The front door flung open with a cold, crisp wind whipping it out of Ralphs’s hand. This had been one of the worst winters in history for the little town in which they lived. When she heard the noise in the living room, Sandy dropped the ladle smack dab in the middle of the gravy bowl.
“What on earth was that?” she said as she ran from the kitchen to discover her husband trying to get the door under control.
“It’s terribly windy out there and the snow is starting to fall again. They predict 10-13 inches by morning.”
“Oh, my,” Sandy sighed with a note of disappointment. It was the end of February and time for this stuff to stop. She was ready for spring!
Sandy glanced over at Ralph. He seemed quiet tonight, she thought; quite unlike himself. As she put her arms around him to greet the love of her life, she concluded she was right about his demeanor.
“Long day, Ralph?” she asked as she untied the apron that had been around her svelte waist.
“Very,” he answered placing his coat on the tree stand. He plopped down in his recliner and slipped back into it as though it was a well-fitted sweater.
‘Hmmmmm,’ Sandy thought as she strolled back into the kitchen.
Ralph’s mood didn’t change even though Sandy had prepared his favorite pork chop dinner. After the kitchen was cleaned up, she went seeking some answers.
She nearly fell on her way over to the sofa next to Ralph’s chair as she glided in her familiar sock-covered feet.
“Ralph,” Sandy began with some hesitation. She didn’t know if she was up to hearing any bad news, and if it was something good…that stopped her; if it was something good, why would he be acting the way he was?
She repeated herself assuming he didn’t hear her. “Ralph, is something wrong? You were so quiet all through dinner; I thought I was eating with a stranger.”
“Yes,” Ralph said bluntly. There is something wrong.”
Sandy had to come back into the moment as her mind started wandering all over the map. What was wrong? She sat there a moment staring at his stone-cold face and waited for him to speak.
He glared at his wife who had since placed her auburn-colored hair into a clip at the back of her head.
“Do you know what today is?” Ralph asked.
“Monday, February 27,” Sandy said as she looked at her husband’s slumped shoulders. ”I don’t get what you’re trying to say, Ralph. Help me understand.”
Tears began forming in Ralph’s eyes as he told her with a voice as broken as his heart.
“Oh, Ralph,” Sandy cried out with the pain of seeing her husband still broken after all these years. Rosemary had been on her way to visit the family from one of the neighboring cities when…Sandy began remembering the day so clearly now.
She jumped up from her seat on the old tattered sofa and cuddled up with Ralph in his chair. She felt his body tremble in her arms. Her heart broke for him.
Sandy sat there for some time and mentally zipped her lip. It was time for Ralph to bury his grief; she wasn’t suggesting he not think of his sister, but eight years was a long time to grieve about her untimely death. Ralph needed to face the demons that broke his spirit every year.
Sandy took her husband’s tear-streaked face and cradled it in her hands. “Ralph,” she began, “I want to talk to you about Rosemary and how her death affects you every year. From a Christian perspective, we know she’s in Heaven. Shouldn’t we be celebrating her life instead of mourning her death?” By now, Ralph was into full-blown sobbing.
He dried his tears and looked into his wife’s face and said simply…”yes!” He saw the look of surprise on Sandy’s face and continued speaking.
“We think alike so often, Sandy. As hard as it is to release Rosemary, I know that’s what I need to do. I can’t hold on to what could have been or should have been. Today I am finally delivering Rosemary to her rightful Home; Heaven, at the feet of Jesus. I have to move on! You have my permission to tell me “don’t look back,” but allow me to embrace the love we shared.”
“I think Rosemary would like that, Ralph,” Sandy said as the two embraced once again.
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