Yeah, I do understand to an extent. My own grandmother was deeply racist, including towards my wife. After my grandmother died, I found a letter that she’d written but never sent, where she was telling me in so many words how my wife was only a good-for-nothing brown person who’d come to America to help tear America down.

No one dared contradict her. When she got up at oh-dark-thirty and began playing the piano or vacuuming the house, no one dared remind her that people were trying to sleep. In all my life, there was only one in-law she liked: my brother’s first wife, who would always tell my grandmother, “I love you so much, your cooking’s so good, your house is so beautiful”. Once I asked my sister-in-law if she was deliberately acting differently towards my grandmother, and she said that yes, she was doing so in order to stay on her good side.

In that way, one might say that my grandmother was Trump before Trump. She was easily taken in by grifters, even sending money to Jim Bakker and his fraudulent PTL Club (again, “Trump”).

When she passed, I shed no tears. Nor did anyone else.

But you know what? After my grandmother passed, my mother told me that Grandma had been raped when she was young, and that by all accounts, her personality had changed afterwards. She’d also been essentially forced into a marriage she didn’t want (she was married 5 times and outlived all of them). On top of that, looking back, I strongly believe that Grandma was bipolar.

In other words, as time has passed, I’ve come to realize that the traumas of her youth and young adulthood, in addition to what I believe to be her mental illness, may have in large part caused her later bitterness and hateful attitude.

I still cannot shed tears for her, but because of this understanding, I can forgive her. I can let it go.

I hope this helps.

Written by

Retired Navy. Inveterate contrarian. If I haven’t done it, I’ve usually done something close.

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