The days felt long. The end of the first chapter of her life began at the ripe age of seventeen. She met a boy. She knew this was it because she could see her future in his eighteen year old eyes. However after joining the Army, they sent him far away. She couldn't go. She prayed, she begged and she cried thousands of tears. She pleaded with God to bring him safely back to her. She impatiently waited for each passionate love letter to arrive in the mail. She kept each letter and pored over each word countless times. The days were torturously long before God answered her prayers, but what she didn't know is that they weren't all that long. The days were actually very short.
The days felt long. During the next chapter of life she married the love of her life. She didn't spend much time with him though. She spent her time alone taking care of their first born child, a handsome son named after his father. Her husband had been called to duty in France. She couldn't go this time. Devastated she stayed by herself hundreds of miles away from home faithfully waiting for his return. She passed her days living off the pennies he received for pay. She boiled bottles, washed soiled diapers, sang to her son and rocked him to sleep. When he slept, she wrote long letters to the man she loved. The lonely days seemed excruciatingly long, but they weren't really all that long. The days were actually very short.
The days felt long. During the next chapter of her life, their second born child was born. She gave birth to a beautiful daughter. Now at the young age of twenty two, she spent her days taking care of her small family. There was no doubt, she loved her little family beyond measure, but something felt so wrong. She wasn't sure this is what she wanted to do with the rest of her life, She spent her time at home, cooking, cleaning and caring for her children. She wanted more. Her daily life at home felt like a chore and made her days feel long. The days were actually very short.
The days felt long. She was twenty five during the next chapter of life. It was a blistering, steamy southern summer, and the humidity drew sweat just from the thought of it. She had given up the stay at home lifestyle and now worked full time. With two munchkins pulling at the hem of her skirt already, her belly stretched and protruded beyond any other body part she owned again. Working full time, pregnancy and summer heat felt like the opposite of heaven. Every day felt like forever, however the moment she looked into the eyes of another beautiful daughter, she knew time wasn't really all that long. The days were actually very short.
The days felt long. The next chapter held a surprise in store. She hadn't planned this moment in her life. She thought she was finished, but God had different plans. Her fourth child, another lovely daughter entered this world early in April one year. She had been blessed to this point in her life with healthy children who rarely needed a doctor's care, but this child would prove to be different for her. She returned many times to spend long hours or days and even sometimes weeks in the hospital caring for this fourth angel she had been blessed to raise. The days seemed to drag on, but in reality they didn't. The days were actually very short.
The days felt long. The following chapter was filled with children who were honestly easy and well behaved kids, but the responsibilities of a working Mom with four children to care for as well, made her feel like she could never possibly get it all done. She worked until five everyday, picked the children up from her parent's house, drove home to cook dinner, call out spelling words, wash dishes and do laundry while she waited for a husband struggling with alcoholism to make it safely home before she managed a few hours of sleep so she could do it all over again. Considering everything she had to get done during the waking hours, the days weren't that long in reality. The days were actually very short.
The days felt long. The next chapter included an unusually cold winter for the south. Heavy coats rarely used were pulled from storage bins and worn for weeks on end. Her daughter now featured a stretched, protruding belly herself. On the January due date, the weather man predicted 3 inches of snow. Far more snow than people in the south knew how to handle. If it snowed, everything would close from schools, daycares, banks and doctor offices. She prayed God would postpone the snow or the baby would wait until the roads cleared. The baby didn't wait, but God granted her prayer. After a safe drive to the hospital, a twelve hour labor followed. The day seemed to drag on as she watched her daughter in pain, but the moment she laid eyes on her first grand child, she knew the days weren't really that long. The days were actually very short.
The days felt long. During this chapter of life, she was now retired from her busy career. Her grown children were busy with careers, spouses and children of their own. Her husband of over forty years became sick. His illness took many years to develop into what would be his last days. Every emergency led to a worsening diagnosis. Every hospital trip led to more debilitating symptoms to deal with at home. She did her best, despite the difficult times in her marriage, to give him the very best care she could possibly manage. Though the days felt long as a full time caregiver to a man who wasn't easy to care for anyway, they were really not all that long. Sooner than expected, her husband passed. The days were actually very short.
The days felt long. This chapter brought a loneliness she had never experienced. Since her first and only husband had passed, she wasn't sure what to do with herself anymore. Worst of all, she struggled to remember everything she knew she should know. She did her very best to hide her frustrations from her grown children who now lived that same busy lifestyle she remembered from the past, but as the days passed, it became harder to pretend anymore. Eventually, she couldn't pretend anymore. She forgot how to make meals she had made thousands of times. She struggled to keep appointments. She often found overdue bills in the mail. She wore the same clothes for days in a row. Confusion caused her days to seem much longer than they were in reality. The days were actually very short.
The days felt long. In this chapter, she didn't know where she was anymore. Her own home felt unfamiliar to her, but she recognized the faces looking back at her. These were the faces of the people she loved most in her life. She could no longer remember what was wrong with her. It had been years since she felt like herself. It had been months since she received the diagnosis. It had been weeks since she managed a bite of food. It had been days since she tolerated a sip of water. It had been hours since she opened her eyes. It would only be minutes before she drew her last breath. She focused on the sweet sound of the voices singing softly in her ear. For a short moment her life flashed before her eyes and she remembered these sweet voices. They belonged to the people she loved the most in this world, her children. For a few seconds, as she drew her last breath, she knew the days had actually been so very short.