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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Red (10/01/09)

TITLE: A Christmas Visit
By Lisa Harris


Clean, Clean, Clean….I muttered as I yanked everything out of the linen closet into the hall to reorganize. Sheets, towels, even a favorite comforter fell on the hardwood floors. I glanced towards the left side where the light was dim and I saw my daughter’s Christmas stocking hanging on the shelf for dear life. I stopped and stared at the charming heirloom. It was a red patchwork stocking made by her great-grandmother. On the top white portion was her name embroidered in cursive, “Whitney.” The tiny stitches were precise and detailed…love observed in every stitch.

I adored this Christmas stocking and so did she. I stepped over the quickly forgotten pile of linens with stocking in hand and headed for the photo albums. I looked for her yearly red-plaid dress Christmas pictures, and I pulled each one I found out of their clear sleeves. Next, I brought out a couple of hand-made Christmas cards she had ‘designed’ for me while in elementary school. I scooped everything up and then grabbed a box of old Christmas ornaments searching for the special one. There, encased in bubble wrap, was Santa Claus made out of a chandelier light bulb. Her Girl Scout Troup had created these to sell at a Christmas Open House. I looked at my treasures…sifting the memories as I gently held each one. No more hugs, kisses or “Mom, I love you”…just the images of her face on my mind. I left these all piled on the kitchen table, my zest for continuing either project just left my body. I sighed heavily, grabbed my blanket and curled up on the sofa suddenly exhausted.

I drifted into a deep slumber and later as I stirred about, I opened my eyes; Whitney was sitting on the fireplace with Martha and Mary. I don’t know why I knew it was Jesus’ Martha and Mary…I just did.

“Mom,” she said… “What are you doing? There is too much to do for you to sleep!”

I just stared…

“I brought Martha…you know Martha how she likes to stay busy doing things, so we’re going to help you and Mary is going to sit here and comfort you.”

I stared more…was I dreaming with my eyes opened?

“Comfort me?” I said, or did I think that.
Whitney showed a sparkling white smile, “Mom, I told you I would always be here with you,” she said clasping her heart.

Martha grabbed Whitney’s hand pulling her towards the hall… “Come on Whitney, so much to do, sweet girl,” her cheery voice whispered.

Mary came over and put her arms around me…the comfort was surprising as I relaxed into her arms. Gently she spoke…quoting scripture after scripture…pouring into me God’s words of love and understanding. I broke into silent tears knowing she understood.

I heard Whitney’s giggles from the hall, her and Martha busy organizing and getting things done for me. She always did love to clean and straighten my cabinets and closets. I was enjoying hearing her laughter once again.

“Mom,” she whispered in my ear suddenly appearing at my side. “We’re done, and we have to go.”

“Please honey, not now…not so soon,” I whispered back as I stroked her soft Christmas stocking I noticed I had in my hand.

“Mom, I loved my red patchwork stocking…it was always special to me.”

“I know.”

Whitney leaned over my shoulder touching each item in the pile.

“Mom, what are you doing with these things?”

“I’m making a shadow box of all your Christmas memories…is that alright?”

“Sure Mom,” she said while hugging me.

Martha and Mary stood silently by…watching or maybe praying. The love I felt in the room was so soothing.

“Mom, I love the shadow box…I love my red stocking but most of all remember I love you.”

My eyes opened and I knew…God sent my daughter to me in a dream for comfort and release. I just sat and relived the memory over and over for awhile. Finally, I rose still wrapped in the blanket and walked down the hall….

I stopped and stared at the floor. The linens were gone—absolutely nothing on the hardwoods. I stood there with my hand on the closet handle. Slowly, I opened the door and to my astonishment, the sheets and towels were stacked and organized. On top laid Whitney’s stocking…I sucked in my breath as I picked it up again and my heart heard her say, “Remember Mom, I love you.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/08/09
Reading this actually put me in a Christmas-y mood!

I'm not generally fond of "dream" stories, and the end of this one, along with the title, leaves me wondering...what happened to the daughter, and was it a dream, or...the daughter's spirit? That leaves me a bit uneasy.

This was told in a very pleasant voice--an engaging read.
Shilo Goodson10/13/09
I enjoyed this story, but I felt there was more to the story. I know that saying everything in the allowed word count can be hard, but I wondered about the daughter. Did she die? Was she just away at school or living far away? Maybe I missed that part, but I don't remember this being addressed.