It is almost midnight as I leaned back into my pillow staring with unseeing eyes at the ceiling, remembering. It seemed like yesterday when my husband’s life was snuffed out tragically, leaving me with the care of our young family.
When my Ralph was alive, he made life such a wonderful experience. He worked hard on the family farm. For me, the housework and care of the children was demanding, but it was enough for me that he would be home when the sun sets in the evening.
Resting my head on his shoulders in the privacy of our bedroom was the highlight of our evening. There was no pillow softer than the shoulder he provided for me.
Through the years my only thought was for my children and their well being. Their studies were not neglected while we worked together to earn a living from the farm. I was so proud of them, especially the girls. I had high hopes that someday they would each find a husband who would provide a soft pillow for them at the end of the day.
Years later, I moved to the city with my youngest daughter Celia, who offered me a home with her. After three years of marriage to Ritchey, her high school sweetheart, I sensed all was not well in our household. Celia tried unsuccessfully to hide and cover the abuses suffered at the hands of her alcoholic husband.
Ritchey grew bolder in his abuse and was no longer discreet in his actions, especially when Celia announced that she was expecting their first baby. He demanded she get an abortion, because they couldn’t afford a baby. When Celia refused to do so, she was treated to days of verbal abuse and nights of cold hard silence.
My heart aches for the hardness in my Celia’s marriage. Even Celia was unprepared for the reaction of her once loving husband.
I was used to the sound of Ritchey’s harsh raised voice, but the cold silence was even more brutal. How I longed to soften the hard blows constantly falling upon my baby. I wished Ralph was here, he would know what to do.
These nights, even the softness of my pillow failed to give comfort at bedtime. All through the years the memory of my husband made me strong to be the mother my children needed, but tonight, I feel weak and powerless to help.
I opened my eyes to see Celia sitting on the edge of my bed.
“I’ve come to say Good night, Mom.”
Taking hold of her hand I asked, “How are you feeling tonight?”
“I’m tired and ache everywhere, but we’re both okay. Ritchey and I had a long talk tonight. I think we’ll be okay, he said I could keep the baby if that’s what I want.”
“Is that good enough for you, Celia?”
“It’s a start, Mom. He is my husband and I do want to help him.”
I shook my head sadly, “Celia, there are worse things than being a single mother.”
“I know Mom, but for the baby’s sake, I want to give him another chance. I want to know that I tried, for my baby. Don’t worry, things will work out.”
“Good night,” I whispered, as the door closed softly behind her.
I wondered about her pillow, as I squeezed my eyelids together to stop the tears welling up from the bottom of my bruised and weary heart. I could feel the tears navigating the wrinkles on my cheek on the way down to my chin where they quivered as my chin did, before falling into my robe.
The pain and loneliness of thirty five years was suddenly unleashed and I did not have the strength to stop them. Many of those years were hard, softened only with pleasant memories.
My prayers mingled with tears finally surfaced and I could feel the well of tears slowly giving way to quietness of the soul. It was as if my Heavenly Father placed His arms around me and gently placed my graying head on His shoulders. It was the softest pillow I ever laid my head on, with eyes closed I felt as though my entire being was floating upon a soft cushion as I drifted into semi-consciousness, while pleading with my Heavenly Father for my baby and her baby. The memory of this pillow will carry me through many years yet to come.
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