Elizabeth loved Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy. Jumping up and down while clapping her hands, she began to call out their names as they walked by her.
"Oh Mickey," she laughed. "You're even cuter in person than on television. Can I give you a hug?"
Before Mickey had a chance to answer, she wrapped her arms around him. "I remember watching you and Brittney Spears on the Mickey Mouse Club. It was a fun show," Elizabeth said while squeezing harder.
"Whoa there, ma'am, that is quite the bear hug. Ha, ha. Would you mind letting me go?" Mickey asked. "We don't get too many women your age here in make-believe land. Ha, ha."
Reluctantly, Elizabeth let go as Mickey backed slowly away. "See you around. Ha, ha," Mickey said while waving. "Okay guys, on the count of three, let's run! This one's weird."
Elizabeth turned around just in time to see the Road Runner dash across the cartoon road toward her. "Oh, Road Runner, I think you're funny," she yelled as he sped past her.
"Beep, beep," he answered while his legs spun in blurred circles. Elizabeth knew Wiley Coyote couldn't be too far behind. Looking around, she spotted him as a train ran over him while he was putting some bird seed on the train tracks.
"I forgot how great make-believe land was. It's been a long time since I've been here. I think I'll stick around for a while," Elizabeth said while skipping through the cartoon town.
Elizabeth knew there was one cartoon character she wanted to talk with before leaving make-believe land. As a child, this character was her best friend and Elizabeth took her everywhere she went. She told this best friend all her deep thoughts and secrets. It was of vital importance she find her dear friend, Strawberry Shortcake.
On a mission to find her friend, Elizabeth began to run. Stopping at the brick house of the three little pigs, she knocked. After a few seconds when no one answered, she began pounding on the door.
"Go away, wolf!" came a squeal from within the house. "You can't blow this house down."
"No, it's not the big bad wolf," cried out Elizabeth. "It's me, Elizabeth Johnson. Please, do you know where I can find Strawberry Shortcake?"
"You can't fool us," yelled one of the pigs. "We remember how you pretended to be Little Red Riding Hood's grandma. Go away."
Elizabeth continued knocking on doors. She knew it was important to find Strawberry Shortcake. There were some secrets she had to share with her friend before leaving this pretend world.
Elizabeth stopped running. Slapping her forehead with the palm of her hand she said, "Of course. I know exactly where she is."
Some of their best conversations had taken place in the daisy field behind her parent's farmhouse. While making daisy necklaces, they were able to resolve some of Elizabeth's worst problems.
Sure enough, on the edge of cartoon town, Elizabeth found a field of daisies. There in the middle of the field was her special friend, Strawberry Shortcake. They had much to talk about.
Watching her daughter "picking daisies" in the hospital room was painful. Clara didn't know how much more she could take. Dabbing her hankie to her eyes and then with a quick wipe at her nose, she asked, "Doctor, how long will she be like this?"
Reading the chart but never looking in her direction the doctor shrugged. "It's hard to say exactly. A couple days, a couple weeks."
Clara walked over to Elizabeth, stroking her curly red locks. Elizabeth, not aware of her mother's touch, continued picking daisies while conversing with Strawberry Shortcake. "It doesn't make sense, Doctor Cannon. She shows no physical signs of injury. Why is she locked in a world where we can't reach her?"
"I'm sorry, Mrs. Hendricks, I truly am. The mind is a difficult thing to understand. She's had a great loss. Losing her husband and infant child in the car accident is a tough pill to swallow. Sometimes I think God allows a mind to stray as a way of protecting it. She will come around, I'm sure. When her heart is able to accept what has happened, she'll be back. Until then, God has her tucked away in a safe place. Trust Him to know the right timing for her return to reality."
Mother and doctor watched in wonder as Elizabeth continued her conversation with the cartoon character of her youth.
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