In Death, We Find Redemption

Close-up image of a colorful cross, to go with a story about anger and redemption.
Photo by Joshua Eckstein on Unsplash

“We’re all going to Snow World,” Gerty heard her son say.

She barely kept the startled expression from reaching her face, catching his piercing eyes on her. They had other plans this afternoon, and he knew it. Why did it always have to be like this between her two children? Couldn’t they just get along?

You can remind him of the plans.

She pushed away the annoying voice in her head.

There was no way she could go against her son’s wishes. That would only flare up his anger and make him say all those ugly things again. The things he had been flinging at her all of his adult years. Things about all those times that he wasn’t the center of her attention. So many times, he had accused her of being a bad mother. Of neglecting him and favoring his sister.

Gerty would do anything to avoid his anger. His wife and son did the same. And so did his sister.

This is going to hurt her.

Her heart ached for her daughter, but Gerty would do anything to avoid her son’s anger. His wife and son did the same. And so did his sister. They all gave him his way, just to keep things pleasant and avoid his sharp tongue.

You can stop this. Tell him to keep to the plans.

Inwardly, Gerty shivered. Her daughter would just have to understand.

As if on cue, her phone lighted up with her daughter’s number. She steeled herself for what would come, her defenses at full alert.

You allowed him to put you in this position.

The voice fuelled her defense into anger.

“Hi mom, are you ready for the zoo?” her daughter asked.

“We’re going to Snow World,” Gerty said, her voice flat.

“Snow World? But we agreed to go to the zoo.”

Gerty ignored her daughter’s words and just repeated: “No, we’re off to Snow World.”

“But why? I thought we were all going out together. You know we can’t go to Snow World. It’s no place for disabled people.”

Gerty saw her son watching her, smugness lighting up his eyes. He knew this would hurt his sister. The moment he announced their plans, he had already known. She suspected he had counted on it.

You can stop this. Don’t let him control you.

I can’t stop it, Gerty’s soundless yell echoed in her head, it’s his father all over again. She will just have to understand.

The hate for her own weakness exploded when her daughter cried and said: “I looked forward to us all being together.”

“Does it always have to be about you?”

That’s what you should say to him, not her.

Through bitter tears, her daughter wished them a good day and hung up.

Gerty avoided her son’s eyes. Her heart ached for his sibling, but she kept on telling herself this was the right thing to do.

It wasn’t.

Two weeks of agony followed.

Gerty was angry with herself, but still directed her anger to her daughter. She refused to contact her, but relief flooded through her being when finally her daughter stood on her doorstep. They never spoke about the incident again, not even after her son brutally cut Gerty out of his life.

The inside voice telling her to apologize to her daughter eventually quieted down because she showered her daughter with affection.

Until three years later.

In her hospice bed, the movie of her life playing behind her closed eyes, the voice returned.

Tell her now. Give her closure.

Gerty briefly opened her eyes to look at her daughter.

Just tell her.

She closed her eyes again, but the fear of infuriating her daughter, or worse, her daughter abandoning her, made it impossible for her to find the words. A chair scraped over the floor and her eyes flew open. Her daughter smiled, came to her bedside and smoothed her hair over her forehead.

“Did I startle you, mommy?”

Mommy. She calls you mommy like she did when she was a child. She loves you. She will forgive you.

Before Gerty could say anything, her daughter continued: “I’m just going to the bathroom. Sorry I woke you.”

Gerty sighed and closed her eyes, thinking: I can’t. I already lost my son. I can’t lose my daughter too. Not now.

The toilet flushed.

You can tell her.

“I love you,” she blurted when the door of the bathroom opened.

Surprise flashed across her daughter’s face, and she knew why. She barely ever said those words.

“I love you so much,” she said again when her daughter stood next to her, holding her hand.

“I love you too, mommy. Now and forever.”

And just like that, Gerty found redemption, a day before she passed.

It worked for her.

Note: This story is based on true events, even though most of it is my perception of what happened. A damn hard thing to write!

© Rebel’s Notes

3 thoughts on “In Death, We Find Redemption

  1. it is certainly a sad story and I think I understand why you found it hard to write (despite your perception of what happended)

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