Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hot and Cold (04/09/09)
TITLE: Hope Under Wrappings
By Janice Fitzpatrick
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A voice spoke on the other end. “Hello, Donaldson residence” the studious greeting surprised her for a minute. “Hi Kristie, it’s mommy” “Mommy, we’re waiting for you.” chirped the little girl. ”I’ll be there soon.” “I have something for you mommy” “Me?” Claire was surprised.” But it’s your birthday sweetie.” “I know but I love you mommy,” replied the little voice matter of factly. Claire’s voice broke.” “I love you too.”
Memories and thankfulness flooded past the gates of tear ducts and splashed across her cheeks and onto the ivory uniform. It was a miracle that their little girl was alive and mending, enjoying childhood once again. Those twelve months had slipped by so quickly and yet it seemed as if the nightmare would hold them forever.
Claire had worked as a nurse in the burn unit for five years prior to the accident. She had seen it all or so she thought, from abused children, to work related accidents and victims of house fires but now tragedy hit too close to home.
The hardest thing she had found were the peelings and the tight wrappings of bandages.
It was never easy to explain why it had to be done or that once the burned skin was removed and treated the healing process would begin. Try telling a young child that. Claire shook her head remembering an event that was still fresh in her mind.
Doris, Claire’s mom, had always provided years of pleasurable moments baking and cooking with her when she was growing up, and now that there were grandchildren Doris wanted to carry on the tradition. What was supposed to be an afternoon filled with trying out new cookie recipes, turned into a tragedy. “I’m sorry mommy,” The apology poured out. “Grandma told me not to touch the stove but I wanted to take the cookies out for her.” Bits of the oven mitt were still mixed with burnt flesh on her arm.
Claire shook her head to free herself of the memory and feelings that still consumed her. What was my mother thinking leaving a four year old in a kitchen with a hot stove on by herself? Why did this have to happen Question gnawed at her and a coldness set in her heart.
“Claire,” a familiar voice met her at the burn unit, one she used to look forward to hearing and answering, but not now.
She turned to meet the trembling silver haired woman with brusqueness, wounding her. Claire just shook her head in disbelief and walked away from trying to prepare herself for the pain her daughter was about to endure.
You’re more than qualifed to start the treatments, Claire reminded herself. But, there was still no way that she could perform the grueling and excruciating task of burn therapy on her baby girl.
It was all she could do to be strong for their child who had received 2nd and 3 rd degree burns on her body and on her face. All that long beautiful hair now looked like uneven bits of straw.
Between attending to the pink fleshed bandaged little figure that resembled a mummy under wraps, quieting her fears and giving her medicine, Claire worked steadily with patients of her own, peeling away the remnants of what was, listening to the whimpers and screams.
She talked calmly as she built bonds of trust and friendship with people in need of new hope and healing, yet whenever Doris called or tried to visit she would just repudiate her.
Kristie met Claire at the door with a kiss and a gift. “Open it.” Claire slowly peeled the red tissue wrappings away. Tears slid down her cheeks. In a frame of ice cream sticks lay a photo of grandma and a tag in crayon that said, 4give.
A familiar voice softly spoke, “ Hello Claire,” She turned around to see the silver haired woman. “Let me take your wraps.” Doris offered her help. Tears began to fill Claire’s eyes, as she slowly walked towards her mother with open arms.
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