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By Thomas F. O'Neill

When Love Came To Call

This story is dedicated to a very dear friend of mine, Mr. Henry Zale. He will only be ninety-one years young this month. His kind and encouraging words of wisdom have inspired this writer to keep on writing.

* * * * * * *

The Yuletide Season is not a time for a common courtesy, to receive and provide family, friends, and neighbors, with material gifts. This special season is for heart felt acts of gratitude for having people in our lives. When keeping the true spirit of giving close to heart. We find that it enables us to give from the heart all year round.

Our life’s path is paved by the choices we make and whether those choices are good or bad - we must live with them. Harry Brooks has made many choices throughout his life and he is now haunted by the decisions he has made.

He would be the first to admit that he never put others before his own self absorbed wants. He was selfish when it came to the needs of others and it is reflected in how he turned out in life. He was not entirely to blame though because as he put it, “I didn’t have that picture perfect upbringing.”

There is no doubt that he was abused as a child, physically, emotionally, and psychologically by his abusive father. Harry’s life decisions were somewhat obscured by his emotional pain. He was unwilling or incapable of getting over his emotional hurdles. The emotional turmoil within not only affected his life but the lives of those around him.

He married young and not having a high school diploma made finding a decent paying job virtually impossible. Five years into his marriage he gave up and he abandoned his wife and five year old daughter. His wife was forced to raise their daughter on her own and she struggled to make ends meet.

They say time heals all wounds but the abandonment psychologically affected Harry’s former wife, Aggie, and their daughter, Alicia. They never completely recovered and over the next thirty years they didn’t hear from him. As far as they were concerned he was dead and out of their lives completely.

As for Harry he spent those thirty years finding his solace in a booze bottle.

* * * * * * *

The years of drinking had its toll on Harry and he now lay dying from cirrhosis of the liver. The hospital staff sees Harry as a downright mean and nasty patient. He constantly belittles the Nurses, and to their dismay he throws his bedpan.

They despise entering his room because of his rants and fowl language. The only reason they continue caring for him as one Nurse put it, “he is on deaths doorstep and soon a higher authority will take over.”

One morning Harry Brooks sat in the hospital corridor in a wheelchair waiting to have further tests done. A little boy was wheeled up next to him.

“Are you sick too, Mister?” the little boy asked him.

“No I come here every morning for tea and biscuits,” Harry said sarcastically.

“I don’t like tea,” the little boy said, “what kind of biscuits do they have?”

“All sorts,” he said, “they leave them out for weeks and weeks and when they get all moldy and discolored they give them to little kids to eat.”

“Well, that’s OK Mister, my mommy brings me cookies. I will save some for you,” the little boy said, “she makes them for Christmas every year.”

“Don’t bother kid not in the Christmas spirit,” he said in a grumpy voice.

“If I get well enough I will be home for Christmas,” the little boy said, “If I can’t be home Santa will stop by here.”

“Hate to break it tuh ya kid but it’s been all over the news Santa doesn’t exist,” said Harry.

A nurse overhearing the conversation stopped what she was doing and stared at Harry in disbelief. She was shocked that such a person could be so mean. “That’s just a rumor that was started by the Grinch,” the little boy said, “he’s a mean one that Mr. Grinch.”

Harry was not a person to take the Holliday spirit to heart. He never cared for Christmas. One reason in particular the Bars close down on Christmas day. Harry is then forced to drink his blues away alone.

“My Nana said that rumor has been going around for years,” the little boy said. He then looked at Harry as if he felt sorry for the grumpy old man. In many ways the old man reminded the little boy of that other anti-Christmas character that lost his Christmas spirit – the Grinch.

“How can someone not believe in that jolly old soul,” a Nurse said to the little boy, “he’s known by so many names,” she continued on with a smile, “such as – ‘old Saint Nick,’ ‘Chris Kringle,’ and the most popular of all, ‘Santa.’”

“I know,” the little boy said, “some people are just dopes when it comes to rumors.”

That evening as Harry slept he was awakened from his sleep by the little boy. The boy was determined to help Harry out; after all he knew first hand that there’s a Santa. The jolly old soul after all has been leaving presents under his Christmas tree every year.

“Hey Mister,” the little boy said, “I want you to see something on TV.”

The little boy turned the TV on, a Christmas movie appeared on screen, with the Grinch as its main character, “see he’s the one who started those rumors about there not being a Santa. He’s just downright mean.”

“Not as mean as I’m going to be,” he yelled, “if you don’t turn that TV off and get out of my room!!!!!!!”

“Are you mad because you’re not going to be home for Christmas,” the little boy asked.

“No, I don’t celebrate Christmas,” came the angry reply.

“Why?” the boy asked.

“Because I don’t,” said Harry with anger in his voice.

“I will ask my Mommy to bring you some cookies.”

“Ask her to bring me a bottle of scotch while you’re at it,” Harry said sarcastically, “now go watch the green guy in your own room and leave me the hell alone!!!!!!!” he yelled.

A Nurse’s mouth dropped when she heard what Harry said to that cute little boy, “he is the foulest, nastiest, grungiest, and downright meanest person that ever stepped foot into this hospital,” the Nurse said to her coworker.

“I have big dog, he’s a Rottwhiller,” her coworker replied, “and let me tell you, my dog is a pussycat compared to that patient.”

The next day still determined to convert Harry into believing in the season of giving, “Hey Mister,” said the little boy waking Harry up from a deep sleep, “I brought you some cookies my mommy made them.”

“What,” said Harry in a confused voice, “oh that is awfully nice of you,” he said to the boy in a perturbed manner.

“My Nana helped me write Santa a letter letting him know you are here,” the boy said, “my mommy said he comes by the hospital to visit the sick on Christmas. My Mommy and my Nana will be back later. I will introduce you to them.”

“Look kid that is not necessary!!!!!!!” he yelled.

The following day, “Hey Mister,” the boy said waking Harry, “I brought a picture I want you to see.” He handed him the picture of Christmas past. “That’s me last year with my Mommy and my Nana. We put that Christmas tree up. You see those boxes with the shiny paper; those are presents that Santa left me.”

“This kid is destined to be an evangelical Minister,” Harry thought to himself. He was now sorry he ever mentioned to the kid about Santa’s nonexistence.

“Well that was certainly worth waking me up over,” Harry said, sarcastically. He then took a closer look at the photo, “that woman is your Nana?” he asked pointing to the little boy’s grandmother in the picture.

“Yep” the boy said, “and that is my Mommy, “pointing to the other woman in the photo.

“Thirty years,” Harry said to himself, he recognized immediately the lives he left behind. He then became visibly uncomfortable, “look kid,” he said, “that is a nice Christmas picture but I need to be alone” for the first time in many years Harry’s past was racing in on him and it was about to collide with the here and now.

He began to see the little boy as some sort of living bridge linking Harry’s past with the present moment. The sarcasm and cheap shots drained from him he was at a loss for words.

He didn’t want to dredge up the family’s history so he never mentioned that he was the boy’s Grandfather – the person who abandoned the boy’s Mother and Nana many years ago.

Each day the boy came to see Harry and the meetings slowly began to change him. It was a long time that a child entered his life, thirty years to long. The boy in someway was now having a positive effect on that grumpy old fool.

“I hope he is not bothering you,” said Harry’s daughter Alicia as she walked into his room.

“That is my Mommy,” said the little Boy.

The boy then turned to his mother, “I gave him some of your cookies,” he said.

“I didn’t get your son’s name,” Harry said to her.

“He’s name is Harvey, and my name is Alicia.”

“My name is Harry,” he said, “so how old are you Harvey?”

“Five,” came the reply.

“She is all grown up now and a Mother,” he thought to himself, “she was the same age as her son is now when I saw her last.” He was relieved in a way that she didn’t recognize him.

He could not bear to tell her who he was in her past. He let her talk and he listened. He learned that she is going through a rough divorce. When Harvey got sick it put a strain on her marriage. Her husband eventually left her for another woman. It was then that Alicia’s Mother moved in with her to help them get through the rough times.

“My son has a rare form of cancer,” she told him, “he needs bone marrow in order to live but they are unable to find a suitable donor that can match his type.”

“I need a new liver,” Harry said, “I am on a transplant list.”

Their meeting was unexpected and it jolted Harry in many ways. He was glade to see her but the guilt of what he did so many years ago consumed him. He did not want to open up his past so he decided not to reveal it.

He simply absorbed the present moment with his daughter and grandson. The circumstances’ surrounding their meeting is beyond his comprehension. He believes there is a reason for their coming together. What that reason might be is beyond his understanding.

His grandson continued to visit him everyday and he began to look forward to the boy’s visits. The nursing staff slowly began to see changes in Harry. His rants were less frequent and he stopped throwing his bedpan. At times he even appeared to take on more human like qualities.

His daughter soon realized that there is something unusual about Harry’s relationship with her son. One evening, out of curiosity, she went to Harry’s room to talk to him and to get to know him better.

“You are a very kind person,” she said to him, “my son has taken such a liking to you.”

“I like your son as well,” he said.

“You are a nice man,” she told him.

“No, I’m not,” he replied, “I did many mean and selfish things in the past, unforgivable things.”

“We have all done things that we regret,” she said, “you need to forgive yourself.”

“I caused others too much pain,” he said to her.

“Well, you know what you did in the past, and you know what kind of person you were,” she told him, “what you are now is what’s most important.”

“I was selfish and mean,” he repeated.

“I don’t know what kind of person you were,” she said, “but I see a good person. You are not a mean person, now.” She saw the pain in his eyes and her heart went out to him.

“I would do anything to change the choices I have made,” he said, “All those bad choices.”

“Accept yourself for what you are now,” she said, “don’t dwell on the past. You have to forgive yourself first before others can forgive you. You have to take the time in finding ways to mend yourself. Then you will be able to reach out to those you hurt.”

“I abandoned my family and I hurt them,” he said as if he could not bear to look at his daughter.

“We all made bad choices at one time or another,” she said but Harry’s words hit home. She did her best though to put aside her own emotional pain and anger from being abandoned as a child - by her father.

“What I did is unforgivable,” he said.

“We find ways to live with the bad choices,” she told him, “life is full of choices and those choices are part of who we are as human beings. You mustn’t dwell on your bad decisions, pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and move on.”

“I can’t change what I am or what I did,” he said, “that is what I am being forced to live with each and everyday.”

“You have to move on,” she said once again, “your greatest opportunities are within you not in your past.” “You did alright for yourself,” he said, “and you have a good head on your shoulders.”

“My Mother struggled raising me,” she told him, “it wasn’t easy. My father left when I was five years old and we never saw or heard from him.”

“Are you angry with him,” he asked.

“Of course I am,” she said, “I would like to know why he left and why he never tried to contact us. For years I thought it was something I did or there was something wrong with me. It took a long time to get over it and it still affects my relationships with men.”

“I have done the same thing,” he told her, “I left my family and there isn’t a day that goes by that I wish I could change that bad decision in my life.”

“Well, you don’t know how much longer you are going to be around,” she replied, “I would try and mend whatever is broken before it is too late.”

“Too much time has passed,” he said.

“You are not the man you make yourself out to be in your mind,” she told him; she could see how guilt was consuming him and the only words she could muster up to ease him in someway, “you need to forgive yourself,” she told him once again with a soft sincerity in her voice. “You are inhibiting yourself from finding peace in your own mind.”

“What would you say to your father if he showed up in your life?” Harry asked.

“If he was in the room here with me?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said, “if you were given the opportunity to talk to him……..”

“I would want to know why he left,” she said, “it would be hard at first but I would want to let him know how I feel, about the anger I feel. I would want to know what he did all those years. I would tell him how he hurt my Mother and what she went through.”

“Can you forgive someone like that?” he asked.

“I have gotten over it,” she told him, “if I felt he was truly seeking forgiveness I would forgive him.”

“Would you let him back into your life?” he asked.

“I suppose I could do that,” she said, “but these are all hypotheticals. You need to take positive control of your situation and mend the relationships in your life.”

The next day Harry met with his grandson’s physician and they talked in Harry’s hospital room. “Well, first we will have to see if you are a match,” the doctor said, “do they know?”

“They don’t know anything and promise me you will not tell them,” Harry said.

“Your health is weak,” the doctor told him, “your immune system is weak due to your failing liver. If you give up some of your bone marrow it will weaken you even more. It could shorten the time you already have waiting for a healthy liver.”

“My whole life I thought of no one but myself,” Harry said, “I made all the wrong choices. I want to make the right decision for a change. I want to make a positive choice for my grandson. When I die I want to know that I did something positive for someone.”

A few days later Harry gave up some of his bone marrow.

“Hey, Harry,” said his grandson waking him from a deep sleep, “my mommy said they found some bones for me.”

“Bone marrow it’s called,” Harry said in a frail voice, “it will make you better.”

“When will they make you better,” the boy asked.

“When they find me a liver,” he said in a low weak voice.

Dear, Santa
My mommy helped me with this letter because I am only five years old. I hope you get this letter in time because my friend Harry really needs your help. He needs a new Liver for Christmas so he could get better.
I love you Santa,

A few days after his grandson was operated on Alicia visited Harry. She brought her mother along. As Harry slept his former wife recognized him immediately she became visibly irate.

“I hope he suffers,” Alicia’s Mother said with anger in her voice. Harry was asleep unaware that they were in his room.

“What is it Mom?” Alicia asked her.

“That is your Father,” she said to her daughter.

Alicia looked at Harry she was surprised but not entirely surprised. The conversation she had with him days before eased her transition from their past to the present moment, “I can’t hate him, Mom,” she said, “he’s not the person you hate. I spoke to him, he is truly remorseful for what he did to us and he is a good person.”

“A good person doesn’t abandon their family,” her Mother said, “he is a selfish, selfish, man.”

“He’s changed and I forgive him,” Alicia said.

The Bone Marrow transplant was successful and Harvey slowly began to recover. Two more weeks went by and Harry was running out of time. He was growing weaker with each passing day.

Alicia came to visit Harry once again before taking her son home for Christmas.

“Thank you,” she said

“For what,” he asked

“For what you did for Harvey,” she told him, “I put two and two together and I figured it out. I know you gave Harvey your bone marrow. I also know you’re my father.”

“Does your Mother know?” he asked her.

“She’s the one who told me that you’re my father,” she said, “and of course she is angry and that is why she’s not here.”

“She has every reason to be angry,” he said.

“I will talk to her some more,” she said to him, “I was given permission to bring Harvey home for Christmas. I have to bring him back though before the New Year.”

His former wife, Aggie, came to see him later that afternoon. She was alone and Harry saw her hesitate before entering his room.

“Hello,” Harry said.

“Thirty years, is a long time,” she said in an angry voice.

“Yes it is,” he thought to himself. At that moment, he was at a loss for words. He just didn’t know what to say or do. He looked at her as the emotion moved through him like a large ocean wave.

“I understand if you never forgive me,” he said as he broke down and wept, “what I have done to you and Alicia is unforgivable.”

“We went on with our lives, Harry,” she said, “it’s not a matter of forgiveness. I am angry that you showed up after so many years.”

“My coming back into your lives was not planed,” he said, “I believe it was meant to be.”

“We moved on with our lives,” she said once again, “you are no longer part of the picture. I am still angry, Harry, for marrying someone as selfish as you.”

“I am selfish in many ways,” he said.

“You can go on being selfish, Harry,” she told him, “it makes no difference to me because you are not part of our lives anymore.”

“I understand,” he said.

“Do you Harry?” she asked him, “do you really understand what you did to us?”

“I know I hurt you,” he said, “I know I hurt our daughter.”

“Alicia said you are not the same person,” she told him with anger in her voice, “but I don’t care one way or the other.”

She became visibly upset and with a clenched fist she said, “you giving Harvey your bone marrow was a kind jester. Now you can die in peace. As far as I’m concerned you died a long time ago.”

“You have every right to be angry,” he said, “what I did is unforgivable,” he said once again as the tears flowed down his face.

“Why did you do it, Harry?” she asked him while desperately trying to contain her emotions, “why did you abandon us on Christmas?”

“I was young and immature and I was unable to support my family,” he said as the tears continued to flow, “I had no money. I had nothing to give, Alicia, on Christmas morning. I had nothing to give you. I gave up, I just gave up,” he repeated, “and then I started drinking. Now my liver is destroyed. I drank my life away.”

“You left because you couldn’t afford Christmas presents,” she said in an angry condescending voice, “we needed you Harry not presents. While you drank, I raised our daughter,” she said, “she still has problems, Harry, she is going through a divorce because of issues that stem from you abandoning her.”

“I can’t change the past, and I know the choices I made were bad choices,” he said, “I have to live with that for the rest of my life. But I can start making the right choices now with the little time I have.”

“Harry, take the time to asses your life and come to an understanding of the damage you caused,” she told him.

“I don’t think us being here now is by sheer happenstance,” he said, “I think it is for a reason that is beyond our comprehension.”

“Well you made the right choice for Harvey,” she said, “Alicia and Harvey are grateful for what you did,” she then took one last look at him before leaving the room, “I said what I had to say to you, take care Harry.”

“Thank you for coming to see me,” he said as his world crashed in on him.

“Have a good Christmas, Harry,” she said as she left.

Harvey looked at the sparkling crystal angel on top of their Christmas tree,

“I hope Santa got my letter,” he said to his Mother on Christmas Eve.

“I am certain he got your letter,” his Mother said to him.

“I want Harry to get better,” Harvey said as he was helping his mother make eggnog for Christmas Day. “He looks so sad being sick,” Harvey told his Nana as she was taking fresh baked cookies out of the oven, “he needs Christmas to make him happy.”

“You think?” his Mother asked him, “that Christmas will make him happy.”

“Let’s bring him Christmas, Mommy.”

On Christmas Day as Harry slept he was awakened by his Grandson.

“Merry Christmas, Harry,” his grandson said. Harry slowly opened his eyes he then noticed a Christmas tree in his room.

“Merry Christmas,” Alicia said to him.

“This was Alicia and Harvey’s idea,” Aggie, said, “they didn’t want you spending Christmas here alone.”

“Merry Christmas, Aggie,” he said in a surprised voice.

“Yea well Merry Christmas to you too,” Aggie said.

“Well thank you,” he said, “but I didn’t get you guys anything.”

“Well you being here with us is enough,” said Alicia.

“We put that tree up, and you never woke up, not once, the whole time,” said Harvey.

“Thank you for bringing Christmas here,” Harry said to them.

“We brought you some eggnog, and cookies,” Harvey said, “I helped my Mommy make the eggnog and cookies.”

A Nurse came into the room as Harry was sharing the eggnog with his long overdo family reunion. Harry for the first time in thirty years felt better. The cloud of doom lifted from him and the weight of his emotional pain lessened. He felt exhilarated as the holiday spirit moved him closer to his reunited family.

“Merry Christmas,” he said to the Nurse in a jubilant voice. He slowly got out of his bed and poured the Nurse a glass of eggnog and handed her some cookies. “Merry Christmas,” he said once again giving her a big hug.

The Nurse stared at Harry in disbelief, she then looked at the Christmas tree, the two large jugs of eggnog, the large bowl filled with cookies, the people in the room, and then back at Harry.

“Merry Christmas, Mr. Brooks,” the Nurse replied she appeared before Harry like a deer trapped by the headlights of an oncoming vehicle.

“Quick,” Harry said to the Nurse excitedly, “get some more glasses for the eggnog. There’s plenty of eggnog, and plenty of cookies,” he said jubilantly, he was unable to contain himself from laughing.

When the Nurse returned with plastic cups, “get the other staff in here,” he said excitedly.

The Nurse just looked at Harry wondering to herself what medical condition could cause such a laughing binge, “perhaps the Doctor changed his medication and this is just some unforeseen side effect,” she thought to herself.

No medication though was behind Harry’s transformation. In that single moment in time, Harry freed the joy that was imprisoned, locked away, deep down inside of him. Now after many, many, years Harry has allowed himself to be happy.

With a large smile he told the Nurse with the utmost exhilaration, “this will be my way of sharing Christmas with the hospital staff.”

“Your way of sharing Christmas with us, Mr. Brooks,” she said in a shocked voice.

One of the Nurses forgot what she went into his room for as she drank some of the eggnog with the other staff. Some came by just out of curiosity to see the changed Harry.

“I wonder what changes his Doctor made with his meds,” a Nurse said to her coworker.

“Merry Christmas,” Harry said to the two nurses while laughing and giving them big hugs.

Two other Nurses mumbled, “Merry Christmas, Mr. Brooks,” while taking a couple steps back as he approached them with a warm embrace. Such a reaction from those two Nurses could only be expected. After all it wasn’t that long ago that Harry threw his bedpan at them.

Harvey’s eyes and face lit up when he saw the large burly man in the red suit. Old Saint Nick walked down the Hospital Corridor. He walked past Harry’s room and continued towards the pediatric unite.

“Hey, Santa,” Harvey yelled, “did you get my letter?”

Santa turned with a twinkle in his eye, “yep” he said, “sure did.”

Harvey walked up to him, “my friend is really sick, Santa,” the boy said, “he could really use your help.”

Santa picked Harvey up and sat him down on the Nurses station counter. Santa looked him straight in the eye. Harvey saw love emanating from those eyes and with a special warm glow Santa asked, “do you know why Christmas is so special?”

“Why?” came the reply.

“Christmas is a time when Love comes to call,” he said, “your letter called out to me, Harvey. It was a special letter; do you know why it was special?”

“Why?” the boy asked in a soft whisper.

“It was special because you didn’t ask me for something you want,” and with that special sparkle in his eyes Santa said, “you asked me for something your friend needs.”

“My Mommy helped me write that letter,” Harvey said, “I always knew you were real,” he continued on with a big smile on his face.

“Your friend’s gift is in the works as we speak,” old Saint Nick told him as he lifted Harvey and placed him back down at the Nurses station, “always remember, Harvey, and tell your friend Harry, Christmas, is when love came to call.......”

“Excuse me,” said the Nurse tapping the jolly old soul on the shoulder, “how did you know that little boys name.”

“He’s Santa,” said Harvey.

“I’m Santa,” said Santa.

“It comes with the territory,” Harvey told the Nurse laughing.

Santa winked at the boy and immediately Harvey’s face lit up with a big smile. Old Saint Nick then turned and walked towards Harry’s room. The jolly old soul then placed his finger on his nose as he continued on his way. Harvey excitedly turned and said, “thank you Santa,” but Santa was gone, “I knew he was real,” the boy said, “I just knew it the whole time.”

“Where did he go,” the Nurse asked Harvey, “he was here a second ago. I was going to give him a glass of eggnog.”

“Who was here a second ago?” asked Alicia.

“Santa,” said Harvey

“If I didn’t know any better I would say he was the real McCoy,” the Nurse said to Alicia, “he even knew your son’s name and about the letter he wrote.”

“I’m glad he came to see me. He liked the letter you helped me write,” Harvey said to his mother.

“I wonder who that could have been,” Alicia thought to herself, “I didn’t tell anyone about the letter.”

Alicia then turned to her mother. Her mother shrugged her shoulders to let her daughter know that she had nothing to do with Santa’s visit.

“I’m glad he stopped by to see Harvey,” said Harry

“Were you behind Santa's visit?” Alicia whispered to Harry.

“No” he said, “it’s been a long time since I wrote him, seen his helpers from time to time, but never met the real Santa.”

They spent the rest of Christmas day together and Harry thanked the higher power for showing its mercy and compassion in allowing him that moment of happiness with his family. “Thank you, for such a wonderful Christmas,” he said to them.

A few days later Harry’s name mysteriously moved to the top of the transplant donor list. He received what he was waiting for a new liver. He was truly grateful for getting a second chance at life and a second chance to make positive choices.

“You see there is a Santa,” Harvey said to Harry, “and you are going to get better now.”

“Thank you for writing the big guy,” Harry told his grandson, “and I will never listen to those stupid rumors ever again.”

“Santa told me to tell you, Christmas, is when love came to call.”

“Well I’m glad it came,” Harry said, “and I will always try and keep that love close to my heart.”

His former wife, Aggie, has accepted that Harry is now a permanent fixture in their lives. He is a permanent fixture because he wants to make a positive impact, not only in his life, but in his family’s lives. He knows he can’t erase the past but he can begin to take positive control of the life he is now living.

His life is now being lived the way it should be lived one day at a time but most importantly. He hasn’t had a drink of alcohol since receiving his new liver.

The following year on Christmas Day as Harry shared Dinner with his Family, “You have mellowed with age, Harry,” said Aggie.

“My life was never picture perfect,” he said to them, “but the choices I make now can develop into happier moments and fonder memories for all of us.”

* * * * * * *

It is never too late to change for the better and to make right whatever is wrong with our lives. Harry Brooks is a living example of how dire choices are not necessarily the ‘end all’ to our happiness. We have the power to pull ourselves together and correct our mistakes.

It was mostly out of fear and Harry’s inability to seek forgiveness that inhibited him from moving forward and taking control of his life. He has gained a better understanding though from those experiences. What he gained is a deeper understanding of the importance of forgiveness. He can see more clearly now that he had to forgive himself first before he was able to find forgiveness from others.

Forgiving hearts enabled him to mend the broken person he was inside and his broken relationships. He in turn found the strength in his own heart to reach out to those he loves. How they all came together that Christmas season is still beyond Harry’s comprehension. But he is grateful that those events took place because he has been given a second chance to live his life for the better.

He has also gained a much deeper appreciation for his family by putting their needs before his superficial wants. After all it was his selfishness in the past that did him in but he has learned from those mistakes.

Harry Brooks’ grandson is now a sophomore in college and Harry’s former wife is remarried. She is married to a restaurant owner and she is currently helping her husband with his business.

Harry is now living with his daughter and she tells people quite often. “Our lives came together after a thirty year hiatus. We came together during the Christmas Season and ever since then Harry has honored Christmas with his Family.”

Harry on the other hand tells people, “There was a time when I felt the Christmas season was simply a common courtesy to receive and provide family, friends, and neighbors with material gifts. I now understand more clearly that the Season of giving is for heart felt acts of gratitude for having people in our lives. When keeping the true spirit of giving close to heart. We find that it enables us to give from the heart all year round. The Christmas season is when love came to call and that love gives Christmas its true meaning.”

With Love,
Thomas F. O’Neill
(800) 272-6464

Other articles, short stories, and commentaries by Thomas F. O'Neill can be found at the links below.

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    Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.


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