Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Year(s) (01/20/11)
I fell for Ted the third time I met him. That first time, in his business suit, he seemed like all the other managers in the meeting. The second time, in his Sunday sportcoat and khakis, he looked like someone my mother would introduce me to. The third time, though, in his jeans and sweatshirt, atop Mt. Leconte in the autumn sunset, I realized he was someone I wanted to know.
ââ‚¬Å“Come here often?ââ‚¬Å“ he quipped, as we sat with the other hikers on the massive moutaintop rock.
ââ‚¬Å“No, and after todayââ‚¬â„¢s climb to get here, I doubt Iââ‚¬â„¢ll ever claim that.ââ‚¬
ââ‚¬Å“Well, I hear the going downââ‚¬â„¢s easierââ‚¬¦.ââ‚¬ His eyes sparkled. I was smitten.
The next morning, I made sure he observed my friends and me leaving camp for the hike down. Sure enough, he left his group and caught up with me. Before weââ‚¬â„¢d rounded the first switchback, he and I were hiking together, my friends far ahead, his far behind.
With the trails poorly marked, we headed down a steeper slope than planned. As he was amusing me with stories of another hiking trip, I turned to laugh and slid off the steep edge of the trail. I yelped and slid quickly down the slope, grasping at bushes, grass, dandelions to stop my fall. I caught and held tight to a root and frantically looked up. Immediately above me was Ted, reaching out, ââ‚¬Å“Iââ‚¬â„¢m here. Take my hand. Hold on.ââ‚¬
And I did.
We were inseparable after that. Our plans included a sailing trip in the Caribbean in May. For a week we sailed by day and moored at various islands by night. On the last night, walking in the moonlight along the shore, he stopped and looked me deep in the eyes: ââ‚¬Å“Marry me! Give me your hand. And hold on for a wonderful lifelong ride!ââ‚¬
We started planning the wedding right away. Weââ‚¬â„¢d get married in October, our favorite month, the month heââ‚¬â„¢d first grabbed my hand-- and my heart -- on Mt. Leconte.
After one particularly busy Saturday visiting caterers, Ted complained of being tired. ââ‚¬Å“Thereââ‚¬â„¢s something different about this tired,ââ‚¬ he said. ââ‚¬Å“I donââ‚¬â„¢t knowââ‚¬¦ guess I need to see the doctor.ââ‚¬
We got the worst possible news. Ted had lymphoma. The aggressive kind. He started treatments immediately, although very light chemo. ââ‚¬Å“Gentle dosage for now,ââ‚¬ Dr. Dan said. ââ‚¬Å“Youââ‚¬â„¢ll want your hair for the wedding.ââ‚¬
We returned from our honeymoon to much more intense treatment, the kind that shows no mercy on hair, stomach or strength.
We tried alternative treatments too: juicing carrots, attending support groups, researching experimental drugs. But none of it held off the cancer cells reproducing in his body.
The last effort was a bone marrow transplant. When I was allowed to visit, I dressed in scrubs, mask and gloves. He was gaunt and exhausted, but brightened when I walked in. I didnââ‚¬â„¢t dare kiss him, because of his weakened immune system. But I touched him and said, ââ‚¬Å“Iââ‚¬â„¢m here, my love. Take my hand. Hold on.ââ‚¬
Ted was released after six weeks with a cautiously optimistic prognosis. We took it as a go-ahead to get on with our lives. We bought a house and started planning our family.
But three months after release from the hospital, the cancer was back. No amount of carrots or chemo had any impact. On our last visit to Dr. Dan, he advised Ted to get his affairs in order.
At home that night, I raged. ââ‚¬Å“I donââ‚¬â„¢t believe this. I wonââ‚¬â„¢t believe this. We will live in this house together! I will have your babies! We planned it!ââ‚¬ Then, sobbing, ââ‚¬Å“What is God thinking? Why? Why?ââ‚¬
Ted pulled me to him on the living room chair. He stroked my back, wiped my tears, and held me. ââ‚¬Å“Godââ‚¬â„¢s got a plan. We donââ‚¬â„¢t understand it, yet, but hereââ‚¬â„¢s what Iââ‚¬â„¢ve figured out: if I get to heaven before you do, you'll go on, here on earth. Youââ‚¬â„¢ll find someone else to love. Youââ‚¬â„¢ll have those babies and that house with him. Youââ‚¬â„¢ll have an abundant life. And when you get to heaven, Iââ‚¬â„¢ll be there for you. And your future husband, you and I ââ‚¬â€œ weââ‚¬â„¢ll be happy togetherââ‚¬¦ thereââ‚¬â„¢ll be enough of you for both of us.
ââ‚¬Å“Iââ‚¬â„¢m here for you like I promised. Now, give me your hand. Hold on, hold on to me.ââ‚¬
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.