My Safe Refuge – 20 (Epilogue)
“Jump Sky! Jump!”
“Yes! Very good!”
The kids, 12 years old Luke and Nikki and 5 years old Sunshine were all laughing as their youngest brother Sky, who was a little over a year old, finds it difficult to lift his body when he jumps. He looked so adorable and funny.
The family were spending their regular weekend bonding at their backyard.
After Maya and Richard got married, she decided to sell their old house. She wanted to share in building their new house but Richard refused. He just convinced Maya to save the money for the kids’ needs.
They had a new house built just beside Richard’s parents’ house. Manang Fe and Leah were still with them.
The kids were all seated on the grass rolling in laughter while Maya was securely engulfed in Richard’s arms in one of their benches.
“Ang saya ng mga bata sweetheart.”
“Oo nga! Etong mga panganay pa naman alaskador masyado. They really enjoy teasing Sky.”
“At tuwang tuwa naman si Sky. Si Sunshine din sumasali na sa Ate at Kuya nya. Ang laki na nila.”
“And they’re all growing up very healthy, happy and well taken-cared of. It’s because of you sweetheart. Thank you.”
“Ricky hindi lang naman ako. Magkatuwang tayo.” Then she hugged her husband tighter.
They were just enjoying watching the kids when Manang Fe approached them with a package.
“Ricardo, Maya may nagpadala nito.” She handed it to Richard after she have read the origin of the package.
It was a package from the Bureau of Corrections where James Ventura had been serving his life sentence.
Maya tightened her hold on Richard when she learned that the package was from James.
They both glanced at Luke who was still busy playing with his siblings.
Richard opened the package and found a letter addressed to Maya and some documents in some brown envelope together with it.
They read the letter together.
“Dear Mrs. Maya dela Rosa-Lim,
I am Father Jeffrey Alarcon of the Bureau of Corrections. I have been constantly talking to James Ventura. He already told me everything about you and your son. He already told me what he did to you and your son and he is very remorseful with everything he had caused you. I didn’t want to bother you and your family anymore as I am already aware of how difficult it is to be reminded of something very painful. But I decided that this is the proper thing to do. I am sure that it would also help you and your son attain peace and also freedom from all the pain and bitter memories of the past. James doesn’t have any other family that we know of. He was only constantly mentioning you and Luke.
I have been with James Ventura during his stay at the penitentiary before he was transferred to the hospital where he is now spending his last few months, weeks or even days battling stage 4 colon and lung cancer.
I am not saying this to lessen the gravity of what he’s done or to obtain your forgiveness, Mrs. Lim, but James had been paying for what he did to you and your son. He never failed to mention how he despised himself for hurting you and your son. He told me that he hated waking up every morning as he was being reminded of what he did.
The only wish he mentioned is to be able to say sorry to you and Luke before he finally leaves.
I am not asking you to visit him if you and your son are not ready to do it. I just want to give you his message and also request for prayers for him.
Enclosed are documents of some properties James wants to give you and your son. He knows you wouldn’t need it but he just wants to leave it with you anyway.
Whatever you decide on, you can just reach me at the numbers I’ve written.
Thank you and God bless you and your family.
Fr. Jeff Alarcon
Ricky tightened his embrace on Maya. He knows that she’s still affected with any news about James. He’s still Luke’s dad after all. Learning that James is very ill is still a very sad news despite whatever he caused them in the past.
“Sweetheart do you want to visit him? We could do that. Pwede rin nating isama si Luke.” Richard suggested. He knows that it’s the right thing to do.
Maya agreed and together with Luke they visited James.
The moment Maya, Luke and Richard entered the hospital room, James tried to mumble something upon seeing them. He could no longer speak.
The nurse who was just replaced his dextrose moved to give way to the visitors.
“Kayo po si Mr and Mrs Lim? At eto po si Luke?”
“Yes. We called up Father Jeff to inform him of our visit.” Richard answered for them.
“Ibinilin po kayo ni Father. Mamaya po darating na rin sya dito. Iwanan ko na po muna kayo. Pwede naman pong iwanan si Sir James. Kapag may problema po, pindutin nyo na lang yun sa pader. Sa nurse’s station lang po ako.”
“Okay, we will do that. Thank you.” Richard was the one talking to the nurse as Maya was just staring at James. She couldn’t believe what she’s seeing.
James looked so frail, he was very thin and even his skin was pale. His former dark eyes that had been piercing and that had always scared Maya and Luke now stared listlessly, dull and lifeless.
Those strong fists and arms that used to hit Maya now had tubes attached to them.
James was also staring at her and Luke with remorseful eyes, wanting to say sorry. He was again trying to mumble something but Maya now gently touched his lips, telling him that it’s okay not to speak.
Luke was standing beside Ricky. He was teary eyed as he felt pity for his dad. He may have been cruel to him and his mom but he was still his dad.
“James, okay na. Kalimutan na natin yun mga nangyari. Pinatawad ka na namin ni Luke. Ang isipin mo ay yung magpalakas ka.” Maya gathered enough courage not to be emotional. She didn’t want to cry in front of James and Luke.
She continued… “atsaka kahit ano man ang nangyari sa atin, nagpapasalamat pa rin ako sa’yo kasi binigyan mo ako ng isa pa pinakaespesyal na regalo… si Luke. Balewala ang lahat ng sakit at lungkot kasi binigay mo sakin si Luke.”
The moment Maya said those words, James Ventura’s tears flowed from the corner of his eyes. Luke immediately fished for his handkerchief and went near his dad. He wiped his tears.
Richard decided to leave them inside the room. They needed privacy and he knows that James doesn’t want to look so helpless in front of him.
After a few minutes, Father Jeffrey arrived and chatted with them for a few more minutes.
They bade goodbye to James. Luke even tried to carefully hug his dad’s frail body. Maya also squeezed his hand to assure him that everything is okay now. She wanted to let James know that they had really forgiven him. Richard also promised to take care of Maya and Luke.
They left the hospital with a bittersweet feeling. They felt sad for James’ deteriorating condition but they also felt at peace having conveyed the messages of forgiveness.
James passed away a week after Maya and Luke visited him.
They decided to take care or James’ wake and burial.
“Mom, I know that dad James’ money could be a great help for my studies but mom I don’t want any help from him. I know that you and dad could send me to school without his help. Kapag hindi nyo po kaya, pipilitin kong maging scholar.”
Maya and Ricky smiled at what Luke said.
“If okay lang mom, let’s just donate the money he left to those institutions who are helping women and children who are being treated unkindly by their husbands and fathers. Para naman yun sa every wound dad James did to us. Okay lang po ba yun mom?”
Maya immediately turned teary to what Luke suggested. She herself didn’t want anything from James but what Luke said would surely help James’ soul.
Ricky hugged her and it gave her the support she needed as she could no longer control her tears.
No, she’s not crying for James but for her son who remained sensible, loving and happy despite what he experienced as a kid.
Seeing their mom and dad hugging each other, their other kids Nikki, Sunshine and even Sky all rushed to join the group hug.
“Naku Sweetheart dry your tears na. Ayan na yun makukulit.” Richard laughed and welcomed the kids to a big family hug.
“Luke ayaw mo bang sumama kina lola sa mall?” Maya asked Luke who was still busy reading a new book he borrowed from their school library.
Esmeralda Lim visited them and she will be bringing her apos Nikki Sunshine and Sky out to spend the day with her. Even Manang Fe, Leah, Doris and Sabel will be joining her. They will be going to the park, do some shopping, eat out and maybe even take a look at the newly opened carnival in San Nicolas.
“Mom lahat po sila girls.” Luke complained.
“Anak kasama naman si Sky at Kuya Joma.”
Richard was just seated at their living room sofa amused at how busy and excited everyone was to be spending the whole day with his mother Esmeralda at the mall, park, carnival and restaurant. His mother was fun and adventurous despite her age. Her apos and their staff and househelp always looks forward to these ‘pasyals’ with the Lim matriarch.
He was also observing his wife who was doing her best to convince Luke to join Mama Esmeralda.
“Mom bakit po you want me to go with them? You want po to spend time alone with Dad?” Luke asked innocently and Maya defensively denied “Hindi anak! I just want you to enjoy.”
Maya was blushing while explaining to Luke. She was guilty coz she indeed wanted to spend time alone with her husband. She was excited the moment Mama Esmeralda suggested the day-out with everybody except her and Richard.
Richard chuckled and Maya threw him a sharp stare which silenced him but of course Mama Esmeralda already saw it and joined in teasing the couple. “Don’t worry Ricky and Maya I’ll make sure that the kids will enjoy their time with me so you can do whatever it is you both plan to do. Basta ha, dapat masundan na si Sky. Mas masaya kung maraming bata sa bahay.”
“Ma!” Maya and Ricky said at the same time.
“I’m just teasing you. Sige na alis na kami.”
Life had been good to Richard, Maya and their kids. Whatever painful past they experienced have now been replaced with good memories.
Maya and Richard know that they could easily overcome whatever challenges and problems they would be facing for they have already weathered the strongest storms in their lives.
A/N : Thanks for your patience in waiting for the updates.
Soon may serye na sila. Let’s support the new roles they will be doing just like how we embraced Maya and SerChief. 😊