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Forgiveness

April 7, 2005

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Mr. Keillor pointed out that it would have been Hans Christian Andersen's 200th birthday, which is a really remarkable thing. I mean, how many people have their 200th birthdays remembered? I won't, I'm sure. Nor will Mr. Sundberg. Or Lola down the street. Or most people. Mr. Sundberg laughed when I pointed that out. "Why would it matter?" he asked. "You wouldn't know it anyway. It's more for the people who do the remembering. Then they get to have a party or something and who doesn't like a party?" You're right, I told him.

Mr. Sundberg has been laughing a lot this past week. Though when I sat down with him to tell the story of James, he didn't laugh. He listened. I explained about being twenty and finding out I was pregnant and how my parents were supportive of every decision I made and how some decisions are just downright awful until you think about what really matters and then you do what you knew you would do from the get-go. You give up a lot in the process, but that's how it goes — nothing worthwhile is easy and freedom is relative. When you're incarcerated and you look out the window, there is mud and there are stars. It's pretty much up to you. When I paused, he said, "Keep going." And I talked and talked. For a long while. And when I got to the part about saying goodbye to James and how the young couple from Canada looked so happy to hold him, the words just stuck there and he said, "Well, now."

We sat there for a while and the clock dinged ten p.m. and I said, Are you angry? He shook his head no. And I said, Can you forgive me for not telling you? And he let out a big old sigh. "You know," he said, "Forgiveness is like throwing a party for someone who was born two hundred years ago. You do it for your own sake and not much for anyone else." We held hands for a while and listened to the news and during the weather report he leaned toward me and said, "I think you are brave."

So we're going to Ontario sometime soon to meet my son who is an editor and loves to cook with cheese (imagine that). We'll take the kids and take a train and it'll be one of those things we remember. There will be pictures and I'm not sure what else but that's not what matters right now. See, I have a migraine and a friend of mine swears by cucumber slices on the eyes and forehead and it seems to work but they kept falling off so I taped them on and now the UPS man is at the door with a box from the Bon Bons of the Month Club and I have to explain that they are to go to my MOTHER, not to me. Plus they're too early. I meant to have them delivered on Mother's Day, which isn't for a month, though it's good to be reminded. You don't want to forget your mother.

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