Second Chances

The Story

When I was twelve years old, I had a crush on a cousin of mine. He was a dozen years older than I and, when he came over to our house one day to introduce his fiancée to our family, I was heartbroken.

Jerry never knew about my crush – I was just a kid to him – and he went on to marry soon after the visit. He became a lawyer, had a son, and lived what seemed to be a charmed life, with everything falling into place for him: the lovely wife, the adorable child, the perfect job, the expensive home in the upscale neighborhood, the supportive church group, the extensive travel.

Years went by with no connections. My Mom faulted him for that, telling me that Jerry had “crossed us off his list,” which was her way of saying the lack of connection was done on purpose – in her mind, he was a rich, arrogant lawyer who had no time for family.

Then my Mom died and my cousin got in touch with me. He offered his condolences and asked if he could host the immediate family for a simple meal at his house – to reconnect with us and to honor my Mom. He and his wife were gracious and kind to us all. During the meal, Jerry recounted how much he had admired my Mom throughout the years. I was surprised and touched.

A few years later, his wife passed away after a long illness and, again, my cousin contacted me to ask if the family would consider attending the memorial for her. We did and he, in turn, was touched that we would do that for him. We received a hand-written note from him later, letting us know how grateful he was that we were there.

Present day: We see Jerry once a year now, when we’re visiting family members who live in his area. He is always a gracious host, humble in his stories of the past, and generous with his offers of lodging and meals. He always asks about everyone.

I find myself enjoying his company and feeling glad that I got a second chance to reconnect with him. Somehow, I think my Mom would be happy about that, as well.