In the current national climate of more freely expressed bigotry, I thought I would share with you a story from my past. In my youth in the 1970s, I was married to a man whom I loved deeply, enough to leave England and emigrate to the USA. We had met on the university ski team and I fell in love with him when he had warmed my hands after a particularly chilly race. The marriage was not favored from either side. My parents were losing their daughter to America, and my husband’s family were Jewish, I was not. In particular, my husband’s grandmother threatened to cut him out of her will, convinced as she was that I was marrying him for her money. It delayed our marriage but did not in the end prevent it. Throughout the marriage, my relationship with my husband’s grandmother was polite but strained. It was seen as a great concession when I was allowed to cross the threshold into her home. It was clear that without saying it, that she had not changed her mind.
Fast forward ten years.
My husband and I were separated and I was about to file for divorce because not only did he become an alcoholic and abusive, but he was having a long term affaire with one of our employees. I still loved him but I thought I deserved better. And then we got a summons. We heard that Gran was very ill and probably dying, and she wanted to see us. So we drove 175 miles to see her immediately. It was a long and largely silent journey. We were the last of the family to arrive.
She asked to see me and when I went into see her, she told me that she had something to say to me. She told me that she was so wrong about me, that no one could have been a better wife to her grandson. She begged for my forgiveness. She said that she was too angry to see her grandson because his behavior was so reprehensible. I implored her to reconsider that decision, saying he was her oldest and favorite grandson, and this was no way to end things. I asked her to see him and forgive him. And so she agreed to see him, and she told him that he was forgiven.
Six hours later she was dead.