Joanna sat in her rocker sipping her morning coffee. It was time. She couldn’t delay any longer. Out of habit she went to the sink and rinsed her cup. Stepping into the shower her tears mixed with the water running over her face. Forty-one years of marriage, I can’t believe Harry is gone, two days ago we were planning a vacation and now he’s gone. Heaven must be a much brighter place today, she thought as she smiled. My Harry.
Turning off the shower, wishing it were that simple, just turn the knob and the events of the day would be done with. How many times had Joanna and Harry sent condolences to other people going through tragedies? It’s just too soon for this to be happening, how about all of our retirement plans?
“Mom, are you ready, the Limo is here.”
Walking down the stairs, it broke her heart when she seen Jennifer, dressed in a long skirt and a tailored jacket, both in somber black for her father’s services.
“Is Greg here yet?”
“He’s outside, mom. He’s not handling this well I’m afraid.”
The Limo pulled into the cemetery. The manicured lawns shaded by the full branches of the Elm trees sent a mixed message, one of peace and yet the reason for being here fills my heart with grief.
“Dear God, please help me and the kids make it through this.” Joanna prayed.
Sitting in the row of chairs at the graveside, Joanna listened to the words being said, words meant to comfort the family and friends. Joanna found little comfort unless these words could bring her Harry back to her.
“Are you okay, mom? It was a beautiful tribute. I didn’t realize there would be so many people.”
“I’m okay, I just feel so sad, Jennifer. This is hands down the most difficult day of my life. Now we have to go home and entertain our friends and family, you know keep a stiff upper lip as they say. All I want is time to gather my thoughts around me.”
“You can go lie down when we get home, Greg and I will attend to everyone.”
“I can’t shrug my responsibilities, sweetie, this is for your father and I will see it through. It’s been a rough day for both of you as well.”
“You know mom, I hear people complain about their fathers, Greg and I were blessed with a great father.”
Greg pulled his handkerchief from his pocket and swiped at his eyes. “Yeah Jenn, we were blessed.”
Joanna found Greg and Jennifer sitting at the kitchen table. The kitchen was bulging with an array of food.
“Well, that’s that, the last person just left. Whatever will we do with all this food?”
“You want me to load it up and take it to the homeless shelter?” Greg said.
“Brilliant idea, you have time to help, Jennifer.”
“Sure mom. Will you be all right until we get back?”
“I will, sweetie, I think I’ll go up and take a soak in the tub. I am proud of both of you. I don’t know how I would have gotten through today without the two of you. I’ll have fresh coffee for us by the time you get back.”
Joanna walked through her home, the living room filled with antiques. She and Harry had carefully chosen each piece together. Taking hold of the oak banister she looked at the family pictures gracing the wall on the way up. Memorable moments, the lens had captured of their family.
Sliding down into tub with her favorite bath oil, the oil Harry had bought for her. Memories began flowing through Joanna’s mind. It’s odd the things that will crowd into your mind. I remember when Greg was learning to drive. Harry had the patience of a saint, even when Greg ran smack into our other car. Harry remained calm and cool, I can still hear him.
“Well son, how many can stake claim to banging up both family cars in one shot.”
Sitting on the front steps with Jennifer the four of us dissolved into laughter.
“We did good Harry, our life together was full of joy, and with God’s help we weathered the storms. I miss you so much the pain grips like a vise around my heart. I hear that life goes on, how remains a mystery to me, but Harry, if you can hear me, thanks for the joy.”
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