Those I love, I love fiercely. I will do anything to protect them. Once you have my trust I will be more loyal than your favorite dog. I especially feel that way towards my family. I would give up my life for my family. I’d rather be starving in freezing rain and naked than to see any of them hungry, cold and without shelter.

I felt that way about my mom. But I never thought the feelings were mutual. I didn’t see that she loved me. I don’t know when or exactly why I felt that way. I have some ideas, but I don’t know for sure. I do know that from a little girl, I tried everything to get her attention and it continued throughout my teens and I’m sure up until she died. I was desperate for her attention and couldn’t ever get it. It was always tied up in one of my siblings or another child. The few things I knew I did well at, I wanted to do them all by myself; like playing piano or driving. I did those well and didn’t want any of my brothers or sisters to play piano – I wanted her to see what I could do. And driving, I remember her teaching a friend, and it made me so mad because she just sat there praising that girl for all she was worth and I never had any of it even though out of all of my driving siblings and even that girl, I was the best.

It hurt so much. It still hurts. But you know what hurts more? The knowledge that my relationship with my mom will never be right. I will always have the memories of the last few months she was alive doing nothing but arguing with her. I will never have the chance to tell her again that I love her. Never have the chance to tell her even though she couldn’t see she’d hurt me that I forgave her. I will never have a chance again to show or tell my mom anything.

So I’m encouraging all of you. If you have a strained or broken relationship with anyone (mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, or friends) do all you can to make it right. You may not have that chance again.

It’s Christmastime and what better gift than the gift of forgiveness and love?