Corrine sat on the floor of her parent’s bedroom. There were years and years of stuff to go through; everything held a precious memory. Roger, her husband of six years saw her sitting there helpless, but at a loss for words to comfort her. It had been like this for days now, ever since the tragic call came. Neither of them was prepared for the news that rocked their world that day. Just days after Christmas, still on a sugar high from all the candy they had consumed with the kids, everything went dark. Roger remembered her end of the conversation like some strange nightmare that kept playing over and over in his head.
“Hello? You are who? Oh. I see, and what have you found? And you are sure that it is them; I mean, there are people still missing. Reports everywhere say that the carnage is unrecognizable. I see. Well, how soon can we get there? What do you mean, we can’t go? You’re doing what? Yes, sir. I understand, but you have to understand that these are my parents! Yes, sir. And, how soon do you think that will be? I see. Yes, I agree; that is the only thing that can be done. Thank you. Goodbye.”
That was the day that they had received the news that her parents had indeed been killed in the horrible tsunami that had turned a large part of Southeast Asia upside down and inside out. The days that followed were a blur as they tried to put funeral plans in place still waiting for the bodies to get home. The smell as the coroner had opened the bags had been putrid, with a lack of medical services overseas, they had simply been put on ice until they could be embalmed and buried. It was something he had prayed his wife would never have to go through. Every missionary child feared this news. Every missionary family dreaded this scenario. It was tragic to say the least. The only consolation in it all was that they were finally home.
Roger watched as she got up from the floor and went to the closet. She pulled their clothes to her in a hug and breathed in the scent of them. Her eyes were red from lack of sleep and sorrow, something that wouldn’t go away for weeks yet. Everything was still too fresh.
“It still smells like her.” Her voice cracked.
“I know, baby.” Roger walked over to her and placed his arms around her waist.
“I miss them so much. We had such plans! They were just a year from retirement. Who would have ever expected something like this to happen?!” With that Corrine hit the frame of the closet so hard that an avalanche of clothes and boxes dislodged from the edge of the shelf.
“Whoops.” Sally said as she knelt to pick some of it up that had fallen before them.
“Here I will help.” Roger knelt beside her, but stopped as his hands reached for a box that he recognized from years before.
“The postcards,” she said as she saw what caught his eye. “There are miles and miles of journey there. Years and years of life and a lifetime of memories are captured in each one.” She paused. “I’m not ready.”
“Here, I will put them over there. The kids need to see these so they will know what their grandparents meant not only to us but to the world and all the people that sent these.”
Roger gently picked up the box and carried it to the bed. People that would never know of his parents-in-law’s death, who might have been killed themselves, were the authors of each and every one of the one hundred or so notes written in broken-English. A map of service from China to India and all the places in between was remembered with each word written. These were more than just postcards; these were jewels, priceless treasures that had already been set in a pair of crowns and were now worn by the greatest people he had ever known, Lucy and Bill Newton.
Sally watched him and saw the emotion in his eyes as he brushed the top of the box.
“They loved you like their own, you know.”
Richard let the tears fall as he walked back to her eager for her embrace.
“I know. I know.”
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