Hiding behind wealth, as if it was their invisibility cloak, was a desperate attempt in their minds to conceal, even from themselves, the public humility and shame that they had brought upon themselves. At the time, I couldn’t fathom how they could do this, but looking back on my own personal growth, I realize it’s honestly not that hard to do. When you are consumed with self, hiding your true self, it’s very easy to dismiss even the largest of holes in the stories you spin. Call it a coping mechanism of sorts.
Wealth changed many lives around us. Some people my parents helped were forever grateful and kind. Some used them for their friendship, status, and money. Some were two-faced, showing support in public, but speaking with hatred behind their backs. Some used them as a crutch or an excuse for the lack of progress in their own lives, displacing blame on them to continue leading miserable lives.
I realized then how much of an effect my parents had on so many people around them.
A life lived in turmoil; one moment haphazard, another, gentle as a stream, congruently lived at the same time, that was how you would describe our day-to-day. I believe most lives are lived monotonously; my life was perhaps just a little bit more filled with turmoil.
Our vices in life are made up of such things. Sometimes we are not given many options, sometimes we choose wrong over right, and sometimes desperation leads us to horrific decisions for not only ourselves but others as well. Being able to distinguish and contemplate our own behavior is not always a given. At times, we are so blinded by our own trauma, all other things, even our own terrible actions, come second.
I understood this as I attended the deathbed of my mother. Three days before her death, I was able to see her. She held my hand, her eyes seemingly glued shut, her chest rising with deep, breathy rasps. As if she knew she was going to pass, tears streamed down her face as she spoke to me. There was deep sorrow for past mistakes, a final moment of clarity and understanding about how she treated me in my childhood. She said over and over again,
"How could I have treated you this way? You were just a child. My precious baby. How could I have hurt you so much?"
Forgiveness is a wonderful thing. Forgiveness is a gift we all have to freely give, even without the knowledge or consent of anyone else. Forgiveness of others, forgiveness of self. How powerful we humans are that we can heal so many things with just a little understanding and forgiveness.