Alicia is a nurse who was caring for her husband as he was dying from ALS. She is telling the man she should have married and still loves, what happened. Her husband cheated on her, as he cheated on his ex-wife, and he ignored all of the children he fathered. The ex-wife brought their 3 children with her, to say "goodbye" to their father.
“At first, I thought the whole idea had been a mistake. They were all shocked by what he looked like…especially his ex. My guess is that she had never seen anyone so close to death, and it unnerved her. The kids hung back, as if they were frightened to go closer to him, like they expected death to be ‘catchy’. But she walked over to his side, and took his hand, and told him, ‘I’m here, Alan.’”
“Did he recognize her?”
“Not at first, but she told him her name, and told him that she had brought their children to say ‘good-bye’ to their father. Hs opened both of his eyes then, and smiled at her. It was really kind of ghastly, because he had become so gaunt, but it was obvious that he was happy to see her. He tried to squeeze her hand then, and he started to speak. Keep in mind, that he was having real difficulty breathing, so any words were laboriously produced. He told her that he was glad that she was there, because he wanted to tell her how sorry he was that he had been such a lousy husband, and had treated her so badly. He had to stop then, to cough a lot, then he settled back down, and was quiet again.”
Alicia sighed, “She looked at me, and I shrugged…I think she wanted to know if I thought he was still alive and awake. She turned back to him, and told him that she was sorry too, that their marriage had been such a disaster. He shook his head then, slowly of course, then told her that she was wonderful…that HE was the disaster. And that he was proud of their three children, and all of the credit for them belonged to her.”
Alicia took another sip of her wine, “Then he was quiet again for a while. Finally, he spoke again, but it was hard to hear and understand, so I had to translate some of it for him. He asked her for forgiveness, and asked to see his children. The two younger ones, girls about twelve and fourteen, I’d guess, went over to stand next to their mother, so he could see them. He smiled again, and said their names, and told them he loved them. He told them he was a crummy father, but that was HIS fault, and not theirs. Then he looked around and asked where his son was.”
Miguel patted her leg gently, “And where was he?”
Alicia shook her head, “Hanging back, near the door. When his mother turned to him and told him to come over and talk to his father, he got angry and started to yell at her. He asked her, ‘Why should I? He’s been an asshole to me for my whole life…he never cared about me before. Why should I care that he’s dying? He’s nothing to me!’ Miguel, you could have heard a pin drop then. No one knew what to say, most of all me. Then Alan croaked out, ‘Forgive me, son. I have never known how to love anyone.’”
Alicia took another deep breath. “The boy then turned as if to leave the room, but I called to him, and told him that his father was dying and there wouldn’t BE another chance for forgiveness. He turned on me then, and yelled that I had no idea how much pain that man had caused him and his mother. And since I was part of the way he had hurt her, I had nothing to tell him that he wanted to hear.”
Alicia shook her head. “I told him that I understood his anger, but that forgiveness is not something you give because the other person is losing sleep over having hurt you. It is something you give because otherwise your grudge becomes a cancer that eats away inside of you, and keeps you from being happy, because you always carry that hatred inside of you. I reminded him that his father was going to be dead soon, and someday he would wish he could tell him how hurt he was that he didn’t have a dad like other boys did…but that there wouldn’t be anyone there to hear him say those things. I told him to say those things NOW, while he could. He gave me a look of real hatred then, but he walked over to his dad’s bedside and he began to yell at him. He said, ‘I hate you for having hurt my mother so much! I hate you for never wanting to spend any time with me! I hate you for never loving us, for making us feel like we were a burden on you. I hate you for being my dad, because I don’t ever want to be like you! I want to love my wife, and my children! I want to be a good man! I never want to be like you, dying with no one around to mourn me, no one to care! I hate you, and I will never forgive you!’”
Miguel put his arms around her then, because she had started to shake with remembered emotion. He murmured loving sounds at her, and waited for her to continue.
Alicia gulped back a sob, then said, “Then another miracle occurred, Miguel. Remember how I told you that it caused Alan physical pain to cry? To take in those deep breaths? He looked at his son, and he started to cry, and it was obvious looking at him, just how much it was hurting him to cry, but still the tears rolled down his face, and he choked out, ‘I’m sorry, son!’ Then he had a coughing spasm, and I thought he was going to die on the spot. Everyone else thought so too, because his ex grabbed his hand, and his daughters crowded around the bed. I had to go to the other side of the bed, to intubate him, to allow him to breathe again. And while we were doing all of that, his son just watched. Then when Alan was able to breathe on his own again, the boy walked closer and said, ‘You really are just a dying old man, aren’t you? You aren’t any different than anyone else. You’re just a poor, sad, dying old man.’ All of us looked at him in surprise, because his voice was sounding so odd, then tears started to roll down his face, and he choked out, ‘I still don’t like you. But I will forgive you. The one you hurt the most is you, because none of us will miss you. So go ahead and die, old man.’ Then he turned and walked out of the room.”
Miguel whistled softly, “Wow!”
Alicia nodded, “Yes, wow indeed. His ex then told him that she forgave him, and their daughters nodded, telling him they would miss him. Then they all walked out, and I made sure that he was still breathing, then I followed them out."
Copyrighted scene from Love Therapy by Fiona McGier
Miguel’s first love, his high school sweetheart, was the woman he wanted to marry…because they belonged together. But she had a different kind of future in mind and left for college, leaving him and his broken heart behind. 20 years later he saw her at their high school reunion. Will he walk away this time? Or is it still meant to be? And what will his family think?
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Dr. Bob Rich http://wp.me/p3Xihq-FD
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Helena Fairfax http://helenafairfax.com/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com