A man who hasn't visited his mother in six years is shocked to find her house deserted and his favorite cake moldering in the kitchen - and then a neighbor tells him the truth.
Gratitude is the rarest of emotions, isn't it? How often are we truly grateful, and how often do we express or show our gratitude to those who deserve it? Not as often as we should, that's for sure, and Mason Harris was no exception to the rule.
The truth is that Mason had a lot to be grateful for. He was raised by his widowed mother, Hannah, after his dad passed away when he was just seven, and she made sure he had everything, absolutely everything.
Hannah raised her young son alone after her husband passed away. | Source: Umsplash
When Mason wanted a new bike, he got it, and when he needed a new computer, he had it. Hannah wasn't a wealthy woman and she worked two jobs to give Mason the life he would have had if his dad had lived.
Some of her friends urged her to put away a little nest egg for her old age, but Hannah said: "First, I'll make sure Mason's on his way... Then I'll worry about myself."
Hannah took out a second mortgage when Mason went to college so he wouldn't start out his life with a huge burden of student loans, as so many young people do.
Later on, when Mason got married to Patricia, Hannah, who HAD put away a little nest egg in the meantime, gave it all away as a wedding present so the young couple could put down a down payment on their first home.
And then Mason got swept up in the whirlwind of life as a young up-and-coming professional and a new husband and he started visiting Hannah less and less. At first, he'd still pop in once a month, but by the end of his first year of marriage, he stopped visiting.
As he grew up, Hannah made sure Mason had everything he wanted. | Source: Unsplash
He did still phone his mom every week, of course, and he told himself that it was enough, that she understood. And she did try, but Hannah did miss her son, and she was getting older.
Time flew by so fast that before he knew it, Mason hadn't seen his mother in nearly six years -- not even for Christmas or Thanksgiving. They always flew up to Martha's Vineyard to be with Patricia's family which was such fun!
Surely Hanna understood, Mason told himself. His mother wanted him to be happy and he WAS happy. Nevertheless, his conscience was nagging him, so he called Hannah.
"Hey, mom!" Mason said. "It's my birthday next week, and I was planning on popping in for lunch."
"Oh, Mason!" Hannah cried happily. "That would be so wonderful! I've missed you!"
When Mason got married, Hannah gave him the down payment for a house as a wedding present. | Source: Unsplash
"And I've missed your magic red velvet cake," Mason said. "So don't forget to bake it for me!"
But when Mason's birthday dawned, his wife woke him up and drove him down to the marina to show him her birthday present: a 12-meter cabin cruiser. They immediately took the yacht out, and Mason forgot all about his promise to Hanna.
He didn't even phone to tell her he wasn't coming and only remembered Hannah a week later. "Oh my God!" he cried to his secretary. "I forgot about my mother!"
Mason immediately phoned Hannah but she didn't pick up her landline and her cell phone kept going to voice-mail. Filled with guilt, he jumped into his car and drove the 120 miles to his mother's house.
He parked in Hannah's driveway and ran up to the door. "Mom!" he cried, as he knocked on the door. No one answered, so he took the spare key off his key chain and opened the door.
Mason called his mother once a week but he stopped visiting. | Source: Unsplash
"Mom?" he called. The house was dead quiet, all the windows were closed, and there was dust everywhere. He walked into the kitchen, and there, on top of the kitchen table was a red velvet cake.
The cake was covered with mold and looked at least a week old. Where was Hannah? She had always been a fastidious housewife and she'd never have left a cake to rot in her kitchen!
Mason ran next door and knocked. "Mrs. Danzing," he gasped to his mom's neighbor. "So you know where my mother is?"
"Yes," Mrs. Danzing said, throwing Mason a disapproving look. "She's in the hospital. She had a heart attack and I was the one who found her."
Mason was devastated. He drove to the hospital and asked to see his mother. The doctors told him Hannah was in the ICU and that he couldn't see her. Then they told him his mother needed surgery, and asked about insurance.
Mason phoned Hannah and asked her to make his favorite cake for his birthday.| Source: Pexels
"I don't think she HAS insurance," Mason said. And that was when the doctors told him the surgery would cost between $100,000 and $200,000. "I don't have that kind of money," he gasped.
Mason went home that night and lay on the bed next to Patricia tossing and turning. "My mom needs the surgery," he told her. "The doctors said it would amount to between $100,000 and $200,000. I don't know what to do... Maybe... Would you be angry if I sold the cabin cruiser?"
Patricia jumped out of bed. "WHAT?" she gasped. "SELL the boat? It was a birthday present!"
"I know," Mason said humbly. "And I love it, but my mom..."
Patricia's present to Mason was a cabin cruiser. | Source: Unsplash
"Your mom should have thought about that when she was younger!" Patricia cried angrily. "MY parents did, so they wouldn't be a burden to their children!"
"My mother spent every cent she earned on ME," Mason said. "She raised me on her own. paid for college, gave us the deposit for this house, everything she had she gave to ME. I'm going to sell the boat, and I'm going to sell the house!"
"You'd better make sure you have enough for the lawyers, Mason!" Patricia screamed. "Because if you put that woman first, I'm divorcing you!"
"That woman is my mother, Patricia," Mason said. "And if you loved me you'd understand."
Mason found his mother's house empty. | Source: Pexels
Mason did sell the boat, and that, together with his half of the equity on the house was enough to pay for Hannah's mitral valve replacement surgery. When he went to pick up Hannah from the hospital, he broke the news.
"Listen, mom," he said. "I hope you don't mind me moving in with you..."
"Of course not," Hannah said. "But what about Patricia?"
"Pat and I are divorced," Mason explained. "We had a falling out, so I'm basically homeless even though I do have a job. Can I stay with you until I'm back on my feet?"
Hannah stared at her son with tears in her eyes. "You sold the house, didn't you? To pay for my surgery? Is that why she divorced you? You sacrificed your marriage for me?"
Mason sold everything he had to pay for Hannah's surgery. | Source: Unsplash
Mason shook his head. "If that is who Patricia is, I'm well rid of her," he said. "I sacrificed nothing, mom, compared to what you've sacrificed for me. I just gave a very little bit back."
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