Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Achievement (03/08/12)
TITLE: The Listmaker
By Dimple Suit
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On an orange card, she wrote out the tasks for Tuesday morning-make lunches, pack book bags, clean kitchen, and make beds. Remembering his science project needed transport, she added, ‘drive Noah to school with planets’ and ‘Ben’s Bible to briefcase’ since her husband attended study on Tuesday night before coming home. Titling a blue index card as errands, she listed grocery store, dry cleaner, library, and florist. Grabbing a yellow card, she noted produce items on the left, skipped a line adding the dry goods from the list on the refrigerator. Starting a column to the right, she placed juice and dairy items, finishing off with meats on sale for this week’s meals. Going through her expandable alpha-file, she pulled coupons, adding a small ‘c’ next to those items where she could save a few pennies and clipped the slips of paper to the card. Moving to a green one, she listed out the book on sketching she wanted to pick up for Sarah, the one Seth needed for his English class, and one for her on learning how to arrange closets for best efficiency. The pink card gave her pause, as it did every Monday, but she hurriedly noted flowers she needed for the house, the church, and for her Mom.
Banding her cards together with a purple one on top, Ashley placed them in her purse and proceeded up the stairs to get the bag of Ben’s shirts for the cleaner. Stripping the beds, tossing the laundry in to start, and grabbing her books to return to the library, she headed out within an hour of the rest of her family.
Ben stood in the doorway watching Ashley sleep. A rhythmic rise and fall as only a machine can produce, her breathing pattern synchronized with the steady beep of the heart monitor. Sitting next to her bed, he held her hand and prayed until the doctor stepped in. The words he feared, those he did not want to hear, hitting his heart like knives. His beautiful Ashley was already gone, her brain damaged beyond repair.
A few hours later the night nurse came into the dark room, “It will be morning before the donor team can be here Mr. Matthews. Why don’t you go home and get some rest?”
Knowing their kids needed to see him and hear of their Mother from him, Ben reluctantly nodded his agreement but stayed by his wife’s bed, praying. After a few minutes, peace settled in his heart and he kissed her good-by.
The next few days will always be a blur to Ben with neighbors and family stepping in to help with the meals and the kids. The follow up police reports on the accident and the return of Ashley’s things from the van. The celebration of her life filled the church with tears and laughter as countless friends stepped up to eulogize her. The defining moment of her service, the one everyone would be talking about in the months and years ahead, delivered by Noah.
“Mom had to-do lists for everything,” eliciting giggles from the congregation. “Color-coded cards and files will help us accomplish daily tasks she handled. But these,” holding up a stack of slightly fanned, 4x6 purple index cards, “are her ‘Ta-Da’s’, her legacy of daily accomplishments. A few treasures she left were scriptures and little reflective moments of witnessing to others. Some are love notes while others, joyful gratitude.” He read the top card, her last one. “Thank You God for today; for leading me to the perfect flower in tribute to Momma running home to Jesus last year. The lavender roses reminding me of her eyes, and their sweet fragrance of her Tea Rose perfume, eased my heart so much. Thank You for the honor of being her daughter, for the years we had before dementia set in. Thank You for the love of a Godly husband in Ben and for the joy of our precious children, Noah, Seth, and Sarah. Richly overflowing with Your blessing and love, I need nothing more. Amen!”
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