Angie watched as the sea collided with the shore in an echoing rhythm; wave after wave carelessly tossed her into a deep place, a place where it was easy to remember all the bad while forgetting all the good. She grasped the paper in her hand tracing a finger across the word “FORECLOSURE” as if by touch she could erase the reality of it.
She thought of how much fun they had building their home and how more than once work had stopped as she and Mark lingered against bare sheet rocked walls in a cozy embrace. She thought of how she had tried to spare him the worry in the last days as he slowly lost his battle to Leukemia. “Everything’s okay, Honey, you did a good job. Just rest and take care of yourself. I love you.” Although she hated lying to him, she would rather see the contented smile on his face as he fell into fitful sleep and her bare the burden of how the bills would be paid than him worry. She left his hospital room many times to just sit in the parking lot and cry under the burden of losing him and the new responsibilities she shouldered alone.
She thought of how she had tried to be brave for their two kids – Abby and Jordan – who were both too young then and now to really understand how permanent gone is.
She thought of how Jordan barely three years old, even now six months later, would rally with excitement when anyone entered the home. “Daddy!” he would squeal not understanding why daddy didn’t come or why his smiley enthusiasm for the man he loved the most was met with such sad looks and tears of the adults who did respond to his cries. And Abby…only five…her confusion seemed to be hidden by a big girl front as she tried to be brave and coping well. Yet Angie often heard her talking to Daddy, recreating some of their most favorite father-daughter play to keep him alive in her heart and the house that love built.
What would they do if they lost the house too?
Where would they look for Daddy when the only place they knew him wasn’t theirs anymore?
Without any real answers or peace, Angie got up and dusted the sand off her pants, the letter scraping against her in mockery of the good she and Mark had tried to bring into the world, as she left the beach. She walked towards the mailbox, feeling the anxiety and dread build with each step. What would be in there today? More bills I can’t pay? More bad news I don’t want to know about? God, please send hope!
She opened the mailbox, noting its rust and feeling its wobbling, mentally adding its need for repair to her ever-growing to-do list that she just did not seem qualified for. She reached in feeling a fat envelope and pulled it out, her heart sinking as she saw an attorney’s name and address.
She opened the envelope and began to cry as she flipped through the pages unsure of what she reading, thinking it too good to be true.
I am deeply sorry for your loss as well as the time it has taken me to contact you. Per your late husband’s directions, please find the enclosed check from an investment account he established when he asked you to marry him and called his “100 year anniversary account”. I know his loss has deeply affected you and your kids’ lives in ways no one can ever imagine; my only hope is that his provision and the enclosed letter he drafted a week before his death gives you some comfort of how loved and treasured you are.
Branton Sparks, Esq.
Angie’s hands trembled as she looked at the check, enough to more than cover the debts and provide for her and the kids and she as she read Mark’s letter she felt a different sort of tears …felt his love and God’s provision and she felt the anxiety inside of her snap giving rise to an uncommon peace.
I know it’s not our 100 year anniversary but I sure wish it was. We’d sure have a blast like always skydiving or doing the limbo or something crazy like that…Hon, everything’s okay now. I just want you to rest and take care of yourself…I Love You.
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