It was 6 a.m. The cold was seeping into Jerry’s mother’s bones. She had been at that police station for the last five hours. The morning breeze caused a chill through her body, and there was a tingly sensation in her fingers. Her son’s charge sheet worried her more than the awful environmental conditions. There was only one person who could save her son, and that’s where she was headed.
“Stay away from my daughter. I don’t want anyone from your family near my daughter,” Grace’s mother screamed when she saw Jeff’s mother.
“Please, he didn’t mean to do it,” Jeff’s mother pleaded.
“My daughter almost died. I don’t want to hear any excuses,” Grace’s mother responded.
They engaged in a back-and-forth shouting contest until the hospital’s staff showed up and escorted Jeff’s mother away from Grace’s family. Grace was Jeff’s wife. She was still unconscious, but fortunately, her condition was stable.
Jeff’s mother went outside the hospital crying. Her son’s fate probably lay in the hands of his unconscious wife, but it was clear that accessing her would be difficult. Her unconscious state was also problematic. So, as she prayed for her son, she said a louder prayer for her daughter-in-law. She needed Grace to regain consciousness and get better, mainly because her son’s fate depended on it. It pained her to see her dear son behind bars. For him, she would lay down her life.
Jeff’s sister soon arrived at the hospital. They sat at a food court near the hospital, figuring out what to do.
“I don’t think they’re going to let us talk to Grace,” the mother said.
“Mother, there’s something else,” Jeff’s sister said.
“More bad news?”
“Yes, Jeff’s workplace caught wind of the story and he has been fired,” said Jeff’s sister.
“Oh no. My son doesn’t deserve such bad luck,” said Jeff’s mother sorrowfully.
“That trophy he threw almost killed Grace. They are treating it like an attempted murder,” said Jeff’s sister.
“You know he’s always had a bit of a temper. He didn’t mean to hurt Grace like that,” said Jeff’s mother.
“We need a very good lawyer, mother.”
“I have already made calls. We’ll meet one at the police station in two hours,” responded Jeff’s mother.
They decided to go back inside the hospital to try and visit Grace. Grace’s family was still there, but they were able to find out that she had regained consciousness. That was a positive thing. While Grace’s statement and testimony could hurt Jeff, the situation would have been worse had she died. With nothing else to do there, they headed back to the police station, where they met the lawyer.
“I won’t lie to you, it’s not looking good,” said the lawyer.
“He has a bit of a temper but he wasn’t trying to kill his wife,” argued his mother.
“Mama Jeff, it looks he has lost his temper with her and other people several times,” said the lawyer.
“She is his wife by now she should have known how to deal with his temper. People fight in marriages all the time,” said Jeff’s mother.
“That cannot be used as a defence,” the lawyer told her.
“I mean, when I met Jeff’s father he quite enjoyed his cigarettes but I made him quit that bad habit. Grace should have done a better job with Jeff,” argued Jeff’s mother.
The lawyer finished his business at the police station and then left with Jeff’s mother and sister. It was a public holiday leading into a weekend, so they would have to wait for a couple of days before any mention of the case in court. Jeff’s family was advised to talk to Grace so that they could resolve the matter out of court.
Jeff’s family headed home, where they found another relative, Jeff’s auntie and the best friend to Jeff’s mother, waiting for them. Jeff’s mother’s frustration was written on her face. She looked tired after a long night and day moving up and down from the police station to the hospital. Her age didn’t favour such physical and mental stress. However, her child was in trouble, and she did what she had always done before: show up and try to rescue him.
“My friend, I’m sorry for what you’re going through,” said the best friend.
“These children, it seems they need us even when they could be someone’s grandparent,” quipped Jeff’s mother.
“So what happened?” Jeff’s auntie pried.
“Jeff says they were having a fight with his wife when he threw a decorative trophy at the wall but Grace got in the way and it hit the back of her head. She was quickly rushed to the hospital and is now okay but her family are accusing my son of attempted murder.”
“I knew that boy’s temper would put him in big trouble one day,” said Jeff’s auntie. She hadn’t intended to convey that out loud, but everybody heard her.
“You knew it? Are you taking Grace’s side too? Do you think my son is a murderer?” Jeff’s mother asked defensively.
“That’s not what I meant but you have always let Jeff get away with so much. You remember how much trouble he got into in school because of his temper, bullying other children and being selfish even with his cousins? You always defended him and blamed the teachers or the other kids for his actions,” Jeff’s auntie said.
“You will get out of my house if you continue with this line of conversation,” Jeff’s mother told her.
“No, my sister, someone has to tell you the truth. Last Easter when Jeff decided to go drinking the whole weekend when we had the family get together, Grace complained about his behaviour and lack of communication. You joked with his sister about such incidents being Grace’s problems now and even made fun of other times he had done the same. Grace hasn’t been able to ‘tame’ him and now we’re in this situation. But, it shouldn’t have been her job to correct him,” said Jeff’s auntie.
“Auntie please, this is not the time. We need to figure out how to help him. The lawyer didn’t look optimistic about his case,” said Jeff’s sister.
Jeff’s mother’s best friend joined the conversation. “We will help him out but she is right. Jeff has gotten away with bad behaviour all his life that he doesn’t care about how much he hurts people. Even you my friend have shed so many tears because of Jeff but instead of holding him accountable you coddled him.”
The two women further asked Jeff’s mother if she would forgive anyone who did the same to her daughter if the situation were reversed. Reluctantly, Jeff’s mother acknowledged her role in enabling Jeff’s lousy behaviour. They later embarked on convincing Grace to show Jeff mercy. After begging and pleading, Grace agreed to drop the charges only if Jeff granted her divorce and gave her a substantial amount of their marital assets.
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