Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: TEARS - (as in crying) (10/04/04)
TITLE: Teardrops from the Heart
By Donna J. Shepherd
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Although alike in many ways, in just as many, Kay and Mom differed. Mom was out-going and friendly while Kay was more reserved and a bit shy. Kay drove. Mom rode. Mom had a nervous energy that manifested itself with worry. Kay never fretted over anything. She’d cluck her tongue at Mom and admonish her, “Now you just worry too much. You know God will take care of us.”
But the biggest difference was in how they worked. When Mom left a tumultuous marriage of thirty years and needed a job, Kay offered to help Mom do what they did best – clean. While Mom cleaned like a whirling dervish, Kay went behind her picking up and going over the places Mom missed.
Mom frequently commented with a wink, “Working by the hour really pays off when I work with Kay.”
While they worked, they commiserated, counseled each other, laughed, and cried.
They had been friends for twenty-five years when Mom began noticing changes in Kay. Since Mom didn’t drive, she’d always depended on Kay for transportation, and one day while in a familiar part of town, Kay couldn’t remember how to get home. When they arrived at her house, Mom silently breathed a prayer of thanks, only to find Kay had become completely disoriented. She called Kay’s son who took Kay straight to the hospital.
After running several tests, the diagnosis was devastating – a brain tumor.
Mom called, crying. “I need to get to the hospital to see Kay. Can you take me?”
Kay couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. None of us should have been surprised that Kay didn’t intend to fret and worry. She’d never worried a day in her life and wasn’t going to start when her time was limited.
Even after grueling chemotherapy and all that goes with it, Kay never wavered in her optimism and faith in God. “When the good Lord wants to take me, I’m ready to go.”
A few short weeks later, Kay ended up in intensive care. I took Mom to see her. We walked in and I heard Mom’s sharp intake of breath.
The circles under Kay’s eyes were deep and dark. All her pretty, brown curls were gone and her hazel eyes looked weak as she attempted to smile.
We tried to converse, but Kay drifted into incoherent rambling. Kay’s four children tried to decide whether to have an operation the doctor said might give Kay more time.
On the way home, my usually optimistic mother, sighed and predicted, “Kay won’t get to have that operation. She’s not going to last that long.”
My mother was right. Kay died that evening.
As we entered the church for the funeral, I stopped by the casket. My heart lifted when I saw Kay. Dressed in a pink polyester dress, she had on a wig with beautiful, brown curls.
When it came time to say good-bye, I was directly behind Mom. She bent over Kay’s body and began to sob, and as she did, big teardrops fell onto the front of Kay’s pretty, pink dress. My heart broke as I stared at the dark stains and realized that the tears cried in Mom’s distress and sorrow would go with Kay to the grave.
For several months after Kay’s death, Mom couldn’t talk about her without crying. She cries tears of remembrance to this day, but insists, “I miss her, but I would never wish her back from heaven.”
Kay left a legacy of love and friendship, and on the day she was buried, Kay took with her something precious – tears shed from my mother’s heart.