By Abigail White

I remember the moment so clearly.

I was sitting in my aunt’s dining room looking through the opening in the wall into the kitchen where my aunt was at the sink asking me questions. The questions weren’t important, but nor were they insignificant.

You could hear the popping of bacon grease as carrots, onions, and celery sautéed on the stove while smelling the savory aroma of chicken stock, heavy cream and cooked wild rice being poured into a dutch iron pot. The feel of the fresh cool spring breeze coming from the patio door brought the smell of lilacs floating into the house. And over it all, my aunt’s thoughtful wisdom burning into my heart.

For many, moments like this have happened a thousand thousand times.

It’s a moment that is looked at with fondness but nothing special in the grand scheme of what makes a life special, but for me, on this day, at this moment, I recognized that I loved myself unconditionally; giving me the ability to forgive my mother. At that moment, I felt a peace so pure I couldn’t help but laugh as tears fell onto the wooden table.

For the first time in 19 years, I felt unconditional love for my mom; the woman who sacrificed so much to raise me, who kept me fed and clothed but for all her sacrifice couldn’t love me in the way I needed to be loved.

At that moment, 1500 miles away from my mom, I never felt closer to her.

I realized at that moment that I loved my mom in spite of all her flaws and misgivings. She was everything I needed in a mother because who she was, made me, me.

Looking back on that moment in my aunt’s dining room now, I see it as the moment when the wound I had been carrying finally became open to the air and as Ferrini writes, “To end scarcity thinking you must forgive the past. Whatever it has been no longer matters. It no longer has an effect, because you have released it.”

I didn’t have the language for it then. At 19 all I knew was that for the first time I saw my relationship with my mom as something to celebrate.

I could see her beauty and her sacrifice, her fierceness, and her fortitude. I saw her bravery and the courage it took for a 25-year-old mother of two to admit that she was wrong and take steps to correct it. I couldn’t see all of that while I saw my life as lacking something and because I couldn’t see it, my life had held a tinge of darkness.

When the wound finally saw the sun and was able to heal, the light that surrounded it was able to surround so much more.

Ten years later, our relationship and my life have never been better. It hasn’t been easy, but the best things never are. I’m eternally grateful.

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