This is the final part of the post, she did the best she could.
He couldn’t trust himself to handle what he feared was coming.
It never did end well… usually.
All his efforts and good intentions despite, it seemed like his mother just pushed his buttons the wrong way every time. He could never find the strength to not break out in a combustible fit of rage. And it didn’t even matter all that much what the subject was. They could be talking about what to have for breakfast, world hunger or politics. It always ended the same way.
But there was still that pull to know what they wanted to tell him.
The women were in the kitchen now, so there was no one else around to help him decide.
He sent one more cry to heaven, and then not wanting to give himself time to consider the option he was most at peace with, he hurried to his car.
He could live without the knowledge of what they wanted to tell him. And he would.
He would destroy the blood stained letter, and do his best to not let the past affect him as much as it had. It had too much hold on him, and to his mind, enough was enough already!
He was not in a hurry to get home, so he took the longer route, “to get fresh air”, he tried to convince himself, but it was hard to buy the lie he was selling.
After a while driving, but going nowhere in particular, he pulled over to the side of the road. He sat in the parked car for what seemed like a few hours… maybe more, or less. It was hard to tell.
And then from nowhere ―
Ask your wife when you get home. The thought was annoying. He had no intentions of continuing the journey he had been on all these years. He had drawn a line in the sand, and there was no going back.
Most women would do what they can to save their marriage if they thought it was threatened.
He decided he had sat in the car for too long, since his mind was starting to play games with him.
He turned his phone on and called his wife. She was crying and trying to say too many words at the same time.
When he had the chance to add to the conversation, he said he was on his way home, but she said it was too far.
“Too far from what?”
“Didn’t you hear anything I said?”
She proceeded to chide him for all the anxiety and worry he had caused them. Her friend was helping her watch the children, and she was on her way already.
When she asked where he was, he looked around and realized he had no idea where he was.
Getting no response, she tried again, “I already booked a taxi. I could meet you where you are to save time. He’s already at the hospital”.
“What are you talking about?”
“Just tell me where you are, and stop with this family issues nonsense!” She was trying, but not doing very well at controlling her voice, “Your father needs a miracle. Start praying and tell me where you are.”
“Let me call you back”.
She screamed her reply, “Do not hang up on ―”.
Help me Lord! Please!
He drove around for a bit and finally recognized a building in the distance.
Then he called his wife back. Her phone was switched off.
After the third time trying, he started to get worried. It was unlike her, no matter how angry she was with him.
He called his brother. No response.
He couldn’t get through to his sister.
Wild thoughts began to run through his mind, and before long his hands were shaking.
He took deep breaths, trying to calm himself. It didn’t help all that much.
He turned the radio on. That wasn’t very helpful, either. He wasn’t interested in choosing between depressing news stories or really bad music.
Even his favourite playlist didn’t help.
Finally, he abandoned the car and took a taxi back to where he was coming from.
He ignored the taxi driver when he tried to make small talk. He didn’t want to talk. He just wanted the day to end.
He only realized his rudeness when he got to his destination and realized he had left his wallet in his car. When the driver offered to come back later for the money, something broke inside him. And just like that, everything he had been holding in made their way out as body-jerking, bitter tears.
The driver, an older man waited for him to recollect himself, and then he asked if he could pray with him.
Surprised, but relieved by the kindness, he nodded.
As the taxi drove off, he wondered if heaven had begun to send help, beginning with an angel in the form of a taxi driver.
If his father was at the hospital, he knew exactly which one it was…. It was a small town, after all.
As he stood on the sidewalk staring at the building, trying to will himself to go in, he noticed people coming and going. Some with joy, others with sadness.
He found himself wondering what was going through their minds ― especially the sad ones. Were there any regrets? Things they might have done differently, perhaps?
A taxi pulled in, and his wife ran up to him. It was a relief to find out that he had been unable to reach her because her phone battery had run down, not because she was that angry with him.
When she found out he’d been standing there a while and hadn’t gone inside, she left him there and ran inside. “I don’t think you understand how serious this is”, she told him as she left.
He hurried to catch up.
Inside, they found the room where his father was. It had been a false alarm. He would be OK. He only needed to slow down a bit and rest more.
Heaven was definitely looking down with mercy!
They were allowed to go home that night.
At the house, as they talked and laughed about what had happened, he realized how close he had come to losing his father… and his family.
His wife was right, it was time to stop with this family issues nonsense! No family was without challenges. Those who make it work are those who put the needed effort. Family is after all, made up of people ― imperfect, fallible people.
His father had been right too ―
He had allowed anger take up too much space in his mind that he couldn’t see past the realities anger showed him. He should not have written those words to his father. Remembering that day like he should, he could see now that had he been doing the right thing, he would have been in school, not sealing a letter with his blood.
With this new perspective, it was hard to believe the view he held of his mother. Had she really treated the church secretary the way he had believed this whole time?
He did not want to stand at the end of life and wonder what he might have done differently.
He would apologize to his family and do his best to learn again, what family is.
He had drawn a line in the sand earlier, but it was the wrong line. This time he was determined to no longer let the enemy use his mind as a playground.
He might not have all the answers he wants, but as long as they were doing the best they could, it was unfair to ask for more from them.
Sleep was easy to come that night, for the first time in a really long while.
In the morning, he shared his newfound insight and apologized to his family.
To say they were shocked would be putting it mildly.
Prayers of gratitude and fellowship followed. It was surprising to see how differently everyone remembered incidents that had significantly marked them as a family.
Before they left, his mother handed him an old diary, “It might help you see my side of the story”.
He regarded the diary for a while and shook his head. He told her they were passed that stage and the goal now was reclaiming lost time.
His wife took the diary, “Thanks Mimi”. She turned to her husband who looked ready to run from the diary, “What? It’s just a diary. It would help us see her side of the story”.
His sister was not being thoughtful about his situation at all. He endured solid teasing on account of his apparent dread of a woman’s old diary.
“That is not the situation at all”, he told her.
Any defense on his part was useless. Their minds were already made up.
Because he had left his car, they were to ride with this same sister. He could only imagine what the journey would be like.
The thought came to him to ask his mother if she had any idea what the church secretary had wanted to tell him. He asked the question quickly before he changed his mind, and then immediately added, “On second thought, don’t answer that. It doesn’t even matter anymore”.
“Maybe it’s in the diary”, his sister said.
He looked to his wife for help. She shrugged, “You never know”.
She and her sister-in-law began to giggle like school girls at her husband’s expense.
His brother had already left. His parents made a quick escape and left him to his fate with the giggling girls and a woman’s old diary.
This was a problem…. One he was happy to face.
Heaven was definitely smiling on this family!