Family Ties

Nestled in the hills once roamed by Maroons was the quaint, brick wall house which was home to the Welch’s. The smell of fresh pine lingered in the air as the community came to life at the dawn of yet another day.

David was the first grandchild for John and Mary Welch. It was a time of great joy for their daughter Elizabeth and her husband Peter as they celebrated a new addition to their family. Elizabeth was a lawyer by profession and also a senior partner in the law firm Gayle and Gayle. She always wanted to become a lawyer. Her dad John remembers her early years. “Perry Mason and Matlock were her two favourite shows, she was glued to the television set and nothing or no one could get her to go to bed until both shows were finished”.

short story JamaicaElizabeth made a lot of sacrifices to achieve all that she has. She had even sacrificed her Christian teachings. Elizabeth was very involved in Sunday school and church from the tender age of 6, however, she stopped attending church a year after she started law school. A year into law school she convinced her parents to allow her to live on campus. Elizabeth felt as if this move would allow her to focus on her plans and alleviate her guilty feelings of forsaking the Christian principles which was so much a part of her early life. Living on the campus of the university was the beginning of the end. After serving as president for two consecutive years Elizabeth did not seek re-election as president of the youth movement at her church and she stepped down from being the director of the youth choir. This did not go down well with her parents, especially her dad. An on- going conflict resulted and both daughter and father became estranged. John was the senior Deacon at the local Baptist church where his father before him served as Pastor.

Elizabeth was very determined, a determination matched only by that of her dad. During her second year at law school Elizabeth and her father had a falling out. The dispute escalated and words were said out of anger. Mr Welch was so infuriated by his daughter’s determination and stubbornness that in anger he told her never to set foot in his house again. Mary and her daughter however continued to have a relationship; this was done via emails and telephone calls. At the university Elizabeth continued to excel in her studies and unsurprisingly it came as no surprise when she won the prize for most outstanding student at her graduation. It was bitter sweet; her parents were not there to share her joy and achievement. , Her fiancé of three years, Peter Spencer was there. Despite his presence she felt all alone. She knew that no amount of love that Peter gave her could fill the void of her parents. Unknown to Peter at the time of Elizabeth’s graduation, was the fact that she was six weeks pregnant. Sooner or later she would have to tell him.

  

Despite not being close to her father she felt that he had a right to know. Elizabeth was the only child for John and Mary.

One week after graduation Elizabeth unexpectedly arrived at her parents’ home. It was convention time at the local Baptist church and she reminisced how vibrant she was in the church as her Toyota Rav4 pulled up at 16 Cows Pen Crescent which was home to her parents. Her mother was on the porch tending to her plants. This was the first time in three years since she had been home. Peter accompanied her; this would be his first visit to her parents. Elizabeth had written to Mary about Peter in numerous emails both ladies sent to each other. Mary rushed off the veranda to greet her daughter. Elizabeth was two months pregnant by this time. Peter followed closely behind. He was tall, dark and of Indian descent. He was at least 6 feet tall weighing somewhere between 200 and 215 pounds.

John heard the chatter on the veranda and came to see who was there. As soon as he opened the door he saw his daughter and closed the door. Elizabeth being as determined as her dad opened the door and went inside. Mary and Peter followed.

“Hello dad,” said Elizabeth. ” I know you told me never to set foot in this house but I am here to ask for your forgiveness and to introduce Peter to you” The silence in the room was interrupted by John. “Why have you come here my child?” “Don’t you see I am an old, sick man,” said John.

By this John was sitting in his favourite chair in the living room. The smell of baked chicken and rice and peas filled the air. Peter and Mary went towards the kitchen. A few minutes later, they heard John saying I forgive you my child. This must have been difficult for John; he was a proud stubborn man. Seeing his daughter crying must have melted his heart. Mary and John returned to the living room to find father and daughter in embrace, both sobbing, it was tears of joy. A daughter had returned home, a father had welcomed home his daughter.

Two months later John walked his daughter down the aisle, it was the same church her christening took place thirty two years ago. In October of the same year Elizabeth gave birth to David. David proved to be a handful, he was very hyper-active and demanded a lot of attention. He was also diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and as such special attention was required for him both from his parents and of his teachers. There was no doubt however that he was extremely loved by his parents and grand-parents.

After eight years of marriage Peter started staying out late. When questioned by his wife, his reply was he needed some space. Additionally Peter was doing his MBA which also was making demands on his time. Elizabeth felt abandoned and she became active in her son’s school by being an active member of the Parent Teacher’s Association. After a year on the committee she was elected President of the P.T.A. and devoted most of her leisure time to improve the condition at her son’s prep school.

  

Her involvement with the church was not left on the back burner. Elizabeth returned to the choir, which gave her now elderly parents great joy, especially her dad. After suffering a stroke her dad did not attend church as often as before. However, he was still a member of the church board and was visited quite often by church members.

Elizabeth decided to file for a divorce after Peter moved out from their home and moved in with his girlfriend. Elizabeth applied for and was granted full custody of David. Peter had visitation rights and saw him every other weekend.

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Wayne Campbell

Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues.

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Marshalee Goodaz Thompson

Glad she went back to the Lord!