They say when you lose someone you love, in time, the pain goes away. That things will get better and you will move on with your life. But that's not true. The pain never goes away. It gets easier to do things but it doesn't get better. You just learn to live with the pain.
When my father died, I was broken. I was alone with no one to care for me. The rest of the family hardly cared. They just called it a tragedy, attended the funeral and moved on. All the while muttering how now they had one less person to share their inheritance with. My mother spiraled. She just drank and drank. Eventually, she lost herself in multiple lovers over the years. My grandfather, whom everyone called Red, on the other hand was something else.
Ever since I was 12, I blamed him for the death of my father. He told everyone that he was the reason my father, Jay Stevens, died. That he held his son back and that got him killed. Ever since that day, he shouldered the blame for his son. Recently, I learned that wasn't true.
When Red died, he left me a series of gifts. The journey to receive them changed who I was for the better. I lost my old life, and then I gave it up; the playboy with superficial friends and a trendy girlfriend who'd all drop me the moment things got tough. But I gained something new and better in a return. A series of gifts actually.
The gifts of hard work, money, friends, learning, problems, family, laughter, dreams, giving, gratitude, a day, and love.
I was going down a poor and selfish path and Red saved me from that. He gave me people who care for me. He gave people who love me for who I am and not what I have. If it was for him, I wouldn't have found the Ultimate Gift. Emily and her mother, Alexia.
We had a rough start. Looking back, I wish I could say that during our first meeting, I was struck by Lightning at how beautiful and amazing they were and still are. I wasn't though. But over time, we developed a weird sort of relationship. Unfortunately, it couldn't last.
Before I met them, Emily had leukemia. She and her mother thought it had gone into remission, but it came back. Between her treatments and the bills, they were struggling to survive. I didn't understand why at the time, but I couldn't let them suffer like that. I secretly gave them whatever money I had and scrounged up the other $100 that they needed. It was during that time that Emily and I became friends, and I was slowly I was falling for Alexia and she was falling for me. It didn't hurt that Emily was trying to set us up either.
My grandfather's gift took me to Ecuador, where I learned that my father's death was his own fault and no one else's. Red took the blame so that no one in the family would tarnish Jay Stevens' memory.
After I got back to the USA, I gave Emily and Alexia a day. A day to just be surrounded by warmth, laughter, and love. A short while later, I had passed all of Red's tests and received $100 million as my inheritance. All of my material possessions were given back to me, and the people I knew before the test were coming back to me. But I wasn't that person and I rejected it.
I realized that there were several others who were in Emily and Alexia's situation and I wanted to help them. I used my inheritance to fund the opening of a new hospital, called Emily's Home. The name is clearly obvious. But at the end of my presentation, Emily died. She was just gone. Alexia and I were a wreck, but we had each other to lean on.
It has been 10 years since Emily died. During that time, I made peace with my mom. My uncles and their families, not so much. Emily's Home had it's grand opening and was a huge boon for struggling families everywhere. As for Alexia, she and I fell in love and we had a kid. A daughter named Joy. Emily would have loved to have been a big sister. We tell Joy about Emily all of the time. Though Alexia is the one with the most stories. There are these moments when I think that Emily would have liked something. Sometimes I think I should tell or show her something and realize I can't. There are times when I can see her in my mind's eye, right next to us. I told Alexia about it once and she told me that she feels those moments too. I can still see the sadness in her eyes. The emotions I can experience but never fully understand the same way she does. In a way Red would have.
One time, the three of us went ice skating at a park during Christmas. I hadn't skated before and I was struggling to stand up on my two feet. Alexia and Joy were having a laugh at my troubles and their laughter was contagious. Then my breath caught a little. I swore that I saw Emily standing and laughing with them. She was a little older now, an adult. She was just smiling. She skated over to me and bluntly told me I was being stupid and how easy it should be. She held out her hand and I grabbed it. She pulled me up and lead the way on the rink, all the way back over to our family. When I looked again, she wasn't there. Only a little butterfly that flew over us and then up at the stars. I don't know what that was, but I know for a fact that it wasn't a dream. She was there with us, in spirit.
The ultimate gift is not a single gift that is merely given to anyone. It is a journey of life to obtain the most beautiful and meaningful things in existence. The gifts of hard work, money, friends, learning, problems, family, laughter, dreams, giving, gratitude, a day, and love. For me, the ultimate gift gave me life, so I wasn't just existing. It gave me Alexia, Joy, and Emily. And I will love them until the day I die and beyond.
A/N I just saw this movie on YouTube. It's called The Ultimate Gift. It felt really meaningful to watch and I just felt inspired. I recommend you watch it. There are also sequels to that movie called The Ultimate Life and The Ultimate Legacy. I haven't watched the sequels yet, but I plan to. All of the movies are Free with Ads on YouTube.
Also, I know that Jason and Alexia had a daughter, but I don't know her name and I can't find it online. If you know the name let me know and I may or may not change it. I kind of like the name Joy for their daughter though and I'm a little attached to it. Plus, it keeps in line with the naming for the Stevens. Jay Stevens, Jason Stevens, Joy Stevens.