Scarlet was sitting in the living room, absorbed in her thoughts. The sounds, people and laughter were only sharing her space in time. She jumped as if she had been shot as a hand reached out to touch her. “Are you ok?” Her Aunt Irene, loving as she was, also was being nosey.
“ I am fine Auntie, I am just thinking.” Scarlet lied, she didn’t know what else to say. Her mind raced and she could hardly breath. “I must stay positive, I must be polite, I don’t feel like it, lord I want to be somewhere else, lord I feel like screaming, Jay why did you have to die!” Scarlet wanted to leave, run as far away as she could, but instead she smiled at her Aunt, “thank you for asking.”
About that time the front door flew open as one of children burst into the room with a puppy in her hands. “ Look Auntie Scarlet, Sammy had her puppies!” Scarlet caught the squirming puppy as it was thrust toward her. Holding the puppy to her chest, she felt the warmth of his little body and suddenly a calm feeling came over her. For just a moment the world stood still and her mind was free of painful thoughts.
“You may keep him, mama said so!” Dancing around in circles the child kept repeating, “Didn’t you mama, didn’t you?” Scarlet was jarred back to reality as her older sister Clara came barging out of the kitchen. “ Tina, take that puppy back to his mother now! And stop pestering your aunt Scarlet!” “But, mama, you said that the puppy is what Aunt Scarlet needed to get her out of her depression.”
A pin could be heard dropped! Clara was the first to speak. “Oh my, I am so sorry Scarlet.” But, all eyes were on Scarlet as she handed the puppy back to Tina. “ Take the puppy back to his mama Tina, I will hold him later.”
The spirit of anger fell upon Scarlet, her pale blue eyes filled with tears, “Tell me Clara, when is going to be alright for me to talk about it?” “Depressed, yes I am, but why does everyone have to make me feel guilty about it?” “ I miss him, I miss his touch, his eyes, his smile, the warmth of his body…. I miss his arms around me. We were to grow old together!” “Why, why, why?” “Why can’t you let me alone in my grief, can’t you see that my heart is breaking?” “ Everyone is afraid to mention his name! His name was Jay, Clara, his name was Jay!” Scarlet dropped to her knees overcome with emotions.
It had been two weeks since Jay’s funeral. The military funeral had been difficult for Scarlet. She kept her emotions bottled up and tried to act strong for her family’s sake. Now Clara realized how wrong the family had been to tiptoe around Scarlet, wrong in not wanting her to talk about him, wrong in not allowing her to express her emotions. Clara wrapped her arms around her sister. She didn’t know how she would act or feel if she lost her husband. Compassion overcome Clara, she held her little sister closer and they wept in each other’s arms.
Scarlet suddenly aware of the arms around her looked up at her older sister, “ I am so sorry, Clara.” Clara looked in her sisters eyes, “We all are sorry.” Suddenly Tina ran over and hugged them both, “Can I bring the puppy back in now?” Both, Scarlet and Clara started laughing. Confused Tina asked, “Can I?” Scarlet grabbed her little niece and kissed her, “Yes bring the puppy back in!”
Later that evening as the Sunday family get together was breaking up, Scarlet kissed everyone good-bye and thanked them for listening to her. She was able to talk about Jay to everyone, express her feelings, she was able to receive compassion and empathy. Scarlet realized that everyone in the family was grieving in their own way, not just her. Finally, she realized that she didn’t have to go through the lost of her husband alone.
“Aunt Scarlet, aren’t you forgetting something?” Tina came running down the driveway, in her arms was the puppy. “ I named him Jay, after Uncle Jay.” Scarlet reached out and took puppy. “Thank you Tina, for everything.” Grinning from ear to ear, Tina replied,
“ Out of the mouth of babe’s, right Aunt Scarlet, that is what mama always says.” Hugging the puppy close to heart, Scarlet smiled. “ Let’s go home Jay!”