The Sadness of Truth

We all enjoy reading stories and it is not only fiction ones that grab our attention. I heard one the other day and it saddened me greatly. A life wasted and someone not reaching their full potential. It makes me think how we don’t get second chances in this life. This is it and we are all encouraged to make the most out of what we’ve got and especially what we do with. Sometimes these choices are taken away through no fault of our own and this is just one of them.

I belong to the Anglesey Federation of Women’s Institutes, a wonderful place that brings women together for friendship amongst other things.

We had a speaker, Audrey Jones, at our meeting to talk to us about ancestry, both her own and in general.

I traced my mine many years ago and tended to get sidetracked with people’s stories along the way. She said it’s easy to do that and she concentrated on her own bloodline to create an amazing family tree that went right back hundreds of years. One story she came across solved a family mystery and shared with us. It is this that I wish to share with you.

Audrey always knew one of her family, an uncle’s mother, was locked up in a mental institution. It was something that was only whispered about. When she looked into her family history and began asking questions, she finally uncovered the truth.

In 1938, Bessie, who came from a well to do family found herself pregnant and unmarried. In order to avoid a scandal, her father had her committed. Bessie gave birth to the baby but remained locked away until her death in 1988.

By coincidence, one of the ladies listening to the talk told us as part of her nursing training in early 2000, she went to that psychiatric hospital and met Bessie. She said was completely normal in her mind, but of course, after all of those years, very institutionalised.

As the story was told, as you can imagine, there were many gasps from the audience and unfortunately, these things did happen back then. Thank goodness it is unlikely to happen again as we are more aware of the needs of others.


For Love

by L.C. Bennett Stern

Tears streamed down the old man’s face as the policeman placed his hand on top of his head to help him duck as he got in the back of the patrol car. He flopped back in the seat and continued to sob. “I’d do it all over again. I’m not sorry. The children will understand…I know they will.”

Patrolman Shaw looked over his shoulder at the frail figure behind the cage-like screen as they pulled away from the shabby house on Thomas Avenue. “That doesn’t change the fact that you’re going to jail, old timer. Murder is murder.”

“Not when it’s for love,” the white-haired prisoner whimpered. He closed his eyes and replayed the last fifty-seven years in his tired mind. Ah yes, she was quite the looker. However, the first thing he’d noticed about her was her laugh. It had a lilt to it that set her apart from the other giggling girls at the Sunday school picnic. He remembered the heat flushing to the top of his head —embarrassed from being tripped by Freddy Geist. She turned as he hit the ground with a thud, and he looked up just in time to see her hands cover her mouth to muffle that laugh.

Years later, he would remind her how she laughed at him before they had even been introduced. She would always reply, “Laughter is what keeps a marriage going. I just got an early start.”

Their lives had been so tightly knit since that first meeting, friends simply referred to them as “The Dickinsons” — not Henry and Alice. Their children, when speaking of their parents also used that moniker. Not “are Mom and Dad coming to dinner?” but, “are The Dickinsons coming?”

Everyone knew they were inseparable. Until six months ago. Alice was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given two months to live. That was right after Christmas. Today was a gorgeous spring day in June. Henry watched the familiar houses of his run-down neighborhood zip by as his life with Alice was a slow-motion slide show. He squeezed his eyes shut tight to try to see her more clearly, as she was on Christmas morning, surrounded by their three children and seven grandchildren. He noticed that morning for the first time that her glow was missing. A week later, he learned why. This bright June morning, “his Heart” as he called her, spoke in a weak whisper to him. “Please Henry. I can’t take this pain anymore. It’s just too much to bear. It hurts me every time I see the look in the kids’ eyes when they visit. You can do this if you love me.” This was not the first time she had pleaded with him. He kissed Alice gently on the forehead, placed the soft bed pillow upon her face and held it there for what seemed like light years. The patrol car jolted to a stop. “Okay, old man. We’re here. Let me help you out. Watch your head.”


For love


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