She walks into the bedroom, and sees the White heels sitting beside the dresser where they have always sat when her mother was not wearing them. The tears begin to flow unbidden, there are so many memories in this room, and so many more surround those shoes.
She picked them up lovingly and gently she held them in her hands, checking for the scuff that she knew would be there. Hard to believe that her mother would no longer be wearing them.
She recalled sitting at church beside her mom, staring at her mom's heels while listening to the preacher's sermon. Wondering when she would be allowed to wear shoes that made her important. She thought about how her mom visited all those who were hurting while wearing those. Her mom always said that she dressed for visiting others because it made them feel special.
She recalled the day that Kaylee had taken those heels and put them on and tried to walk in them at 4 years old. Coming down the steps, trying to look graceful like mommy, when she stumbled and broke her arm. The rush to the hospital and the tears her sister cried and the fear that she felt, seeing Kaylee's arm in such a grotesque position.
She remembered Kaylee's laughter later when they decorated the cast, to make it seem better. Then she recalled those same heels caked with mud, when Kaylee was buried a few years later, the rain that wouldn't stop, and her mom wearing those heels to visit the grave anyway, because they were Kaylee's favorite.
She recalled her mom, cleaning them later and as she cleaned the shoes, she talked about the stains that life gives us, and how Jesus and the blood He shed could clean even the deepest stains.
How she would miss her Mother's wisdom, her love and her gentle spirit. She knew it was coming, however it wasn't enough to prepare her for this. The pain of loss cut deeper than she ever thought it would.
This room held so many memories, and yet this was the last time she would allow herself to be in this room. She went to the closet grabbed the box of photo albums, tossed the shoes in the box and turned to go.
Just then she saw Him. It had been years since they had seen one another face to face, but it seemed like just yesterday. He crossed the room and took the box from her saying, "I was hoping I would find you before you left. You know that she always kept in touch after that day."
She was shaking, she couldn't believe she had to face him now after all this time. "Why would she keep in touch, and not tell me? What do you want from me?" Her mind was spinning, what on earth could they have possibly had to discuss. After that fateful day she had no wish to speak to Him, no wish to see Him. It brought back to many painful memories.
"I wanted to let you know that I am so sorry that things happened the way they did, sorry that I wasn't here when you needed me after it happened. Your mother knew that I loved you and would have done anything for you, and I think in many ways she felt sorry for the loss we faced...all of them."
She coughed nervously, and said, "She was always a hopeful person...but that doesn't explain why you are here now?"
He said, "When we talked last week, she gave me something for you. Something that she wanted to be sure you had when she was gone." He reached into his pocket and withdrew a key, and said, "I have it out in the truck."
"But why, would she give you something to give me? I don't understand." she replied. "She knows that we don't talk anymore and that ...."
"I know, I asked her the same thing," he interrupted, "but she insisted that it needed to be this way. She also would not tell me what was in the package, just that I needed to give it to you and be there when you opened it."
She wondered if this day could get any worse. First the funeral, then the memories of being here again, and now face to face with one of the ghosts of her past. She growled, "Fine, but let's just get it over with, it's been a long day."
He couldn't help but smile at her attitude. He felt lucky to even be given this long to talk with her. He wished that he didn't have to do this, He tried telling Becky that this was a bad idea, tried to talk her out of having him be the one to deliver this mysterious package, but Becky insisted.
When they get to the truck, he hesitates and turns to Heather, and says, "Where should we go to open it?"
Heather sinks against the truck and says, "I just want to get out of here, so please, just give it to me. It's been a long day, and honestly I want nothing more than to get out of here and away from all the memories."
He grabs the package, and grabs her hand, and says "Let's just go to the lake, and we will finish this there, and you can run again if you must."
She catches her breath as He pulls her behind the house and down to the pier. If there was any one place she had avoided it was the lake. She dreamed so many dreams there, before everything fell apart.
She sinks down to the pier shaking, overwhelmed by the flood of memories. He hands her the package, a thick manila envelope. He has been curious about why Becky was so insistent that they do this together.
Heather shakes her head to clear it and stares at the envelope, her mother did not write on it and there was no clue what was inside. She wasn't sure how much more she could take today. With trembling fingers she opens the flap, and as the picture falls out, she lets out a strangled cry. All the pain she held within' all these years exploding in her chest as she saw her baby swaddled in a pink blanket lying lifeless in the incubator so that her Mom could take the picture. She refused to look at the pictures before, she simply couldn't do it, it was too much.
Seeing the picture for the first time He also lets out a tortured cry as He wrapped His arms around her apologizing for not being there when she needed Him.