Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Sad (07/26/07)
TITLE: In God's Embrace
By Martha Ford
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Nothing would ever be the same again. I closed the suitcase filled with meager belongings: nightgowns much too large, hairbrush that pulled out too much hair with each use, and dentures. Her vanity had never allowed anyone to see her without her dentures. Now she lay motionless, tiny as an eight-year-old child, her face devoid of wrinkles, skin as smooth as silk. No need to wear dentures. My sole was as dark as the view from her window.
An aching heart threatened to escape my chest but for the ribs squeezing to contain it. As I stepped across the hospital room threshold I left as a motherless child. I knew I had entered new territory where everything would be measured as before her death or after her death. She would never know from this second forward all the intimate moments of my life. And I would never again share my secrets with her. If only I could talk with her one more time.
I couldn’t find the elevator. Hadn’t I been this way before? Invisible detachment shielded me from interaction with those around me. Surely I’m not me, but someone else whose mother had died. If I went back into her room would she be there, alive? I found the elevator; her suitcase and I found the ground floor.
I couldn’t remember where I left my car. Maybe I came out the wrong door. Panic rose like bile. I couldn’t breath as my ribs gripped my chest more strongly. Suddenly I was standing beside my car, quickly getting in, slamming the door and locking it against the outside world. Clinching the steering wheel with white knuckles I began to weep.
I wept for me, and my siblings. Never getting another kiss or hug, no more long telephone calls, no more shared birthdays (I was her 21st birthday present), no more living parent. The weight of being the eldest pushed the heaviness in my chest all the way to my toes. Who left me in charge of this family?
I wept for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Would we be able to imprint her on those too small to remember her? Could we tell the family stories as well as she had? Why couldn’t I start this day over again, with a new ending?
I did not weep for her. She had wanted to join Daddy in Heaven for twenty-four years. She got what she wanted. For her I smiled through my tears.
Time is irrelevant when you’re crying your eyes out in a hospital parking lot at the breaking of dawn. Tears punctuated memories as I inventoried our lives. I raved at God for taking my last parent. My emptiness cried out as in a child’s tantrum. And a child I was at that moment, begging for direction. All the youthful independence once demanded from Mama now weighed heavily as I craved nothing else but to be a child again, under her care.
The black night of my despair faded into a purple, blue and pink sunrise, bringing with it a calm that released death’s grip on my chest. Morning had always been my favorite part of the day: renewal, freshness, and a chance to start over. A prayer more sincere and honest than in recent times crept from my lips. My breathing quieted and the tears subsided. God reminded me He was my savior, protector, provider and supporter. There was no way I was alone and never would be. He was my Father. I was always His child no matter my age. I could always come to Him and He would never die. My body felt lighter than air as I seemed to float into God’s lap, place my head on His chest and snuggle into His strong arms which wrapped me in warmth, peace and safety I haven’t know since I was little.
He still holds me in His arms and I approach Him as the child I am.
Word Count: 663
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