Summary: Jim finds his mom.
Notes: I always wondered why his mother never came back into his life. I thought this might have been a good enough reason to leave the poor boys with William.
Word Count: 5345
Jim knocked on his father’s front door, on December 1st, with one thought in mind. I’m going to find my mother this year.
William opened up the front door and smiled at Jim. “Hello, Jimmy, did we have plans today?”
“I was hoping I could speak to you, dad.”
“Come in and sit down. I gave you a key for a reason, Jimmy. You can come and go as you please,” William said as they walked into the living room. Both men sat down.
Jim smiled. “I know that I can use the key, but I don’t feel like it’s my house, dad. It’s still your house. Give me time to get used to having you in my life again. The reason I came over today is I want to see my mother. I’m hoping that you know where she is and if you would give me her address?”
“Jimmy, I told you many times, she had her reasons for leaving. I don’t think that you need to dive into all of those bad feelings especially around the holidays.”
“Dad, if you don’t tell me where she is, I’m getting a private eye to do it for me. Either way, I’m going to find my mother,” Jim said as calmly as he could.
“If you insist, Jimmy, I’ll give you the address. She’s been in the same place for the last 30 years. Let me get one of their cards,” William said as he got up to find what he needed.
When he came walking back into the room, he had a business card and handed it to Jim. Jim looked it and shock was written all over his face.
“She lives in a mental care facility? Did she have senses problems, like I did?” Jim asked.
“No, Jimmy, she had a nervous breakdown and she never ever came back from it. She lives in another time and another world. I went to see her for a long while every weekend, hoping it would help, but it didn’t. Back then they gave shock treatment and I’m sorry to say that it left her in a very bad state. She knows me but she doesn’t know you boys at all. I really did try, Jimmy. If it happened today, things would have been different, but back then, they did things that were horrible. In one weekend, I lost my wife and the mother of my children. She’s in a very good place now. I pay for her upkeep, always have and always will. If you want to go and see her, then I think you should. But just remind yourself that she’s not going to know who you are.”
Jim hugged his dad and said, “I’m so sorry, dad. I had no idea. All of these years, we thought she left because of one of us. I tried to blame you and then I tried to blame my senses. God, I can’t believe this. I hope you don’t mind, I’m going to take Blair up with me.”
“I’ve always said Blair could reach anyone. In this case, I don’t think it’s going to work, Jimmy. I’m sorry,” William said sadly.
“I just need to see her, dad. That’s all. I know she won’t know me, but I still want to see her. It’s been a long 30 years. A ten year old really needs his mom, you know?” Jim asked.
“I know, Jimmy. I should have explained when you were all young, but how do you tell your sons that their mother is insane? It’s something they never wish to hear, I can promise you that.”
Jim slipped the card into his billfold and asked, “Are we still on for Christmas dinner, dad?”
“Yes, I told Blair the time and told him what he needs to bring. I love his cooking,” William admitted.
“Thanks again for asking us, dad. I’ll see you later. I need to get to work and then plan the trip for this weekend.”
Jim walked sadly to his truck and started it up. This wasn’t at all what Jim had hoped to hear. He hoped he could find his mom, yell at her for being selfish and then walk off and leave her like she did them. Now what was he going to do?
When Jim got home that night, Blair met him at the door with a beer in hand. “I hear you had a hard day,” Blair said as he handed Jim the beer.
“My dad called you, right?”
“Yes, he did and he said you looked sadder then he had ever seen, so I was to spend extra time making things better for you tonight. Instead I think we should talk about going up and seeing your mom as soon as possible. I’ve got the next three weeks off from classes, so I’m all yours.”
“Maybe I could call Simon and ask for some time off,” Jim said.
“You go take a quick shower before dinner and I’ll call Simon for you. I’ll see if we can’t get a week off. Okay?” Blair asked.
“Thank you, Chief, you’re always here when I need you.”
Blair watched the sad man walk into the bathroom and shut the door. Blair felt horrible for him. He couldn’t imagine losing Naomi to mental illness. Especially one illness that had been treated, wrongly, so very long ago, before they figured out that you could do things with medications and therapy. Jim was never going to have his mother in his life. She would always be a stranger. Blair called Simon and got the week off with no problem and then he walked into the office and set up a hotel for a week in Seattle. If they wanted to leave right away, they could, but if Jim felt the need to be near his mom, they could stay the entire week, too.
“Something smells really good, Chief.” Jim said as he walked out of the bathroom wearing only his robe and slippers.
“I made meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beens and fruit salad for dessert. How does that sound?” Blair asked.
“Sounds like you’ve been cooking all day long. I thought you had classes today?” Jim wondered.
“I finished at 3:00 and that gave me plenty of time to cook. I think you’re going to like it. I added something new this time,” Blair said.
“Yeah, I smell the A-1 sauce in the meat. It smells wonderful. Spicy but not too spicy. Smells perfect,” Jim guessed.
“It must be so nice to be a Sentinel. I would love to be able to guess what someone made for dinner.”
“Sometimes it’s fun and it’s nice. But there are those days where I think it’s not so fun and not so nice,” Jim replied.
“Sit down and eat. Everything is on the table.”
Jim sat down and started to fill his plate. He leaned over twice and got a kiss from Blair.
“Not that I’m complaining, but what were those for?” Blair asked.
“For loving me and not leaving me, like you should have ten times over,” Jim said, sounding a little sad.
“We leave for Seattle tomorrow. We have a hotel reservation near the facility for a week. So we can take our time, Jim. This is your mom and you’re going to want to spend time with her.”
“Even if she doesn’t know me?” Jim asked.
“Even then. You’re still going to want to know about her. You can talk to the help there and the doctor there. You can find out what you need to know to make you feel better about everything,” Blair suggested.
“You are coming with me, right?”
“Of course, I am. I wouldn’t be anywhere else. Now eat your dinner and we’ll watch the game tonight. You’ve been looking forward to that for the last week. The Jags don’t play every day, you know?”
Jim kissed Blair again, making Blair smile. Blair loved when Jim was mushy, which wasn’t too often, so he was taking advantage of this.
The following morning, the boys woke up, made slow, quiet love to each other and then packed their bags to go. Blair could feel the sadness that had overtaken Jim since yesterday and he only hoped it wouldn’t get worse. But either way, Blair would be there to help pick up the pieces.
The drive to Seattle was quiet for the most part. Finally Jim said, “Chief, I’m not broken. You can talk to me. I like when you talk.”
“Would you like to hear some things about my classes? I have some funny stories to tell,” Blair said.
“So tell. I could use some humor about now.”
“I was reading the papers that I needed to grade and found one that made me laugh out loud. We’re studying the pygmies in Africa, called the Mbuti. One of the questions was what language does the word Pygmy come from? Everyone gave the correct answer, of being Greek except for one. He said he couldn’t remember exactly who it was, but it was because they put apples in their mouths and that’s why they called them pygmies.”
Jim burst out laughing. “What in the hell does that have to do with anything?”
“I know, right? He was thinking about pigs being stuffed with an apple. Why, I don’t know, but it made me laugh really long and hard. One person wrote, she didn’t know why they were called Pygmies but they should just be called dwarfs. I swear, they all missed classes the days we were discussing this. But it was good for a laugh, right?”
“Yes, it made me laugh hard. I wonder what those parents would think if they read some of the answers,” Jim said.
“Most of the students, pay attention and answer the questions right. But if you aren’t there and you miss a day for discussion, you’re going to not do well on the pop quiz,” Blair teased.
“Any more questions?” Jim asked hopefully.
“Yes, I asked them, what is the term of the slightly taller pygmies. What were they called. The same student that I mentioned first said, ‘Basketball players.’ Honest to God, Jim, I don’t make this shit up.”
“What is the answer?” Jim wondered aloud.
“Pygmoid are slightly taller then pygmies.”
“See, I learned something new today. How tall are they anyhow?” Jim asked.
“The tallest ones are about four foot nine. But they are few and far between. Most of them are much smaller.”
“Do you suppose they play basketball?” Jim joked.
“You never know, man.”
“Give me another one, Chief.”
“I asked what language the Mbuti spoke and the answer is Bantu, in most areas, but that same guy answered, Umpa Lumpa and couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t give it to him. Stop laughing, Jim, it pissed me off. This guy hadn’t paid any attention to any of the questions that I asked.”
“Chief, if someone had trouble with their senses, and couldn’t control them, would that be considered mental illness?” Jim changed the subject so quickly that he made Blair’s head spin.
“Jim, she showed no signs of sensory problems. I asked your dad. She didn’t hear voices. She didn’t think someone was trying to poison her and she didn’t mind being touched. I think hers was indeed just mental illness, but we’ll see what the doctor says when we get there.”
“I’ve often wondered where I get them from,” Jim said softly.
“I think you get them from your dad. He has acute hearing and taste. I’ve been watching him for the last few weeks. So I would guess he’s had them under control for all of these years and now its second nature to have them.”
“Oh my God, that would be so good, if I got them from him. I’ve had this terrible feeling that my mom had it and they did shock therapy on her for that. Can you imagine how horrible that would be?”
“Jim, I can’t believe they used to do that. It was a terrible time for mental illness. She might have been bipolar for all you know, which can be controlled as you well know. But back then, they thought shock therapy would treat everything. I have a friend whose gramma was never the same after that. She’s like a young child instead of their gramma.”
“It must have been hard on them,” Jim said sadly.
“They were all used to it, so they worked around it. You have to deal with what you’re dealt with, Jim. There is no getting around bad stuff sometimes. We’ll see what they all say at the hospital.”
“You’re right, of course. We’ll listen to what they have to say,” Jim agreed.
Jim drove up to the hotel that was five blocks from the facility and they put all of their things in their room. The room was very nice. There was a California King bed, huge hot tub in the bathroom and a separate shower. It had everything they would need, even a refrigerator.
“Let’s get some beer and water and put it in the fridge while we’re at the hospital. That way it’ll get cold.” Blair suggested.
Jim smiled. “Good thinking, Chief. There’s a store around the corner.”
So they went to the store, got some munchies and beer and water. Once everything was put away, they drove over to the Mental Health Hospital. It was a very nice one. They walked in the front door and it was super clean and the girl behind the desk was so friendly, Blair wanted to smack her for flirting with Jim. But he didn’t think it was the time or place to bring it up.
“Why don’t you both sit down and I’ll get Grace’s doctor for you. His name is Doctor Mason and he’s loved by all of the patients here. I’ll be right back,” Beth said.
Blair held on to Jim’s hand, pulled him down on the sofa and said, “Beth likes you.”
“How do you know her name?” Jim asked.
“It’s on her name tag, dummy,” Blair teased.
“What are you doing looking at her name tag?” Jim asked.
“Never mind, he she comes,” Blair said standing back up.
Beth said, “Doctor Mason, this is Grace Ellison’s son. He just found out that she was here. He would like to talk to you and see his mother.”
“Mr. Ellison, please follow me,” Doctor Mason said coolly.
Blair and Jim followed the man into an office and he said, “Sit down, both of you. You’ve been told that she had shock therapy years ago, am I right?”
“Yeah, thirty years ago to be exact. What were her symptoms?” Jim asked.
“I’m not aware of anything in her file before this institution. She’s doing well now. She is in charge of many things in the facility. She’s a great help to us all. But she knows of no family that I know of, anyhow. You can see her, but I don’t want her upset. I want you to know that’s my job to keep her safe. She doesn’t know you exist, Mr. Ellison, so she’s not going to know anything about you. Do you understand that you can’t tell her who you are?”
“Yes, sir, I do. Does she remember her husband, my dad?” Jim asked hopefully.
“You may ask her that. I don’t think that would upset her too much. But don’t ask about children, because her life is gone after that,” Doctor Mason said.
“When can we see her?” Jim asked.
“I’ll take you there now and you can have lunch with her, if you’d like. She loves to have new people around her. She’s a lovely client at this facility. Just remember the rules.”
Jim and Blair stood up and followed the doctor to the room where Grace was. Jim saw her immediately and got tears in his eyes. She was still beautiful. Doctor Mason said, “Grace, I have two gentlemen from Cascade, Washington to see you. They know your husband.”
“You know William?” Grace asked.
“Not too well, but we thought we would stop by and say hello to you,” Jim said sadly.
“Have you lost someone lately? You look very sad and alone,” Grace asked Jim.
“Yes, I lost my mother,” Jim answered.
Doctor Mason left the room and let them have some privacy.
“Oh that’s too bad. And how about you, young man? Do you have your mother?” Grace asked Blair.
“Yes, ma’am. She’s wonderful and I see her as often as I can,” Blair replied.
“That’s good, because I think a mother belongs with her sons.”
Jim turned around and walked towards the rest room. Blair let him go and be by himself for awhile and continued talking to Grace.
“He seems very sad. What is your name?” Grace asked.
“Blair Sandburg. Just call me Blair. Do you have any family, Grace?”
“I have a husband and my brother, who recently passed away,” Grace said very casually.
“So you hear from your husband?” Blair asked.
“Yes, he comes once a month to see me. He always brings me flowers and candy, my two favorite things in the world. We spend the day together and then he goes back home.”
Jim walked back up to Grace and Blair and sat down next to Blair.
Grace said, “I didn’t catch your name. What is it?”
“It’s Jim, ma’am.”
“That was my brother’s name, too. How odd. He died a month ago, I wish you could have met him too. He came up every week for the last 20 years. He was a wonderful brother.”
Jim nodded as she talked and Grace put her hand on his and said, “It’s hard when you lose someone, but it get’s easier with time. You wait and see.”
“Grace, would you mind if we came and visited you for the next few days?” Jim asked.
“I would love that. Are you going to bring Blair, too? He’s such a nice young man. I enjoy company. Tomorrow we could sit in the garden. It’s unusually warm out, don’t you agree?” Grace asked.
Jim smiled and said, “Its gorgeous weather, Grace. We’ll come back and see you tomorrow.”
“Would you like to have lunch first?” Grace asked sweetly.
“That would be very nice, we’d love to join you,” Jim answered.
They all got up and walked into the dining room and Jim realized this wasn’t a terrible life. She liked it here. She was comfortable here and the food smelled pretty darn good.
They sat down at a table and Grace said, “You lay your pepper shaker down to let everyone know that this table is taken. So let’s go get our food, boys.”
Grace and Jim shared a tray and Jim carried it and their drinks to the table. Blair carried some extra coffee because he had a feeling he was going to need it.
They ate their meal with Grace doing most of the talking. “I’m so surprised that William hasn’t mentioned you both. I’m going to ask him why he didn’t tell me about his friends. He’s a kind man, isn’t he? He’s tried many times to take me out of this place, but I like it here. So he just continues to visit me monthly.”
Jim wiped his eyes four or five times during lunch. He was sure he had sadder days, but he sure as hell couldn’t think of one right then.
Doctor Mason came up to Jim and said, “Mr. Ellison, could I speak to you?”
Jim stood up and said, “Lead the way.”
Grace looked at Blair oddly and said, “He’s related to William?”
“Yes, he’s his son,” Blair said softly.
“William must have gotten very lonely over the years. It’s nice that he told his son about me. I never would have expected that,” Grace said.
Jim sat down in Doctor Mason’s office again and he said, “I had to call your father to ask if you could find out everything about your mother. First of all, she’s not well. She looks well, but she’s dying. She only has a month or two left. This is a very good day for her. Your visit seems to have helped her a great deal. She has lung cancer. They tried everything, but it didn’t work. I’m so sorry, Mr. Ellison.”
Jim stood up and said, “I’m going to be coming in for the rest of the week to spend time with her. Is it all right that I bring chocolates and flowers for her?”
“That would be most kind. She likes you, I can tell. You look a lot like her brother, Jim.”
“Thank you for telling me, sir. Here is my number if you need me for anything,” Jim said as he handed over a business card from work.
“You’re a detective from Cascade. She would have been so proud of you, son. Just remember that she wasn’t always like this. She was once your mother and you loved each other. Now go back to your visit and enjoy your mom while you can.”
Jim walked out of the office and was ready to scream. He wanted to yell at anyone for life being so unfair. He finally found his mother, she didn’t know him and she’s dying. Jim wiped his eyes once more and headed back into the dining room.
Blair could see the red rimmed eyes and knew this was killing Jim. He wasn’t an overly emotional man, but this was his mother, damnit.
“You know, you look a lot like my brother, Jim. That’s odd, I know he didn’t have any children. Are you sure you’re not related to my family? You look like my father, too.”
Jim was shaking as he answered, “No ma’am, I’m not any relation at all. I’m just a friend of William’s and yours.”
Blair tried to say something, but Grace cut in. “Oh honey, the cats out of the bag. Doctor Mason said your last name. I know that William has a son. That’s nice because I know he was lonely for all of those years. Are you close to him, Jim?”
“Not really close. But we’re trying, Grace. It’s nice that he comes up to see you every month. I’m glad,” Jim said.
After lunch, Grace said, “Well, I hate to be a party pooper, but I’m exhausted. Will I see you tomorrow, Jim and Blair?”
“Yes, Grace, we’ll be here,” Jim said sadly.
Grace kissed his cheek and said, “This young man loves you like crazy. I hope you know that.”
“Yes, ma’am, I do. I love him too,” Jim confessed.
“Good, then we’ll see you both tomorrow,” Grace said as she got out of her chair and started back to her room.
Jim walked away slowly, knowing that he wanted to scream at her and tell her he was her son. But he knew that was selfish. He couldn’t upset her or confuse her in any way. She seemed very nice.
Once in the car, Blair said, “I’m here babe. Talk to me.”
“We’ll talk when we get to the hotel, Chief.” Jim leaned back and let Blair do the driving. That was the first indication that things weren’t always good.
As Blair drove the short distance, he glanced over at Jim and could see a man that was ready to break in two. Blair was glad that he was there to help pick up the pieces.
Once at the hotel, Jim went into the bathroom and was in there for some time. He finally walked out and Blair could see he was quietly crying.
“Jim, she’s doing great, other then the cough. We can come and see her every month if you’d like. She doesn’t have to know who you are, but she can know that you’re here for her.”
Jim pulled Blair into his arms and said, “She’s dying, Chief. Her lungs are full of liquid and she hasn’t got long before she passes. I’m glad we’re here. This might be her last week. Tomorrow, I’m buying her chocolates and flowers galore. She looked just like I remembered her. Okay, almost like I remembered her. But it was wonderful seeing her.”
“I’m so sorry about her being sick. I’m sorry this hasn’t worked out better for you,” Blair said holding Jim a little tighter.
Jim said, “I’m going to lie down for awhile, I would like if you held me while I slept.”
“I’m here for you, babe. Take your shoes and your jeans off and slip into the bed with me.”
Jim did exactly as Blair said and then Blair held him for the next three hours. Jim woke up three times, crying softly into Blair’s chest. Blair caressed his hair and was quiet for a change. He wanted Jim to have time to grieve for the loss of his mom. True, she hadn’t died yet, but he was lost to her years ago. She would never know the joy that Jim brought to so many people. Blair had to keep wiping his eyes too.
Jim and Blair showered the next morning and decided they would get an early start when Jim’s cell phone went off. He answered it, “Ellison.”
“Mr. Ellison, this is Doctor Mason. I wanted to let you know that your mother passed away during the night. She didn’t suffer, she went in her sleep. Thank you for making her last day so enjoyable. She talked about you all night long. I’m very sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you for calling, Doctor Mason. I will contact my dad to arrange the service.”
“The service has already been arranged. It’s going to be in three days. She’s being cremated and her ashes are to be spread in the ocean. We have someone to do that for her. She was well liked by everyone here. The service is going to be in the building next to our facility. It’s the chapel and counseling rooms. Will we see you there?”
Jim sadly said, “We’ll be there. What time?”
“At 4:00 p.m. I will see you then. Again, I’m sorry for your loss,” Doctor Mason said as kindly as he could.
Jim got off the phone and sat down on the edge of the bed and started to cry. Blair knew from Jim’s look and actions that his mother was no longer with them.
Blair rubbed Jim’s back and said, “I’m so sorry, Jim. I know you were looking forward to another few days with her before she was gone.”
“Why did I wait until I was 38 years old, Chief? Why couldn’t I have looked for her earlier? Those are years, I’ll never get back.”
Blair didn’t have an answer, so he just hugged Jim harder and would be there for however long Jim would need to be held.
William and Steven came up for the funeral. Everyone talked to them about Grace. She seemed very popular and well loved. Jim was glad that her life had not been a lonely and sad one, but one filled with the joy of having friends and strangers in her life.
Steven didn’t seem too upset to Jim, but Steven was younger and didn’t remember their mom the way Jim did.
Once the funeral was over, Jim and Blair went back to the hotel to pack up and head back to Cascade.
The ride back to Cascade was quiet and made Blair a little nervous not being able to say anything, but he wanted Jim to speak first, when he was ready.
“She had a story that she used to read to me when I was little. She read it to me so many times that I memorized it. When she left, I took over the job of reading to Steven. But he missed his mom too much and we never read it again. Its funny how there are certain things you remember and some you don’t. I don’t remember her being taken away, but yet, I remember missing her voice at night time when she read to me. Would you like to hear the two stories she wrote and read to us?” Jim asked.
“I would love to hear it, Jim.” Blair’s heart was breaking for his lover, who was being so strong, but yet so broken at the same time.
Jim began reciting the stories from memory and Blair had tears rolling down his face as Jim talked. Jim was sobbing, but continued on with the story. It was something he had to do. He wanted his mom to know that he remembered her, even if she didn’t remember him. The stories were going to be in his heart forever. After he was done reciting them, he held Blair’s hand all the way into Cascade. Jim was finally at peace. He had seen his mom and he remembered some things he had thought he forgot.
These stories are really just written by me. Just some little something that would mean the world to a little boy.
James was a baby dragon.
He was blue, unlike his mom and dad.
They were nice dragons and never yelled at sweet baby James.
James was very happy to be a dragon.
The father dragon was named William.
He was beautiful, with his green coloring.
His mother was smaller and was called Grace.
She was a beautiful red dragon.
Sweet baby James asked mama dragon when he would be able to fly.
She told him to be patient-he had to grow up first.
Papa dragon helped him learn to eat what dragons eat.
At first baby James didn’t like it-but he learned.
His mama taught him how to play with other baby dragons.
James was growing up very fast.
Before long, it was time for papa dragon to teach James how to fly.
Mama dragon dreaded this day, but they knew he would grow up.
Papa dragon told James he always had to dream big.
James didn’t really understand that yet, but he would try.
He tried and he tried to fly, but he wasn’t able to.
It was time for mama dragon to help him.
She showed him how to do it, just like his papa dragon.
James still couldn’t fly.
Then mama and papa dragon both worked with James.
He learned how to fly right away.
Mama and papa dragon knew that their lives were forever changed.
But that was all right, because they were dreaming big.
For sweet baby James Ellison
Happy Little Monkey
Baby James is a monkey as you can plainly see.
Bounce, bounce, bounce.
He loves to jump and run and hide in the jungle.
Jump, jump, jump.
There is a bunny going by, James likes to watch.
Hop, hop, hop.
James sees a Gorilla and it scares him a little bit.
Roar, roar, roar.
Is that a tiger that is coming towards James?
Growl, growl, growl.
Mama monkey is coming to check on James.
Love, love, love.
Daddy monkey is right behind her.
Hugs, hugs, hugs.
James is very happy to be in the jungle.
Smile, smile, smile.
James is getting tired now and needs to go to sleep.
Yawn, yawn, yawn.
Mama monkey puts James down for his nap.
Sleep, sleep, sleep.
Daddy monkey leans down and kisses his cheek.
Kiss, kiss, kiss.
James has wonderful dreams of the jungle and all of the animals.
Dream, dream, dream.
When he wakes up from his nap, he is smiling like all monkeys should.
Happy, happy, happy.
James is very glad he was born to his mama and daddy.
Giggle, giggle, giggle.