Dad’s Final Gift

Donna Walo

When they were little, Peggy and Jim lost their mom on Christmas Eve, and their father was completely devastated. Unable to cope with his wife’s death, Robert Burns reacted by pushing his young children away and withdrawing emotionally. He refused to celebrate Christmas, or any other holiday. His bitterness poisoned any bond he had with his children, until now. Robert’s memory is fading, and he wants to make amends. But how can he overcome years of neglect in a few weeks’ time? Peggy finds that her dad has been confiding in his handsome young neighbor, Ethan Dineen. Ethan is kind, generous, and very attentive. Peggy and Jim each react differently to Robert’s request for forgiveness, and to Ethan’s attempts to intercede on Robert’s behalf.

“Dad’s Final Gift” takes on the uncomfortable pain of a broken family and weaves it into a heartwarming story of forgiveness and new beginnings. Told in third person, the narrative is straightforward but unable to explore character perspectives in depth. Some plot developments may benefit from a better understanding of the characters’ thoughts. The current experience is similar to reading a narrated television movie special. Yet, Peggy and Ethan are sweet together. They embody the ability to see the best in another person. Robert and Jim are like father, like son. Together they embody a cautionary tale of reticent masculinity and its potential to perpetuate itself through generations. Overall, this is a light romance with an inspirational message that it is never too late for atonement. Its tribute to love and reconciliation fits in the holiday season, and all year round.

Joan Lai