I don't remember how we met. That's unusual for me because I like, or I need, to take mental pictures of meetings...well, more like short video clips. It must have been at church and I must not have thought too much about it, insecurities have tell-tale signs even in our memories. Either way, my misgivings must have inched down as I have clips thereafter. Sunday School outings, a Denny's lunch, my first camping trip...you and your husband brought the biggest tent I'd ever seen; my husband and I brought the smallest...Everyone poked fun at both.
I knew of your desire for a child, but I wanted one too, so we were on equal, neutral ground. My interest in your life began when you miscarried your first child. How sad I thought, to be given and to have taken away that which you so desired. I began to pray for you, unknown, just as I did my own heart's desires. But even though our Sunday School class seemed to be having a baby marathon, we remained childless.
And so it happened that two such dissimilar individuals spent a few quiet moments on a docked boat one sunny afternoon away from the baby talk and scurrying mothers up at the big house. Mainly talking and laughing about the freaks we had to work with, at different times, at Ethan Allen, about our husbands, about our futures...but not about children. You were laying down on the boat bench and your dark hair must have been pulled back, and my mouth dropped open as I said, "I never saw it before but you look exactly like Nichole Kidman!" It made you laugh and you said something about your husband thinking that too. It was one of the few times, maybe the only time, we talked.
I liked you, though. Finding, what many ~I too in the beginning~ thought was an aloof personality, you were a rarity among Americans. We are inundated by Disney with cartoon princesses...but when someone comes among us with a regal bearing...well, she must think she's better than us or other such nonsense. The times I was able to get to know you, I found you genuine and warm, garbed with a superior sense of style and dignity. When I let myself stop feeling inferior, you never made me feel anything other than that we were sisters in Christ. Our husbands, however, seem to have a love/hate relationship from the first, very similar and yet quite different. Competitive games were out of the question.
Though I don't remember the first time I met you, I took note of the last time. I think I knew it was the last time. We were standing in the middle of Wal-Mart parking lot putting away our carts. We each had a child in our own cars, separated by only a few months. You had a boy, I a girl. You positively glowed; I'm sure I did too. We loved being mothers. "What a gift!" There wasn't much more to say after that. Having each moved on to different churches, for similar reasons, we exchanged numbers with promises of us all getting together. I'm sure we didn't hug, though I remember it seemed like we should or we might. I didn't like hugs...I'm trying to get over it.
I remember getting into the car, my daughter in her infant seat, having two distinct thoughts in mind. One, how happy I was to see you and to know of your blessing and two, that I would never call and likely, neither would you. For my part, we lived in a one bedroom apartment with the living room cleverly divided by my husband into nursery and living space while you drove back to your castle in Thorneblade. The insensitive words your husband had 'shared' with mine came tripping out, over my mind. No, I knew our path had gone as far as it would go.
Three years have past since that day. Rick called your husband about a month ago. Did you know? It was a business call, but still they talked about us, about our children, general stuff you'd share with strangers. I didn't think too much about you beyond a general smile of goodwill when Rick said you were doing fine, your son growing, four years old now.
When did you let yourself forget who God is?
When did you begin to believe the lies your mind was telling your heart?
When did darkness become your guiding light?
The past few days, every time I've hugged Arowyn, I've notice I clutch her twice. I think it's once for us, and a second time for the child that now lives outside the realm of a mother's embrace. I don't ask that God have mercy on your soul...What he has promised, he will do and He remains faithful even when we are not. I ask instead that He have great mercy on your memory, the last one you have chosen to leave behind with your family and friends.
As for me, the interest that I'd had in your life so long ago has been renewed, solidified even, by your death. My prayers will ever be with your child as they are with my own. Such is the privilege and responsibility you have left to the care of others, the Body of Christ. Til we meet again, I will not forget my pledge.
- Alicha McHugh
- Blue Ridge Area of Virginia
- Alicha McHugh is author of "Daughter of the Promise" first in her: Numbered Among the Stars series (available on Amazon.com). She is a homemaker to her husband of 15 years, homeschooler to their children. Writing, enjoying tea and creaming Raw Honey are three of her current pursuits. Grabbing time to read is always high on her list of priorities! If you'd like to contact her, she'd love to hear from you! Just email: firstname.lastname@example.org