Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CHILL (10/29/15)
- TITLE: Not Winter Yet
By Donna Powers
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
Packing up the kitchen is certainly not bringing me any such joy.
The trees outside my kitchen window are dressed in their finest coats of gold, orange and red and the wind is making the leaves dance around my yard. Clouds seem made of starchy wool; they stroll casually around the azure sky like finely dressed courtiers of old. God has given us such a lovely day, and I am grateful. But, as far as my heart is concerned, those leaves could dance away forever.
I just miss my Tom - so much. He went home to heaven just six months ago, but it seems to have passed as slowly as six centuries. Life without his smile, his laugh, his voice and his arms around me has been a series of disjointed events. My heart – once warmly filled with his love, joy and laughter – has been slowly turning into a frosty shell. And now that I’m packing up the pieces of our life, it feels as though my heart’s ice might be here to stay. Oh, it’s not winter yet. Just like the view outside my window, my heart still feels like autumn. But winter is coming; no doubt of that. Living with my son may be financially necessary, but leaving our home will feel like the final stage of heart-frost is inevitable.
I hear Trey laugh again, and wonder what in the world can be so amusing about watching as his dad pack up boxes. I’m so grateful they’re here. Not only am I physically unable to pack up this house by myself, I know I’d just be sitting and crying if I were alone – as I’ve done, so often, since Tom has been gone.
We were childhood sweethearts. One day, in fourth grade, I noticed a brown-haired boy next to me in the playground. He smiled and offered me a juice box. I accepted the juice, smiled back, and took a look at his friendly face. I was immediately curious about his eyes: blue as the sky, except for one small golden fleck in the left iris. I asked him about it. He just shrugged and said, “I don’t know why. God made me to be Tom Shannon, and Tom Shannon has a gold dot in his eye. It’s God’s plan - and that’s OK with me.”
I loved his answer and spent the rest of recess with Tom, who proved to be an amusing companion. Over the next 12 years, we grew to be more than friends, and got married. When he asked me to be his wife, Tom said, “I believe it’s God’s plan for us to be married. And God’s plan is OK with me.”
It was OK with me, too. And so was Tom. God gave us such joy. We shared a wonderful 43 years, and I feel greedy to wish for more. But, I do. I yearn for more: more looks, more smiles, more hugs, more words, more kisses … more time. I yearn for just a part of him to somehow be here, with me.
I went on wrapping dishes. I won’t need them in my son’s home, so I’m sending them to Goodwill – along with all Tom’s clothes. Giving them away seems practical, but it’s like giving away parts of Tom.
I hear Trey’s laughter near me; then I hear his voice. “Hi, Grandma! Daddy said I could have a snack, OK?”
“OK, sweetie. Just don’t spoil your supper or your Mommy will be upset.”
“I won’t,” he agreed. A moment later, he was at my side. “Want a juice box, Grandma?”
My eyes well up, immediately. Through my tears I saw Trey’s face, and reach out to take the juice. “Thank you,” I told him.
“You’re welcome, Grandma.” He sat down next to me.
As I drank the juice, I glanced at my grandson. How could I have forgotten? There, in Trey’s left eye was a familiar golden fleck. Trey – Thomas Briggs Shannon III – was the image of my Tom.
I breathed in, and smiled. “Thank You, God,” I whispered, as His Spirit reminded me it’s not winter, yet.
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