Joseph was left without a mother after it was concluded that she died in a car crash while on a business trip. Years later, he was surprised to come across a woman who looked exactly like his late mom, but only older.
"Mom, do you really have to go to that convention?" Joseph said, clinging on to his mother's leg as she prepared to leave town. She was set to go to a Chemistry convention in Boston, which was about an hour's drive from their place at Manchester.
"Honey, I'll be back in a couple of days. I have to give a lecture at the convention," Mrs. Avery Waltham said. She was a professor at the prestigious Harvard University, and she was tasked to give the main speech at the Chemistry convention this year.
"Can I at least go with you?" Joseph asked, pleading to tag along. It was then that her husband Richard stepped in, carrying his son to stop him from clinging on to his mother.
"Joseph, mom's only going to be gone for three nights. We'll see her when she gets back, okay?" he said, giving his wife a kiss on the forehead as she opened the door.
"Honey, I would bring you along everywhere if I could! But this conference is for adults, and they won't let you in. Now it wouldn't be fun waiting for mommy outside the venue, right?" she said, giving both Richard and Joseph a tight hug.
When she loaded the cab, she bid her family goodbye one last time. Unfortunately, that was the last time they saw her. A couple of days later, Richard received a call from the cops saying that Avery met a fatal accident while driving back home with a fellow professor.
Richard never got to see Avery's face, as the crash was so bad that it was impossible to identify the deceased. However, they found Avery's purse inside the car, and Richard confirmed that the belongings were hers.
That night, Richard had the most heartbreaking conversation with Joseph. He had to let him know that his mother had died in a car crash while on the way back home to them.
At ten years old, it was difficult for Joseph to cope with the loss. However, when he was a teenager, he made sure to study hard to become a chemist just like his mother. "I want to make mom proud," he told his dad and he studied day and night to get into the country's top universities.
Hoping to build a connection with his mother, he got a full academic scholarship at Harvard University, the same school his mother taught in. The entire family was proud of his achievements, and they supported him in his studies. As he wanted to be the best in the field, he would attend lectures and conventions even though they weren't required by the school.
One summer, he decided to use his time productively by attending a chemistry course at Boston University. That was the only time his father Richard was opposed to him studying again, as he wanted his son to live a little. "Come on, Joseph. You're studying all year round. This summer, let yourself breathe," he said.
Joseph shook his head. "Nah, dad. I can rest when I'm the best chemist in the country. For now, I think this course is a great opportunity for me.
True enough, Joseph attended Boston University that summer. On the first day of class, he was shocked to see the professor as she walked through the door. It has to be her, he thought to himself. There stood Professor West, who looked exactly like the mother he had lost years back.
He searched her name online and sent a photo of hers to his father. "Dad... it can't be," he wrote. Immediately, Richard tried to call his son, but to no avail. He was already walking to the front to talk to the professor.
"Hi, Professor West. Do you have a few minutes to spare?" he asked, still shaking at his sudden discovery.
"Of course. Do you need help with anything?" Professor West responded, smiling at Joseph.
"No, not exactly. It's just... did you used to live in Manchester? And by any chance... do you have a son?" He asked, nervous at what her reply was going to be.
Professor West frowned, asking him what he meant by his questions. Unable to stop himself, Joseph went on and said "I'm sorry, professor. I don't mean to be rude. It's just that.. my mother.. allegedly passed away 10 years ago due to a car accident. She looks exactly like you. I'm Joseph Waltham."
Professor West's eyes widened. "I'm... I don't know what to say... 10 years ago, I woke up on a cliff after the car I was riding crashed. I had no recollection of my identity. A kind couple helped me out but I never regained my memory," she said.
Joseph was in tears. He could not believe he was talking to his mother in the flesh. He knew and felt that it was her, and it broke his heart a little that his own mother did not recognize him.
"I recalled being a professor, but that was all I could remember. The police couldn't help me as I had no form of identification with me. Those days, there was no social media yet, and it was difficult to ever get things done," she said.
"I now go by the name Simmy West. I didn't know my name, so I had to start fresh. The kind couple that helped me out were students at Boston University. They helped me get a job there until I got promoted to a lecturer," Professor West explained further.
"I'm sorry, Professor West, but... I really think you should see my dad. I know it's a lot to process, but I really think you're my long-lost mother," Joseph said, giving his dad a call. In no time, Richard was on the Boston University grounds.
After talking, they decided to go to the police to investigate what happened. A DNA test confirmed that Professor West was indeed Joseph's mother, and while she was overwhelmed, she was open to getting to know both Joseph and Richard and starting a new life together.
A detective pulled out the case of Avery Waltham's death, and he explained that she wasn't alone in the crash, which explains the body they discovered in the car. Thanks to modern technology, they were able to conclude that the body belonged to a woman named Bonnie Dwight, who was Avery's colleague.
Unfortunately, Bonnie had no family, and she was a widowed woman who mostly kept to herself. This was the reason why no one came to claim her body, and they ended up assuming it was Avery as it was only her purse in the car.
At that point, Avery, who now goes by Simmy, was in tears. She was overwhelmed by the new information she was receiving, as she was determined she'd live the rest of her life alone with no recollection of her family.
"Professor, I mean mom, or... honestly, I don't know what to call you at the moment, but I just want you to know that we're here for you through every step of the way," Joseph said, trying to assure the inconsolable Professor West.
In the next couple of months, the Walthams tried to rebuild their family. Simmy started adopting her old name, and slowly became a mother figure to Joseph. While it took a while, Avery and Richard also started to build back the relationship they once had. When they were both ready, they renewed their vows and lived the rest of their lives together.
What can we take from this story?
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