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Updated: October 15, 2018 

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No Empty Chairs

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Posted: 11/14/2009
Note: Names, Identifying informaiton and details may have been altered to protect personal identities.

I am 75 years old and in search of my youngest son, John. My wife and I have decided that it is time to put our papers and will in order before something happens to one or both of us, and in order to do so we need to find our son. Betty and I have regretted our falling out for many years, and it seems like such a trifling matter now, though at the time we disapproved of some of his choices, and he demanded that we accept him as he was. We found ourselves at an impasse, and we went our separate ways without a letter or a phone call all these years. By the time we came to our senses, it was too late--he was gone without so much as an address or phone number.

Betty still aches for him, and we both find ourselves somber on holidays and special occasions, especially his birthday. As each Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner passes by with the rest of the family nearby, someone inevitably says "we're all here, lets eat!" and I watch my wife bow her head quietly remembering that we are not all here as a family should be, and we haven't been for many years now. We have often talked about life after death and we imagine heaven to be like a banquet table laid out for the holiday. Betty often says that she won't stand for any empty chairs and that it is time to put aside our wounded pride and not only forgive our son, but plead for his forgiveness in return. We want to know what kind of man he has become and if he ever settled down with a family of his own. We know that he has lived everywhere from the Pacific to Atlantic coasts, that he has been married and divorced. He used to work for a cable company but we have no idea what career he settled on or even if he is still alive.

We contacted Search Quest America to solve this mystery for us once and for all. We were not disappointed. In only 24 days our researcher, Julie Jones, called to tell us that she had found John living in Colonial Heights, Virginia. He gave Julie permission to give us his email address only, not his phone number.

That night my wife and I sat down at the computer to draft a letter to our prodigal son. How does one begin that conversation after years of silence? We wrote, "Son, we love you. We miss you. I was foolish to be so hard on you all those years ago. It is time to put aside our differences and be a family once again. Your mother still prays for you every night and I have regretted my harsh words almost since the day they were spoken. Your mother is ill and her greatest wish is that she may see you again before it is too late--please call. We love you. I love you."

John called a few days later and we wept together. He is planning to come home for the holidays and bring his lovely family with him. I am proud of the man he has become and have recommitted myself to never let the sun set on my anger. Pride cost me too many years with my son and grandchildren, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to make amends. Thank you for giving me that opportunity. We could not have done it without you.

(Written by Mica Burton on Bob's behalf.)

Client ID# 258357
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