At last Iím using this beautiful journal you once bought me - the one with my name embroidered on the front. Itís just so ironic, now that youíre gone. Well, this must be the first chapter - an outpouring of my love to you, only a little too late.
Pastor Evenly is going to take your service next Tuesday. I know how much you appreciated going to his church, and when I met him for the first earlier, he spoke so highly of you.
I was just about managing to hold it together, when the phone rang. I knew the choked up voice as soon as I answered.
I wasnĎt prepared to hear the ďHello, Mum?Ē and didnít know what to do. So unfortunately I just set the phone down. I know itís awful, but I just couldnít face Mandy right then. Come to think about it, Iím surprised that stubborn girl bothered to ring at all. Sheíll probably be coming up here for your funeral. I donít know how Iíll face that.
So many things Iíd rather not face. Oh, Frank, how am I going to do it without you?
I wish youíd been here today to see all of your friends gathered in our front room. Sammy and Jean arrived with John and Myrtle. For a while it was awkward, but then Jake Simons arrived. He started reminiscing about the time your old van broke down in Enerille, and both of you ended up walking aimlessly through the wilderness! For once I didnít mind hearing the story for the fiftieth time.
You can guess who arrived next. Well, I had to face her sometime. As usual, she was with Jamie, whose greasy hair is now longer than hers! She had been crying, and she reached out to give me a hug. But I just went rigid. I mean, wounds canít mend that easily, and when I saw that idiot beside her, all the disappointment flooded back.
After that, she was pretty quiet. She spent most of the afternoon just looking through that old childrenís Bible you used to read to her.
Theyíre staying at the Highway Hotel. When Jamie told Sammy, I could see him shake his head and stare at me. Well, what did he expect me to do? Open my home like a guest house for them, with matching towels and bed linen? The girl has to learn her lesson. She has to know where I stand.
I just feel so angry right now - at everything. Whyíd you have to go, Frank? Why?
I donít recall many details about the service. It was like I was in a daze the whole way through, thinking of you in that box. And yet Pastor Evenly reminded us that you werenít there - that youíre up in Heaven looking at your Saviourís face. I didnít know what to think.
When I got home, I picked up your Bible. Howíd you know Iíd do that? Your note tumbled out as soon as I opened the cover. Iím sticking it here:
I want you to know that I love you with all my heart, and rejoice as you pick up Godís word today. May you meditate upon it, and come to know the same grace and peace I have found many times.
Very soon, I will not be here to hold you, talk to you or pray for you. Though you will miss me, you must know that Iím going to a better place. I enclose my favourite picture of you, at the birth of our only daughter, Mandy. You were so radiant and happy. She was the little miracle weíd always dreamed of.
Soon, you will be alone. It doesnít have to be that way. The Lord is calling to you. Mandy too can be of help at this time. I know you donít see eye to eye, but please try to forget this. Youíre both going to need each other.
With all my love,
My tears have finally dried. Iíve been staring at your letter for two hours now. Yes, time is passing, along with my bitterness towards Mandy, and indeed towards God.
Mandy has left their room number on the table. Iím holding it in one hand, and my car keys in the other.
I guess this journal so far has merely been a preface. The first chapter begins today.
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