Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Home for Christmas (11/20/08)
TITLE: Aunt Ada's Home for Christmas
By cathy nethercutt
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A quick call to her sister, Nora, told the story. Ada, it seemed had been ill for a while, coughing more and more lately. Finally, Nora had taken her in to see the doctor. She had been admitted to the hospital for testing, and seemed to be going downhill. I got the room number from Aunt Nora and started to hang up, when she said, “You know, she only wants to go home for Christmas,” “that’s all she talks about now.”
I was not ready for the frail, tired body that I saw when I came through the door, but the eyes that met mine instantly said, “I’ve missed you so.” And “I want to go.” I knew she was too tired to talk, so I just sat down and held her hand. She seemed to relax some and struggled a little less to catch her breath.
My mind slipped into the rhythm of her short, raspy breaths and I began to think of the times she had fiercely protected me from my own mother’s hand, of the times she gently stroked the side of my head as I leaned on her shoulder. I remembered all the love and care, even with three children of her own, how she always managed some tenderness and time for myself and my brother.
I remembered all the times she and my Uncle John dragged us and their three to church… there we’d go, the five of us bouncing down the road in the back seat. Then, on the return, we’d sing the songs that we’d learned at church…much off-key, and at the top of our lungs. How happy it seemed to be, those times.
Now and again, we played leap frog…my memories and her breathing…back and forth again, ‘til the long night was over. Finally, the morning sun brought life and light back to the room, and Aunt Ada stirred a little. The nurses had been in and out, telling me what a sweetheart she is…nothing that I didn’t already know. “Good morning, Aunt Ada,” I whispered near her ear, not to startle her. “Oh, good morning dear,” she softly said back to me. She looked much improved over the night before. Some color had returned to her softly wrinkled face, and she smiled a little.
“Is it Christmas, dear?” was her only question. I told her that it was, indeed, Christmas Eve, and that I wanted to spend Christmas with her this year, but it would not be at her home, just yet…she was still too ill. “Oh, but I know I’ll be home for Christmas this year,” was her almost adamant statement. “I’m tired, Cathy, and it’s time to go to that new Home…I’m looking so forward to being there with my Savior, you know.”
With that, she slipped back to sleep, and one of her nurses stopped and told me that she had made such an impact on them before she turned for the worse…telling of God’s love in every tired breath. “Why don’t you go home for a little while, rest, and come back tonight?” the nurse said. She’s looking to go home tonight, and I believe she just might. Her sister is on her way to stay for a while now, you go.”
I didn’t want her to go, but I knew…the Spirit in me was telling me, too. After a shower and a short rest, I returned to the hospital there. This time the room was full of people, and I could see that her body was only able to breathe, nothing more… no consciousness tonight. As the night drew on, more and more of the family dropped out, ‘til it was only her daughter, Lana, and me. Finally, Ada stirred just a little. She opened her eyes and looked over my shoulder and beyond somewhere… I do not know. Seemingly taking in many sights, looking around in wonder, I knew she was seeing Heaven. And there, with Lana on one side, and I on the other, Aunt Ada slipped home for Christmas.
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