Posted in Writing

#365Challenge #Day16 #Believe

You took me by surprise

With your big smile
And jovial laugh.

You took me by surprise

With your little anecdotes,
Wise words and witty jokes.

You took me by surprise

When you were there for me and didn’t leave
When you said “It’s going to be okay, kiddo!”

You took me by surprise

When you gave me shelter from the storm
And hope to dream of the future.

You took me by surprise

When I became yours,
A part of a family I had never had before.

You took me by surprise

Giving me a beacon in the darkness
And helping me believe in my future.

You took me by surprise

With your unconditional love
And unfaltering wings of protection.

You took me by surprise

When you called me daughter
And let me call you father.

 

 

Photo Source: BobbiWhiteman – Hands of Love

Song: Nat “King” Cole and Natalie Cole – Unforgettable

Posted in Writing

#365Challenge #Day15 #Fire

Can you feel my heartbeat?

I feel yours

It’s faster the closer I get.

My fingers tingle at your touch.

Do I do to you what you do to me?

Can you feel my heartbeat?

I feel the deep thuds of yours beating in your chest

As I lay my head against your skin.

Do you feel me near?

Do I set your pulse on fire?

Can you feel my heartbeat?

I think yours skipped one

As I leaned in for a kiss.

Did my fingers brush away the accelerated thumps?

Do you know what your touch is doing to me?

Can you feel my heartbeat?

It beats for you

Every moment for you

Longs for you

Wants you

Needs you

Do you hear it?

Do you know?

I can

I do

I hear yours

We are one.

 

 

Photo Source Unknown

Song: Rita Ora – Your Song

Posted in Writing

#365Challenge #Day14 #Love

What is love? Can you see it? Can you touch it? Is it tangible?

What is love? Is it hard to show it? Does it just come naturally?

What is love? Is it in the simple things? Or the grand gestures?

What is love? Is it from the heart? Or from the soul? Is it both?

What is love? Is it unconditional? Is it forever?

What is love? Does it mend? Or does it break?

What is love? Is it unspeakable? Does it shout from rooftops and street corners?

What is love? Can you find it? Is it the greatest treasure?

What is love? Is it one thing? Or is it millions of things?

What is love? Does it fill the heart? Or does it empty it?

What is love? Where does it come from? Where does it go?

What is love? Do we accept it? Do we reject it?

What is love? Do we give it? Do we take it?

What is love? Does it speak to you? Does it whisper in your ear?

What is love? Does it hide? Does it stand exposed?

What is love? Can you tell me all of love’s secrets? Or are they forever a mystery?

What is love? Do you know what love is?

 

 

Photo Source Unknown

Song: Amber Run – I Found

Posted in Writing

#365Challenge #Day13 #Friendship

“Lizzie,” Amelia called from the balcony. “Come quickly.”

“What is it?” Lizzie called back, running up from inside the farmhouse as quickly as she could.

“Look,” Amelia pointed out into the grassy field.

Little lights flickered and glowed, disappeared, and quickly came back again.

“Fireflies,” Lizzie whispered. “They came.”

“Of course, they did, you goose,” Amelia teased her best friend. “They come every year.”

Lizzie smiled as Amelia took her hand and they ran downstairs and outside to the field. The evening was warm and perfect. Like every summer since she was six years old, Lizzie had come to visit Amelia for two and half months. That was twelve years ago. They were almost eighteen now, and Lizzie was moving again, her family had been moving all her life due to her father being an Army man. She had just gotten called by him that afternoon. After this summer, Lizzie was heading off to Boston with her family. But for now, this summer, this summer was for Amelia and Lizzie. And now, the fireflies were making one last glorious appearance.

“Where are you all going this time?”

“Boston.”

“Wow, that’s far,” Amelia replied. It would be halfway across the country and Amelia hoped Lizzie would still be able to come back to visit.

“I’ll still come back for the summers, don’t worry,” Lizzie assured Amelia, saying what she knew her friend was thinking.

“You better, or I’m going to come drag you out here to Montana myself.” Amelia said with a playful shove to Lizzie’s arm.

Lizzie and Amelia lay on the grass and looked up at the night sky, stargazing at the constellations twinkling above them. They laughed as they tried to point out the different ones out, and then giggled as they started making up their own pictures in the sky. Lizzie laughed and sat up, tucking her legs up to her chin, she looked across the field, the sun having completely disappeared beyond the horizon.

“Whatcha thinking about?” Amelia asked her.

Lizzie grinned. “The play next week, let’s add one more sequence to the end.” Lizzie suggested, getting up and twirling through the tall grass, sweeping her arms around, the world lighting up as fireflies flew about her and mimicked her pathway. “We’ll call it ‘The Dance of the Fireflies.’”

Amelia got up and followed her friend through the grass, “What did you have in mind?”

For the next two hours, with only the light of the fireflies, they choreographed the last scene to the play they were in. Along with coming to visit every summer, Lizzie would join up with Amelia’s dance company and they would put on an end of the summer production at the outdoor theater in the park. This year they were doing a dance interpretation of Peter Pan. When they finished dancing and choreographing, happy with the ideas they had come up with, they went back to the quiet farmhouse, everyone else having long ago gone to sleep.

“You get the popcorn, I’ll get the DVDs,” Amelia whispered to Lizzie, giggling and shushing each other as they came through the backdoor.

Lizzie nodded happily and went to the kitchen to get two bags of microwave popcorn and a giant bowl from the kitchen cabinet. Amelia bounced back in a few minutes later with a stack of DVDs in her hands.

“How many movies are you planning on watching?” Lizzie asked with an amused grin.

“It’s not about quantity, but quality. Actually, they are all amazing, but mainly I brought choices, my dear friend, choices,” Amelia replied.

“With that many choices, we’ll be here till the cows come home making a decision. You know us and our decision making skills are not quite on pointe.” Lizzie teased, with an extended pointe of her toes towards Amelia.

“Yes, I do, but that’s not the pointe,” Amelia clapped back with a pretend huff twirl, turning back to the stack on the table in front of her. “Now, if you could just focus, at the top of this list we have the classic, Pride and Prejudice, the 1995 version, which is obviously the best version.”

Lizzie smiled, “Truth.”

“And we also have, Magic of Ordinary Days. Also, one of our faves.”

“Ooh, that’s going to be tough…though the fact that Magic is only two hours and Pride and Prejudice is six, could outweigh our choices. I tell you….that Skeet.” Lizzie said with a dreamy smirk.

“Oh, yes, that Skeet,” Amelia swooned with her. “But when have we ever shied away from a series binge-athon?” She asked.

“Never. You just end up falling asleep on my shoulder,” Lizzie laughing and teasing her best friend as she poured the first bag of popcorn into the bowl.

“Truth, but that’s beside the point. I still hear it in my dreams, so that counts.” Amelia replied, returning to the stack of movies.

“It does, does it?” Lizzie grinned, opening up the second bag and putting it in the microwave. With a few more beeps it was started and she went over to the bowl of hot and fresh popcorn to start seasoning it.

“Parmesan?” She asked Amelia.

“Second shelf on the left.”

“Not there,” Lizzie said after rummaging around for a minute.

“Oops, my bad. On the right.” Amelia said absentmindedly as she flipped through the remaining DVDs.

“Ah-ha, got it.” Lizzie came back to the table with the cheese and some dried rosemary and looked up at Amelia. “Hey you, stop getting lost replaying the whole movie in your head and tell me the rest of our options.”

“Me, why I never…yeah, yeah I was. Okay, so next we have our all time favorite or I should say most watched since childhood, Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea, cause you can’t watch one without the other.”

“No, definitely can’t.”

“And lastly?”

“Lastly, my entire Mickey Rooney collection.”

“Did you plan on watching all of them tonight or just picking one?” Lizzie asked as she went back to grab the second bag of popcorn from the beeping microwave, attempting to open the microwave door quickly and cut off the loud beeping she was sure would wake the house.

“Eenie, meenie, miney, mo?” Amelia said playfully.

Lizzie laughed laughed loudly and quickly clapped her hand over her mouth.

“Shhhh.” Amelia said, with a bossy look as she put her finger in front of her lips. She had a sudden thought and jumped up. . “Oh, we have one more option…” Amelia trailed off with a secretive grin. She dashed off and came running back quickly.

“This,” she said as she handed Lizzie three boxed sets tied together with a bow.

“Amelia!” Lizzie shrieked with excitement. “You got them! Have you seen them yet?”

“Nope, was waiting for you and well, for them to arrive here in the mail, too.”

“Aidan Turner, and Eleanor Tomlinson…. oh my god, I can’t wait!”

“So, you’ve picked them?” Amelia asked with a smirk.

“Uh, yes, obviously!” Lizzie replied with glee.

They both grinned and squealed and then shushed each other as they carried the movies, snacks, and a couple ginger beers down to the family room in the basement.

“At least down here, we won’t wake the dead,” Amelia whispered as they made it to the bottom of the staircase. She went to set up the show on the old CRT tv and grabbed the remotes, joining Lizzie on the couch, where she already had the food set up and lots of blankets piled on the leather couch.

“Ready for it?” Amelia asked her, as she plopped down next to Lizzie and put her giant fluffy pillow in her lap.

“So ready for it,” Lizzie replied, an uncontrollable smile pulling at her cheeks.

“So dang excite!” They said at the same time as the BBC music played before the movie began.

They grabbed each other’s hands and grinned with delight. They stayed there for the next several hours playing episode after episode until they both couldn’t keep their heads up any longer and groggily found spots on the two couches to pass out on.

The next morning, Amelia found Lizzie sitting on the back porch, wrapped in a blanket, holding a cup of tea in her hands. Amelia sat down next to her and looked over at her best friend.

“What if you stayed here?” Amelia finally asked Lizzie.”I’ve been thinking about this all summer, but I know how much your father insists you go with them.”

“With all of my heart I wish I could, my dearest friend. But he does want me to and I want to go to. It won’t be permanent. Only a few years. If only I could split myself to be in two places at once.” Lizzie said, with a sadness in her eyes.

“I know it won’t be, but I’ll miss you, you know.” Amelia said.

“Like wildfire,” Lizzie replied, smoothing the edges of the blanket with her hand.

Amelia looked at Lizzie, “Promise you’ll come back. Don’t stay away too long, Stranger.”

“I promise,” Lizzie said as she put out her pinkie and Amelia took it, laughing as they shook their fingers.

They both looked out at the field, mesmerized by two beautiful butterflies dancing among the grass. They just fluttered and flew wherever the wind took them, though never straying far from each other.

Photo Source: Stijn Dijkstra – Golden Light

Song Inspiration – Ed Sheeran & Andrea Bocelli – Perfect

Posted in Writing

#365Challenge #Day12 #Jump

Lessie walked through the deep underbrush, parting branches along her way. The rain was coming down so thick that she could barely see her hand in front of her face. She had ignored her commanding officer’s orders to stay at the camp and had gone out into the forest where she had swore she saw a ship go down. She had laughed to herself when she had left, for what could the commander do, pull rank? She was the princess after all, so the “commanding” part was merely a formality.

She stopped to catch her breath and drink some rain water off of a large hanging leaf on the tree next to her. The water was sweet for this time of year. The bitter waters of the cold months had already begun to fade away on Bayshen.

She knew she should be getting closer to where the craft had crashed. The ship had gone down northeast of the medical outpost and from the sight of the pluming smoke, she worried there wouldn’t be any survivors. As a healer, it was her job to make sure all life was taken care of. She wondered about the owner of this vessel, because as she left, she swore she heard the commanding officer mutter, “That blasted princess is going to get herself killed by a damn Nardisian soldier.”

Lessie finally made it to a clearing as the rain started to lighten up. She saw the wreckage of a ship where it had crashed, almost demolishing the tree it was lodged in. She cautiously made her way across the grassy field. Pulling her long knife from its holster on her hip, she walked up to the ship, which she could clearly see its distinct Nardisian markings. She checked for any movement and finally climbed the branches of the large wounded tree and looked down into the cockpit, which sat torn open and vacant.

She used her perch from up in the tree to scout the area for any signs of life, when she saw something moving on the opposite edge of the field, the remains of a life-chute, blowing in the wind. She climbed down, seeing nothing of use on the ship and was about to walk away when something caught her eye. Lodged in a side pouch next to the controls, she could see the glimmer of the chain of a small necklace. She reached in and pulled it out. Her hands were shaking as she looked at it, mesmerized the sight of the memorable brilliant violet stone set in the middle. This necklace, she had seen it before, but couldn’t remember where. Putting it in her pack, she jumped down from the ship and made here way through the trees towards the big white fabric billowing and getting carried away by the breeze. Blood spattered the chute and a giant chunk of metal lay next to the unclasped buckles where the chute had been released. The ground was matted with footprints, though she couldn’t tell if the struggle had been just with the pilot himself or if there had been others here. She followed the dragging footsteps until she could see that they ended where the rocks and outcroppings began. This lost Nardisian soldier could be anywhere up in the rocks, she thought wryly to herself, and probably dead at this point.

She wondered if it was worth it to keep going, the commander’s words ringing in her ears, when she heard a low moan from behind a piling of rocks in front of her. She cautiously made her way silently atop the boulders. Her feet covered in soft animal skin, made no noise as she moved.

She saw a form laying on the ground, clothes and body wet from the pouring rain and blood streaking in pathways down the little rivers of water on the rocks. He didn’t look to be conscious. And he was definitely a Nardisian. They were the exact opposite to Bayshenites with their jet black hair and pure white skin, where all Bayshenites were dark skin and pure white hair. Oddly enough, they were the yin and yang of each other, but not for a long time had they been at any kind of peace as war had raged on between their people.

She gently rolled him over, her hand on the handle of her knife, ready in an instant to end him if she had to, though she prayed she wouldn’t. She had become a healer to heal. She did everything she could to save lives, not to take them.

The Nardisian soldier’s head had a deep gash where he had tried to wrap his shirt around it. His bare chest rose and fell slowly and she could see that his skin was mottled on his abdomen where bruises were blossoming in great number. She worried he had internal bleeding and knew she had to get him somewhere safe to take care of him and save his life if he was going to have any chance at survival. Running back to the life-chute, she brought it over to him and gently rolled him onto it. Tying it around his feet to keep him from rolling out, she took her pack and lay it under his head, hoping to keep him from bouncing around as much as possible. She grasped the rope ends and pulled gently, pulling him up to the rocky crags, where she knew a myriad of caves existed. It felt like an eternity before they made it to one big enough to keep him safe and sound from any prying eyes. She knew if they were found, that would be the end of him. He was her enemy, but that did not matter to her. And there was also something familiar about him, that she just couldn’t place.

Lessie used the chute as his bed and lay him as far away from the opening of the cave as she could. She pulled out a few candles from her pack and lit them quickly. She still had some light from outside, but she knew that would be lost soon. She worked quickly to wash her hands with the herbal cleanser she kept in her bag. She knew she would have to be fast if she was going to save his life. For the next three hours, she labored over his wounds. And as she had feared, she found his abdomen to be filled with blood. She realized once she made it to his abdominal would that she had used the last of her serum to heal the deep wound on his head. She would have to get more supplies and prayed the crudeness of stitches would hold long enough for her to get more serum, which she hoped would actually work. She wondered if any of her Bashenite medicines would work on his Nardisian body.

She marveled at the young man laying on the rocky cave floor fighting for his life. She still felt there was something oddly familiar about his face, but she couldn’t place it. She pulled the necklace out of her pack again as he slept and she watched the colors catch the light of the candle and dance around the cave.

Purple, this purple stone, why did it mean something to her? Why did he mean something to her? Would he survive and be able to tell her who he was? She didn’t even think about how she could get him safely off her planet or if she would be obligated to bring him back to her commanding officer. Questions like these plagued her mind as the day turned to night and she finally made a bed at the entrance of the cave and fell into a restless slumber, waking every hour to make sure her patient still lived.

Art:

Posted in Writing

#365Challenge #Day11 #Outside

“Where is she?” He asked, running his hands through his hair. He looked distraught and disheveled, like he hadn’t slept in days.

Dustin looked up at the man speaking to him, from the table outside the cafe where he sat with baby Emylin in his lap. “Do I know you?” He asked the young man standing there dressed in fatigues and a black beret on his head.

“Lucy,” The military man responded, barely able to speak. “Where’s Lucy? What happened to her?”

“You’re Noah, aren’t you?” Dustin said, with a sudden realization.

“Yes, how did you know?” Noah looked at him surprised that he knew his name.

“She told me about you, just before….just before this,” Dustin replied, waving somewhere unknown. “Lucy is my daughter.”

Emylin pulled on Dustin’s hand and he bounced her softly on his knee. “This is Emylin.” Dustin said, introducing the baby girl to Noah.

“Hello, Emylin.” Noah looked at Emylin and was shocked by how much she looked so much like Lucy. Before he could ask who Emylin’s mother was, another man walked up to them and saw Noah standing there. He looked at Noah with a quizzical expression.

“Who are you?”

“This is Noah.” Dustin told him.

Joshua eyed him warily and looked him up and down and nodded, “Noah, huh?”

“And who are you?” Noah asked as he put his hand out to shake Joshua’s.

“I’m Joshua,” He replied without offering his hand back.

Emylin dove for Joshua’s arms. He picked her up and held her protectively as she played with his face and smiled in his arms.

“Where’s Lu?” Noah asked, still waiting for his question to be answered. He had been gone for six months since the last time he had seen her, though she had not seen him. He knew where she had been staying and had started to search the town for her upon his return. He recognized Dustin from seeing him outside the auto shop.

“I’m sorry. I’ll take you to her right away. Joshua, will you take care of Emylin?” Dustin asked Joshua.

“Of course. Come on Emmie, let’s go bug Miss Maggie.” Joshua looked at his father before he left. “Let me know she needs anything. I have my phone.”

Dustin nodded. Emylin smiled as Joshua carried her down the sidewalk.

“Emylin looks so much like Lucy. But she looks nothing like her father.” Noah noted.

Dustin looked at him confused. “Joshua is not her father, he’s her uncle. Joshua is my older son and Lucy’s half-brother. He’s very protective of Lucy and Emylin, ergo the reserved greeting.”

“I know Joshua is not. I just….I know the man…who was…” Noah could not explain more, for it angered him greatly each time he thought about it.

Noah noticed they were crossing the street from the cafe to a giant red brick building with the words EMERGENCY ROOM in red letters over the top.

“Is Lucy in there?” Noah asked as they got closer to the hospital becoming agitated with worry.

Dustin stopped walking. “She’s in the ICU. She took a turn for the worse.”

“Turn for the worse, what are you talking about?”

“Lucy has cancer, Noah.”

Noah couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He didn’t want to believe it.

“Come on,” Dustin continued walking and led him inside to get a visitor’s badge. When he was ready they took the elevator up to the second floor.

“They only allow family and well, you are family. More than you realize. She told me everything, how you took care of her…” Dustin stopped, unable to continue.

“You didn’t know all these years did you?” Noah asked.

“Not really. I had tried to find her, but her mother pretty much dropped off the grid. My brother brought Lucy to me. She was out looking for me, alone and pregnant.”

Noah felt guilt and shame wash over him. “Sir, I had no idea she had come here until recently. I only found out a little over six months ago. I thought I had lost Lucy forever. I know….I know Emylin is not actually mine, but I want to be her father all the same.”

“I know you didn’t know she came here. I’m glad you found out somehow though.”

“Lucy wrote my mother and told her where she was. When I got back from Afghanistan, my mother told me everything.” Noah felt in a state of shock as they walked out of the elevator and towards the ICU. The nurses buzzed them in and they walked down the hall to a room at the end.

A nurse in green scrubs waved to Dustin. “Where’s Emylin?” She asked.

“With Joshua.”

“And who’s this?” She asked, nodding at Noah.

“This is Lucy’s husband.”

“Oh really?” The nurse said surprised.

“He’s been deployed.” Dustin explained, nodding towards Noah’s clothes. “He just got into town.”

“Noah, this is Cindy, Lucy’s primary care nurse during the day.”

“You should prepare yourself,” Cindy said, putting her hand on Noah’s arm.

Noah barely heard her as he walked towards the room with Dustin. He pulled his beret off of his head as he crossed through the doors.

“I’ll give you two some time,” Dustin said, putting his hand on Noah’s shoulder. “I don’t know how awake she will be. They’ve had her heavily sedated because of the pain she has been in. We are hoping she will be moved out of the ICU soon. She’s been improving over the last twenty-four hours.”

Noah nodded, his eyes never leaving the form on the bed. His Lucy lay there, thin strands of bright red hair spread out on the pillow, an IV hooked up to her arm, the heart monitor slowly beeping with every beat of her heart. He looked at her frail form. He hadn’t been this close to her in over two years and yet she still looked like the girl he fell in love with all those years ago. He walked slowly over to the bed to stand by her side. Machines beeped and whirred. Someone had brushed her hair, though much thinner than it had been before, her locks still glistened with glowy brightness it always had.

“Hello, Lu,” He said, his voice cracking. “I told you I’d come back, My Love.”

Noah pulled the seat up next to the bed and sat down. He looked at Lucy’s hand laying there, the IV hooked up to it, giving her fluids and God knew what else. He looked up and saw so many bags of medicines hanging from the pole above her bed.

“I”m sorry, Lu. I”m sorry. I should have never left.” Noah felt emotions he had learned to bury down for so long, come flooding back up to him. “I’m here, Lu, I’m here….I saw Emylin. She is absolutely beautiful. She is…so lucky to have you for a momma. You….” Noah felt all the words catch in his throat. He felt her fingers under his, cold from the air conditioned room. He slowly and gently picked up her right hand and kissed her fingers.

He sat there looking at her, her body ravaged by the endless rounds of radiation. He held her hand and began to tell her about Afghanistan, how much he had thought about her. How much he had wondered how she was doing, worried when he had begun to hear no word from her. He told her how his memories of her, how her love had brought him through his darkest days over there and everyday he had prayed he could come home to her. He finally got himself to say what had been on his heart for so long now.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t here for you. I should have been here for you, Lu. My mother told me everything. I shouldn’t have left you….shouldn’t have left you to deal with what those monsters had done to you. I had no idea. I know you didn’t tell me about Emylin, because you were scared and I know you’ve had to carry this for so long now. I want to raise Emylin with you. I want to be her father. I know she’s not mine biologically, but that does not matter. I want to be the only father she knows and I will love her as my very own. I promise you that. Please, My Love, don’t leave us. Come back to me, My Love. Please come back to me.”

“I’m…right here.” He heard her softly say.

He looked up and tears were falling from his eyes as he saw her eyelids fluttering open.

“Lu! Oh my love, My Lucy,” He stood up and leaned over the bed and kissed her gently.

“You came, Noah, you’re here.” Lucy looked at him her green eyes filled with tears.

“I’m here. I’m here, My love.” Noah gently took her in his arms not wanting to let her go.

“You’ve met Emylin?” She asked quietly.

“I did. Oh, Lu, she is you. She is all you. Just you,” Noah said, putting his hand on Lucy’s face. She reached up and covered his hand with hers, the tears in her eyes falling freely.

“She is isn’t she?” It made her happy to hear that.

“I want to be her father.”

“Oh, Noah, I would like that very much.” Lucy replied.

Noah looked at Lucy’s left hand and realized that she had not taken her wedding rings off.

He picked her hand up and kissed her fingers. “Will you let me be your husband once more?”

“There’s not a lot left of me to have, Noah.” She said, pained that her body was filled with an illness she couldn’t get rid of.

“That does not matter to me. I want every part of you. I love every part of you. Like I promised on our wedding day. In sickness and in health, my love. I will have you and I pray you will you have me, again?”

“With all my heart, now and forever.” Lucy replied, pulling him towards her to kiss him.

“Well, hello love birds,” Dustin said as he and Joshua walked in carrying Emylin. “Visiting hours are almost up, so we were going to take Emylin back home, but I spoke to the nurses and they are going to make a cot up for you here in the room, Noah. And I spoke to the doctor, Lucy. You are going to be transferred out of the ICU tomorrow.”

Lucy smiled at her father and reached her hands out to Emylin who smiled as soon as she saw her mother.

“Come here, Baby Girl, Momma wants to say good night to you.”

Jacob brought Emylin over and held her gently so Lucy could kiss her daughter and hold her hands. “I love you so much, Sweet Emmie. Momma has missed you.” Emmie clapped her hands on Lucy’s face and Lucy smiled at her daughter.

“Emmie, I want you to meet someone.” Lucy took Noah’s hand. “This is your daddy, Emylin. He’s the one I have been telling you all about.”

Emylin was too young to understand everything, but she said “Da-Da,” quietly.

Noah smiled, “Yes, Emmie, I’m your daddy.”

He reached out and Joshua let him take her in his arms. Noah sat down on the bed next to Lucy and held Emylin in his lap. Dustin smiled looking at his daughter’s little family, finally complete.

Drawing Sources Unknown

Song: Jeremy Jordan performing “She Used to Be Mine” from Waitress the Musical

Posted in Writing

#365Challenge #Day10 #Inside

Pain encapsulated her body from every angle and she felt like was drowning from the inside out. She knew it would be over soon, or at least, she prayed it would. What choice did she have, but to just wait it out?

Lucy opened her eyes and looked around her. The room she sat in was almost empty, save for one person sitting in the chair across the hall from her. They held a book up in front of their face so she couldn’t make out who it was. She didn’t really care in that moment as she shifted positions, trying to find any manner in which to combat the pain finding its way to every nerve ending in her body. She prayed no one could see her grimace and she prayed she could find a way to get up from the chair and make her way out to the parking lot. She only had to make it down the street to her little apartment above the diner, but right now, that seemed a near impossibility. She pushed the stroller sitting in front of her back and forth, grateful that her daughter slept peacefully, unaware of the struggle her mother was currently going through.

After what seemed like an eternity, Lucy was able to get up and make her way to the front door of the small library. Leaning heavily on the stroller, she barely noticed that the chair where the person who was reading, now sat vacant.

Lucy walked outside and into the bright sun. She looked down at her daughter and pulled the cover over the car seat to keep the rays from shining in her baby’s eyes.

“Almost home, baby girl.” She said. All she had wanted was to take her daughter to the library for a little mommy and me group, but her body had other plans and she had spent most of her time forcing herself to keep from passing out. She knew Dustin would be furious at her for having tried to go out in this state. She hoped that she would be able to avoid his admonishments if she didn’t pass too close to the old auto body shop where he was sure to be working. She stopped when she heard her name called from across the street.

“Lucy, come on by and bring that little grandbaby of mine with you.”

Lucy saw her father waving from across the street and forced a smile, the waves of pain still gradually dying down. She crossed the intersection and rolled into the auto body shop.

Her father gave her a hug and she winced in pain, but tried not to show it.

“You alright, Lu?” He asked, never missing a beat as he pulled the cover back on the stroller and looked at little Emylin sleeping in the stroller. “Your mom is pushing herself too hard again, isn’t she?”

Lucy shook her head and unbuckled Emylin from her car seat, she was about to pick her up, when her father pointed to an old chair in the shop. “You sit down, I’ll take her.”

Lucy wanted to argue, but knew not to fight him. She slowly made her way over to the seat and eased herself down.

“Why won’t you let me help you?” He asked as he rocked Emylin back and forth.

“Because, I should be able to do this myself. I shouldn’t be having to ask for help, to have to give in to this weak body of mine.”

“Lucy, it’s okay, it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay for a person in your…with what you are going through to need help, to want it.”

Lucy knew that it was still hard for him to vocalize her diagnosis and even she was still having a hard time accepting it.

“When is your next treatment?” Dustin asked her.

“Next Monday.” She answered, knowing what was coming next.

“I’m taking you and there are no arguments. Joshua can help take care of Emylin.”

“What’s that?” Joshua had just come into the shop.

“I said you can take care of Emylin while I take Lucy to the doctor next week.”

Joshua looked at his little sister, “Of course I can.” He came up to Emylin and planted a kiss on her forehead. “Of course, we are going to have lots of fun, aren’t we, Little Gal?” Emylin giggled and tried to grab her uncle’s face.

Dustin had been offering to help Lucy for months now, but Lucy had been stubborn and felt weak and a failure, not wanting to let her daughter down, trying to be everything she could to her. But she knew that this was getting to be more than she could handle.

“I want you to move in with me.”

“Dustin, I couldn’t put this on you.” Lucy said, knowing the fight was lost before it even began.

“Lucy, I just got you back. I’m not losing you again. I missed the first eighteen years of your life. I don’t plan on missing any more of it. Please don’t shut me out.”

Joshua had taken Emylin inside and Dustin went to kneel before Lucy, taking her cold hands in his. “This is what family is for. Family is here for each other. Please don’t try to keep this all inside. To hide what you are going through. It’s not fair to Emylin or to you. You need us. And Lucy,” Dustin had tears in his eyes. “I need my daughter. I can’t even take the thought of losing all over again.”

Lucy had tried to hold back the tears, but couldn’t.

“Dustin, I….thank you.” she replied, accepting his offer. She had been fighting so hard and trying to survive on her own, that she didn’t even know how to accept help from those who loved her. She didn’t even know that there could actually be a parent who wanted her to be okay, who cared about her well being. She had kept so much pain, so much hurt bottled up inside, making an armor of protection around her. She had not been willing to let anyone in, save for one, but she had lost him and she knew there wouldn’t be any hope for that now.

“Come inside and join us for dinner,” Dustin offered, holding her arm with one hand and pushing the stroller with the other. Walking around to the back of the shop, where his small little house sat, she saw Joshua was playing with Emylin in the grassy yard.

Lucy went to sit in the grass with them and laughed as her daughter giggled in Joshua’s arms. Lucy’s heart yearned for that which she couldn’t have and as if a feeling had come over her, a tug on her heart, she looked out into the street, thinking she had seen someone there, but no such thing and she brushed it off as just her heart playing tricks on her.

She turned back to Joshua, who was talking to Emylin who was now sitting in his lap, “And when Mommy is all better, we are going to take you down to Yellowstone and we can go see all the wonderful animals there and the trees and the rivers and the geysers, which shoot way up into the air.” He said as he lifted Emylin into the air. She smiled and waved her clenched fists with glee.

As they got up and walked to the house, a figure stepped out of the shadows and watched them go inside, a book still in his hand.

Photo Source Unknown

Song Inspiration – Evynne Hollens Cover of “She Used to Be Mine” from Waitress the Musical

Posted in Writing

#365Challenge #Day9 #Kindness

Mari lifted her head up from the pillow and squinted her eyes at the clock on her nightstand. The time read four forty-five in the morning. She closed her eyes again, trying to fall back asleep, but the pain she’d been trying to ignore, edged itself into her slumber, pulling her out of the darkness of sleep and into the burning clutches of its powerful grasp.

She had been hoping and praying she was through the worst of it, but realized in these early hours of the morning, that her body had yet to be done with her. She wanted to cry and she wanted to scream, but she did neither. She rolled over onto her side, hoping the shift in position would help. She fell back into a restless slumber for another fifteen minutes, before her body forced her into full wakefulness, unwilling to let itself surrender to the night. Instead, it succumbed to the pain and dragged her kicking and screaming from the few hours of precious sleep she desperately needed.

Mari sat up and propped herself on her pillows, knowing she would get no more rest until the waves pulled themselves back. She rummaged around in the middle drawer of her nightstand for her heating pad that would bring her enough relief to keep her from utterly losing it.

She plugged it in and cranked the heating pad to its maximum level, letting the warmth gradually spill over her body and wrap her up into its comforting embrace. She prayed this would be enough, because it was much too early to attempt to get her body to handle taking any pain medications.

From every angle, she fought her body. Everyday, each choice she made affected her. Some choices, she didn’t even know would take her down until she was already too far gone. Others would give her relief, but she had yet to figure out what events had led to those rare days of bliss.

For twenty minutes, the heating pad worked to give her the relief she had been looking for and she began to feel hopeful as she breathed easier, and slumber began to hover over her sleepy eyelids, drooping and closing, bringing her back to the land of dreams.

She didn’t know how long she had fallen asleep for, but when she woke again with a twisted pain to her midsection, she could barely make out the morning light shining through the black out curtains in her room. The heating pad had auto shut off sometime during her sleep and she sought its comfort once more. This time the pain was so intense, that in the solitude of her room, she let herself cry out in agony as the waves rolled through her. She rocked on her hands and knees, trying to find any way to relieve her suffering.

She managed to ride the waves of pain until they ebbed away enough for her to get up and find some food in her kitchen, getting just enough relief to have a few bites to eat and down a couple Tylenol with a few sips of water. She knew the Tylenol wouldn’t be adequate enough, but she hoped that she’d be able to take some stronger medication once she knew her stomach could handle it.

She sat at the kitchen table, hunched over as she heard her household slowly start to wake up. She knew she had many tasks to accomplish as the day unfolded and wondered how she would be able to face each one. Her life was a whirlwind of activity and she wished she could find a way to box up this incurable affliction and send it packing, but she knew this would never be the case.

The sounds quieted down as those who had been up, went back to slumber for a little bit longer. Mari took advantage of this and slowly made her way back to her bedroom and turned the heating pad on again, back up to its highest setting, and placed it on her body, hoping and praying it would do its job. Picking her phone up off the nightstand, she swiped it open and started to do anything to keep her mind off her body’s affliction. She clicked randomly around on her phone for as long as she could, not able to concentrate on any particular thing very well, but sent off some messages to a few friends, seeking their help in prayers.

She knew her day would soon be upon her and prayed for the strength to do what she needed to do and take care of her family. Mari agonized that she wasn’t giving enough to those around her, this illness taking from her, stealing time, stealing moments, stealing bits of her life, never to be returned.

She prayed for relief, for anything to take this constant never ending pain away from her. And as she lay there, her phone buzzed, her dear friends had replied, with an outpouring of care and comfort, giving her hope amidst her misery. Alone in this fight for so long, and now, finding other kindred spirits, other warriors on the same path as her, fighting courageously, encouraging and uplifting each other, had filled her up with strength to make it through these endless days of pain, to face each month of recurring suffering with renewed hope.

She smiled. Even amidst her ongoing agony, she found a smile hidden inside of her and she felt less alone as she fought a fight she knew may never end. But with the help, love, and care of others along the road with her to help her, of friends and loved ones doing what they could, even with just the simple words, “I’m praying for you. I’m here for you. I care about you. You will get through this,” it made it her arduous journey a little more bearable and a little less lonely.

Song: Bill Withers – Lean On Me

This is dedicated to all those who suffer in silence, who fight their bodies every day, and are warriors every second as they tackle the incurable diseases that constantly afflict them.

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889864eca612e29fd19b12ec3e8c08bc--endometriosis-quotes-endometriosis-awareness

chronic-illnesses

Picture Sources Unknown

Posted in Writing

#365Challenge #Day8 #Thankful

Jacob put his hand on Teddy’s shoulders. “How are you doing, son?”

Teddy couldn’t answer, but just reached up and grasped the hand of the man he called father. Teddy’s wife lay on the hospital bed, tubes attached to her body, machines beeping and whirring all around him. He didn’t even know how it had happened. She had been fine one minute and the next had collapsed in his arms. Now, as medical jargon was thrown at him, emergency surgeries performed, forms and consents filled out, endless scans and tests being done, he was at a loss, not knowing which way was up or down. She shouldn’t be in this damn bed. They should be home, happy, together as a family. Not here, not like this.

Teddy lay his head on the bed, letting go of Jacob and holding his wife’s hand ever so gently.

“I need you here. We need you here. Diana and I, we can’t do this without you. I’m selfish, Ellie. I’m selfish and I want you with me.” He looked worn and tired. He hadn’t shaved in a week. His hair was unkempt and he looked like a homeless man, but he didn’t care. Nothing mattered but the woman laying in the bed.

“Teddy, we’ve come to say hi.” Teddy looked up and saw his mother standing at the door of the ICU, holding an infant car seat in one hand and a diaper bag over her other shoulder.

Jacob went to help his wife and took the car seat from Annie, setting it down on the table by the wall. Teddy got up and walked over to see his sleeping three month old daughter tucked in, cozily unaware of what was going on around her.

“Let her sleep for now. She can see her momma, when she wakes. I don’t want to disturb her.”

Teddy’s mother nodded and stayed next to the baby.

Teddy returned to Ellie’s bedside, looking back at his parents standing behind him. Ellie’s parents were taking shifts and helping out with baby Diana and were resting back at his house, having flown in a couple days before. Teddy hadn’t left the hospital since they got there, save to drop his daughter off with his mother.

“Come on, son,” Jacob pulled gently on Teddy’s arm. “Why don’t we go get some coffee? We can go outside for some fresh air. Your mom can stay here with Diana and Ellie. I have my cell phone and you do, too. She can call us if there are any changes.”

Teddy didn’t want to go, didn’t want to leave Ellie for a second, but he had barely left the room since they had arrived. He kissed Ellie’s hand and got up reluctantly, his mother giving him a hug before he left. He kissed his daughter on the forehead and held her little fingers for a second before he followed Jacob out of the room.

Jacob led the way to the elevator and down to the cafeteria where they got a couple of coffees and some food and made their way out to some benches and tables just outside the hospital.

Teddy covered his eyes, the sun jarring him. It felt too bright and cheery outside, the birds chirping, kids laughing and playing as they walked to and fro in the square in front of the hospital. He wanted to drown out all the voices, to mute all the happiness around him. He felt like it was suffocating him, sitting out there on the bright summer afternoon. He looked at Jacob who had set up the two lunch containers and was handing him a fork.

“Come on, son, you gotta eat. You need your strength. Diana needs you and so does Ellie.” Jacob took a drink of his hot coffee and set it down on the table.

Teddy picked up his fork and attempted to choke down a few bites of food, but it tasted like sawdust in his mouth as he tried to swallow it and wash it down with his coffee.

“Dad,” Teddy started to say.

Jacob looked at him.

“They’re starting to talk about taking her off the ventilator. They’re saying there has been no brain activity. They need my consent to do it.” Teddy was trying hard to keep his composure.

Jacob had been listening to the doctors and knew this was coming.

“I don’t know what to do. I know, I know she wouldn’t want to be hooked up to the ventilator for the rest of her…..knowing the only thing keeping her alive is those whirrs and pumps, machines and god knows, what else.” Teddy covered his face, fighting back the tears. He took a deep breath. “I don’t know what to do. I want her here. I just want her to wake up.”

Jacob looked at Teddy, the boy now a man, whom he had called son for thirty years now. “I know this is the hardest decision you will ever have to make. I’ve been in your shoes before..”

This caught Teddy off guard, “What do you mean? How? When?”

“Before I married your mother, I was married before. We, my wife and son and myself, were in a car accident. They didn’t make it. My son, he was killed instantly, my wife was, well it was a lot like Ellie, hooked up to machines keeping her alive. And I don’t even know how I was fine, save for bumps and bruises.” Jacob paused, the memories from forty years ago, still raw as he spoke them aloud.

Teddy looked at Jacob in disbelief. “You’ve never talked about them.”

Jacob nodded, “I know, it was always too painful. I blamed myself for a very long time.”

“You hid it very well. You never showed it.”

“I poured myself into being the best husband and father to your mother and you after your mother and I were married. I had to let my Allison go. And I know this will be the hardest thing you ever have to do and watching you relive a past I could never forget and never wish upon anyone, is breaking my heart. Son, I’m here, I’m here for you. Your mother and I both are. I wish I could give you strength. I wish I could take away all your pain.” Jacob struggled watching Teddy going through this. It was the worst feeling as a parent to see his child suffer, and he was helpless to do anything. “You are going to have to be strong for Diana. Tell her about her mother, tell her all about her. Keep Ellie’s memory alive.”

Teddy stood up angrily. “She’s not dead yet. She’s not gone.” He felt his phone start to go off and he pulled it out of his pocket. It was his mother. He answered it, already running back into the hospital.

“You need to come up here now.” she said.

He hung the phone up and ran. He ran as fast as he could, up three flights of stairs and waited impatiently as they buzzed him into the ICU.

When he got to Ellie’s room, his mother was standing in the hall, Diana awake and in her arms. Ellie’s parents had just gotten there and they looked frightened by the sight before them. Ellie’s bed was surrounded by doctors and nurses.

“What happened?” Teddy asked gruffly.

His mother shook her head. “I don’t know. One second everything was fine, the next the machines started beeping and the doctors and nurses came flooding and told me I had to leave the room. They kept saying that they….that they were going to do everything they could.”

Teddy’s face twisted in pain as he went up to the glass window and watched them pull out a crash cart. He turned his face away as he saw his wife’s fragile form contort with each shock to her body. He put his hands on the glass, screaming out, “Noooo!” He fought every part of him that wanted to race into the room and take Ellie in his arms and whisk her away from this terrible place. Tears were streaming down his face as the seconds slowed to hours.

He knew, he knew the moment it was over, before the doctor ever left the room, before anyone spoke to him, he knew.

He stepped back and took Diana from his mother’s arms and held her close. The doctor finally came out and spoke to them. Jacob was there now and held his wife in his arms as she cried softly. Teddy just stood there holding his daughter, not really hearing the doctor. Words like “We did everything we could.” and “I’m very sorry, sir,” floated in and out of his conscious.

“Can I see her?” He finally asked when the doctor stopped speaking.

“Of course.” The doctor let him back into the room where the nurses were taking the ventilator tube off of his wife.

Teddy went to stand next to the bed, still holding Diana, the doctor standing in the doorway.

“Can we have a minute?” He asked the doctor, his voice strangled with pain.

“Yes.” The doctor pulled the curtain across and closed the glass door behind them as they left.

Diana started to fuss, but Teddy held her up on his shoulder and gently rocked her as tears streamed down his cheeks. He sat down in the chair next to the bed and took Ellie’s hand, still warm, though all life had left her.

“Remember,” he began. “…Remember last fall, when we found out we were going to have Diana…I was so freaked out and you were just cool as a cucumber, excited and reassuring, hopeful. You were filled with so much joy that you had no room for worry. You have been my rock, Ellie. You have been the glue that has held our family together. You, with your vibrance for life, your love for so many, your care and adoration for Diana….I can’t do this without you, Ellie. I need you. I need you. You can’t…Please don’t leave me like this…” Teddy’s words were arrested from him as the pain of losing her took over.

Diana cooed in his arms and he looked down at his daughter and stood up to rock her. Looking into her eyes, he remembered what Jacob had said and he began to tell Diana how he and Ellie had met, that fateful day when she had walked into the library of the community college, how she had helped tutor him through math. How they had spent night after night getting through homework and classes. How she had swept him off his feet and stolen his heart with her soft brown eyes and her sweet smile. He remembered how beautiful she had looked on the day of their wedding, walking towards him in her white gown, hair long and dark and curled all around her, her veil like a halo around head, that he swore she had looked like an angel coming towards him.

She was and would always be his forever angel.

“Look out for us, darling.” He said as he walked back the the bed and took Ellie’s hand again. “We will be smiling up at you and missing you. I can’t thank God enough for the brief time He gave you to me. You changed my world. You gave me Diana and I will never let her forget about you. I promise you that Diana will know all about you, every last beautiful moment she had with you and every part of you that filled our lives with so much love every blessed day with you. Good-bye, my love, my angel Ellie.” He whispered as he kissed Ellie’s hand and then her lips one last time.

Drawing Source Unknown

Song: Judy Kuhn & Mel Gibson – If I Never Knew You (from Pocahontas)

Posted in Writing

#365Challenge #Day7 #Give

Sara sat on the toilet lid alone in the bathroom tapping her foot impatiently and looking at her watch every five seconds. She knew that she’d drive herself crazy just sitting there, but it was all she could do while she waited. She had lost track of how many times she had been here, how many times she had thought she had a feeling that this was it, that today was the day. For two years, she had ridden this roller coaster of wondering, of hoping, of praying that this would be it. Her heart yearned for it so much, that she felt like she was shattering inside as each month of nothing passed.

She looked at her watch again and saw the seconds’ hand click past the twelve and now sat frozen, all the what ifs racing through her head. What if it wasn’t? What if this was another month of “no”? What if she had to feel her heart plummet again, with the disappoint of her yearning kept from her again? What if it was this time, but she couldn’t keep it? What if she lost it again like last time? What if she just looked at the damn thing and stopped asking what ifs? She stood up and went to the bathroom counter and picked up the blue and white stick. Staring in disbelief, her hands started to shake and tears came to her eyes.

There in the little window was the plus sign she had been hoping and praying to see, hoping and praying would be there. The months and months of trying, the months and months of hoping they’d be able to have a child. She wanted to be happy to be overjoyed, but fear also gripped her. In the same elated state, she also felt the fear of losing this one, too.

She wiped her eyes and looked in the mirror, saying aloud, “I’m going to have a baby.” She said it again a little louder and let herself feel the joy of what those words meant.

It was Saturday and Michael had been called in to work, so it was just her home alone, filled with excitement and joy and bursting to tell him the news. She held the stick in her hand as she left the bathroom, not quite knowing what she was going to do with it yet, still staring at it multiple times in excited disbelief. Walking out to the living room and wondering what she would do next, she jumped in surprise to see Michael sitting there at the dining table wringing his hands.

He looked up at her nervously as he stood up.

“Why are you home? I thought you had to work,” Sara asked confused, though fighting to hide the smile that was itching its way across her face.

“Well?” he asked, avoiding her question.

“Well….” She said confused at first, then her hand flew to her face and covered her mouth. “You knew. How did you know?”

“Because, I know what this week is supposed to be.” He said, coming up to her and folding her up into his arms and looking down into her eyes. “I want to know, too. And I’m also worried. And I’m scared, too. I want this just as much as you, love. And I didn’t want you to face this alone. Every month, I watch you lose a piece of yourself and it breaks my heart. And I know I can’t fix it, but I wanted to be here to catch you. To hold you, to share in whatever this outcome is. I am your husband and your other half, and through every dip and valley in this journey, I am here.”

Sara felt the tears spilling over at his words, words he didn’t normally know how to articulate, but in this moment the words came easily, the ones that weighed on his heart, the same shared feelings poured out. He had been her rock through it all, her constant support, bringing her back from the deep pain that threatened to carve her apart, giving her hope when she had lost it all herself. He was always there for every moment, every heartache, and now, she stood in front of him, ever so happy to give this back to him, to share this long awaited joy with him.

She stood on her toes and kissed him softly and whispered against his lips, “Yes. It’s a yes. It’s positive.”

He leaned back, disbelief on his face, and looked at her as she held the stick up, showing him the little plus sign. He had the same shocked look and joyous surprise on his face. Whisking her up into his arms and spinning her around, he kissed her again, longer.

He set her down and looked into her eyes, “Sara, we’re going to have a baby.”

“A baby, oh Michael, should I, should we even be getting excited yet? I mean, so many things can happen between now and then.” Her heart still hurt over losing their last baby when they were four months along and the continued heartbreak from then on, the hoping for another, the waiting, the month after month disappointment, the losses over the last two years.

“I know you are scared, love. So am I.”

“I don’t want to lose this one, too, Michael. I can’t bear to…” she didn’t finish her sentence as she lowered her head, but he put his hand under her chin and tilted her face gently back up to him, kissing her forehead.

“I know, I know. But we will take this one day at a time.”

And one day at a time they did, one day at a time until nine months later they were holding their little baby girl in their arms, their little Olivia Mae.

As little Olivia Mae slept peacefully in her mother’s arms, Sara looked up at her Michael, who sat next to them, arm around her, “She’s ours. She’s really ours and she’s here. Michael, she’s here, our little baby girl.”

Michael kissed his wife’s forehead and then their daughter’s, cradling her small precious head in his hand.

“Hello, my Little Princess, my Olivia Mae, oh how long we have waited for you, hoped and prayed for you, our darling girl. Welcome to the world, precious one.”

 

 

Picture Sources Unknown

Song: Gavin DeGraw – You Got Me