Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Christmas Tree story: Love between a father and his dying son


Can you give love for a lifetime in just six months? Here is a story of a father and son trapped in such a dilemma.
    Dr Abe V Rotor
    Living with Nature School on Blog
    Paaralang Bayan.sa Himpapawid (School on Air) with Miss Grace Velasco
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    How would you express love to your spouse or child diagnosed of cancer and has but a short time to live?

    All of us in one way or the other has experienced fear of losing a loved one because of a disease or extreme risk in profession.

    It may come as a shock and there's so little time to compress so to speak, the opportunity to express a whole life's love. No wonder wakes are extremely emotional, regrets often come as apologies, and dirges the saddest personal expressions. We find ourselves unprepared to face the dark hours of our lives.

    I remember auntie Nathaniel, a religious sister who called me on the phone one Sunday morning.

    "I'm here in a hospital, Abe. Can you play the violin for me?" She had pneumonia.
     My wife held the handset as I played Meditation by Massenet, and a couple of Ilocano compositions, one of them, O Naraniag a Bulan (O, Bright Moon) to remind my auntie of our hometown in the Ilocos.

    "Thank you Abe, I'm going to sleep now."

    I visited her the next day in the hospital. She was no longer there. She died at exactly the time I put down my violin and after saying, "Have a good rest, Auntie. We all love you." ~

    My dad at 78 was rushed from the province to Manila. He had diabetes with suspected complications. It was his first time he ever left home in fifty years to stay with us in the city as he underwent medical treatment. It was the most intimate moment of our lives as father and son. Three months after, he died peacefully.

    My eldest son, who was a forceps baby, died a year after. He was three years old. ~

    I am sure our listeners have a story to tell, too, how they were able to cope up with this challenge of life - and living.

    Here is a story of The Christmas Tree, one of the most moving movies I ever watched. It is as fresh in my memory as it was 46 years ago.
    The Christmas Tree movie 1969 (Synopsis)

    Laurent, a widowed French-American millionaire, and his 10-year-old son, Pascal, are fishing near a desolate Corsican beach when a plane carrying an atomic weapon explodes overhead. Because Laurent is swimming underwater at the time, he suffers no harmful effects, but Pascal is exposed to radiation and develops leukemia.
    Upon learning that his son has only a few months to live, Laurent stops working and takes Pascal to his country chateau. With the aid of his fiancĂ©e, Catherine, an art director for Paris Match, his wartime friend Verdun, who works as a caretaker at the chateau, and Verdun's wife, Marinette, Laurent tries to indulge the child's every whim. It soon becomes apparent that Pascal is aware of his fatal illness and calmly accepts the approach of death. 
    Pascal loves his surroundings, and his father buys him a blue tractor and trailer to drive around the chateau grounds. Because the boy shows an interest in wolves, Laurent and Verdun break into a Paris zoo and steal two of the animals so that Pascal may train them as pets. After one of the wolves is rescued from a fall into a well, the boy nurses the animal. Later, a wild stallion colt attacks Pascal while he plays, and the wolves come to his rescue. 
    On Christmas Eve, while Verdun is dressing for dinner and Laurent and Catherine are out doing last-minute shopping, Pascal begins to weaken. Upon returning to the chateau, Laurent discovers that his son has died at the foot of the Christmas tree, surrounded by his opened presents and guarded by his two howling pet wolves. Pascal's last gift to his father is a hand-carved wooden plaque wishing him and his friends good luck.
    Acknowledgement: Internet, Synopsis

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