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I Miss You My Son
Our narrator, HENRY, is wearing a hospital gown in the Spokane Area Hospital. He has his glasses on and is lying in his hospital bed. HENRY has become very sick and just turned 85 three weeks ago. He yells at a nurse who tried to feed him his daily lunch and as she walks away, HENRY starts to cry.
I can’t take this anymore. My life is slowly slipping away and I still have so many things I wanna do. I don’t want these lunches full of vitamins or any more pills after breakfast. I wanna talk to James and I wanna talk about all the things I’ve put him through.
HENRY wipes his face on the sheets to remove the tears. He begins to gather himself and calm down.
Ya can’t imagine how hard it must have been on James. Even I can’t imagine how hard I was on my only son. Martha was always tellin’ me how I needed to lighten up on him but I never listened. Every thing he did would p*** me off to the point I’d turn into the man I was in the forties; a WWII soldier. The Army told soldiers that the war would affect us at home but I never thought it could change my life like this.
James never did anything wrong as a child, I just overreacted. He would drop his glass on the ground and it would shatter. I would yell at him for his stupid mistake. Martha would try to calm me down but I got so panicked. Every time I yelled like that, it reminded me of the Army. I would storm off into my room and slam the door. I could hear my wife tryin’ to calm down James while he sobbed into his favorite blanket. I’ll never forget those days and stop regretting how I treated my son.
HENRY starts to zone out in deep thought. He eventually returns to his previous thought.
That was over fifty years ago. I’m 85 and James is now 57. Every day I wonder if he’s okay and I never have the guts to call him. He lives in Southern California with three kids and a lovely wife. I’ve met his wife many times and his oldest kids as well, but I have only seen his youngest son three or four times. These are my grandchildren I’m talking about. My anger and temper has kept me from seeing their beautiful faces more than once every other year. Lately, it has been none at all. I regret ever joining the damn Army and all that came with it. I never got to the front lines so my help wasn’t even as much as it could’ve been. I’m lucky Martha waited for me. The problem lately with seeing James is that Martha died less than fifteen years ago. She was the peacemaker between us and I haven’t seen him since her funeral. I don’t want my life to end like this.
HENRY grabs a picture from the stand next to his bed. He stares at it for about thirty seconds. He continues to look at the picture while he starts to speak again.
I wonder if he still thinks about me. I wonder if he is still mad at me for all I put him through. I wish I could go back to those days and take back everything I said.
HENRY suddenly stops talking and notices a letter on the window. He struggles to get up but manages to grab the letter and gets back in his bed. He reads the letter out loud to himself.
How’ve you been? It’s almost Christmas time and I’m thinking about visiting you. I’ll bring the family and I will be there in two days. Sorry for such short notice. You don’t have to worry about us; we’ll stay in a hotel and come to visit you during the day. I hope everything is okay between us. I’ve been meaning to tell you this but I appreciate everything you’ve done for me. You pushed me on to be a better person and to not take anything for granted and I’ll always remember that. Well I’ll see you in a few days.
Your son James
(HENRY sobs as he holds the letter)
I can’t believe he still loves me! I never thought he would want to come see me. I did do a good job as a parent. I did make him a good person. He’ll be here soon!
HENRY reads the date on the letter and looks at the calendar on the wall.
I’m really losin’ my mind. I could have sworn that today was the twelfth of December, not the tenth. Wait, today is the twelfth. That letter was supposed to be here two days ago. Does that mean he’ll be here today? You don’t know how much this means to me. I thought all was lost. My wife passed fifteen years ago. My son no longer loved me. But I was wrong.
HENRY hears a familiar voice in the hallway walking to his room. He looks up at the ceiling to say one last thing.
Thank you, God.