He leaned over the rail of her bed and pushed her hair back, her breathing had become shallow and there were longer pauses in between breaths.
He sat there and remembered the young little spitfire girl he had married over 60 years ago. She could take control of a whole room just with her presence. Not only did her brunette hair and bright red lips capture the attention of all the guys, but she had a personality bigger that the state of Texas. Everyone that knew her loved her, she didn’t seem to have any enemies, she was just that kind of girl. I loved to hear the sound of her laugh, she had a giggle that warmed my heart, now the only sound the old man heard were the beeps of the machines in the room that were monitoring her every moment of life.
She always had a way of making him smile, he leaned back in his chair and thought about the day he fell in love with her, it was love at first sight. She was outside the ice cream parlor and she was feeding ice cream to her little dog Tots, obviously she had watched me walk to work many days because as I passed by her she said to here little dog, “Tots, did you see that man? I am going to marry him one day.” The old man chuckled to himself as he remembered telling her that Tots talks to him when she wasn’t around and told him what she had said. She was so mad that Tots told me all of her secrets and wouldn’t tell her anything. Poor little Tots never did get ice cream again. I called her my little fire cracker, she would get so mad, but I just loved her little frame and big ole attitude.. He leaned up and whispered in her ear, “I will always love you my little fire cracker”
She took another breath and with that came another memory ..
She had come to church one Sunday and after church I walked her home, on the way home we walked across the covered bridge and she ran ahead of me and threw her shoes off and sat down on the side of the creek and said, “come on, put ya feet in the water” I walked over and sat beside her, not wanting to get my suit too dirty but that really wasn’t an option with my sweet Ruthie, she splashed her feet and splashed and before I knew it my church clothes were completely soaked..I just loved her vibrant spirit and great love for life. I fell in love again every moment I was with her. She didn’t seem to have a care in the world, she just loved life.

After supper I went to leave and here comes my Ruthie running after me and when I turned around she jumped up and kissed me right on the mouth and said, ” you better get yourself ready, because I am going to marry you” I had to push her back and I said, “you are? Maybe I don’t want to marry you” she looked me right in the face and said, “well you might not want to marry me now, but you will marry me.”
I told her to meet me at the ice cream parlor the next day and we sat there sharing a banana split and she told me all the plans she had for our lives together. There was no stopping this girl, she had her mind made up and that was just the way it was.
He was brought from his memories by the sound of the machines as the alarm went off, the nurse came in and fixed the machine and he knew he only had a few more minutes with the love of his life, before she crossed into eternity.
He sat up and kissed her on her head and ran his fingers though her silver hair, he smiled to himself knowing that he had tried his best to make all her dreams come true, he had built her that house with the outhouse on the inside and water than ran from the sink, they had shared in the joys of having children and he had taken her to see the ocean just before she got sick, which was her biggest dream of all.

The nurse walked over and patted the old man on his shoulder and asked if he needed anything. He shook his head no as he wiped the tears from his eyes, knowing this was the last few minutes the nurse said, “you may want to say goodbye” He knew she was going to be much better off on the other side, but he loved her so much, she was the sunshine in his garden of life. How would he go on without her?
He reached through the rail and picked up her frail little hand, it had bruises all over from the needle pokes, he kissed each one of her fingers and then he noticed the little wedding band he had given her when they married, he offered many times to get her a new set, but she always said in her sassy tone, “don’t want a new one, you put this one on me the day we got married and you can take it off the day I die” now here he sits as she takes her last few breaths and slips the ring off of her finger and spoke to her again with tears in his eyes, he told her how much he loved her and that he would be ok. He sat back and slipped her ring onto his finger and just looks at it he remembers the day he put it on..  June 21st, their  wedding day he remembered just as if it were yesterday.. His beautiful little bride had made her wedding dress short enough to nearly skip down the aisle barefoot, she was waving and talking to everyone as she came down the aisle, she giggled through the whole ceremony, I couldn’t help but love her, she was so full of joy. She told me not to run out she was afraid she would fall, but as soon as we were done she took off, nearly dragging me behind.
He took her to their little one room cabin he had built with his own two hands, he could remember the smell of her hair as he picked her up to carry her over the threshold of their little home.. She squealed with excitement.. “We’re home, we’re finally home!!” The sounds of the alarm broke him from the memory and as the doctors came rushing in to his precious wife he knew she was gone.
A sweet peace came over him and he felt as if there were arms around him, hugging him tightly, although she was gone, she had a peaceful look on her face. He was thankful that as his memory of carrying her over the threshold of their first home, God was carrying her over the threshold of her forever home. He looked at his beautiful girl one more time he kissed her cheek and whispered “rest well my little fire-cracker, you’re home, you’re finally home.”  and with that he walked out the door knowing for sure he would see his girl again, they had both received Jesus as their Saviour many years ago.. He held her ring tightly in his hand and felt her love and the warmth of the Saviours Grace, he walked down the hall of the hospital one last time and He knew he would be just fine.

By Ginger HodnettMay 21, 2016