A wife was watching her husband mumbling to himself, for the umpteenth time, in the recent past. She was looking at an old man, who was extremely demanding, demanding for love and attention.
In his prime he was a successful businessman, a very involved father and a socially active person. However, now, over the years, he could barely manage himself within the confines of their sprawling house. He was becoming a disgruntled old man. Everyday he complained about life in general and about how nobody cared about him. It was an unsaid understanding by his wife, that ‘nobody’ referred to his children.
They had three sons, all of whom were settled in different places. The sons were periodically in touch over the phone, but this was not good enough for the old man. His sons, he felt, agreed to disagree to all that he said. His grandchildren, he believed, were completely isolated from their grandparents on purpose. He yearned to see them, but felt his sons and their families did not consider this important.
That night when the old man went to bed, he mumbled yet again, quite loudly this time. He seemed to be conversing with God, asking him to take him to His holy abode. He pleaded with God to give his children some good sense. Finally when he slept, his wife noticed unwiped tears in his eyes and she felt the pain in his heart.
Life changed soon for the old man. His sons called in almost every alternate day to speak to him. The old couple got inducted into Skype by their family friend, recommended by their youngest son. They then started conversing with their grandchildren during the weekends. He was no more a disgruntled old man. God had heard his prayers and he thanked God every day for that.
One day, the old man was euphoric, as he called out to his wife to tell her that their eldest son had called in to say that he and his brothers were planning visit them with their families, in two weeks time.
Arrangements were made soon, in full swing to welcome the families. Maids and helpers were hired for specific activities. The couple made a list of things to do, detailing every small aspect to be considered – including surprises for the grandchildren, logistics for the families, etc. The old man felt so much joy in coordinating and doing this. The contrast in him was picturesque.
The three families arrived as scheduled. The families bonded like never before. Everyone made an attempt to be nice to each other. Shrills of the children filled the living rooms.
The old couple had the best time of their lives. There was a lot of enthusiasm and positive energy around. Finally, the day before the sons’ families were to leave, the old man had a heart wrenching conversation with his sons and stated repeatedly as to how happy he was. His happiness was contagious and his sons reflected the same.
That night the old man thanked God for his family and specifically thanked Him for his wife who was always there for him. His wife was listening to his prayers. Then he went to sleep. When she went closer, she noticed unwiped tears again in his eyes. This time, she could tell, they were tears of joy.
She then went to have a private conversation with her sons. They together recollected the morning they received a call from their mother, informing them of a heart attack their father had had, the previous night. She had insisted that they work out some way to visit him soon, as his health was failing. She had urged them to refrain from referring about the heartattack to their father, considering his sensitive nature, as this would only disturb him further. They had agreed immediately and appreciated this sentiment.
Now, the sons thanked their mom for the good times they had and wanted to discuss about the way forward for their dad.
The woman broke down to tears and almost started saying “There was no heart attack…I made it up” but was interrupted by a scream from the old man’s room. The family ran to his bed side. The doctor was summoned. He arrived shortly and pronounced the old man dead from a heart attack.
The woman had wanted to confess earlier, but there was no point now! She now felt no guilt, just a sense of fulfillment for having done her bit for him, till the very end.