Family is everything, but it is not a luxury that everyone has within their grasp. There are so many people who have been born into this world without any parents to support them. In many cases, their close relatives have disappeared into the system. This is a tragic way to grow up because they lack the support that so many children need as they are building their foundation in life. One might easily excuse an orphan for living a life disconnected from family for obvious reasons. But, how can one choose to disown their own family for no good reason when they are alive and well?
We begin our story, which was originally inspired by the readers of AmoMama, in a quaint town just outside Manhattan. There lived a young family of three. The father, named Harris, was an active person who loved to get his wife, Margret, and young son, Martin, up at the crack of dawn to go for hikes. Sure, they moaned various complaints along the way. But once they reached their destination, there was always a view that was totally worth all of the efforts they had to endure to get there.
When Martin started high school, his father got sick and passed away quite quickly. This came as a complete shock to both Martin and his mother. Margret, felt their lives come to a complete halt. Martin kept going through loops in his head. Asking himself why he was the one this happened to, or what had he done to deserve this outcome.
Everywhere he looked he could see his father. Especially in their home because his dad had done so many of the repairs and renovations himself. He could not “unsee” the memories. However, he could choose to focus entirely on something else to keep his mind busy. So, Martin decided to stick his head down and focus on his studies. It provided the perfect distraction from the gnawing emotions that threatened to send him into a slump once again. He made a promise to himself that he would work really hard so that one day, he could take himself and his mother out of that house and away from those painful reminders of his dad.
Martin worked as hard as he could and he managed to get accepted to a prestigious college. His mother was really proud. However, he could not help but notice the glimmer of sadness in her eye as she waved him off for his first semester. He could tell that She was sad that he was growing up. After all, he was all she had in the end. He pushed all thoughts of his mom out of his head. He had a busy next three years ahead of him, and he was determined to excel.
The time came when Martin was to graduate. He had been living at home while he studied so that he faced fewer distractions. He maned to graduate near the top of his business class. As a result of all of his hard work, he had been offered a job in a nearby town. Only a few hours away from where his mom lived. His mother had aged quite a lot over the years. She and her husband had had Martin quite late in life. Now she was feeling the years catching up to her. Having struggled with depression due to her husband had not helped much either.
Martin arrived home with what he thought would be received as good news about his new job in the city. When he told his mom, he didn’t get the reaction he had expected, but rather a look of pure despair. As soon as he told her that he was moving to a nearby city for a new job, she felt weak in the knees and fell. Luckily she was standing right by her sofa so she just slumped into the cushions. Leaning forward with her hands in prayer, she begged and pleaded for him not to leave her.
She explained that she had grown much older since he was in high school. She needed his help to get around. He was appalled that she would ask him to give up on his future to stay at home with her. He felt like she was purposefully manipulating him into staying – what a guilt trip!
Read: Young Man Adopts an Orphan Boy and Finds Out He Is His Biological Son – a Short Story
A Few Years Later
Martin had grown into quite a stubborn man. And, when he left his mother’s house, he did not return for quite some time. He refused to give in to their argument because he believed she had started it by trying to manipulate him. After all, he had not even phoned her to wish her a happy birthday. He had just moved into his modern apartment in the city that had all the bells and whistles included. He worked day and night.
A few years later, Martin realized he needed a few documents that would only be found at his mother’s house. She had never quite grasped the concept of digital technology so they would not be found on any online cloud. The drive there only took about three hours. When he arrived outside his mom’s house, he could not quite put a finger on it, but something looked different. He found the spare key where it always was, and he entered. A very distinct smell met his nostrils, and he wrinkled his nose. Everything was a complete mess! Each surface in the house was cluttered with random gadgets and appliances. Papers were scattered on the floor, glasses, and plates, and empty takeout boxes were included in the mess.
Feeling apprehensive, Martin went to the kitchen, and it was even worse. Moving to the sitting room, he was shocked to find his mother there with another man sitting next to her on the sofa. They got a fright seeing him, and his mother looked like she had seen a ghost! The man jumped up and looked like he was about to run at Martin. His mother put her hand up shouting that he was her son.
Realizations and Guilt
After a long and awkward silence, Margret said to Martin that whatever he needed he must take it and leave. Martin asked why on earth he was living like this, and then said she should’ve asked him for help. She reminded him that he had not wanted anything to do with her, so she left him to do what he wanted. She then said that her house had fallen apart because his student loan bills were so expensive that she could barely afford anything else. So she let her house fall apart. She introduced the man as someone who had stepped in to help her over the last few months.
Martin was wracked with guilt. He could not believe his own stupidity to allow this to happen to his own mother. So apologized profusely, and in the end, he managed to pay off all her bills and debts. He even paid for her house to be fixed up and a new coat of paint added to the exterior of the house. They managed to make amends with their relationship, but Martin could not help but feel guilty for all the years he missed with the woman who gave him the gift of life and had supported him tirelessly every year, regardless of how he treated her.