So, Junior’s conscience apparently got the best of him, and he did the right thing: He called Senior and expressed his condolences about the passing of his mother:
“Hey Dad, it’s Paul. I just wanted to leave you a message. I just wanted to say I’m sorry for not calling sooner after Helen passed. We missed each other at the wake. And, it was my understanding that you hadn’t seen her for a long time before she’d gotten sick, but, regardless of the situation, she loved you very much, and I think you definitely meant a lot to her, and she meant a lot to you, and for that, I’m sorry for your loss, and we’re all going to miss her. I just wanted to call and say that, and I’ll talk to you. Thanks, bye.”
Nice, simple, concise.
There was one thing that was hard to ignore however: When talking about his message on camera, Junior said, “I’d spoken with Helen’s family after she passed and, you know, I didn’t realize that I didn’t call my father. I mean, I didn’t really think about it, to be honest with you. But, more recently, I was thinking about it, so I made the phone call.”
Really? Didn’t realize he had not called? Really?
How many times has Paul Jr. said that he “had his reasons” for not calling, specifically regarding not calling his father after Helen’s death? Earlier in this same episode, in fact, he said, “At the time, I didn’t feel like I should call; I had my reasons.” And, speaking about the situation with his wife, Rachel, he said, “At the time, I really didn’t feel led to call, but I’ve been thinking about it a little bit.”
And, interestingly, although we cannot know how these things were edited together, and in what order they were actually said, they were likely all said within a short period of time, along with the ultimate phone call, as the viewer will no doubt notice that Paul Jr. is wearing the same clothing in all of the shots. So, it seems reasonable to assume that, at the most, all of the statements were said within hours of each other, at the most.
Guilt can, it would appear, be a powerful motivator for altering one’s recollection of the past.
But, regardless of whether not calling early on was intentional or not, Junior’s call may just be the thing that breaks the ice between the father and son. At minimum, it appears it will give them the opening they’ve needed to give reconciliation a real shot, as Senior seems encouraged enough by the call to make a trip to see his son in person—a good thing. And, while success cannot be guaranteed in the matter, hopefully Junior’s call indicates that the death of Helen brought one thing home to him that he, like many of us, may not see clearly before it is too late: There isn’t always a tomorrow to take care of the things we need to do today.
Will Senior’s face-to-face visit be well-received?