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Annie, 73, Barra de Navidad, Mexico

I can still hear her screaming. My little sister was being spanked (with a butter ladle) for lying about breaking a jar of jam. The reality is that I was the one who had lied. I had accidentally knocked my favorite raspberry preserve off the shelf. Now at 73 years old, I realize that I have never gotten over this most heinous of all crimes. How could I have been so cruel?

Now, I have grown to realize that forgiveness is not the condescending pat on the head, holier than thou kind of absolution that we were all taught to bestow on our "enemies." Forgiveness is the realization that there is no longer anything to forgive. It is letting go of all blame.

But my true test is—can I ever forgive myself? Sixty years after the event, I confessed my guilt to my sister. It was a step. Now I want … to forgive that beautiful little girl who was so afraid that she just couldn't drum up the courage to take the rap. Truth be known, she was always jealous of her sister who was really beautiful.

I am so sorry, my dear sister, Ruth. And Annie, I forgive you. My true "at-one-ment" is to remember that we are all one in our humanity, created in pure innocence and divine beauty: Our mom, my sister and I.


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