Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SKELETON IN THE CLOSET (11/30/17)
- TITLE: Beyond the Grave
By Dave Walker
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Patricia hugged her two daughters as they stood, teary eyed, while the priest intoned. "I am the resurrection and the Life..."
Why, God? Why take him so young? And so suddenly?
The mourners stood silent and still. Some listened attentively. Others, disengaging, stared vacantly ahead. "He who believes in Me, even though he die, yet will he live."
He lives with You, God, but I'm left to live here alone.
"Dust to dust. Ashes to ashes."
...It was as the relatives were throwing soil on the coffin that she saw him.
At first she thought he'd come to another grave -- but he faced them, his young head bowed. His shoulders sagged and shook slightly and he twisted the edge of his black T-shirt around and around as if in deep pain.
During the final hymn, her eyes travelled to the coffin, to the young man, back to the coffin and again to the young man. Who is he? What does he have to do with Michael?
As soon as the service was over, Patricia moved towards him, but comforting mourners gathered around her, blocking her way. She watched the young man brace himself against the wind and disappear between the tombstones.
Once free, she ran in his direction, but he was gone. Slowly, she returned to her family.
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There was a deep hole at home. So lonely. So quickly. A gasp, clutching his chest --- and he was gone. Now, no man in the house; just a yawning void. Funny how she'd never told him how much she longed for a son. If only....... but it was too late now.
Her thoughts travelled to the graveside and his grieving relatives; and the young man, standing at a distance, sobbing, twisting his T-shirt in pain. Who was he?
------------- o -------------
Patricia didn't realise Michael's popularity until the condolences poured in, giving her new insight into the very private man who had been her husband. Twelve years of marriage, and only now she learned that he climbed mountains, helped at an orphanage, and was a party man at Varsity.
As she tore open another letter, she paled; her hand shook. Michael's handwriting!. It was on an envelope enclosed in another. She read the first letter, which was brief.
Michael asked me to send this to you, should anything happen to him. I'm so sorry for your loss that necessitates my carrying out his wishes.
Patricia opened Michael's letter:
I suppose I've been cowardly in hiding this from you. Please understand, my motive was to spare you pain.
A few years ago, I received a phone call from a girl I dated at Varsity. Imagine my shock when she told me that a few weeks after we broke up, she discovered she was pregnant. She never told me, but brought up her son by herself, in another state. She was back now, sixteen years later and would love her son to meet his dad.
I was shattered and excited, but terribly afraid it would affect our marriage, so I said nothing. I've grown to love Jimmy (yes, that's his name) dearly. If I go, he'll need someone to love him. His mother's moved in with an abusive man, so he's in digs by himself. I've been seeing and supporting him.
Please, darling, don't be angry. For my sake, look after him.
Your loving husband
A slip dropped from the envelope with an address.
Patricia's knees buckled. Heart pounding, she prayed. Why, God, why? Why the secrecy?
What am I to do?
Suddenly her mind was filled with Scripture verses she'd learned as a child.
A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows.
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow.
He is now fatherless and I am a widow. Are You putting us together? Will You be our defender?
I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of Him.
I wanted a son. Is this Your answer?
A deep peace filled her heart.
She called out to her daughters. "Carol, Stephanie! Come. How would you like to meet your brother?"
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