I knew that if I ever wanted to have a relationship with her, I had to put it all out on the table.
"Let me pause here to see what else I want to say," I said, bringing my speech to a close. "I'm already feeling a little lighter. Thank you for listening. I guess I'd sum this up with a phrase one of my teachers, Fritz Perls, used to say: I resent you for not touching me more when I was little. Yeah that's about it."
By the time I finished, Mom was shrinking in her chair. I was afraid I had hurt her or sent her into a place where she couldn't speak. We were both quiet for several moments. Then she said quietly, "I resent my mother for not touching me when I was little." A few tears came down her cheeks. We hugged and we cried together.
I felt so close to her. She said she had never said those words before, but somehow they brought her relief. We spoke more about her childhood and mine that day—and about how depressed she was when I was an infant and how guilty she felt about that. I told her I completely forgave her and the barriers between us seemed to dissolve. This was the beginning of a new level of friendship between us.