Guided by choices that were best for his family, justifying the decisions by the same ends, was all he had done for years. This past year had been the choice of what he thought was warranted for the sake of memories and grief. He needed no one to tell him how grave the flaw was, how absurd a notion it was to have neglected his own self for others. It had started so simply, a matter of listening to his lover’s council, to have been coached and cajoled onto a path he had ultimately wanted anyway; and then a bend in the road occurred and he stopped thinking of counter-arguments or debate strategy and acquiesced to her desires. His children had been easy – he needed to support them, provide for them. What he did to do that only mattered so much as affording what he wanted for them. And now, he couldn’t help but wonder, had they lived did he show them life? Did he show them what it meant to do what you love, not simply because you could provide best for your family, but because happiness was worth it? Had his actions shown them it was better to live a little poorer and happier if your only other choice was richer and miserable? But, most importantly, had he shown them life meant everything to whom it belonged and it should never, ever be given over to anything or anyone else?
He had never been without love for his children but the thought he would have shown them they needed to live for anyone other than themselves was a new wound. That was something he had never intended to teach, not something he had ever intended upon living.
Susan said, “I’m sure you were a good father and husband. But, now, it’s time to be good for yourself. Good to yourself. You told me I hadn’t killed my husband, that what I did had taken courage. Now, I sit here and part of me agrees with you but another part of me pulls against it in a tug of war.
If that was my moment of courage, Christopher, then let this be your moment of courage. Live for yourself now. For that is the only way we can truly live. You don’t shame your family’s honor by doing so, you show them, wherever they may be, just how much they meant to you by living, by keeping their memory close to your heart. But, don’t make this decision for them. Make it for yourself and know you’re absolutely worth the fight and the pain.”
He gulped the air, the onset of panic streaking through him at the thought of doing what she suggested. “How can I do something my children never had the opportunity to even try to do?”
“Because, you know if there were thought after death, you would form the same words and direct the same encouragement to those you had left.”
She was right. He would have. Meeting Susan’s gaze he asked, “Now what?”
And thus concludes my serial! If you missed any of it, or just want to reread it, I will be adding a page with all the relevant links to each episode sometime this weekend. Hope everyone enjoyed Christopher and Susan’s story!