The Mom's Tale

By , St. Joseph, MI
Karen never realized how lucky she was, until the day something got taken away from her forever. She never really thought much of staying at home all day doing whatever she wanted, while her husband worked. She never thought much of sitting inside on a cold snowy day drinking her hot cup of coffee, watching her husband shovel the driveway. She never thought much of her husband driving the kids to school everyday before work. But now, things have changed and she realizes how fortunate she truly was.

It was around five o’clock on a cold November evening. David was up north hunting and was supposed to come home the next day. Michelle was helping her mom make dinner, when the phone rang. Karen answered it, not prepared for what she heard next.

“Hello ma’am. This is Officer Jones. I’m sorry to inform you of some very bad news. There has been a terrible accident. When your husband was hunting today, there was another hunter nearby. He thought he heard a deer, so he tried to shoot it. It turned out it was not a deer; your husband was walking back to his cabin. He was taken to a hospital, but the wound was too bad for him to survive. I’m very sorry ma’am.”

Karen could not believe what she had just heard. Her mouth could not move. She just put down the phone, and the tears started flowing down her face. When her son asked her what was wrong, all she could do was cry. She would no longer have that person in her life she could always count on, her best friend, and her kids would no longer have their father, the man who raised them and was there for them everyday.

It took a while for the Johnson’s to realize that David was really gone. It wasn’t a dream; it wasn’t something they saw on television. It was real, more real than anything that had ever happened to them. He was gone, and their family would never be the same.

As life went on, things just kept getting harder. The next month there was Christmas. The kids were not excited about their presents, or seeing if Santa had eaten his cookies, they wanted to be with their dad. The empty stocking hung from the mantle that Christmas morning, the empty chair was at the table that Christmas dinner, and there were fewer smiles than usual that Christmas day.

In January was David’s fortieth birthday. This brought another day of sorrow and emptiness. Karen had planned a surprise party months ago. She was going to invite all of their closest friends and family, and she was going to have a huge dinner at her house. This never happened; instead the day consisted of a trip to the cemetery.

Not having David around on holidays and vacations was very difficult, but so was Karen’s new lifestyle. She had to raise two young kids all alone, and she didn’t have a man around the house to do the chores. David wasn’t there to take out the trash, mow the lawn, shovel the driveway, or grill a steak, and Timmy, being eight, wasn’t old enough to take over yet. Not only did Karen have to do everything for the kids, but now she had to do everything David would have done as well. She was no longer that spoiled stay at home mom who did the laundry and cleaned the house, now she had to do everything.

In addition, Karen had to work. David had been a doctor, while Karen would stay home and take care of the kids. Now that David wasn’t there to provide for his family, Karen, who hadn’t had a job since high school, had to try to find something that would support her family. She ended up having a part-time job at a restaurant, going back to school to get a degree, and taking care of her kids all at the same time.

Things got even worse in April, when it came time for their annual trip to Florida. They had gone every year since Timmy was two. They had never missed a year, but this would be their first. Karen had to save the little money they had, and she had to go to her classes in order to get her degree. This brought more sadness to the children. Not only could they not go on their trip to Florida, but they spent most of the time at a babysitter’s house while their mom was at work and class. This wasn’t much fun for them; they were used to being at home with their mom all day.

Karen noticed that things weren’t going very smoothly with her family. Timmy started getting into trouble at school, and one night Karen saw Michelle in her room crying.

“I miss daddy,” she said.

“I know. I do too,” Karen replied, trying to comfort her daughter.

As days went by, things started getting a little easier. They started to realize they would have to continue their lives, even though David wasn’t there. However things would never be normal, not without David. A part of them would be missing forever.

There was no way to change what had happened. The fact was this: Karen was a single mother with two young kids she would have to raise on her own. Life was tough, but they didn’t give up. They knew that life had to go on, but the Johnson family will never again forget, not to take for granted what they have, because you never know when things could be taken away from you.





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