Family Life, Meaningful Living

Let Go Of Your Grudges And Grievances

March 28, 2009

This story was sent to me by my son Clarence who suggested that I put it on my blog.This is for all the single, married, divorced, widowed individuals, who take life for granted. Please, I BEG YOU, read this story until the end. It will really touch you and willbring tears to your eyes. This is a true story as told by a woman called LD.

Just two years after our marriage, my hubby brought up the idea of asking Mother to move from the rural hometown and spend her remaining years with us. My hubby’s father passed away while he was still very young. Mother endured much hardship and struggled all on her own to provide for him and saw him through to a university degree. You could say that she suffered a great deal and did everything you could expect of a woman to bring my hubby to where he was today. I immediately agreed and started preparing the spare room, which had a balcony facing the South to let Mother enjoy the sunshine and plant greenery. My hubby stood in the bright room, and suddenly just picked me up and started spinning round and round. As I begged him to put me down, he said: “Let’s go fetch mother.” My hubby was tall and big sized and I loved to rest on his chest and enjoy the feeling that he could pick me up at any moment and put the tiny me into his pockets. Whenever we had an argument and both of us refused to back down, he would pick me up and spin me over his head continuously until I surrendered and begged for mercy. I became addicted to this kind of panic-joy feeling.

Mother brought along her countryside habits and lifestyle with her. For example; I was used to buying flowers to decorate the living room but Mother could not stand it and would comment: “I do not know how you young people spend your money. Why do you buy flowers? You can’t eat flowers!” I smiled and said: “Mum, with flowers in the house, our mood will also become better.” Mother continued to grumble away, and my hubby smiled: “Mum, this is a city-people’s habit; slowly you will get used to it.”

Every time thereafter, whenever I came home with flowers, she would ask me how much it cost. I told her and she would shake her head and expressed displeasure. Sometimes, when I came home with lots of shopping bags, she would ask how much each and every item cost. I would tell her honestly and she would get even more upset about it. My hubby playfully pinched my nose and said: “You little fool, just don’t tell her the full price of everything.”

The friction to our otherwise happy lifestyle began.

Mother hated it most when my hubby woke up early to prepare the breakfast. In her view, how could the man of the house cook for the wife? At the breakfast table, mother’s facial expression was always like the dark clouds before a thunderstorm and I would pretend not to notice. She would use her chopsticks and make a lot of noise with them as her silent protest.

As I was a dance teacher in the Children’s Palace and was exhausted from a long day of dancing around, I did not wish to give up the luxury of that additional few minutes in the comfort of my bed and hence I turned a deaf ear to all the protests mother made. From time to time, mother would help out with some housework, but soon her help created additional work for me. For example, she would keep all kinds of plastic bags and accumulating them so that she could sell them later on and it resulted in our house being filled with all the trash bags. She would scrimp on dish washing detergent when helping to wash the dishes and so as not to hurt her feelings, I would quietly wash them again.

One late night, mother saw me quietly washing the dishes and she slammed her bedroom door and cried very loudly in her room. My hubby was placed in a difficult position, and after that, he did not speak to me for that entire night. I pretended to be a spoiled child, tried acting cute, but he totally ignored me…. I got mad and asked him: “What did I do wrong?” My hubby stared at me and said: “Can’t you just give in to her once? We couldn’t possibly die eating from a bowl however unclean it is, right?” After that incident, for a long period of time, mother did not speak to me and you could sense a very awkward feeling permeating the house. During that period of cold war, my hubby was caught in dilemma as to who to please.

In order to stop her son from having to prepare breakfast, Mother took on the “all important” task of preparing breakfast without any prompting. At the breakfast table, mother would look at my hubby happily eating his breakfast and cast that reprimanding stare at me for having failed to perform my duty as a wife. To avoid the embarrassing breakfast situation, I resorted to buying my own breakfast on my way to work. One night, while in bed, my hubby was a little upset and asked me: “LD, is it because you think that mum’s cooking is not clean so you chose not to eat at home?” He then turned his back on me and left me alone in tears as feeling of unfairness overwhelmed me. After some time, hubby sighed: “LD, just for me, can you have breakfast at home?” I was left with no choice but to return to the breakfast table.

The next morning, I was having porridge prepared by mother and I felt a sudden churn in my stomach and everything inside seemed to be rushing up my throat. I tried to suppress the urge to throw up but I could not. I threw down the bowl, rushed into the washroom, and vomited everything out. Just as I was catching my breath, I heard Mother crying and grumbling very loudly in her dialect. My hubby was standing at the washroom doorway staring at me with anger burning in his eyes.. I opened my mouth but no words came out of it, I really did not mean it.

We had our very first big fight that day. Mother took a look at us, then stood up and slowly made her way out of the house. My hubby gave me a final stare in the eyes and followed Mother down the stairs. For three days, hubby did not return home and there was not even a phone call from him, I was furious. Since Mother arrived, I had been trying my best and putting up with her. For no reason, I kept having the feeling to throw up and I simply had no appetite for food. Coupled with all the events happening at home, I was at then at a very low point in my life.

Finally a colleague said, “LD, you look terrible. You should go and see a doctor.” The doctor revealed that I was pregnant. I realized why I threw up that fateful morning. Sadness overwhelmed me despite the good news about my pregnancy. Why didn’t my hubby and Mother, who had been through this before, thought of the possibility of my pregnancy being the reason for my throwing up that morning? At the hospital entrance, I saw my hubby standing there. It had only been three days but he looked really haggard. I had wanted to turn and leave but one look at him and my heart softened. I couldn’t resist and called out to him. He looked at me with a disgusted look that pierced my heart. I told myself not to look at him anymore and hailed a cab. At that moment, I had a strong urge inside me to shout to my hubby “Darling, I am having your baby!”. What I wanted didn’t happen and as I sat in the cab, my tears started flowing uncontrollably.

Back home, I lay on the bed thinking about my hubby and the disgusted look in his eyes. I cried like I had never cried before. That night, sound of drawers opening awoke me. I switched on the lights and saw my hubby with tears rolling down his cheek. He was taking his money and his bank deposit book. I stared at him but he ignored me and left the house. Was he leaving me for good? I sobbed and sobbed.

The next day I did not go to work. I wanted to have a good talk with my hubby and sort things out with him. I reached his office and his secretary gave me a weird look and said, ” Mr Tan’s mother had a traffic accident and is now in hospital.”

I was speechless and rushed to the hospital. By the time I found my hubby, Mother had passed away. He did not look at me; his face was expressionless. I looked at Mother’s pale and thin face and I could not control my tears. My God, how could this be happening?

Throughout the funeral, my hubby did not say a single word to me. I managed to find out brief facts about the accident from other people. That day, after Mother left the house, she walked in a daze towards the bus stop, apparently intending to go back to her old house in the countryside. As my hubby ran after her, she tried to walk faster and as she crossed the road, a bus hit her. I finally understood why my hubby must had hated me. If I had not thrown up that morning, Mother would still be alive. In my hubby’s mind, I was indirectly the killer of her mother.

My hubby moved into Mother’s room and came home every night with a strong stench of liquor on him. And I was buried under a great sense of guilt and self-pity. I wanted to explain to my hubby and tell him that we were going to have our baby soon. But each time I saw the look in his eyes, all words failed me. I rather he hit me real hard or give me a thorough scolding.

Many days of suffocating silence went by and as the days went by, my hubby came home later and later. The deadlock between us continued. We were living together like strangers who didn’t know each other. I was like a dead knot in his heart.

One day while walking past a western restaurant, I happened to glance through the glass window and saw my hubby and a girl sitting facing each other. He gently brushed some hair from her face. I understood what it meant. After recovering from that initial shock, I entered the restaurant, stood in front of my hubby and stared hard at him, not a tear in my eyes. I had nothing to say to him and there was no need to say anything. The girl looked at me, looked at my hubby, stood up and wanted to go. My hubby stretched out his hand and stopped her. He stared back at me, challenging me.That night he did not come home. He had used that as a way to tell me that following Mother’s death, his love for me had also died.

At night, he did not come home anymore after that. Sometimes when I returned home from work, I could tell that the cupboard had been touched; he had returned to take some of his stuff. I no longer wished to call him; the initial desire to explain everything to him had vanished. I lived alone. I went for my medical checks alone. My heart ached again and again every time I saw a guy lovingly helping his wife through the checkups. My colleagues hinted to me to consider aborting the baby. I told them that I would never do that. I insisted on having the baby. Perhaps it was my way of repaying Mother for causing her death.

One day, I came home and I saw hubby sitting in the living room. The whole house was filled with cigarette smoke. On the coffee table, there was this piece of paper. I know what it was all about without even looking at it. In the two months plus of living alone, I had gradually learned to find peace within myself. I looked at him, removed my hat and said: “Please wait a while. I will sign.” He looked at me with mixed feelings in his eyes, just like mine.

As I hung up my coat, I kept saying to myself ” You cannot cry, you cannot cry.” My eyes hurt terribly but I fought back all my tears. After I had hung up my coat, my hubby’s eyes stared at my bulging tummy. I smiled, walked over to the coffee table and pulled the paper towards me. Without even looking at the contents, I signed my name and pushed the paper back to my hubby.

“LD, are you pregnant?” Since Mother’s accident, this was the first time he spoke to me. I could not control my tears any further and they fell like raindrops. I said: “Yes, but it’s ok, you can leave now.” He did not go. In the dark, we sat, facing each other. My hubby slowly moved over to me. I couldnot remember how many times he repeated “sorry” to me. I had originally thought that I would forgive him, but now I couldn’t. In the western restaurant, in front of that girl, that cold look in his eyes was something that I would never forget. We had inflicted such deep scars in each other’s heart. For me, it was unintentional; for him, totally intentional.

I had been waiting for this moment of reconciliation, but now it didn’t matter anymore. Other than the thought of the baby inside me that would bring some warmth to my heart, I was totally cold towards my hubby. I no longer ate anything he bought for me. I did not accept any presents from him and I stopped talking to him. From the moment I signed on that piece of paper, love had vanished from my heart. Sometimes my hubby would try to come into the bedroom but whenever he walked in, I would walk out to the living room. He had no choice but to sleep in Mother’s room. At night, I could hear light sounds of groaning coming from his room but I ignored him. This used to be his trick. Whenever I ignored him in the past, he would fake illness and I would surrender and find out what was wrong with him. He would then grab me and laugh. His groanings came on and off but I continued to ignore him.

Almost everyday, he would buy something for the baby: infant products, toys and books for kids. Bags and bags of them piled up in his room till it was full. I know he was trying to reach out to me but I was indifferent towards his actions. He had no choice but to lock himself in his room and I could hear him typing away on his computer keyboard. I thought that maybe he was now addicted to web surfing but none of that mattered to me anymore.

One late night towards the end of spring in the following year, I screamed because of a sudden stomach pain. My hubby rushed into my room. It was like he had been waiting for this moment. He carried me and ran down the stairs, stopped a car, holding my hand very tight and kept wiping the sweat from my brow throughout the journey to the hospital. Once we reached the hospital, he carried me and hurried into the delivery suite. Lying on his warm body, a thought crossed my mind: In my lifetime, who else would love me as much as my hubby did?

He held the delivery suite door open and watched me go in; his warm eyes caused me to smile at him despite my contraction pains. Coming out of the delivery room, my hubby looked at our son and me, eyes filled with joy. I reached out and touched his hand, My hubby looked at me, smiling and then he slowly collapsed on to the floor. I cried out for him in alarm….he had a smile on his face though his eyes remained closed. I thought I would never shed any more tear for him but how wrong I was. I had never felt a deeper pain cutting through me at that moment. The doctor told me that by the time my hubby discovered that he had liver cancer, it was already in terminal stage and it was a miracle that he managed to last that long. I asked the doctor when my hubby first discovered he had cancer. The doctor told me it was about five months ago.

I disregarded the nurses’ objection and rushed home. I went to my hubby’s room and logged in to his computer. A suffocating pain hit me. My hubby’s cancer was discovered five months ago; his groaning at night were real and not fake. Stored in his computer was over two hundred thousand words he had written for our son: ” Son, just for you, I have hung on so that I can have a look at you before I fall….that is my biggest wish now. I know that in your life, you will have a lot of happiness and maybe some setbacks. How nice it would be if only I can accompany you throughout that journey? But daddy now no longer has that chance. Daddy has written inside here all the possible difficulties and problems you may encounter during your lifetime. When you meet these problems, you can refer to daddy’s suggestions. Son, after writing these words, I feel as if I have accompanied you through your life journey. To be honest, daddy is very happy. Do love your mummy. She has suffered..she is the one who loves you most and also the one who loves me most.” From play school to primary school, to secondary school, to university, to work and to even questions of love, everything big and small was written there. My hubby had also written a letter to me; ” My dear, to marry you is my biggest happiness. Forgive me for the pain I have caused you, forgive me for not telling you about my illness. I want to see you in a joyful mood awaiting the arrival of our son. My dear, if you cry, it means that you have forgiven me and I would smile. Thank you for loving me. I am afraid I won’t be able to give the presents for our son personally….please help me to give some of them to him every year on the dates written on the packages…”. When I went back to the hospital, my hubby was still in a coma. I brought our son over and placed him beside my hubby. I said: “Open your eyes and smile. I want our son to remember being in the warmth of your arms.” He struggled to open his eyes and managed a weak smile. Our son, still in my hubby’s arms, was waving his tiny hands in the air. I pressed the button on my camera and the sound of the shutter rang through the air as tears slowly rolled down my face. The person who loved me the most in this world was gone forever.

This is a true story. Please let the message sinks into your heart!

LESSON – DO NOT EVER HOLD ON TO GRUDGES AND GRIEVANCES!!!

I am totally speechless; this story brought tears to my eyes as I read through each line eager to know what would happen next. It truly reveals the devastating effects of grudges ,unforgiveness and anger! Simple humility, patience and communication would have resolved most of the problems in the above story. This story has really touched my heart and life as a whole and it has stimulated a paradigm shift. Though it is very sad, it teaches us a very important lesson on how to live a meaningful and happy life. I can consciously start trying to live a life free of grudges. Communication and forgiveness are the keys.

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