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Elderly Woman with Family CaregiverCaregiving is a personal gift we give to those we love. Our relationship with the one we are caring for can be complicated by the past hurts we still hang on to. Why do we choose to hang on to this old baggage? I think sometimes it defines our roles in the family and in our own minds. It’s a very bad habit that hurts every one and us the most.

Forgiveness is a powerful thing. It not only blesses those we forgive, but it frees us from past hurts. Only when we throw off those past hurts can we move on to love and give freely. Yes, we might have valid reasons for feeling those old hurts, but is it worth it to hang on to them?

Being a parent is the hardest role one can fulfill. I used to think my parents were far from perfect until my own children were grown. When we talked about their growing up years, I could not believe the things they remembered. My daughter says I was always too easy on her younger brother. My youngest son says I let my oldest son do anything he wanted! Where in the world did they get these thoughts? Could any of them be true?

I know I made mistakes, but I honestly believe I was a good parent. Whether I was, or I wasn’t, the deed is done. I’ve learned to just say, “I’m sorry, if I hurt you.” I’m sure it doesn’t make everything okay, but I do think it helps.

We can’t erase the past, but we can bless the future. If we want to fill our care giving roles with pleasant thoughts and a light heart, we must learn to just let go. I’ve found for myself that remembering the good things my parents have done for me, and continue to do, helps me forget about any baggage that might hurt our relationships. I also hope, that by me “forgiving” that my children can also forgive. It’s that old “Golden Rule” that makes a huge difference for all of us.

A legacy of forgiveness is something that will not only bless you and your relationship with your parents, but go on to bless all those around you and future generations to come.

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About The Author: Karen Everett Watson is a Gerontologist and has over 10 years experience as a Journalist. Karen has spent 4 years in the senior community interviewing retirement community residents.

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