Chapter 23 A New Road
Kami could not help but smile as she felt a sense of peace permeate her being. She sat on one of the love seats in her parents' large den and looked across the open area to the kitchen where her mother was speaking with her grandmother, Baroness Keefer. To think just a few hours ago her parents met her grandmother after over thirty-five years, and were able to forgive, and move forward. It was nothing short of a miracle that this happened.
After Kami's family arrived home, Elizabeth and Michael had a long talk about what happened years ago that resulted in the break in their relationship. The conversation was held in front of Kalia, Kami, Harrison, Lauren and Hildy. Elizabeth did not make any excuses for her behaviour but rather tried to explain her mind set at that time of her life. Michael listened and accepted her explanation even if he did not agree with the way they were treated. Then he explained to his mother what life was like for him gowning up in their home, of loving both his parents while trying to find himself away from the shadow of their world view. He shared with her, thoughts and feelings, from that period of his life that he never shared before.
Michael directed his words to his mother, but his audience gained a deeper insight into the man Michael. Everyone loved him more, respected him more for hearing his words, while his mother understood afresh the loss she brought onto herself by her cowardly choices so long ago. Michael saw the emotions displayed on his mother's face and knew she felt deep regret for the lost time. In an effort to continue the healing process he took both her hands in his and kissed them, he assured her that he never stopped loving her. He told her that they stood at the beginning of a new road, and from now on every step they take will be taken in unison. He assured her that he wanted her to be a part of his life. Not the way she was in the past, but in a new way. There wasn't a dry eye in the room after listing to the mother and son heal the wounds that existed for so long.
"Penny for your thoughts" Hildy asked as she came back into the room.
Smiling even more brightly Kami answered. "I was just counting my blessings. Who would have thought a few days ago that we would be here sitting with my grandmother, uncle and aunt- in-law? Amazing, simply amazing".
The young couple sat side by side as they continued to just enjoy the peace and good will that could be felt in the home.
"I did not get a chance to tell you this before, but your presentation was excellent Kams. You had the attention of everyone in the auditorium earlier today".
"Thank you, Hills. I was nervous at first because this was the first time I was presenting to my parents' peers and students. I wanted them to be pleased. Plus, I was so tense as Grandmother had not arrived. I was not sure if they would make it in time at all. Then even though my parents are wonderful, and I believed this would work out between Dad and Grandmother, a part of me had some doubt".
Hildy placed her arm around her lover and gently kissed her temple as she reassured her.
"I had no doubt at all. You are a product of your parents, with Nana and Pappy having a great influence on who you are. You were able to forgive your grandmother and even though your parents were the ones who had the real reason to turn their backs on her request for reconciliation, I knew they would not. They have too much love in their hearts to treat her any other way than what they did today".
The ladies sat quietly together for a few more minutes before Michael, Lauren and Harrison re-entered the room. Kalia and Elizabeth also came back into the room from the kitchen and they all engaged in conversation as they got to know each other anew.
The next couple hours were filled with stories of Michael's childhood and other stories of family members who were born after Michael and his parents were estranged. Kalia and Michael also shared stories of life with Kami, Nana, Pappy and Kalia's other relatives. Even Hildy shared a little about her personal life, and her work family at their investigation firm. The conversation gradually turned back to Kami's presentation and her family showered her with praise and compliments for a job well done. Hildy felt a sense of pride as she looked at her woman with love and an ever-growing respect for the person she was.
Turning to her mother Kami asked; "Mom, did you notice how the Chancellor was almost tripping over himself to impress Grandmother with his achievements?"
Kalia laughed at her daughter's observation. Kalia and Kami chatted regularly on the phone, and often filled each other in with work related matters. As such Kami knew her parents' colleagues by names and nature having met them all previously when she lived in Ipswich. The university's Chancellor was known to be very hoity-toity, and that unflattering trait was most evident at the reception that was given in Kami's honor after her presentation.
No one knew that Michael's mother was a Baroness. With her arrival today, the entire faculty and student body were given access to a part of their beloved professor's life that they did not know existed. While some folks were impressed with Michael's lineage, for others it made no difference to how they saw him or treated him.
Then there was a small group of people of which Chancellor Harewood was chief, who placed an extraordinary amount of emphasis on prestige. The fact that Michael was a part of the British aristocracy, made him rise higher in their eyes. They fawned over themselves to be able to speak to Baroness Keefer and tell her what a good job her son had done at the university, while at the same time impressing upon her that his success was linked to them in some way or another.
Michael laughed at his daughter and wife's assessment of Chancellor Harewood and complimented his mother for deftly handling the gentleman in question. The conversation continued to be light and comfortable but at the back of both Michael's and Kalia's mind was the topic that either of them knew how to broach … the topic of Baron Alastair Keefer.
Eventually there was a lull in the conversation and everyone sat in comfortable silence. Kalia looked at her husband and saw the longing behind the happiness that was evident for all to see. There was nothing Kalia wouldn't do to ensure Michael was happy and felt loved. She lay next to him in bed the previous night when he could not sleep after Kami told them the unbelievable story of her meeting her grandmother. Michael was plagued with memories of his childhood, in which his father played a pivotal role, and it disturbed his sleep.
Kalia was thankful to God that things turned out better than she imagined it would today with Michael's mother but there was still the topic of Alastair to open up.
"Elizabeth, thank you". Kalia said.
Elizabeth looked at her daughter in law and gently lifted her eyebrow. "Thank you for what, Kalia?", Elizabeth enquired.
"Thank you for being kind to our daughter. Thank you for growing beyond your old prejudices. Thank you for being willing to reach out and bridge the canyon that existed for so many years. Thank you".
Elizabeth felt her heart clutch in her chest as she was overcome with emotion. "No, no. I am the one who needs to thank you. You did not have to accept my apology. You did not have to grant my request for forgiveness. I am thankful to you Kalia and to you Michael".
Kalia knew now was the time to broach the topic that felt like the elephant in the room. "Elizabeth, do you think Alastair will ever come to the place where you are now? The place of reconciliation? The place where the desire for healing is greater than the wrongs he feels we imposed on him?" Kalia asked as she leaned forward slightly.
Lauren and Harrison looked at each other before looking at their mother as they wondered how she would answer the question. They lived with Alastair and knew firsthand how difficult he can be, especially if he convinces himself that he is right in a matter.
Elizabeth was expecting Alastair's name to eventually come up. Even though she expected this she was still unprepared on how to answer.
"Kalia, I believe in prayer. I believe that Heavenly Father listens to the cries of our heart. Sitting here with you, Michael, with all of you, this is a positive answer to my prayer. Sometimes I felt like giving up that this day would ever come. But when doubt came, I relied on Bible promises to keep the light of hope burning in my heart", Elizabeth paused and lifted her eyes as she looked up as if in a silent prayer. Then she continued speaking softly.
"I pray for Alastair all the time. I pray for his health because he lives with a lot of physical pain, I also pray for his mental, spiritual and emotional health. I know he is a hard man to live with, but I also know in his quiet moments he sometimes allows his mind to reflect on the past and has a lot of regret for the choices he made with you Kalia, and Michael. But the thing is … Alastair is very stubborn. He puts on this mask, this bravo, this cloak of what he thinks he should be. I pray that Heavenly Father will reach his mind and his emotions before it is too late. I pray that Alastair would realize living with love is better than living with hate. So, to answer your questions Kalia, I hope he does. Because if he does not he will die a very sad and angry man and that is no way to meet Heavenly Father on Judgment Day".
Everyone sat quietly as they reflected on Elizabeth's words.
Kalia though about the happy childhood she had growing up with her parents and brother. She thought about her marriage, yes there were times she and Michael did not always see eye to eye. There were times they had to go the extra mile to ensure they resolved whatever issue arose, but overall, she had a happy marriage and a happy life. As she sat there for the first time in a long time she really considered what it felt like to live in Alastair's shoes, to live in his mind. She felt pity for him. She then remembered what Hildy told them yesterday about Baba feeling sorry for Alastair after speaking with him on the phone.
She knew what needed to be done. She stood and stepped towards Elizabeth as she said; "Lets pray for him now as a family".
Elizabeth was surprised by the suggestion but then as she thought about it, she should not be surprise because Kalia was a kind and thoughtful woman.
"I would like that, thank you", Elizabeth replied.
Michael, Harrison, Lauren, Kami, Hildy, and Kalia all knelt in a circle and held hands. Elizabeth generally sat to pray as getting down on the floor and getting back up was sometimes a challenge. But she felt it was imperative that she kneel on this occasion. With the help of her sons she also knelt down. One by one they prayed aloud as they asked Heavenly Father to remove the darkness from Alastair's heart and replace it with His Holy Light. As they ended the prayers and stood back up, everyone in the room believed that things will get better. They were confident that Alastair would come around and make the changes necessary for his life to be better.
The family then all went into the dining room for a late supper as their mood once again became light and laughter rang out.