[Reposted from Facebook]
A few evenings ago, I watched an episode of "Major Crimes" (Personal Day) that contained a scene that I found quite moving and worth commenting on. The scene was at the end of the episode, a portion often devoted to the main character's (Sharon, played by Mary McDonald) personal life. This episode followed the pattern. Her acquired charge, a mid-teen boy (Rusty), who witnessed a murder and came from a very troubled situation, including prostitution to survive, opened a serious conversation with Sharon, the only effective parent figure he has ever known.
SIDEBAR: The Watch TNT app, available for iDevices and I presume others, is free but requires a cable sub and navigation to the appropriate episode, I can't provide a direct link, and don't know how to clip the segment to appear directly in this document. The scene starts at about the 38:40 mark of the streaming (no commercial version).
It started with him having mixed emotions about visiting his birth mother who had been forced into a drug rehab center and Rusty's obvious fear that Sharon would be threatened or hurt if he went to see his birth mother. That quickly lead to a poignant and comical scene with Rusty sincerely promising to repay Sharon for everything she has done and is doing for him, while Sharon beamed at the young man with obvious joy in her heart. She, of course, once again forgave that debt, the debt that Rusty imagined he owed her.
The comical element of the scene, to me, was the thought that a child can ever repay the debt owed for a good upbringing in a healthy environment. In any conventional sense that debt is too large to begin to pay back, any "earnings" a child from such a home acquires can typically be traced to that upbringing, thus increasing the debt, not repaying it. On the other side of the ledger, a child who is happy, able to be a loving and independent person pays enormous dividends of happiness, satisfaction and pride to his parents, reflected in actress Mary McDonald's expression. Making the idea of paying back that debt ridiculous from the parent's side of the equation.
I now fortunately, find myself in a situation where I can "payback" a small portion of my parental debt. My father died several years ago, he passed away in a hospital bed at night, alone. I had stayed with him through the night at least once and have always regretted reading while I could have been plying him to retell stories, sharing my childhood memories with him one last time, letting him die alone in a hospital bed. He expressed only two concerns to me as he lay there. One, did I think that animals, particularly his dog, Tyson, could join us in heaven. He reminded me that church doctrine says that animals have no souls and thus can not be in heaven. I answered him confidently, that it couldn't exactly be heaven if Tyson wasn't there to greet him, the doctrine must be wrong, I think he accepted my argument, and I know he smiled.
His second concern was that the love of his life, Barbara, my mother, would be taken care of. There is no one and nothing for which he cared more; he was both concerned that she be taken care of and I believe confident, that my brother and I would make certain of that.
This is where my currently blessed situation comes in. We are engaged in the combining of two households as we sell our house and my parents to purchase a new larger (yes, a larger, purchased past 50, go figure) house that can accommodate all of us and an elevator. My biggest enabler in this effort is my lovely wife, who is both willing and supportive of the idea of adding her mother-in-law to her immediate household so that we can share time and love with her in what is likely to be her final chapter.
I can feel my father looking down on me, beaming and laughing as I attempt to "payback" a debt that I owe to both of them. A debt that I can never hope to repay and yet I know a debt that was forgiven before it was acquired.