the forgiving Buckley

Christopher Buckley's essay in the New York Times Magazine about his parents begins with a description of his mother’s death in hospital. Here’s how that scene ends:

Soon after, a doctor came in to remove the respirator. It was quiet and peaceful in the room, just pings and blips from the monitor. I stroked her hair and said, the words coming out of nowhere, surprising me, “I forgive you.”

I can't tell you what’s in the rest of the essay, because I stopped reading there. But if we don't go on to learn just how much — oh, how much — Mum had done for which she bloody well needed to be forgiven, and therefore learn just how gracious and forbearing her son has become, I will eat every hat I own.

My father died in January. For years I told myself what when he died I wanted to write a book about my family and my upbringing in Alabama during the King years, but I’m not now inclined to do that. I could change my mind again, of course, and if I do, and if I end up describing how utterly deficient my parents were and how long and hard was the road which led me to acceptance, forgiveness, and peace, then you all have my permission — nay, my encouragement — to track me down and shoot me dead.