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The Gains That Come With Losses

She fell to the ground, clutching her twin baby girls to the chest that encompassed her shattered heart. The military person stood at the door, hating his job with a passion that filled him from under his cap to the toes of his boots. She looked up at him. Her face held this look of utter horror and defeat that she looked completely out of place with the giggling babies she held to her. After what seemed like an hour, the woman looked up to the man and, with a voice that’s liveliness paled in comparison to before, said to him, “Would you like a cup of coffee?” Taken aback by the fact that she was being so hospitable when she had just found out that her husband had been killed, he nodded yes and followed her into the kitchen.

“Mrs. Fields, I—“

“Please. Call me Anne.”

“Anne, I am honestly and wholeheartedly sorry for your loss. Please just sit down and let me get the coffee. Anne obediently sat down, after taking the girls to their crib. The man fumbled around the pale yellow kitchen until he found the things needed for coffee. He glanced back at Anne a couple of times, watching how her trembling hands grasped the breakfast bar at which she sat. Officer Kens had never experienced someone who reacted this way and, not knowing what else there was to do, he just continued busying himself. Anne quickly ushered him out of the house after they both had a cup of coffee— well he had a cup of coffee, she just let the rich brown liquid grow cold in her ceramic cup.

After seeing the door shut, Anne dragged herself to get her babies. She had to tell them in a way they’d understand, however unlikely that may be. She picked up Alice and May, the only two pieces of her husband that she had around. Martin had loved these two girls with all his heart, despite having known them for a couple of days before being deployed again. Anne had done her best to tell the girls about him, show them his picture, and tell them the best stories about how they had met. She liked to think that they truly knew their father, the man she believed had been the most sincere and caring human being.

Anne called family members, as that is the appropriate thing to do when struck with this kind of tragedy. It took no more than an hour for her house to be filled with friends and family, all of whom loved her and her husband. Anne was never without a hand to hold or a shoulder to cry on that day and the days to come. Her sisters came with their children and husbands, all bringing a special dish as that seemed to be in the perfect housewife’s handbook. Being that she had lost her parents at an early age, these were the sisters that had raised her, the ones that taught her how to be the woman she was. Her closest friend, Sally, arrived with her arms filled with goodies as well. Those goodies were quickly replaced with Anne; Sally quickly embraced her best friend with the hug that seemed to be all that she could do to attempt to comfort Anne.

The days that followed were filled with tears, eventually laughter at old stories about Martin, food, food, and even more food. The community seemed to take Anne in as though she were an orphaned child, which was exactly what the recently widowed woman needed. She had never thought that being babied and pampered would be needed, but, then again, she had never thought that she might be widowed. She had never thought that she would have to raise two babies on her own. This wasn’t how this was supposed to have worked. Martin had already survived two deployments, one to France and one to Italy. How come Japan just seemed to be different? How come her husband was the one killed? How come her husband had to be so patriotic that he signed up to be one of the first sent into battle right after December 7, 1941? How come the Japanese just had to go and bomb Pearl Harbor?

Nothing made sense to Anne, no matter how hard she tried to make it. The day of the funeral, she didn’t even pay attention to the service, although it was a beautiful service for a magnificent man. She spent the whole service trying to come to terms with what happened, with the fact that she was now a single mother. Flashbacks of their first date, when he had taken her to the park and they had sat and talked for hours, and of their wedding, the small yet elegant ceremony and reception, kept creeping into her mind. With every bittersweet memory, Anne would get even more depressed, knowing that there was no way that they could have that again.

She knew that there would be no getting over the loss she had experienced. Eventually she began to get back to her somewhat normal routine, always acknowledging the empty spot she felt in her heart. She still got excited when the mailman came, hoping for a letter from her husband, something to prove that the whole thing had been a huge mistake. Anne knew, deep down, that that wouldn’t happen, but she still had the hope.

Alice and May continued to grow as the years passed, but not without hearing every story that could possibly be told about how amazing their father was. Anne managed to make it through the milestones, although barely. The community never let her slip out of their arms, always helping her with whatever she needed. The very same community was the one that taught Anne that no matter what God may put you through, there will always be someone to get you through it. The community was her family.



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