Mrs. Jackson woke up at dawn and could no longer sleep. Today was the anniversary of her son Caleb’s death.
Three years had passed, but the woman could not come to terms with his loss. Heavily sighing and wiping her tears with the handkerchief, Mrs. Jackson began to get ready for a meeting with Caleb’s wife and daughter. Together, they were going to the cemetery.
Mrs. Jackson was worried she wouldn’t make it in time for the cemetery visit with her granddaughter Molly due to her long bus ride. Upon arriving, she found her daughter-in-law in the apartment with a man, which infuriated her.
“How quickly you forget your husband! You’re already dating someone else, and on a day like this?” Mrs. Jackson exclaimed angrily. “And you, a decent man, why do you want all this? A widow with a child, aren’t you ashamed to speak like that?” Helen muttered, embarrassed.
“I’m sorry, it’s a pity you had to listen to all this. You should probably leave now,” and I have nothing to be ashamed of,” continued Mrs. Jackson with indignation. “I came to honor my son, to his home, and what on earth do you allow yourself here?” Morgan, also quite embarrassed by the elderly woman’s behavior, stood up from his seat and, after promising to call, left the house.
Mrs. Jackson smiled maliciously, and Helen stood there dumb with resentment. A little later, Molly returned home and immediately realized that her mother and grandmother had had a big fight. The women were not speaking and were sitting in separate rooms. They did not get to the cemetery until the afternoon, and after a short time, they drove home in silence.
At home, Mrs. Jackson could not calm down because of what Helen had done and decided to do everything possible to prevent her from dating Morgan. She decided to act through her granddaughter. She called her several times and turned her against her mother and the new acquaintance. “But grandma, Morgan has only visited us twice,” the granddaughter answered.
“So what? Do you want him to raise you, to tell you what to do as if he were your father? If they get married and have children, then your mother won’t have time for you at all. Instead of doing your own things and hanging out with friends, you’ll be helping her with the little ones. Your girlfriends will be going out with boyfriends, and you’ll be with the stroller. Besides, imagine how sad your daddy is right now, looking up at all this. He loved you so much, don’t you remember?”
“Of course, and I love him, but what to do?” “Listen carefully, dear,” and Mrs. Jackson taught Molly how to behave with her mother and Morgan. From that day on, Helen stopped understanding what was going on with her daughter. The girl threw tantrums, complained about Morgan, and accused him of the fact that everything in their lives had changed and not for the better. “I’m afraid of him, he’s no good,” the daughter assured Helen.
Helen was very worried and cried a lot. She was widowed early, and Morgan was the first man she had been in contact with since then. The woman felt for the first time that she wanted to live and love again, but her daughter’s attitude left her no choice. Helen stopped seeing Morgan. Several months passed, and all this time, Mrs. Jackson did not visit her daughter-in-law and granddaughter.
When she finally visited them, she was horrified. The house was a mess and the refrigerator was empty. But Helen did not seem to care at all. She looked at it with an indifferent, lifeless gaze, and even her daughter’s absence at home at this late hour didn’t bother her. “Oh my god, what are you doing? How could you let it go like that? It’s unacceptable!”
“So what?” replied Helen in an indifferent tone. “You may scold me, I don’t care. Has Molly still not come? But it’s so late.” “It’s okay, she’s probably somewhere with her friends,” Helen tossed indifferently and went off to her bedroom. Stunned by what she saw, Mrs. Jackson went alone into the kitchen, made herself some tea, and sat there for a long time with a mug in her hands.
She went to bed far after midnight and awoke when there was nobody in the house. Remembering yesterday’s unpleasant event, the woman sighed heavily and began to work. She cooked dinner, put the house in order, and when Helen and Molly came back, they thanked her sparingly and went back to their rooms. In the evening, the granddaughter, against her grandmother’s prohibition, went out for a walk again.
Mrs. Jackson stayed with them a whole week, but she was unable to restore peace and harmony in the family. In fact, there was no family at all. Mrs. Jackson tried to do something; she screamed, cursed, begged, pleaded, cried, but nothing helped. She ran into a wall of indifference and detachment. Then she came to Helen and asked her forgiveness. “It’s my fault for what’s going on. Please forgive me, and your Morgan, let him come. I have nothing against it. I was wrong, I know everything Molly told me a long time ago, and Morgan won’t come.”
With her head down, Mrs. Jackson went to pack her things, and no one held her back. Her heart was so heavy that she decided to go to her son’s grave, to sit there in silence and talk to him, to pour out all that troubled her soul. Mrs. Jackson slowly walked through the cemetery, immersed in her thoughts, and did not notice how she got lost.
When she saw a man at one of the monuments, she decided to ask him where the exit was. But when she came closer, she was surprised to recognize him as Morgan, Helen’s acquaintance. “Good afternoon, Mrs. Jackson,” he recognized her too. “Let me show you out, but please wait one minute.” Morgan took a soft cloth out of the bag, wiped the portrait of the monument he was standing by, and turned to Mrs. Jackson again.
“That’s my father. The monument was installed recently. I came to check if everything is all right.” Looking at the monument, Mrs. Jackson felt an icy shiver go through her. Her first husband was looking at her from the portrait. Barely reaching the bench, the woman sank heavily on it, closed her eyes, and memories from the past overwhelmed her so that it was hard to breathe.
Mrs. Jackson remembered how many years ago, she, a young village girl, had married a guy who had just returned from the army. After entering the university, she realized that she was pregnant. After giving birth to a son whom she named Morgan, she went to the city to continue her education, leaving the baby with her husband. She constantly tried to persuade her husband to move in with her, but he would not agree to anything.
Mrs. Jackson wanted to get an education and make a career. So, in the end
, they decided to get a divorce. Soon, her ex-husband remarried to a neighbor who loved country life as much as he did. Morgan was growing up, and after Mrs. Jackson’s every rare visit, he cried for days and called for his mother. That was the reason why Mrs. Jackson said with a heavy heart that she would not visit them anymore.
Believing that it would be better for her son if he would consider her father’s new wife as his real mother. After graduation, Mrs. Jackson went for an internship at an international company, where she met Peter. They lived together a long, happy life, and when Caleb was born, Mrs. Jackson gave him all her love and affection. Trying not to remember that somewhere, she had another son growing up without her.
And now, looking at him, she realized with horror that she had broken his life twice. “Are you alright?” the man asked her worriedly. “Sit down, Morgan. I want to repent to you for everything.” And Mrs. Jackson told him the whole truth, not even trying to justify herself and hoping that her son could ever forgive her.
Six months passed. Mrs. Jackson stopped visiting Helen and Molly, only occasionally calling them. The woman had lost a lot of weight, lost sleep and peace, and constantly thought that she would not have enough time to fix all her mistakes. On the day of her birthday, Mrs. Jackson barely got up from bed, cleaned herself up, and standing in front of the mirror, could not hold back tears, feeling miserable and needless.
But she had no one to blame but herself. Suddenly, the gate creaked, and looking out of the window, Mrs. Jackson saw an unfamiliar car parked in front of the house. Molly and Helen walking along the path. The elderly woman ran out to meet them, rushed to hug and kiss them, and they, laughing merrily, handed her boxes of gifts and wished her all the best.
Then Mrs. Jackson noticed Morgan walking toward them with a huge bouquet of flowers and was dumbfounded. “Sun,” whispered Mrs. Jackson. “Happy birthday, Mum,” said Morgan and hugged her tightly. And then Molly happily whispered in her grandmother’s ear that she would soon have a brother or sister. Mrs. Jackson turned her gaze to Morgan and Helen, who stood next to each other, smiling happily.
Tears of joy ran down her cheeks. She looked at her children and was grateful that they had forgiven her and loved her despite the mistakes she had made in her life.
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