Frank always wanted his daughter, Elisa, to be as successful as he was. He was a wealthy businessman and wanted his daughter to follow in his footsteps. But she had other plans in her mind.
The young girl wanted to be a doctor and help those in need. She wanted to become like her late mother, who was a philanthropist and served people.
Frank was not happy about it. He didn’t want to see his daughter waste her life serving the poor and needy, which led to a big argument between them, and he finally kicked Elisa out of the house.
“I’m just not cut out for business, Dad, I want to be like Mom! Please, why can’t you just support me?” begged Elisa.
“Honey,” her father said as calmly as possible. “I’m not paying for your medical school! I watched your mother spend countless days and nights with strangers while putting her own life on the back burner. I didn’t know whether to cry when she died because I didn’t. No more missing her! That’s what her mania for helping people did to us!”
“Papa,” said Elisa. “Please. Aren’t you proud of Mom? You know how brilliant she was! Please, Dad!”.
“NO!” replied Frank sternly. “I’m not going to let history repeat itself. If you’re so hell-bent on following in your mother’s footsteps, you’re free to do it on your own. Come back to me when you’re smart enough to know that’s not how life works.”
That was the last time Frank saw his daughter. After that discussion, Elisa left the house and severed all connections with him.
For months, Frank tried to contact her, but to no avail. Elisa was gone, and he was left alone. No family. No love. No nothing.
It was during those days that Frank’s health began to deteriorate. He had neglected himself after his daughter left him and, unfortunately, it was his fault. He had kicked her out of the house because she didn’t agree with his career choices. What father would do that?
Drowning in his loneliness, Frank grew weaker, paler, and more fragile. He blamed himself for being a horrible father, and soon terrible things happened to him.
Years later, Frank lost his sight due to diabetes. The once tall, cheerful man was now reduced to a thin man hunched over a cane. He barely paid attention to himself, so managing the business was not an option. His business partners visited him one day and suggested he retire.
“The last of the investors also pulled out, Frank. The company…just isn’t going anywhere, and we’re afraid we can’t help you anymore. I’m sorry. I guess it’s time for you to think about your retirement instead of trying to save something that’s already falling apart.”
Frank’s company was on the verge of bankruptcy. Most of the workforce had quit, investors had pulled out, and the last ray of hope, Frank’s business partners, had also left his side.
At that point, Frank made a decision that hurt him badly, but he had no choice. He decided to move into a nursing home after selling his house, unaware that it would cause him to cross paths with his past.
Frank, old and frail, was sitting in a wheelchair in the garden of the residence, inhaling the sweet fragrance of the flowers around him. Suddenly, he was distracted by a soft voice behind him.
“Sir, let’s go back to your room,” she said. “I’ll be your new caregiver starting today, and it’s time for your medications.”
Frank’s heart began to pound when he heard the voice. There was something very familiar about it.
“Miss,” he said. “Have we met before? Your voice… I’ve heard it before, I think.”
“Well, many people have told me that, sir,” the nurse replied, pushing his wheelchair toward his nursing home room. “Probably, it reminds you of someone you valued very highly in your life – is that the case?”.
“I don’t know if that’s possible…,” Frank whispered to himself. “You remind me of… my daughter!”.
Weeks and months passed, and that sweet voice became Frank’s best friend. He learned that the caregiver’s name was Mary and that she had no family left.
“I always wanted to serve the homeless,” she told Frank one day. “I wanted to be there to love those who had no family, that’s why I chose this job.”
“Funny,” Frank thought. “Elisa was just like you! I wonder if she’s doing well? It’s been years and she never contacted me.”
Poor Frank. He had no idea what fate had in store for him. Then, when Mary surprised him with a cake for his birthday a month later, and he took the first bite, he felt like his heart had stopped beating. Tears welled up in his eyes and he couldn’t stop them.
“Mary!” he said through his tears. “You liar! You were lying! You’re Elisa, aren’t you? You’re my daughter! She made this cake for my birthday! Or do you know something about her? Please tell me you know her. I’ve been waiting all these years to hug her once and apologize to her for what I did. Please tell me you know her.”
Frank was crying his heart out like a child, and after seeing his elderly father cry like that, Elisa couldn’t keep the truth from him any longer.
“Dad,” she said, hugging him. “Yes, it’s me. I forgave you, Papa! I forgave you a long time ago, and I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you! I’m sorry! When I saw you here, I didn’t have the heart to tell you that I was Elisa. You looked fragile, daddy, and I was afraid you would hate me if I told you who I was…. I love you, daddy, I love you!”.
“It’s okay, honey,” Frank said, his voice cracking. “Oh, I think I got the best birthday present this year – too bad I can’t see the smile on my daughter’s face! I’m sorry for what I did, honey. I learned to appreciate your work all these years. I don’t think I could have survived without the help of the nurses. I should have been more understanding. I am so sorry.”
After shedding many tears and apologizing countless times that day, Elisa and Frank reconciled. But there was another surprise in store for him, one he had no idea about.
A few days later, Frank received new tiny visitors at the nursing home, who hugged him and called him ‘grandpa’. Their squeaky voices filled Frank’s heart with a happiness he had never imagined.
“Mom told us you’re a superhero!” one of his grandchildren remarked. “And she said you love us so much – we love you too, Grandpa!”.