Haunted by the Past

I am reminded of a quotation by William Shakespeare in his play “Julius Caesar” when I consider the many errors in judgement and behaviors I have made throughout my life: “The evil that men do lives after them; The good is often interred with their bones.”

As a mother, I made numerous mistakes and was frequently a impatient person. Sometimes, perhaps often, my verbal behavior was abusive and, more often than not, directed at one particular child at a given time. Generally, it was not the child I was angry with; I misdirected my feelings toward the innocent rather than those who should have been the recipient of my angst. I have no excuse for this and will never be able to make amends for it. I have caused damage to those I injured, as harm was inflicted on me as a child as well.

I believe this is why my children have chosen not to add to the population, a fact I used to lament but one I fully understand now. They have chosen to break the abuse cycle by not becoming parents themselves. I do regret that they have likewise opted not to experience the joys that are also part and parcel of parenthood though. While I acknowledge that I caused much harm, I also felt much joy and gave them much love as I watched each stage they went through from infancy to adulthood. In spite of my enormous and numerous failings, they became caring and amazing adults in their own lives. I do not take credit for this. This they did on their own despite me.

I love them very much, and I am so proud of them. Have they made mistakes that I do not take blame for? Yes, I am fairly sure they have, but they carry on and become better persons for their errors. I hope that they do remember some of the good experiences in our family as well as the bad. I do not want my legacy to consist of all negative emotions.

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