• Durga Dasi

Grandfather's Gift of Forgiveness

My Grandfather was a well known and highly respected person. His birthday is Aug 6... in just two days. He would have been 94 years old this year.

My Grandpa died in 2005... I cannot believe I've survived 16 years without him.

What I'll share here with you, though, is the power of forgiving the people we love who get thrown from their pedistals.

Grandpa always told me that to forgive is to set your own self free. See, I had a very tumultuous relationship with my mother's husband, Dale; and grew up being bounced between Mom's house and that of my Grandparents. Grandma and Grandpa were my refuge... my safe place... my everything.

Gramps tried hard to mediate the battleground between Dale and me. A Christian man, he would always quote scripture and expected me to be the bigger person. Understandable, except that I was only three when this all began.

I'd come to discover that my Grandpa, dear as he was and is to me, wasn't always right... wasn't always "good"... wasn't who I painted him to be.

He was a politician, and like all politicians, made questionable decisions. We disagreed about prioritizing job creation over Creation - ie, the environment - and discussions on race and religion. A proud Irish man, he was ashamed of my Grandmother's Indigenous heritage, and would berate her any time that "Injun blood" came through.

What I don't want to do here is tarnish my Grandfather, so I'll not share a list of his misdeeds. He was a man of an older generation, who had self-justifiable reasons for all his opinions and ways of being.

Oh, but he loved his family... and his country. He served in the Navy during WWII, stationed in Japan. He loved the Democratic Party and the Clintons. He became a vegetarian for me, because he loved me more than his carnivorous pallet. Every weekend was an excuse for a family gathering and every day an opportunity to say and show, "I love you".

After he died, many of his misdeeds came to light. Stories I'd overheard but ignored, rumors that turned out to be true... and my own repressed memories on display in the museum of my mind.

Before he died, he said, "Sugar, you are going to hear things about me that are so hurtful... I never meant to hurt anybody... I'm so sorry...". He put his hand to my cheek and I remember feeling the urge to