Stained Glass

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He knelt on the pew with his head bowed and his shoulders bent, like a tree that had been battered and broken in a storm, willing the tears that collected in his eyes not to spill. He knew this day would come; just as well as he knew he shouldn’t be afraid to let his tears fall. The last few people shuffled silently out of the church door, not knowing what to say or do to comfort the old man. When he heard the last car pulling out of the gravel lot, he willed himself to stand and walk down the aisle. Although the tears began to stream down his face, he saw the pews and alter that his father had donated sixty years ago clearly, and thought back to the day his dad’s funeral transpired here; but then she had been by his side. His old weathered hand caressed the wood as he walked by. When he reached the casket he kneeled once again on his ageing arthritic knees and touched his forehead to the cold, polished wood finish. Uncontrolled memories flashed before his eyes; their first summer together, the way she looked on his sister’s wedding day, her contagious laugh, and her loving spirit. Then, of her face when the sea turtles hatched; after an entire summer of protecting the nest together and anticipating their arrival, he could only look at the amazement and wonder on her face instead of the turtles. The images continued to flash before him in perfect clarity even though most of them occurred decades ago…her eyes, their wedding day, their first child … the day the doctor diagnosed her. Sure, their life together hadn’t been perfect; they had fights and disagreements just like any other couple but every obstacle that was placed before them brought them closer together. The pain in his knees brought him back to the present but he couldn’t bring himself to leave just yet. He already told her he loved her and that she made the past sixty years of his life full of more love and happiness than he could ever ask for; what else could he do? He lifted his head, preparing to stand and saw the clouds had abated and let the sunlight softly filter through the stain glass window that pictured an angel. The multifarious shapes and pastel colors blanketed the casket, soaking it in a heavenly glow. Reassured that she was in a better place now, he stood up and walked toward the exit with a heavy step and a wounded heart.
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He sat in the car in his driveway staring blackly ahead even though he had arrived home an hour ago. Why should I get out of the car? He thought to himself. The house is empty, and reminders of her are everywhere…they all say time heals all things, but this pain feels as if it will never end. What’s the point in living without her? ...sure I still have the kids but they’re grown and have their own families to take care of. With a sad sigh he opened the car door and got out, his joints popping audibly in the quiet night. He ambled slowly down the path for he was in no rush to enter the lonely house. As he neared the house he noticed a white envelope taped to the door; curious, he lengthened his stride. His name was on the front of the envelope…written in her unmistakable script.
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My Dearest Will,
I leave this earth with a clear conscience and a light heart. It was ten years ago that the doctor gave us the fateful news, of the cancer raging inside me, he gave me two years to live but here I am almost eleven years later. I’m not afraid of death, I’ve had a lot of time to come to terms with my own mortality … I know you have had more trouble with it than I, but we will be together again someday and I’ll wait for you in front of Heaven’s Gates, refusing to enter without you by my side. Nevertheless, do not rush to get here, I’ll be watching over you and the kids from the clouds; you still have time. Time to enjoy life’s little wonders that you have taught me to appreciate, time to teach the grandchildren the most important life lessons: to love, to accept things, and to forgive. Time to watch the sun rise and set over the ocean, and to take in the natural beauty around you. We both know we cannot get time back once it has past so don’t waste any of it morning for me, I live on in your heart and in our family; it may seem like I have left you, but I have only changed forms.
Since our first summer together I have not been able to imagine having to spend a day without you. Our love was and still is infallible, undaunted by the passage of time or the hardships of life and few people could say they experienced love in the way we have. My life with you has been beyond words and in these past sixty years I don’t think I have thanked you enough for everything you’ve done for me. But this is because the words to describe my feelings for you don’t exist. Live on for me, Will, cherish the time you have left on this planet; and never forget I’ll always be with you…you just have to look hard enough to see me.
Love,







Ronnie
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Tears once again streamed down his face, but this time they weren’t filled with grief or sadness. He crossed the threshold of his house with a light step, closing the door behind him.





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