The Greatest Gift of All
“Look at me! This is what guilt looks like.
“I let our parents die, denying them the forgiveness they begged for. And now I can’t forgive myself the guilt for doing that. All I can see while being stuck here is the replay of my anger at them and everyone around me. I know that’s why Yvette is like she is.”
“Piera, everyone makes mistakes, but that’s not who we are. And, you’ve still got time to make things right.”
Sonia wanted desperately to help her sister, to ease the pain of her remorse. But again she saw that her words weren’t getting through. Deciding it was safer to keep her thoughts to herself, she slid into the chair by the bed and soon the room fell quiet.
The silence was broken when a chaplain entered. As he introduced himself, the sound of his voice triggered Piera's attention, and, for the second time in her life, she began to pour her feelings out to a complete stranger. In gratitude for the blessing, and to prevent Piera from holding back, Sonia left the room.
As she wandered through the corridors of the hospital, Sonia realized that when it came to self forgiveness, perhaps she and Piera weren’t that far apart. True she’d found it easier to forgive their parents than Piera had. And she was grateful that forgiving others had become easier since. But now, she questioned how it was that the compassion she held out to others was not freely given to herself. The more she walked the more she saw examples of how she’d held herself to harsher scrutiny for what she judged to be the consequences of her personal mistakes. Pausing before turning in to Piera's room, the chatter in her head subsided, and she heard again the words from an unnamed source:
'forgiveness is a journey without distance between the head and heart. It can happen in a moment of an opening between the two.’ That’s what Sonia was hoping for her sister. As for herself, she knew that this had been the moment.