One day I received a message from my son that completely changed my life. I didn't know what to do then, but now I'm sure I did the right thing.
My family has suffered unbearable pain, and I have to admit it was partly my fault. I meddled and influenced a decision that wasn't mine to make, and the result was a tragedy.
I loved my son, my only child, and when he brought home Mina, I loved her too. She became the daughter I'd never had. Mina who'd grown up in foster care loved me too. I thought we would be the happiest of families, but I was wrong.
I never expected to receive such a message from my son | Source: Shutterstock.com
Mina and Fred had been married for 8 years and there was no sign of pregnancy, though I knew they both wanted a child. So when Mina announced she was pregnant, we were all ecstatic.
I started dreaming about a grandchild, but all those dreams turned to dust in my mouth after Mina's first doctor's appointment, and a slew of tests. The doctor was worried. Mina's blood pressure was high, he explained.
This was something that could threaten the baby's life, as well as her own. Since the problem was already manifesting so early in the pregnancy, the doctor believed that Mina might not survive to term.
Fred and Mina dreamed of being parents | Source: Unsplash
He was brutal as he laid out the choices before Fred and Mina: they could terminate the pregnancy, and Mina would be immediately out of danger; if they chose to continue, there was a 50% chance either she or the baby might not survive.
Mina and Fred were terrified. Fred was adamant that he didn't want Mina to risk her life. "I can't live without you," he told her with tears in his eyes. "We can adopt, but I can't lose you..."
"Adopt?" I asked. "You can surely try again..."
They were delighted with the news | Source: Unsplash
Mina shook her head. "The doctor said it will always be a danger. I mustn't get pregnant again, ever."
Never again? I was shocked. I couldn't countenance losing the grandchild that was slumbering in Mina's womb. I didn't want to, and so when Mina asked me for my opinion in private, I told her she should trust in God.
"That baby is a test of our faith," I told her. "I know in my heart that God will protect you both."
The doctor believed Mina's life was at risk | Source: Unsplash
Mina listened to me, and soon she was convincing Fred. She talked him into it against his better judgment, and Fred later told me Mina's doctor didn't agree with their decision to continue with the pregnancy.
Sadly, he was to be proved right. Three weeks before the baby was to be born, Mina suffered a massive stroke, and my granddaughter was born through an emergency C-section. Mina died on the operating table.
Fred was wild with rage and grief, at himself, at me, and at his little daughter. He screamed himself hoarse when the doctor told him Mina was gone and refused to see the baby or name it.
Mina decided to risk the pregnancy | Source: Unsplash
So I chose her name. I called her Mina after her mother, and my choice enraged Fred even more. For months he was silent and morose. He didn't speak to me, he didn't look at little Mina.
I quit my job to look after my granddaughter, and after a while, Fred seemed to be getting back to normal. He was working hard, too hard, and that -- I told myself -- was why he spent so little time with Mina.
When Mina was two, Fred announced he was moving to San Luis Obispo, over 200 miles from Los Angeles. "But Fred," I said, "Why? Why are you leaving? You have such a good job..."
Mina didn't survive the surgery | Source: Unsplash
"I see Mina everywhere," he said harshly. "Do you understand that, mother? Everywhere I go, there she is. I'm moving so we can start over."
"We? You want me to come too?" I asked hopefully.
"If I hadn't forgiven you, I would have remained a prisoner of my anger and my pain."
He laughed angrily. "No! You're staying here! I want you to know what it feels like to lose what you love most, mother, so you know what you did to me!"
Two weeks later he was gone, and it was three years until I heard from him again. I received a text message on my phone from Fred:
Fred refused to look at his daughter | Source: Unsplash
"I can't look at her anymore, everything she does reminds me that I lost Mina because of her. If you want her, come and get her. I left her at the bus station."
I was stunned. I ran for my car and drove like a madwoman to San Luis Obispo, praying all the way that I'd find Mina, that she'd be safe. This time, God heard my prayer.
I found my granddaughter sitting on a bench in front of the Greyhound ticket office, crying and so scared that she started screaming when she saw me. I took her home, I raised her, and it would be twenty years before I saw Fred again.
Fred left little Mina at a bus station | Source: Unsplash
Mina grew into a lovely, confident young woman with a brilliant mind and her mother's beauty. I was so proud of her. To her I was MamaNana, mother and grandmother combined. She made my life worth living.
Mina finished university and started working. She was a brilliant businesswoman and quickly started climbing the corporate ladder. Then one day, someone knocked on my door.
I was shocked to see a man I hardly recognized as my son standing there. Fred was aged beyond his years, a ruined, unhappy man. "Mama," he said, "Please forgive me," he said.
I raised my granddaughter alone | Source: Unsplash
"Fred!" I whispered, "What happened to you? Oh my boy, what happened to you?"
I put my arms out to him and he started sobbing. "I ruined myself, mama, and I threw away my child, Mina's child. She will never forgive me, never."
I heard a soft voice behind me saying, "I forgave you long ago, daddy." It was my sweet Mina. Fred looked at her and gasped. She was Mina's twin.
"I don't deserve your forgiveness," Fred whispered.
My son begged for forgiveness | Source: Unsplash
Mina smiled. "I know daddy, but I do. And if I hadn't forgiven you, I would have remained a prisoner of my anger and my pain."
I saw understanding light Fred's face. His daughter had grasped the true value of forgiveness and healing. I hope that one day soon he will be able to forgive me, as I've forgiven him.
What can we learn from this story?
1. No matter how tempting, there are decisions we should never try to influence.
2. Forgiveness is a balm for the heart.
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