A few months ago my dog discovered a frog in the back garden (see photograph). Those of you reading this post having read my book will know that my mother used to kill frogs for her own amusement as a child. I was reminded of this fact myself after I had finished rescuing our unexpected visitor and setting it free.
As I look at this photograph today and think about my mother I am reminded of a quote by the Roman playwright, Terence.
“I am human, nothing human can be alien to me.”
When I first read this quote I had some difficulty believing it to be true. Now however, I am inclined to believe it, for although I can not comprehend what it is that has caused my mother to do some of the terrible things she has done, she is still my mother, and she is still a human being.
When I think of my mother as a human being I picture a damaged woman. A woman who has been so affected by her circumstances that she is unable to feel empathy or even love. It is ironic that I can only empathise with her because of her own mistreatment of me.
It is also perhaps ironic that my mother has unintentionally taught me everything I know about unconditional love. And let me tell you that there is freedom to be found in unconditional love.
Who knows what it is that leads us to make the decisions we make? Who can say for certain what they would or would not be capable of when faced with a particular set of circumstances? We are only human after all.
What I do know is that I love my mother unconditionally and that I do not need a relationship with her to be able to do this. I do not need her to take responsibility for her actions. I do not need an apology.
I love my mother unconditionally because I too am a human being. I am a human being that is capable of love. I have a choice in everything I do. I choose to love because it sets me free. It also sets my mother free.