My resolve paid off. Josh didn’t just sober up after that. He was delivered. He saw life with new eyes.
Josh came over the next day and said how sorry he was for talking to me that way, and that he couldn’t believe he said the F. word to me. He told me over and over again, with great sadness, that he loved me and how sorry he was and to please forgive him.
I reassured Josh that I forgave him completely, affirming over and over that it was okay—of course I forgave him. I didn’t think any less of him. I understood where the hatred came from.
Then I told him I had no idea that his mother was doing these horrible things to him. I told him that I was in no way a part of her evil.
“If I had found out that she was messing with you guys that would have been the end of our marriage!” I said firmly to him. “That wasn’t negotiable. I would have been up and out of there and focused on how to repair the damage done to you and your brother.”
I repeatedly asked him to forgive me for not being there to stop it. “She played me. I’m sorry. I had no idea what she was doing. Mike was just a few months old. I thought she was taking care of you guys. She lied to me. The whole time we were married, I lived with a lie.”
“I know, Dad. I believe you. I really do forgive you.”
“Thank you Josh! That means a lot to me. I really love you.”
Right then, Josh had a light bulb moment. His face lit up. “Actually,” he lovingly told me, “it’s thanks to you that she stopped it.”
I was stunned.
“But…” I asked him, “How could I have stopped it if I didn’t know about it?”
“Well, after a few months you started working out of the house every day, and you needed Valerie to help you pick up the customer cars. So when you left, she had to leave with you and bring us along. She couldn’t stay with us all alone anymore. That put an end to it.”
“Wow! So I was a force for the good after all.”
“Yeah you were, Dad.”
“I want you to promise me that you will never get drunk again.”
“Will you put it in writing?”
“Absolutely,” Josh answered me.
I took out a sheet of paper and wrote:
Josh then signed it with a big flashy signature.
Excerpt from “The Coolness of Josh” by Marc Swift