Manfred lay in his bed surrounded by the sterile white walls of his own home, a strange contrast to the rickety farmhouse where he’d been born and raised in rural Wisconsin. He was slowly dying of cancer and he was in his eleventh hour. His days were slowly ticking away but with those passing days came one last chance for him to make peace with the son he’d wronged so many years ago.
Manfred’s second wife Ellen, had been coming and going, often with his two daughters and youngest son from her in tow, praying with him, crying, and holding his hand as his life ebbed away. He sometimes was able to find the strength to get off his bed and go and look through the glass of his front door, praying and hoping to see the figure of a man approaching.
But his eldest son, the son he had driven away in a fit of rage over thirty years ago, was the only one who remained a stranger to him. Manfred had tried to make contact, to let him know he wanted forgiveness, to make things right between them before he passed but it seemed too late.
And then, by some miraculous grace, the day arrived that his son finally called. His voice had been shaky, but he’d agreed to come visit Manfred. He was on his way.
Manfred waited, anticipation and peace filling his body. He knew his time was drawing short, and he had no idea what his son’s response would be when he finally arrived, but he had faith that a reconciliation was possible. Manfred knew he had been a selfish man too many times during his life which had hurt the ones he loved the most. Only God was left to judge him now.
When his son walked through the door, Manfred felt his chest swell with love and regret, he was his son. His first born. He’d been so foolish in his youth and it cost them both dearly. But there was still time, and Manfred prayed that he wouldn’t waste it.
He opened his mouth to speak but only gasps of air escaped. He seemed to be struggling to find the words but it was too late. He had waited too long, and his last breath was taken away as his son stood there, tears streaming down his face regret and love written all over his own.
And with that Manfred’s life finally came to an end. He died in peace, the love of his son radiating through him in his last moments. He’d made peace with his first born just in time, and even though he was gone, Manfred’s spirit still remains as a part of his son, as a reminder of redemption and a final farewell.
March 7th, 2023
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