In it, Karr writes about not only her mother's alcoholism, but also her own. She writes about both of their paths to recovery. She starts the book by speaking of her son and of what she put him through. She speaks of her own mother and what she put Mary Karr, her daughter, through. She writes that her wish for everyone, for everything, is "blamelessness."
I cocked my head at that.
I read her story and it was a journey of forgiveness. To forgive her mother, yes, to forgive her ex-husband, but most of all, to forgive herself. To put a cope of blamelessness over her whole life and everyone in it. At first that thought might be maddening if you have unresolved issues, yes. But if you've tasted forgiveness or hungered for it yourself, you can see its appeal.
The book is not for everyone. There were days when it threatened to sink me into depression. There were times I had to shut the pages and walk away from it. My husband would catch me sitting at the table, closed book in front of me, staring out the window.
I shook myself out of it. Just as I shook myself out of my own childhood and my own issues through ten years of therapy and twenty of Buddhism. I've done my work. I've let go of a lot. I'm a happy person today. Are there ghosts in my attic? Yes. Do they rattle their chains? Infrequently. But do they? Yes.
I finished the book and was left with a feeling of wonder at her forgiveness. Such a universal and encompassing forgiveness — a forgiveness that was given without being asked. Grace is like that. A gift given though undeserved. Light cast upon a darkness. A blessing for a sinner. Yes, please, God. Do that for me.
I desire forgiveness. I desire to forgive. I desire both to be given and received as unselfishly and as free from expectation as Mary Karr writes.
But I'm not sure how to do that.