Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Yellow (11/12/09)
TITLE: Yellow Roses (ii)
By Sharman Smith
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The day is filled with rain, tears and a longing for my friend Michael. To make matters worse, it's my birthday. My thoughts move backward in time to my last birthday.
It seems odd now that it was my birthday the day Michael came onto the bone marrow transplant unit where I would be his nurse. I had never fallen for a patient before, but I fell hard for Michael. He was beautiful with dark brown hair and soft brown eyes filled with equal amounts of mystery and mischief. Amazingly, the spark I felt between us, he felt too.
Though going through a bone marrow transplant is a very painful and invasive procedure, Michael was always filled with laughter and a smile for me, even on his worst days. The transplant was a last resort for him, and though he seemed to be doing well, we both knew there were no guarantees.
After several weeks on the unit, and his discharge date loomed, we began praying about our future beyond the hospital walls. When we met with the hospital chaplain, he smiled at both of us saying "I wondered when we'd have this conversation." Our wedding ceremony was simple but beautiful. I carried one single long stem yellow rose.
The next week, I allowed myself to be whisked away to his home clear across the country. Daily he would ask me question after question. It seemed his need to know all there was to know about me was driven by some hidden understanding that we must pack all we could into our time together. "What do you love?" ("besides me of course" he would say.) He wanted to know my favorite everything, that yellow was not only my favorite color, but that one day I imagined having an entire garden filled with only yellow roses. At the end of our first six months together I felt I had known him for an entire lifetime, and in turn felt known more deeply than I had ever been known before.
Our days passed swiftly at his father's cabin tucked away in the Pocono Mountains. Often his father would be there too, and the three of us grew into a true family.
After a routine blood test, the report showed that his cancer had returned with a vengeance. By our 10 month anniversary he was gone. Along with the hospice nurses, I helped him through his last week, and held him as he died.
In shock, I went back to Seattle, and flinging myself into work, built a cocoon around my heart, protecting it from the waves of sorrow that would wash over me without warning, day or night.
Today, a mere 2 months later, as I sit with my coffee staring out the big picture window at the rain, I hear myself cry out to God. " Lord! I miss him, please help me to find some joy today, something to be grateful for." I don't even attempt to wipe the tears falling softly down my face.
And then there's a knock at my front door. I open it to a young man holding out a huge bouquet of yellow roses. Dulled and confused, I thank him. Inside, I find a card that reads "To my forever love," Michael.
"How is this possible?" I cry. Picking up the phone I call his dad in Pennsylvania. His first words to me are "Happy birthday, Andy! Did you get the flowers?"
"Yes," I tell him. "Yes." I can barely hold back the sobs.
"Michael asked me to send them to you every birthday for the first 2 years" he said quietly. "He specifically said to send you yellow roses."
Hanging up the phone I praise You Lord for Your Great Love, and for Michael's.
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