A mother’s heart ripped apart when she ran into a dirty, homeless beggar on the street corner and recognized him as her long-lost son. He was the same beloved boy who had abandoned her when she needed him the most when she was paralyzed.
Gracie’s day had been long and exhausting, and she couldn’t thank the skies enough for having some mercy on her. It was a rainy evening, and Gracie, 47, felt lucky as the showers stopped when she stepped out of the gym in an unfamiliar neighborhood. She had gone to the far-off town to fill in for her close friend, Diana, and instruct her yoga students for a day.
She stood at the bus stop, braving the cold and trying to keep her teeth from chattering, when she noticed a young beggar sitting nearby. With his fragile body cloaked in a tattered blanket, the man desperately stared into his alms bowl before him. Without wasting a second, Gracie took out her purse to give him some change so he could buy a warm meal.
But as she approached the guy, a chill ran down her spine, and she froze in her spot. Her face grew ashen like she’d seen a ghost. Gracie’s heart started racing so fast that she feared it might stop beating when she recognized the man…
“Tyler? Is it REALLY you?” she exclaimed on seeing her son, who was now reduced to begging for scraps on the street. The beggar recoiled in shock as he tried hiding his face from the mother he had abandoned three years ago when she was paralyzed.
How could he forget that face? How could he not recognize that voice? And how could he forget that fateful night three years ago when he was informed of his mom’s accident?
You were never a burden to your mother, who carried your weight in her womb. Never make her feel she might be a burden on you.
It was a frosty night on December 23. Tyler, 24, was enjoying himself at a party, laughing and joking with his friends and hitting on random girls. Suddenly his phone started buzzing, but he didn’t attach any importance to it.
“Whose number is this?” he whispered as he glanced down and saw an unknown number flashing on his cell phone screen. But he was so busy partying that he ignored it and returned to enjoying himself with his friends.
However, the calls wouldn’t stop coming, and Tyler was so annoyed when his phone wouldn’t stop vibrating in his pocket.
“Who the hell is this?” Tyler blew up on the phone when he finally answered.
“Tyler… it’s me… Ricky.”
“Ricky? Whose number is this? What happened to your phone?” Tyler asked his younger brother.
“My phone’s battery is dead… Tyler, it’s MOM,” Ricky added, his voice trembling. “She’s was in a car accident.”
Tyler’s heart stopped as he bolted out of the noisy pub.
“Mom… WHAT? Oh no… What happened to mom? Is she alright??” he gasped, his mind racing with a million worst-case scenarios.
“Mom’s alright. But I’m still scared. Could you please come to the hospital?” Ricky replied.
Tyler knew each second counted. But after hearing from his brother that their mom was alright, he smirked and hurried back to the pub to continue with the party.
Two hours later, Tyler made up his mind and finally hailed a taxi to the hospital. Ricky’s angry voice boomed across the hallway when his brother burst into the hospital looking for their mother’s ward.
“What took you so damn long?” Ricky snapped at Tyler.
“Why do I seem so important now? Did you suddenly realize I’m your older brother… mom’s eldest son who deserved all her love and attention?” Tyler fumed at Ricky.
“You’re her favorite son, aren’t you? You’re always the first in everything… so why should I waste my time comin’ in early?”
“Are you out of your mind, Tyler? Mom’s admitted here. She’s had a terrible accident. You know what? You’re so sick… and selfish… that’s why everyone hates you!”
Ricky’s words stung Tyler like a slap in the face. He was so offended, and his ego hurt to admit he was wrong.
“Fine!” Tyler spat. “I’m leaving… And don’t come to me for help with anything, okay? Let mom’s BELOVED son take care of her!”
Tyler stormed out of the hospital, his blood boiling with anger. He could not shake the feeling that his own brother would raise his voice against him.
Gracie lay in her hospital bed, exhausted from multiple surgeries. She had crawled her way to success in life, but the terrible car crash and the medical bills would now force her to sell her dear business.
But even more painful was the sight of her two beloved sons drift apart. After her husband dumped her with two kids for another woman, Gracie braved her fate to raise her children. She was not interested in finding love again because she considered her sons as the sole purpose of her life.
Gracie swallowed her tears, and Ricky remained her rock throughout her hospital stay and even after she was discharged. He often took a break from college and stayed by her side to make sure she was okay.
But Tyler? He was more interested in partying with his friends than spending time with his mother, who was rendered paralyzed.
But one day, he was forced to stay home and watch over his mother when Ricky was held up with an important entrance exam. Although Tyler helped Gracie, it was not in the way she’d hoped.
“Oh, dear! Ricky has forgotten to get these medicines. Tyler, honey, could you please run to the drugstore?” Gracie asked her son, who was busy texting his friends on his phone.
“Sweetie… I need to take these pills before lunch… Could you please…”
“What do you want, mom?” Tyler snapped at Gracie, grabbing the prescription from her hand.
“Who’ll give me the money? I don’t have money to get your medicines.”
“It’s in there,” Gracie said as she handed Tyler the keys to her cupboard.
He got her the medicines and was so irritated whenever she called him to help her with some water or to take her to the restroom. Gracie weighed the look of impatience and frustration on Tyler’s face, and she was so crushed.
“I’m sorry for burdening you,” cried Gracie when Tyler yelled at her for calling him again.
“I didn’t expect my son would treat me this way.”
“Oh really?” Tyler lashed out at his mom. “What did you expect when you dumped me with grandma when I was a kid?”
Gracie felt a dagger in her heart when she reflected on her past.
When Gracie’s ex-husband abandoned her with the children, her second son Ricky was just a newborn. So she had left her eldest son Tyler with his grandma and had taken Ricky to work because he was still a baby and needed more attention and care.
But this didn’t sit too well with Tyler. He was jealous of his younger brother and couldn’t hold himself back from picking fights with him as they grew older. Moreover, he thought his younger brother was their mother’s golden child, so he never forgave Gracie, thinking she was playing favorites.
Tyler failed to understand that a mother would never divide her love for her children.
Gracie’s two sons were the light of her life, and she would never choose to pick one eye and prick the other.
“I didn’t abandon you,” Gracie cried, her voice barely above a whisper and her lips dry. She was choked by what Tyler had said.
“I worked hard day and night to feed the family… to keep the roof over our heads. To give you a good education. But you spent all the money from your college fund on your parties, girls… and friends.”
Gracie felt a sense of stinging pain wash over her as she finished those words. She looked into Tyler’s eyes, waiting for an answer to calm her soul.
“Yeah, whatever! When’s your pet coming home? I have some important work, and I need to go…”
Tyler didn’t wait for his mother to finish talking and stormed out of her room, staring into her eye. If only poor Gracie knew that would be the last time she would see Tyler!
That evening, Ricky returned home and found his mom fast asleep. But Tyler was nowhere around her.
He must be partying with his friends, thought Ricky, but something didn’t feel right, especially after he saw his mom’s cupboard slightly ajar.
Ricky’s heart sank when he checked the cupboard and found a huge chunk of Gracie’s money had been stolen. He couldn’t believe that his own brother would do something like this.
Ricky rang Tyler, but there was no answer. And when he called again, Tyler’s phone was switched off.
Ricky’s heart shuddered as he realized that his brother had stolen their mom’s hard-earned money and vanished without a trace.
“Mom… wake up… Tyler is missing. He’s stolen your money,” Ricky gasped, jolting Gracie awake.
“I’m reporting him to the cops.”
But to his shock, his mother stopped him, pleading with him not to do it.
The room filled with a heavy silence as Gracie broke down into tears. She was guilty of raising an irresponsible son like Tyler. But she still loved him and couldn’t imagine him being put behind bars.
“I don’t know how much time I have left… But I want to spend all the time I have with you before God calls me.”
Three dreadful years passed since the day Tyler disappeared. And there hadn’t been a single day Gracie had not cried, fighting with God to bring him back… to bring her beloved son back.
During these three years, Gracie gathered her broken pieces to brave her fate. Her life had changed its course after the accident. She couldn’t return to work as she’d sold the business she’d built from the ground up.
However, a savior arrived, giving Gracie a turning point in her life.
Gracie met her best friend Diana, who recommended her to a leading-edge rehabilitation program. As days passed, Gracie’s health improved, and she got back on her feet, thanks to yoga and her determination to rise.
And as more time ticked away, Gracie joined a gym as a yoga instructor. Ricky went to college, and everything seemed normal, except for the fact that Gracie never grew tired of looking for Tyler.
She gave up when all her efforts turned futile and decided to move on. Tyler was an adult with authority over his own life, so Gracie chose to focus on her life now, praying her son would return someday.
Tyler had haunted her dreams for three years, crying for forgiveness and telling her he was punished for wronging her. Nothing made sense to Gracie.
She thought those were nightmares, but the absolute nightmare was when she ran into her son begging for alms that day.
“Tyler… is it you?” Gracie’s trembling voice startled the homeless man again, snapping them to the moment.
The guy turned away, trying to hide his dirty face from her.
But how could Gracie not recognize her son? A pang of grief and pain rushed into her heart as she realized that the homeless man begging for alms was indeed her son, Tyler.
“Wait… I know it’s you… STOP!” Gracie demanded, grabbing Tyler’s hand as he got up to leave.
“Yeah, it’s me, mom!” said Tyler in a voice breaking down with emotions as if he had been waiting for this day to cry his heart out.
“I don’t deserve to even look at you. Please go. Don’t come near me.”
“No, I’m not leaving without you. What happened, sweetie? I looked for you everywhere… I even asked your friends, but nobody told me anything. What happened to you? I thought you would at least be happy…”
“I’m an awful son, mom. I don’t deserve your love… please go,” Tyler cried.
But Gracie was determined and pressed him for the truth, only to burst into tears at the end of Tyler’s confession.
“I was afraid of wasting my youth looking after you when you were paralyzed. I stole some money and ran away. I had a great life with my friends and girlfriends. I partied every day, even went on cruises. But when my money ran out, all my friends started leaving one by one. I applied for a job as a janitor coz I couldn’t find anything else without a college degree. I had to take a medical test for that role.”
Tyler paused as the tears came gushing out.
“What happened, darling?” Gracie worried.
“Everything was over after that one test, Mom. My whole life was ruined. I have AIDS, mom.”
Gracie’s world started to spin when Tyler said that.
“I went to my friends and girlfriends asking for help. But they turned me away. I knew you and Ricky would still love me and take me in even if I told you I had AIDS. But I was so guilty and decided never to see you again,” added Tyler, tears streaming down his face.
“Mom, are you still angry with me for leaving you?”
“No! Life has already given you enough grief and regret. Come… let’s go home!” said Gracie as she held Tyler’s hand and waved at a taxi.
“Mom? Are you serious? Are you taking me home with you? But I have AIDS.”
“Son, it’s just AIDS… you, however, are my son. My flesh and blood. How can I leave you on the road like this?”
Tears rose in Tyler’s eyes, and his heart pounded with guilt as he boarded the cab with his mother. He couldn’t wait to see his younger brother, assuming even he would welcome him with a warm smile. But Ricky was beyond upset about Tyler’s sudden return.
“Mom, he betrayed you. He just dumped you and disappeared in your hardest moment. I am not gonna agree with this. He’s not staying with us,” Ricky expressed his disappointment to Gracie.
Torn between Ricky’s anger and Tyler’s helplessness, Gracie sent Tyler away with some money to rent a hotel. She needed time to convince Ricky and ensure Tyler had a place to stay.
“You’re out of your mind, mom. Just wait and watch! That bum will spend even this money on parties and beg on the streets again!” fumed Ricky.
Days turned into weeks, and Gracie never heard from Tyler again. She was disappointed and doubted if she’d done the right thing in forgiving Tyler.
One evening, she noticed Tyler outside a deluxe restaurant and was frustrated, thinking Ricky was right about his brother. Gracie angrily stormed to meet him but was swept away by a tear-jerking surprise.
“Mom!” exclaimed Tyler. “I was just about to call you!”
Gracie was stunned, and before she could fathom what was happening, Tyler led her into the restaurant toward a table displaying her favorite strawberry cake, chicken casserole, and champagne.
“Happy birthday, mom! May you live long… and stay blessed. May that smile on your face never fade, and may God bless me with another chance to be born in your womb again!”
As it turned out, Tyler had finally landed a job as a builder, and to his luck, he was not turned away over his health issues. He worked hard day and night, and that’s why he never found time to call or visit his mother. Moreover, Tyler knew his younger brother was upset about his return, so he wanted to prove that he’d changed for good.
He had saved money from his salary and arranged a small birthday dinner for his mom at the restaurant and had even invited Ricky to join the celebration.
“I don’t know how much time I have left… But I want to spend all the time I have with you before God calls me,” Tyler raised a toast after returning the money he once stole from his mom.
Gracie and Ricky were moved to tears. Something painful, something harrowing and yet happy crawled in their hearts, and their eyes wouldn’t stop overflowing with tears.
What can we learn from this story?
Never abandon a loved one who shed blood and sweat for you. When his mother was paralyzed after a car crash, Tyler stole her money and abandoned her. He was never grateful and always held a grudge against his youngest brother for getting more love and attention from their mother. However, Tyler realized his mistake when fate treated him with certain blows in life that he could never fix.
You were never a burden to your mother, who carried your weight in her womb. Never make her feel she might be a burden on you. Tyler was irritated about helping his paralyzed mother when he stayed home by her side for a day. His frustrations crushed Gracie, and she thought she was burdening him.