Guilt and Redemption

"Thank you for seeing me on such short notice, Dr. Ocean.  I called so many psychiatrists but none had an availability sooner than June.  I just couldn't stand it any longer.

"How is it you were able to see me in less than an hour?"

"It was simply luck of the timing.  I had a cancelation, Mr. Wynder.  Now, what can I do for you?"

"I have had such guilt most of my life.  My wife and I had four children, two girls and then two boys.  It was the oldest boy that my issues have always surrounded.  I don't know why but I hated him from the time he was able to talk.  When he called me Daddy it was like a knife in my ears.  I tried to tolerate him for a decade.  I mostly avoided him until he needed to be punished.  As compared to the other children, I enjoyed hitting him.  It gave me a sense of retribution for him making me hate him."

"Have you thought before of how a small child could make an adult hate them?"

"I don't know.  He was different from the others.  Somehow.  I knew early on he was smart but later it seemed he didn't use it.  He disappointed me."

"You said he was different.  Perhaps he needed to learn differently also."

"I didn't know how!"

"Calm yourself, Mr. Wynder.  We are only trying to reach the source of your guilt."

"My guilt is because I killed him!"

"It's alright to cry...let it out."

"You don't seem shocked."

"I've practiced psychiatry for twenty years.  I've heard it all.  There isn't much that will shock me.  Please, go on."

"We lived on the coast at the time.  We went to the beach for the day.  He was playing alone by the surf.  Something came over me.  I picked him up and told him I was going to teach him to swim.

"I knew he couldn't.

"I took him out as deep as I could and I left him there alone.  When I reached shore I couldn't look toward the water.  Even then I had certain regrets, but I left him drowned.  I killed him anyway."

"Why would killing your twelve year old son so long ago suddenly be so urgent?"

"His mother died recently and I have begun to wonder if in her passing she might now know what I did.  The guilt is destroying me."

"And you came to me seeking....?"

"I never said he was twelve.  How could you know?

"Dr. Ocean?"

"Deduction, Mr. Wynder.  You mentioned that you tolerated him for a decade after he had began to speak.  That would make him about twelve years old."

"Of course...."

"With your guilt aside, this raises some complications.  There is no statute of limitation on murder."

"I'm not stupid, Doctor.  I knew before I came here that you are obligated to report certain crimes that are confessed to you.  I needed to talk to some one.  It was important.

"At their mother's funeral my children spoke of her being with their brother...and after, they were more involved with his disappearance then the loss of their mother.  It brought back all the memories of how I'd hurt them too; how lost they were after the search for him gave them nothing.  It is very hard to find a body in the ocean.

"I did it without thinking.  It was an impulse.

"I changed them all.  I ruined all their lives."

"Closure is important.  Tell me, what are your intentions?"

"What's it matter?  You sit there taking notes, but after I'm gone you'll slip them into a narrow folder and that'll be the end of it for you."

"I assure you, Mr. Wynder, you will not be so easily forgotten.  However, I don't think I'm your best option for help.  I do have some suggestions.  It is apparent that you have some concern of an afterlife so perhaps you should talk to a priest.  Furthermore, I feel that you would benefit from turning yourself in.  It would play to your advantage over my doing it, and accepting the consequence for your misdeed might help relieve a portion of your guilt."

"Yes, I'd considered it.  My children are going to know everything when I do.  I think it might be what I need.  I could never tell them face to face.  I couldn't bear to hear them condemn me.  My life's been miserable enough.

"The priest is a good idea.  I never would've thought of that.  I'll do that first.

"I'm old, Dr. Ocean, and I'm tired.  I need my final few years to have some bit of peace.  Perhaps that's the only way.  There is no chance my kids will ever forgive me, but at least I'll know I've done everything I can do to make it right...I guess I can't make it right, but...

"It's all I can do."

"Then there is no need to mention that you came to see me.  My notes on this session can remain confidential.  I sincerely hope you find some rest from this."

"Thank you, Doctor.  Thanks for seeing me, too."

"I'll need to prepare for my next appointment so I'm afraid our time is up.  Good-day to you Mr. Wynder, and good luck."



Final note: I think with his confession and incarceration that he might find the peace of mind he needs.  After all these many years I finally know why my father tried to murder me.  I don't think there is much point in contacting my siblings.  I should remain dead.



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