“I wouldn’t admit to anyone what I did – until I saw my father cry.”

A conversation with a nursing home resident:

He was in a motorized wheelchair. None of his body could move except for his head. He could speak normally. Thank God for that one little tiny thing. I had seen him before in the elevator but he had never come out of his room for my programs.

I wasn’t a tough kid. I came from a big family and we were a good Christian family. We went to church every Sunday. Until I got in with a bad crowd – kids from the wrong side of the tracks. We started burglarizing houses.

I stole a gun and then sold it to this guy who owned a bar. One of the kids got caught and he told on me. I wouldn’t admit my guilt. I kept lying and lying to my parents and to the police. I didn’t want to get any of the others in trouble. Then, my father got down on his knees in front of the detectives and I saw the tear rolling down his face.

Then I said, Dad, I’ll tell you everything you want to know.

I couldn’t bear to see him cry.

He took me out of public school and sent me to a private school where all of the kids were “thoroughbreds.” They were all smart and played sports which kept them out of trouble. I didn’t fit in with them. I didn’t come from their social class.

It was hard for my father because he was a laborer and he had to work hard to pay for that tuition. I wasn’t that smart and I was only average at sports.

The court case came up and I had to tell the truth to the judge and turn against my friends. After that, they hated me.

I think that is how I got this disease. I think it is all of the hate that they had for me then, and probably now, all of these years later. I have multiple sclerosis. Probably from the stress of that time period.

I tried college and failed the first semester. My girlfriend broke up with me because she said I wasn’t going anywhere with my life. I have only had menial jobs in my life. I think I counted 30 of them. People tried to help me along the way. I didn’t listen to them. I thought I knew it all.

I am sorry, Patricia, that I did all of the talking. I have been talking non-stop for twenty minutes.

I am so glad that I was there to listen.
I looked into my bag and found a Team of Angels for Hope. I asked him if he wanted it. He asked me to lean it against his television so he could look at it.

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