Luke was 11 years old, and he profoundly longed for the presence of his father. During the Friday night baseball games, Andy was by his side, serving as both a partner and a best buddy. Things changed after his death, though.
After Andy passed away, Luke stopped watching baseball and never again seen his mother, Claire, happy. Seeing his images still made her cry, even after all these time had passed. Without knowing how to restore his mother’s happiness, Luke felt he couldn’t stand it.
Luke was a bright kid who knew his mom went on dates, even though he was only eleven years old. However, she would be down in the dumps when she got back. “No one could make her happy like Andy,” Luke thought to himself.
However, Claire was ultimately not prepared to let another person to fulfill her happiness.
She felt guilty about letting another man into her and Luke’s lives. How was she supposed to accept a new man into her life while simultaneously letting go of the one she loved? Such an action would never come from her.
As soon as Luke had Clarie’s hands in Mike’s, he reached into his pocket and presented Claire with a gift. “Dad wanted you to open this now, mom,” he informed us.
One night, Luke spoke to his mom and said, “But the living have to live on.”. Things began to shift at that point.
“Do you think you’re ready for a new dad, Luke? Mom is not pressuring you, honey,” Luke had nodded and pursed his lips in response to her statement that her mother was not pressing him.
“If I get a new dad, mom, will you be happy? If you’re happy, I am too,” he said. “And yes, mom, Dad always used to tell me that life must go on. That’s how I understood I could be happy after Gran Molly left us. I loved her so much!”
After giving it some thought, Claire chose to introduce Luke to her new boyfriend, Mike, after seeing the words “Living have to live on” etched in her mind.
At the time, she was deeply infatuated with Mike, and they had been dating for two months. However, she had never fully accepted their love until she had the idea of cheating on Andy.
After hearing Luke’s encouraging remarks, she felt prepared to take the next step. So, one night after supper, she introduced Mike to Luke.
It was with great enthusiasm that Luke first laid eyes on Mike. In every way, Mike mirrored Andy. As Claire took her seat at the table, he retrieved a chair for her, and he lent her a hand when they finished clearing the dishes.
“Luke, would you like to have ice cream? I was wondering if chocolate would be a good choice,” he said, and Luke smiled.
“That’s mom’s favorite,” he said. “Mine too!”
“Alright then, chocolate it is! I like vanilla more, but I guess chocolate wins!” he laughed.
“Vanilla?” asked Luke, disappointed. “That’s boring! Not cool, Mike!”
“Same thoughts, actually. Gonna upgrade my favorite to chocolate now coz my two favorite people love chocolate,” he winked, and Luke smiled.
Luke and Mike grew very close over time. On weekends, Mike would treat Claire and himself, and they would gather for baseball games. Also, his cooking was second to none!
Luke became his biggest fan when he made the tastiest cheeseburgers and wonderful BBQ one Sunday afternoon.
That was just one more thing that Claire had observed since Mike had become a part of their lives that Mike had made special.
On that fateful day, she asked him to marry her because she and Luke were both happy with him. Mike responded enthusiastically, saying, “Yes!”
“Yay! So I get to call you dad now!” said Luke as he hugged them. “But, Mike, I hope you don’t mind, but my late dad will always be my favorite person. I loved him more than anyone else.”
“No issues, champ,” replied Mike, embracing Luke and Claire. “I don’t care if I come in first or second. I’m glad you and Claire are here with me.”
Luke was visibly moved as Claire stood in her bridal gown in her room on her wedding day. “You know I’m going to walk you down the aisle, right, mom? I want to do this,” he told her.
Claire tenderly wiped away his tears and embraced him. “Of course, you can do it, honey. I’d love to see you do it,” she said.
After leading Claire down the aisle, Luke put her hands in Mike’s and then presented her with a package that he had taken from his pocket. “Dad wanted you to open this now, mom,” he said. “But before you open this, mom, I have to tell you something…” he began, pulling a letter from another pocket. “Dad wrote it when he was in the hospital. I’d like to read this.”
Before reading Andy’s letter, Luke cleared his throat. “Luke, I know your mom will always love me as much as I love you both. But one day, she will bring another man to our house, and that’s okay. Your mom has the right to be happy, and so do you, but you have to ensure he’s someone who cares for you and her. And if he is that man, then I already respect him. And you have to respect him too. But you must be the one who tests his attitude toward you, his genuine intentions, and who leads her down the aisle where this man will be waiting for her. You must choose the best man for your mother! Now you can open that box, mom…” he finished.
As Claire tore open the box, her already heavy tears flowed even more freely. In the box, she discovered Andy’s wedding band along with another letter he had written.
“I’m sure Luke chose the best man for you. I love you and always will. Knowing you, I’m sure you’re feeling bad about moving on, and I know how to get you out of it. Please put the ring on your future husband’s ring finger. Let him always remember that you can only be the wife of a strong and true man!”
“Mike deserves it, mom,” said Luke. “I know he’ll be the best dad to me…and he’ll love you, just like dad did. Thank you for that, Mike!” he added.
Mike broke down in tears upon witnessing Luke’s considerate act. “Champ, you can trust that I will always deliver.” He made a solemn vow.
So, what’s the takeaway here?
It is not a show of indifference to our loved ones’ deaths to move on; rather, it is a manifestation of healing. After Andy’s death, Claire resisted falling in love, but after hearing Luke’s words, she mustered up the strength to let go and do so.
Any man worth his salt will never abandon his loved ones. Even though Andy wasn’t physically there with Claire and Luke anymore, his influence was still felt in the way he raised Luke, which influenced Luke’s decision to marry her mother.
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