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Healing and Forgiveness: reaching out to my estranged mother

estranged motherFriday I left a voice message for my estranged mother to tell her I love and appreciate her.

It took me four tries to build up the courage to speak to her answering machine.


This is my first communication to her in over a decade.


I told her that if she was open to it, I’d love to come by and give her a kiss goodbye before she moves across the country. Maybe even introduce her to my husband. And if she’s not open, that’s perfectly okay, too. I love her and wish her every happiness.


She hasn’t responded. And that’s okay. I didn’t expect anything.


I’ve heard for many years that she hates me. Growing up she called me a monster and a “minus.” She makes up fictions about me. And that’s why I stay away: self love and self-protection, not anger or animosity towards her.  

It took me decades to finally realize that none of this has ever had anything to do with me. It’s her own pain. And it’s not my job or within my power to fix that (though I did save her life when she attempted suicide when I was 12).  

So why did I leave that message and invitation to meet?

Because my own life is so love-filled and I can.


I made peace with the estrangement long, long ago. I don’t expect to be invited to her funeral. I don’t take any of it personally AT ALL. She doesn’t even know me. Which is why I can call and leave a message with zero attachment. This isn’t the “beginning” of the healing process: this is my proof to myself that it has already happened.


Which brings up the topic of Forgiveness, a concept that is often misunderstood and all too often re-victimizes victims.


Just like last week I said no one has the right to tell anybody else what they should be grateful for, I would advise you to run far away from anyone who tells you when you should forgive.


Forgiveness happens naturally when danger has passed.


These things we call “grudges” are really hyper-alertness to a perceived threat. It’s a natural and healthy act of self love to keep your guard up until you’re safe.


When the outside danger has passed, you are free to take the lesson and create safety on the INSIDE.


Eventually it all comes down to trusting yourself.


When you can look yourself in the mirror and trust yourself to be okay and to protect yourself better in the future, the people who hurt you become less relevant, less scary, and they get less attention.


They take their rightful place as spiritual teachers instead of villains.


Eventually you may notice little or no negative charge around that person, those events, that relationship. You’ve forgiven them their trespasses, and you’ve forgiven yourself your own trespasses… against yourself and them.


Focus on creating safety in your world.


Slay your monsters. Create a new relationship with life. Forgiveness will do itself as a result.


2017 has been a year of transitions–Grandma died, Dad moved to an Alzheimer’s facility back east, Mom is moving back east, I don’t recognize my own country–and I expect more transition to come.


In times like these I find my best response is to focus on everything I love in life and to ride the challenges like a surfer rides the waves. I’m sharing my process in case it’s helpful to you, too.


Progress, not perfection. One step at a time. Trust yourself.




  1. Marilla Arguelles says:

    Morgana, Loved your insight that “grudges” are really hyper-alertness to perceived threats.” It’s too rare to hear respect for keeping our guards up if we’ve been wounded too many times. And that it’s “a natural, healthy act of self love to keep your guard up until you’re safe.”
    Such insight is a lovely gift and blessing.

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