two willful and let’s face it, wild, little girls having no experience at all at being a dad. I understand that you were trying to do the right thing by us and for all the times I was a snotty little bitch (both then and now), I ask for your apology. You took us in and raised us as if we were your own. I never felt that Lori was treated any differently than Chrissy and I. You are a very special man and very loved. I am so sorry that you lost Mommy. I know that your heart aches every day for her. I truly believe that you will be together again someday. Not sure what it will look like but, you will feel the love she had for you wash over you. She was so grateful that you took care of us and told me often about how lucky we were to have found you. She couldn’t be more right.
For all of the guys who broke my heart, I forgive you. I cherish the time we had together but, the bottom line is, if we hadn’t split up, I wouldn’t have had Al and had my beautiful children, and vice versa. It’s all good.

And Donna, the subject of my last blog, I forgive you to let you go. I wish no ill will towards you. I hope that things turn out ok for you. Although I will never understand how you could have done what you did, I no longer have to deal with that situation, my birth father or you. I hope for you that God is as forgiving.  I know he is if you are truly sorry and I’m not sure that you are so, you may want to work on that but, as far as you and I go, I forgive you – I let it go – you no longer rent space in my head.

Dino, wherever you are, I forgive you for making me a statistic and almost raping me. Thank God for my big mouth and hardy frame. But, you left me there, with my clothes ripped and my face full of tears. I think the only other ones that know about that are Miss Cathy and Al (who I just recently told). It is so true that rape is such a taboo subject. The victim feels so helpless, embarrassed and alone. I was lucky I had people to talk to and a safe place to be. I hope you have changed your ways, Dino and I hope that God forgives you, as I am now.

And, some of my guy friends from seventh grade – you’ll know who you are. I’m not sure why but, you turned on me for a while. Maybe I did something to hurt you (although Gerry has told me I didn’t), maybe it was because I moved on to older guys and stopped hanging out with you. It did hurt me very badly. Whatever the reason, not only do I forgive you but, I have reconnected with you and we are once again great friends.

And, Al. I forgive you for everything, as I hope you forgive me. We started out as kids (eighteen and twenty) and it is a true miracle that we have made it through so many years, especially after all of the heart ache we have had to endure (see above my forgiveness to God paragraph). All joking aside, however, not only did he stay when most men would have run, he always made me feel beautiful, he always had my back, he fills in when I just can’t physically do it, and he knows this will be forever. I am strong but, the body heals at it’s own rate and Al loves me very, very much. Just waiting for me to get out of surgery alone (like I said – sometimes for hours and hours) shows what a loving and wonderful man he is. We made mistakes during these times – it would be impossible for us not to. We got impatient with each other, with the kids, the dogs and various others. We yelled when we were frustrated and fought at times we had no business fighting. But, Al, I forgive you. And, again, I hope you forgive me. God put us together for a reason. I hope that we don’t disappoint him. 

And, of course, I forgive my kids, who have had to go through so much more than they should have had toshort amount of years on this earth. They both act out in their own ways. The loss of my mother, or their “MiMi” put them over the edge. I am so very proud that they are such good kids (knocking on wood) but, I definitely see the hurt in Michael’s eyes sometimes when he gives me a hard time – it’s like he’s trying to get me back for something I’ve done. And Jack, he has a will of steel. He can be very hard to deal with. Now some of you reading this may think to yourself, “absolutely normal for their ages” but, you see, when your kids have been through what mine have, you never really know. How could you? I’ll never one night before a surgery, they were in their bunk beds and I heard little Jack (who was probably around 6, say to Michael (around 9 at the time), “I’m scared. Mommy has a operation tomorrow.” Michael’s answer broke my heart. He said “Try not to worry. Mommy’s had lots of operations and so far, she always comes home. ” I was so angry that my children had to go through thoughts like that at such a young age. So, I forgive them. For anything and  everything. I remember growing up I was NEVER sure if I would lose my mom. Her first major surgery was when I was an infant. Although I was too young to understand, I did realize, as I got older, that we went to the doctor much more often than most people, that she always was looking down her throat (at that time, it was thyroid cancer) and that she was just nervous, in general. I know that my children will grow up with some battle scars but, I truly believe that they will make them stronger.

And, lastly, and most importantly, to me, I forgive my mother. I forgive her for leaving Chrissy a crying mess, for not being there for Lori during one of the most imortant times you need your mother. I forgive her for dying and leaving me on this earth without her. I forgive her for not being able to call for any and every thing, I forgive her for the cups of coffee we can’t drink, for the talks by the pool we can’t have, for hurting my children and husband and making them cry, as well as my father, sisters, brother in laws and almost all who knew her. I forgive her for always telling me that she wasn’t “going anywhere” when, in fact, she was. I forgive her for us having to force her to go to her scans, for her never giving quitting smoking a REAL try (not that that had anything to do with her death, I’m happy to report) and for not getting to know Gavin and Mason and, God Willing, Chrissy’s baby (should she be lucky enough to get pregnant). I just forgive you for leaving me. It’s irrational because I know it wasn’t your fault and I know if anyone fought it was you but, I have been angry on and off. I’m leaving that anger on this page. You don’t deserve it. Did you do everything right? No. But, you were pretty dog gone close. Love doesn’t even come close to describing how I felt about you. You were my one and only. My first love. There will never be anyone who even comes close to fulfilling that role. Always in my heart. Until we meet again.

The part of the song that reminds me of my mother the most is “I’m learning to live without you now, but I miss you sometimes, and the more I know, the less I understand, all the things I thought I knew, I’m learning again.”

Life is a work in progress. There is sorrow. There is joy. There are good times, there are bad. But, we can never stop trying. And we have to heed Mr. Henley’s advice when he tell us that the heart of the matter is “forgiveness”. I think he’s on to something.

Happy Holidays to my beautiful friends and family. I hope they are filled with love, laughter and most of all, hope.