Jason sat in his big chair munching on some cookies and reading the latest letter he received from Alice. Snow slept at his feet as he read the latest news on Taylor and his family. He frowned when he read Taylor was having a bad time with all the pain he had to endure through all the different therapy exercises she was putting him through. He was glad to read though that Taylor was making good progress. The rest of the letter talked about Alice and her daughter and how they were enjoying their stay in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Sherri was doing great with her studies as Mrs. Hanson was home schooling her. She ended the letter stating that she missed him and she knew Taylor still missed him a lot too. That brought a smile to his face. He put the letter down on the table and grabbed another cookie and nibbled on it thinking deeply about Taylor. His heart stilled ached for the boy. The only link he had were Alice's letters telling him how Taylor was doing.
The last few weeks were a great healing process for him. He decided yesterday to go to the graves of his beloved Mary and son David. He knew it was going to be hard for him, but Old Ben from the grocery store finally became good friends with him and went along with him for support. He sat back in his chair remembering how the day went.
He got up early in the morning to meet Ben at his store. He drove into the parking lot noticing Ben was waiting outside the store sitting on the steps drinking a cup of hot coffee. He stood up when he saw Jason's truck pull into the parking lot. Jason got out and nodded his head nervously as he greeted him.
"Are ya ready Jason?" Old Ben smiled as he put the paper cup down on the step.
"I guess so." Jason rasped taking a deep breath.
"Don't worry buddy. I will be with you all the way. I know it is hard to face, but I remember when I had to face my daughter and son-in-law's graves too! It was real hard and painful. But ya know I am glad I did. It brought a sort of peace to me inside." Ben said placing his hand on his chest over his heart.
"Could you drive Ben? I feel sort of shaky. I hope I can do this!"
"Sure give me the keys and get in." Ben said as Jason handed him the keys and went around to the passenger side and got in.
Ben started up the truck and headed down the highway noticing Jason looked very nervous and scared.
"Oh how is Taylor Hanson doing?" Ben asked trying to get Jason's mind thinking about something else to kill the time.
"Taylor? Oh he is doing fine. He is working hard through the therapy. It is tough for him though. Poor kid." Jason said looking down at his hands.
"Oh that youngest one of the group.... I think his name is Zac called my granddaughter, Amy, the other day and she spent maybe a hour talking to him. She told me the boy told her Taylor is doing just fine and everyone is happy that they are home again. He also said they are working on their new record due out in the fall sometime." Ben chuckled.
"I am glad! He... I mean Taylor, needs to do something else besides always spending his days worrying about the therapy and when he will get on his feet again. I just hope he can withstand all the work still ahead that he has to go through. He still has a lot of healing to do." Jason declared looking very serious and then stared out the window noticing they were getting near the cemetery where Mary and David were buried in. His heart began to pound rapidly.
Ben took the turn into the cemetery parking lot and pulled into a space. He shut off the engine and turned toward Jason who sat looking as white as a ghost staring out the window.
"Jason? Calm down. It will be alright." Ben consoled placing his hand on Jason's shoulder and rubbed it trying to comfort the huge man.
Jason cracked a small smile as he turned to look at Ben.
"Ben? I am so glad you are here. I couldn't do this alone. I would probably turn around and run!"
"Well are you ready? Just take a deep breath and follow me. Okay?" Ben said as he got out of the truck.
Jason slowly opened his door and stepped out. His legs began to shake and he leaned on the truck for support. He took a couple of deep breaths noticing Ben was watching him.
"We'll just take it slow." Ben smiled.
"Yeah slow." Jason mumbled breathlessly as he started to walk toward the area he knew Mary was.
It took a few minutes before he saw the headstone with the names of Mary and David Monroe engraved on it. He walked slowly up to the graves and peered sadly down at them. Ben stood a little distance back letting Jason have his moment alone. Jason kneeled down next to them and tears welled in his eyes. He remembered the last time he was here. It was so many years ago. Suddenly all the grief and pain welled inside of him. The tears spilled over as he let out a big sob.
"Oh God Mary! I am so sorry! So sorry I couldn't save you that night! I should have been able too! OH GOD! WHY DIDN'T I SAVE YOU!?" He screamed as he hit the earth with his fists and the dirt flew out from the impact.
"JASON! It isn't your fault that they died! Don't you see that it was a tragic accident? It wasn't your fault buddy! You did everything you could!" Ben yelled running up to Jason trying to stop him from hitting the earth repeatedly.
"Yes! Yes it was! Don't you see? I should have been there! I shouldn't have stayed working so late at the hospital that night! If I was at home they probably would have never died!" Jason shouted angrily squeezing his fists tightly and shaking them into the air as the tears rolled down his face.
"Is that why you hid in the wilderness Jason? You felt guilty after all these years and you couldn't face your feelings?" Ben asked kneeling down next to him and grabbed Jason's hands.
Jason stared directly into Ben's sad gentle eyes and realized that was the reason he tried to deny his past. It suddenly came out in his grief. He sat back exhausted and stunned by the revelation. Guilt made him hide.
"Jason buddy it wasn't your fault! How would you know that your house would catch on fire. You're not physic. Mary knows how much you loved her. I am sure of that!"
Jason bent his head low and felt a weight lift off his shoulders that stayed there for years, which he could never understand or face. He tried so desperately to forget.
"Ben? You're right! Oh God thank you! Thank you so much!" Jason smiled as the tears of relief spilled down his cheeks.
"You okay?" Ben asked looking concerned.
"I'm fine Ben! Really I am! I always tried to blame my scars for the reason I wanted to hide from everyone and the world, but it was the guilt! Not my face. Taylor was right when he told me not everyone would think I was a monster. The kid saw who I was on the inside. He loves me for who I am. I wanted to believe no one could ever love me again. I thought I never deserved love until Taylor entered my life! Only the ignorant would see the scars. Taylor saw beyond the surface. I believe now God sent him to me! To make me realize that!" Jason chuckled taking a deep breath of air.
"Do you want to stay a little longer?" Ben asked gently.
"No I think we can go. Thanks Ben for being such a good friend." Jason stated and got up slowly off the ground. He looked at the graves of his beloved wife and son.
"I love you Mary! I love you David! Thanks for being apart of my life! I can go on now! Oh thank God I can go on now with my life!"
Jason smiled and pulled the pad of paper onto his lap and started to write Alice a letter telling her all about what happened when he visited Mary and David's grave. He knew now he could face the world and he wasn't afraid anymore.
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