Mother’s Day 2018

Susan was kind of dreading today because of a rift between her and her daughter.  The daughter is apparently angry because of a text Susan sent her back in February upon learning from the grandkids that she was teaching her children about witchcraft. Susan was traumatized as a child because she had some horrible experiences with a nanny who was practicing witchcraft while they were living in Argentina. This has made Susan particularly sensitive to the subject.

Admittedly, she over-reacted in her comments to her daughter. Susan also couldn’t hide her feelings from the grandchildren, which probably got her into even deeper water. A couple of days later, she apologized to her daughter via text, but never got a response. Susan has since made repeated attempts to connect with her daughter in the intervening months, but has been completely ignored. We even dropped by one evening, over 2 months after the incident, hoping to have a conversation, but the daughter was still very angry, and practically threw us off the property.

I tried in vain to intervene myself, hoping to soften the daughter’s heart a little. I sent this text in early April:

______, could you please contact your mother and let her know that you don’t hate her? She really misses you guys, and is very sorry about her impulsive comments.

A couple weeks later, I followed up with this text:

____, your mom is a flawed person and not as smart as you are, but she does know how to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. She’s also good at showing love, kindness, and respect, even to her enemies. And she loves you more than anyone else in the world.

Then a couple weeks after that, immediately after our visit, I sent this by email:

Dear _____,
​It’s difficult to comprehend what was going through your mind when you told your mother that she is cruel and abusive after she apologized to you and reached out in love.

You, on the other hand, have withheld all love, kindness and respect​, have refused to forgive​, and told​ ​your mom that​ she’s not welcome in your life​.​

Your mother is in deep mourning now over the loss of her relationship with you. Despite your cruel behavior, she and I are willing to welcome you back with open arms.
​Surely you understand the importance of dispelling anger and hatred, and of mending broken relationships.
Perhaps your mother and I are missing something. We’re willing to talk it out. Holding long-term grudges will not make things better.
I’ve received no responses from her, and if my past experiences with trying to resolve similar issues are an indication, my attempts probably only served to solidify the daughter’s resolve to justify her actions, and continue her cruel and destructive behavior.  Funny how calling people out for their bad behavior has a way of reinforcing it.
It’s pretty clear now that she has has no intention of ever contacting us again. They are moving to California in mid-June.
It’s a shame, of course. Although our relationship with the daughter has been strained for some time because of her decision to leave the church, things had been going quite well, and I felt we had good relationships with her and her husband, and particularly with their children.
We moved here specifically to be closer to them and to help out where we could. This was in response to the daughter’s suggestion and request.
This has been a very difficult experience for Susan. It seems she’s being eternally punished for a small moment of indiscretion, and, frankly, I think it could easily be argued that her momentary anger was justifiable.
The daughter’s pride may prevent her from ever being able to forgive. Nevertheless, our lives will go on. Time will heal, although perhaps never completely. Susan will grow from the experience.
So, on this Mother’s Day, Susan’s daughter ignored her.  Mercifully, however, her sons did not. They’ve each called her, and she’s received one card so far. In it, her son Kacy expressed his deep love and appreciation for her unselfish sacrifice and support throughout his life.
I, too, love Susan deeply, and try my best to counteract the feelings she often has of inadequacy and of not being loved or appreciated.
She and I understand each other. We’ve both suffered criticism and rejection. No doubt our accusers feel justified in their actions. We feel justified in our actions as well. What makes us different, however, in my opinion, is our never-ending willingness to set differences aside — to forgive and forget — and to welcome back our accusers with open arms.

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