Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Mothers (05/02/05)
TITLE: The Phone Call
By Robert Bronkhorst
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"…This is Maureen," said the voice on the other end.
It was followed by a pause, but Kat knew what the pause was for.
"Your mother died peacefully in her sleep overnight."
Kat hung onto the phone.
"I’m sorry" Maureen said again.
"I know," Kat replied.
"If there is anything you need, please don’t be hesitant in calling me." Maureen’s voice was soothing to her, "If it makes you feel any better, I know what you’re going through."
Kat thanked her, then hung up the phone.
Kat had grown to like Maureen. She was the administrator of the Whistling Winds Senior Care Center, the place where Kat had sent her mother after she suffered a paralyzing stroke.
Maureen was there for all the tough decisions, and made sure that everything was taken care of. She even offered a shoulder when Kat needed one.
The decision to take her mother there didn’t come easy for Kat or her sisters, but the condition of her mother didn’t leave them any other choice. She would need round the clock care, and that constant care wasn’t something that Kat or her sisters could provide. It was a decision that had to be made, but it was one that gave her so much remorse. Her mother gave up many things in her life to support the needs of her girls. She wanted them to be successful in whatever field they chose and gave them encouragement and the nurturing to accomplish that. Now in her time of need, that spirit she invoked in them hampered their ability to return the favor. Their lives became so busy that they had no time to take care of her.
Louise Ingram had overcome tragedy in her life. The man that she loved for over forty years died suddenly of a heart attack leaving her with three girls to raise, and a mortgage to pay for.
It wasn’t easy. She unselfishly worked two jobs to ensure that her girls received all the basic necessities in life. She made sure that they didn’t go without. It wasn’t always the most expensive or fancy, but rather plain and practical. That thriftiness often brought stares and laughs, but they all learned to tune them out.
Through it all, however, Louise never forgot about a school play, concert or conference. She found the time for all that, and even managed to volunteer as a chaperone on field trips. She never complained, or viewed them as inconveniences, but rather a part of life. Life involved sacrifices, she would say, and the journey is worth the reward.
Words to live by. Kat tried her best to follow them.
Kat wiped away a tear that had formed in the corner of her eye as she thought about everything that her mother did for her. She also knew that would be the first time in her life that she wouldn’t be able to celebrate Mother’s Day. This year, there would be no flowers to get, cards to send out or a phone call to place. There also wouldn’t be an opportunity to say thank you with a hug. Instead, there was sadness and a feeling of emptiness that could never be replaced.
The ringing of the phone caused her to postpone those feelings.
"…Yes, this is Katherine Ingram."
"Ms. Ingram, this is the Northton Clinic calling," said the voice on the other end.
"I have some news for you…"
…Kat looked down at the tiny baby that had fallen asleep next to her and she knew that her whole life would be different now. She would have to make sacrifices and would have to go without. She didn’t mind; she would meet those changes head on and was looking forward to the challenge. Afterall, isn’t that what mothers do?
She bent down and kissed the babe gently on the forehead. "Your name is Lou," she said. "That’s what everyone called your grandmother."
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