The Christmas House

Chapter Seventeen- Michael's Struggle

December 10, 2022 Barry KuKes Season 1 Episode 17
The Christmas House
Chapter Seventeen- Michael's Struggle
Show Notes

Early December

Evanston, Illinois

     A few weeks passed since the demise of Michael’s friends and family. The funerals were held a few days after the explosion and attended by many of Arianna and Michael’s friends. Most were work-related associates who paid their respects to Michael as they passed five closed caskets in the Lake Forest Funeral Home.

     Since the accident, Michael had not been back to work and was not planning on returning anytime soon, despite numerous calls from his boss urging him to come back as quickly as possible. Michael was not ready to face life again, much less the everyday challenges of his job. He wasn’t concerned about the money he was losing by not working. The one thing Michael did have was a considerable sum of money. The trust fund he put away for the kids’ education was now fully available. The house was insured for the appraised amount of $4.8 million, and the life insurance policies on Arianna and the kids amounted to over $1,300,000.00. Michael decided he could afford to take a leave of absence from work, a very extended leave of absence.

     He moved into a small, one-bedroom furnished apartment in nearby Evanston. For the last several weeks, he spent most of his day crying and the other part of it drinking. He seldom left the apartment and had lost a considerable amount of weight.

     He counted the days until Christmas Eve. He would travel back to the burned-out site once his home and wait for Arianna and the kids to arrive. He prayed that God would allow him one more day with his loved ones.

     Michael contemplated suicide almost continuously since the explosion but remembered Uncle Wally's statement about how suicides were treated in heaven. He did not want to jeopardize his eternal soul by taking his earthly life at this time. He didn’t even know if he would be allowed into heaven. After the way he cursed God for what happened to him, he had his doubts.

     Day after day, Michael wasted away in the small East Side apartment, drinking, crying, and sleeping. Garbage filled the small rooms, for Michael had no incentive to clean up after himself. Empty half-eaten containers of carry-out food were turning green with mold as they lay on the floor near a couch Michael called his bed. He spent every waking and sleeping hour on this couch, waiting for the time to pass. Empty bottles of whiskey were scattered about the apartment. Michael only left this poor excuse of existence to take a short walk to the nearby liquor store or to pick up the occasional Chinese dinner.

     As the days passed, Christmas Eve was fast approaching. Michael was convinced that Arianna and the kids would still visit him at 6:00 p.m. that evening, even though the house was gone. He lost all of his faith in God and was concerned that his punishment was far from over. He continually asked the question, “Why?”