Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Parent (11/16/06)
TITLE: The Post Script
By Linda Germain
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You don’t know me. Your father and I met late in his life and connected on a deep and tender level. He talked about you every day. He cried more than he talked. His regret at the role he did not play in your lives was a constant pain in his heart.
He tried to write what he felt, but I’m not sure there are words in any language to express those feelings. He said the things he was trying to convey were coming out all wrong and bouncing back to him with bitterness and agitation. He knew you did not receive them well.
“My darlin’,” he would lament to me, “How can I ever make them understand I am not the same man they knew as children? How can I show them I am sorry for breaking up our family and doing the horrendous things I did. I cannot go back and fix that of which I am guilty. I love them so much, but they will not listen to me.” Tears would flow until I could gently lead him to other subjects that made him happy.
We never seemed to run out of conversation. His sister would tease with, “What in the world do you two yak about so much?” He would answer with a contented smile, “Oh, you know…just bread and butter things.” He was right.
We would speak for hours about places we each had been and things we had learned. I was fascinated by his amazing stories, and he showed sincere interest in what I had to report. I know he listened because he always asked pertinent questions and then remembered what I had said weeks later. He was so thankful to have a sharp and curious mind, seeing as how some of his old pals were becoming a little foggy in the memory department.
One day I called him and he seemed a little out of breath. “What were you doing?” I asked with some concern. “I was practicing waltzing in the kitchen,” he giggled. He intended for us to dance together before his legs lost all strength.
Because of his age and health, he often told me I would be a widow longer than a bride. I would jokingly remind him he could not get away from me that easily. That seemed to please him.
We talked about buying a little house that would be a warm and loving home. We planned future Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners -- always counting you and your families as guests. He longed to hug all of his beautiful grandchildren. Even more, he ached to embrace his successful, fine and handsome sons and to really get to know you after all these years. He loved you guys more than you can possibly imagine.
My precious confidante continued to surprise me with his incredible wit and good mind. He wanted to know as much as possible about everything. Two years ago, something life changing happened to him; something bigger than the pacemaker, bypass surgery, or congestive heart failure. He discovered a gospel truth that had been right under his nose for decades, but for some reason he had never taken hold of its pure and simple premise.
That is why I am writing to you now. It is imperative for you to know the man I came to care about with all my heart is not the one who abandoned you and left the role of parenting to your dear mother as he took off to engage in the world of materialism and pleasure. I never knew that person.
The man I can tell you about was very ashamed of the things he had done. He knew he had God’s forgiveness, but he wanted yours too. He longed for a new relationship with you based on the changed creature he had become.
Like a candle in the wind, his light flickered and went out. He is gone. He left without saying goodbye. I know where he is and that he is safe and secure.
One of the last things he said to me on this earth was, “I pray my sons will forgive me and that they won’t have to be as old and broken as I am before they realize the TRUTH about eternal life.”
This letter is meant to assure you of your Father’s love. He felt it was of grave importance for you to know without a doubt. I agree.
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