The Road to Healing
| When Jason entered Autumn's room, her mother sprang to her feet.
"I'm going to get something to eat, and then I need to talk to the nurse." She hurried out of the room, as Jamison entered.
"Autumn," Jason spoke her name softly, and that one word said so much. Apparently there was something important for her father to tell her.
"Jamison? Come with me, I'm sure you need something to eat as well." Lynne grabbed Jamison's arm and propelled him out the door. Lynne's mom was acting
so weird...no, that wasn't quite true. Her mom had been so strange ever since...well, for as long as Autumn could remember. Her dad had been the one to
care for her when her mom was lost in drink. She didn't want to admit it, but she resented her mom. The only reason she stopped drinking was because--
"What are you thinking about?" Jason asked his daughter.
"Oh, just that...never mind. It's nothing." Autumn turned away so her dad couldn't see the tears in her eyes, but it was too late.
"Talk to me, Autumn. You have kept your feelings bottled up inside for so long. Have you told Jamison or your social worker any of this stuff?"
"No, how could they possibly understand? Noone knows how I feel. I guess, like Mom, I have learned how to pretend. She taught me how to do that. I think
you're the only one who gets it...and maybe Mom would if she...she hasn't touched the bottle since I got sick. At least...I don't think she has. You know
they won't let her bring it into the hospital, so I'm really not sure if she's been drinking, but I hope she hasn't..."
"I need to ask for your forgiveness, Autumn."
"Whatever for? Mom was the one who screwed up!"
"I wasn't the parent you needed, especially since your mother...well, you know what I'm saying. I was too busy trying to escape the pain, I wanted to hide,
and I left you all alone there to struggle through each day. I know I was terribly wrong."
"You did what you had to do. You didn't know how to deal with Mom's drinking. I didn't know what to do either. I was just so scared. There were so many
times when I just wanted out, and after you left..."
"I didn't want to leave. You have to understand that, Autumn. I felt so guilty for leaving you alone with her. Still, I didn't want to hurt you anymore.
I often saw the pain and finally the emptiness in your eyes, and I knew I failed. When I wrote to you, I really tried to convey the message that I loved
"What are you talking about?"
"You didn't get any of the letters I sent with your checks each month?"
"No, I never saw the letters...or the money.not that the money really matters to me. What did they say?”
“Oh, I just wanted to remind you that, even though I’m far away, I love you. I tried to tell you that you did nothing wrong, that you didn’t cause the divorce.”
“I wonder why Mom never gave me your letters.”
I don’t know...I just feel like I totally let you down.”
“Dad, I don’t know how much longer I have left. I could die tomorrow, and if that’s the case, I want you to know that I forgive you, and I love you.” Jason couldn’t speak, for fear that the emotion would be evident in his voice. He was saved from having to respond, or so he thought. Jamison ran into the room and practically shouted, “Your mom...she left! She went to...well, she didn’t think I was listening, and perhaps she didn’t intend for anyone to hear, but she went to the, um, well...”
“I think I know where she went. Stay here with Autumn, I’ll be back soon!” Jason ran out of the room, frantically looking for the elevator. He had to get to Lynne before it was too late.
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