It was a matter of time

Another writing prompt I enjoyed–It was a matter of time

His father was in decline for the past year. The old man had been on a respirator and unconscious for weeks. The family knew it was a matter of time.  Yet when the respirator was finally removed and the father finally died, the eldest son, James Jr., did not feel relief as he expected. Instead, he felt a wave of grief and fear for which he was unprepared.

James Jr. saw his future and his own death as he watched James Sr. briefly struggle for breath, his body disturbingly thrash about just before the end. James Jr. was reminded of his mother. She died at the age of thirty-two from cervical cancer. James Jr. was just twelve at the time. He helped raised his two younger siblings, neither of whom remember much about their mother, a woman James thought a saint.

While his siblings were blessed with healthy spouses, James Jr’s own wife, Sabine, died at the age of thirty-four of lymphoma. They, too, had three children. James Jr. struggled to raise them on his own. He eventually dated a few women in the ten years since his wife died, but most women don’t want to help raise three children that are not their own. And who could blame them. James, himself, would not have wanted to if the situation were reversed. There was one woman, however, who would have married him but she wanted to have a child of her own with James. He wanted to, he really did, but three children was enough, James told her. She promptly gave up on him and married another man within a year. James Jr. would, if his life was to mirror his own father’s, as he believed it would, would not find another woman before the end. He would die with his three children at his bedside. James Jr. wondered what would become of his eldest son.

Copyright © Greg Halpin, 2011 All Rights Reserved