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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Twilight Years of Life (07/02/09)

TITLE: Not Now; It's Too Early!


Janice was sixty-five and in good health. Her marriage to Joe Linbaugh had been good and in their forty years of marriage, they still loved and laughed every day. Even though they had no children, they were active in their community, had a collie named Lady, pursued their volunteer work at the local county home, Joe busy working as a part-time handy man and Janice, writing online.

“Going to begin my work now, Joe. Got some writing assignments to finish and some emails to send. Will work probably until lunch. How about you, Joe? Have you any appointments this morning or afternoon?”

“Just one appointment around ten this morning and then I need to pick up some supplies at Lumberworld. Want me to bring back some lunch?”

“Sure, that would be great but nothing from that ‘greasy spoon’ on Fifth, O.K.?”

“You bet! Well going to check out the garage, do some clean up in the garden and then I’ll be on my way.”

About a half hour later, Janice went to her study and began organizing her work for the day. It looked like a busy one; there were some online magazine work to do, emails to write and lists to be made up. She didn’t tell Joe but she was busy writing a book on their marriage.

Their marriage was a good one but throughout the years the challenges of work, out-of-state moves and troubles with relatives, sometimes put them at odds but she thought writing a book about their lives, might help others who were going through tough times. She wasn’t a polished writer, but she learned through the years a few tips on how to make an article interesting and helpful.

Joe left around ten to attend to his errands and Janice continued with her online work. It was around eleven in the morning when the phone rang….

“Hello? Is this Mrs. Linbaugh?”

“Yes, this is she.”

“This is Ted Caulfied from Memorial Hospital. I’m afraid I have some bad news for you. Your husband, Joe collapsed at Lumber Yard from a heart attack. We tried to resuscitate him, but it was too late. I’m sad to tell you that he’s dead.”

The shock of hearing the news made Janice speechless. All she could say was, “Thank you for calling. I’ll be there as soon.”

She hung up the phone, stunned. It wasn’t as if she didn’t know that this would happen to Joe or her, soon. After all, they were in their middle sixties. And, they had power of attorneys, living wills and funeral arrangements made up. Everything was ready, except she didn’t think it would happen this soon.

It took twice as long to get ready; her body and mind feeling so slow. Just arranging her purse and putting on better clothes seemed to take forever.

“Darn this blouse! It has never fit right! Look at this purse. Why didn’t I arrange it better yesterday?!”

After an hour, she left and went to the hospital.

She signed all the necessary papers; all the while sleepwalking. It wasn’t real; it just wasn’t real. Taking care of the paperwork seemed so unnecessary and tedious. Wouldn’t they think that she would just want to see her husband?

Later, she went to the morgue; an event she dreaded. He always told her that if he went first, she was to make sure that he was dead. He didn’t want to be, in his own words, “barbequed alive while being cremated.”

She looked at his face. His sleepy face suggested to her that he was taking a nap and soon would wake up, crack a joke and be on his way.

“What a wonderful face you have, Joe! How am I going to go on without seeing that wonderful, happy face?!”

Then she heard a kind of whispering…”J a n i c e….oh J a n i c e…Look up!”

As she looked up she saw a kind of glow above Joe’s body and as she watched the glow become brighter. “I love you Janice and I’ll be watching over you…So, don’t be afraid…And, I’ll help you when you need help, I always have, haven’t I?”

Bewildered, she replied…”Yes, you have…but we were supposed to go together….”

“Don’t worry dear; I just heard from an angel that Jesus will be coming for you soon….Not to worry.”

Seconds later the image disappeared, leaving Janice sad but so looking forward to her reunion with “her happy and precious, Joe.”

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This article has been read 396 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jim McWhinnie 07/09/09
Remarkable story of how love endures.
Charla Diehl 07/11/09
I don't consider people in their sixties to be living in their twilight years, so feel this was a bit of a stretch for the topic.
However, it was a lovely story of two people whose love endured beyond the grave.