Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: STRESSED - Begins January 18 / Ends January 25 (01/18/18)
- TITLE: To Whom It May Concern
By LeslieJean Anderson
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At the bottom of the drawer he found a stack of letters bound with ribbon. A faint smile crept across his face as he recognized them. They were his love letters. Letter writing had been a big part of his passionate courtship of the lovely, woman he’d spotted in church twenty years before, and married a year later.
Stan sat down and pulled Janet’s favorite knitted throw over his knees. He dropped the pile of letters in his lap, and opened the one dated May 31, 1992. It had been his birthday, and he’d written it as a thank-you note for the card and gift she’d given him during their engagement. But it went on for two pages, as the love he’d felt for her poured out onto the page. That love had only grown through the years.
As his eyes skimmed the words he’d written to her, he felt the tears start up again, and he quickly put the letter down. He would read them later, when his grief was not as fresh.
But as he moved the pile, one fell off the bottom. It was sealed but without an address or a stamp. Instead, a note in Janet’s own handwriting was scrawled across the front of the envelope.
She’d written, “Saved by the Grace of God, Who intervened and stopped me by sending Laurel into my bedroom at 3:00 am. She was hysterical because she’d had a nightmare that I had died! She cried for an hour and I held her in my arms until dawn. I promised God that I would see it all through to the end. With His help, I will be stronger.”
Stan carefully eased the sealed flap open and removed the one-page handwritten letter, dated ten years before he met her.
It was a suicide note.
“To Whom It May Concern:
The car wreck that took my life was a deliberate act of self-sacrifice for the good of my beloved five young children. An insurance policy is in my desk at home.
For the past two years I have been advised of my total inability to care for my children as a single mother. I didn’t believe that raising them alone was impossible, but now I am convinced it cannot be done. Without help, the stress is just too great on all of us. It seems that love and affection and hard work are just not enough to create a good home.
The children’s father has already obtained a replacement for me, and has established himself in a large house with step-children already residing there. He anticipates gaining custody and adding mine to his household soon. My children are already excited about their new “playmates.”
Then I will be forced to pay child support, or go to jail.
Although I have a job, it is hardly enough to cover my own needs, much less child support for five children. My lawyer did not defend me. He agreed with the demands of my husband’s lawyer, and the judge ruled in their favor. But he will still be paid what I owe him with the insurance money.
My children are young enough that they will soon forget the struggle of the past two years. They probably will never be told the truth of my death, which is good. I am glad that they will have a new mother ready to take care of them. I am told she won’t have to work, so she’ll be cheerful and attentive to their needs. The children tell me they already have to call her “Mom.”
So I just needed to step out of the way. Now they will have everything they will need to grow up strong and healthy and successful.
That’s all a loving mother could want for her beloved children.
As for me, I am finally free from the agony of defeat and the constant pain in my chest. I still do not understand what happened or why. Maybe God will explain it to me. I can only hope that He will receive me with more compassion than I found here on earth.”
Janet Sue Hill
Stan gasped with shock and then whispered, “God – Oh God, thank You! Thank You for preserving her life... for me.”
749 words This story is based on some true events.
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