The Last Day of Gabriel Michael Donovan {Short Story}

This is the last of my short story submissions. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as I loved writing them. This one is perhaps my favorite…..

The Last Day of Gabriel Michael Donovan

The life of Gabriel Michael Donovan came to a peaceful end a short eighteen years from its commencement. Grace saw it coming during vigorous treatments for leukemia that took his curly brown hair and wasted his muscles. Yet she was still unprepared when his final days arrived. 

Gabe’s last wishes were unorthodox, but so was Gabe. Forgoing the usual suit, pallbearers were asked to wear their soccer jerseys from the team he led to nationals. Instrumental music was supplanted by tunes from his favorite band. No one was allowed to wear black and only one bunch of flowers decorated his coffin. The rest were candy bar bouquets.

The biggest difference was the home video that began after an opening hymn. [MORE] Grace dug her fingernails into her palm to keep from sobbing when her son’s face appeared larger than life before the crowd.

“Greetings,” Gabe began and then laughed, “Just kidding. We all know this is weird. But hey it’s my funeral. I knew it was coming. In fact this morning while I was praying I got the news…..This is my last day.” He paused, looking off into the distance. Wiping tears from his eyes and clearing his throat he continued, “This isn’t how I wanted it to go down….We all know that. But I’m not in charge. That’s one lesson I learned during this fight. The other is that no matter when it comes we’ll all have one last day. It’s up to us how we spend it. Let me tell you what I did with mine.”

A profound silence fell over the group, many of whom were youth from his ward, stake and school. A line of cheerleaders made up the second row, all in uniform. Brothers from his quorum sat behind them. His large family and extended family filled up the front rows and more. All leaned forward in unified curiosity.

“They say this life is about experiences. A lot of those experiences can bring regrets. There’s not much we can do to change that, but sometimes we get the chance to right a wrong. Mason Johnson was the best forward there was on our junior high team. In ninth grade, the coach decided to move him to my advantage. I got the spot and he got the shaft. Neither of us knew why that happened at the time, but our friendship ended that year…ended because I let it go without speaking up….” Gabe’s voice cracked and he took a deep breath, “I let myself be selfish and ruined an important friendship.”

“Today, I saw Mason for the first time in four years outside of playing on opposing teams. Like I said then, Mase, I’m sorry for not being a better friend. I’m sorry I let you down, man.”

Mason wiped tears from his eyes during the pause that followed and said loud enough for everyone to hear, “It’s alright, man. We’re cool.”

Gabe’s video continued.

“Meagan Shelly, I think I better apologize to you too.” A blush crept over his sunken cheeks as he spoke. “But I had to get up the courage to let you know how I felt before I was gone. I don’t know where the kiss came from.” Meagan was blushing scarlet in her cheerleading uniform. “More than getting up the nerve to tell you how I feel, I wanted to ask you to do something for me. Please believe me. You’re beautiful and talented and so much more than those losers on the football team give you credit for. Do me a favor and make sure the next guy who kisses you treats you like the queen you are… like I would have.”

Meagan nodded as tears rolled down her cheeks.

“Finally, I guess it’s pretty obvious I won’t be serving a conventional mission.” Gabe rubbed his hands together to warm them, “I don’t get a choice on that but I do get a choice about what I leave behind. So I’ve asked my two best buddies, Bryce and Jarom to post the following testimony on Youtube and I ask you to help me get it out to the world. My dream is for it to go viral because one way or another, I’m going to be a missionary. And for all my homies in the Priest Quorum….I better not find out one of you missed the opportunity to serve.” His voice choked to a whisper, “I’d give anything….anything to have the chance.” Sobs made his shoulders rock and he leaned back in his chair to let it pass. When he was ready he looked directly at the camera.

“Here it goes….To everyone who can hear my voice, my name is Gabriel. I guess you could say I’m an angel speaking to you…..”

Gabriel’s message was pure and powerful and concluded simply by saying, “So this is the end of my day. I’ve spent it righting wrongs, overcoming fears, and bearing testimony. What would you do if you had one more day? Think about it and then tell me this….what’s stopping you from doing it now?”



  1. MWally
    Feb 14, 2012

    I am leaving a comment regarding the writing workshop in Malibu…. Thank you!

  2. mekei
    Feb 14, 2012

    how inspiring to see you following your dream – and sharing your talents. thank you

  3. Monika
    Feb 15, 2012

    I’m glad I came over to your page. I’ll be back.

  4. Leonard R
    Feb 15, 2012

    That was really moving. I’m glad that your post over on 1825 brought me here.

  5. Paige
    Feb 15, 2012

    So interested in the Tom Bird information. Thanks for sharing on eighteen25.

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