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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: TEARS - (as in crying) (10/04/04)

TITLE: Theresa's Gift
By Kristin Slavik


We were all there when Theresa died. She had battled Leukemia for several years before her body gave in to the ravages of the disease. I believe that any one of her adult family members would have gladly taken her place. It never seemed fair that someone so young and alive could suffer so. Despite her tender age of 11, she was always wise beyond her years. She knew Jesus would come for her, even when the rest of us did not want to believe he would take her. She spent her time in the hospital sharing with other children what she believed.

She asked for all of us to come that day. She wanted her family and friends together for one last party before she had to go home. The doctors knew she did not have much time. We, however, were not quite ready to let go of tomorrow for Theresa. She asked her mom to write out invitations that asked everyone to come to a celebration. She made sure that her mother decorated her room and played her favorite radio station. She requested an ice cream cake and balloons.

When I arrived, I admired the decorations and stopped to give her a hug. “Aunt Kay, please keep this safe for me,” she whispered in my ear. She slipped a letter into my pocket. She seemed so content and happy with all of us around her room chatting comfortably. After talking for a while, she grew tired and laid back on her pillow. The radio stopped and the room was suddenly quite as we all turned back to Theresa. With a final breath she was gone. In her hand she held the cross that hung around her neck and the corners of her mouth were still held in a smile. My sister started sobbing and rocking Theresa. I began to sing in a quiet voice ‘He will lift you up on eagle’s wings.‘ Everyone in the room knew that they would never again on earth know anyone like Theresa.

After many moments of tears and shared disbelief, I reached into my pocket for a tissue. My hand felt the corners of the paper and I remembered the note Theresa had given to me. Slowly I pulled it out. Turning it over and over in my hand I sat, reluctant to open it. Finally I cleared my throat and raised my voice. “Theresa gave me something today. I think she wanted me to read it to you.” I unfolded the corners of the note and began to cry again at the sight of her precious handwriting. Taking a breath I began:

My Dearest Family:

I know that you will read this after I have gone to heaven. Please don’t cry for me now, I am finally going home. I know that path I had to take was hard, but it is not anymore. I hope that all of you realize the gifts that God has given you in good health and family and friends. I hope that you will remember me by following God’s voice in your hearts like I did. My mom knows that I would like to donate the healthy organs that my body had left. In heaven I won’t need them anymore. The little girl without sight and the young man that needs a liver need my help to stay here on earth for a little while longer. I am happy to give them that chance. Mom, I know that this will be hard for you. I asked Jesus to come and hold your hand. Anytime you are missing me, just feel for his hand. To all of you, I know that you all came here for a party. Please celebrate! I am home.

Love always,

Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Lee Schab 10/11/04
One word to describe this article, Kristin: WOW! What a wonderful "tearful" entry. Well done. Blessings, Lynda
Lucian Thompson10/11/04
Kristin, This article was so hard to read. From the beginning, it had me crying. This precious little girl knew the joy of her faith. Oh, that all would come to know that joy!
Cyndy McNaul-Nelson10/12/04
Kristin; Good article. It evoked a gasp of emotions from me. My guess is you didn't have a dry eye while writing about a tough memory. (I'm not able to do that, yet.) Thanks for sharing.
Linda Watson Owen10/12/04
Kristen, the visual and auditory imagery in paragraph three is gripping! That scene really comes to life! Beautiful!
Teresa Lee Rainey10/12/04
Kristin, I agree with everyone and will add my two cents...this is beautiful! I am crying tears of sorry for the family and tears of joy for Theresa.
Joanne Malley10/13/04
I thought I was home free without a tear shed until the letter! Luckily, there was a kleenex on my desk. Great entry for "tears."
L.M. Lee10/14/04
I have no idea how cancer patience can find such joy and strength in the midst of such suffering...but they are an inspiration to those of us who are healthy and whine about little things.