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In a college communications class I had read about couples who spent most of their lives together. After one died, it was common for the other to pass on soon after, even if he or she was in good health. At the time I couldn’t comprehend how someone could lose their will to live after their spouse was gone. But I began to, at least partially, understand how they felt. Krista had been a significant part of my life for seven years — four as my girlfriend and three as my wife. My life had become completely entwined with hers. Now that she was gone, I didn’t feel complete. I had to force myself to live.
Things I had done willingly before Krista died, like going to work, became a chore. Though my job hadn’t changed, without the prospect of supporting a family, work was boring. There was no incentive for me to put extra effort into my projects. I did just enough to get by. I didn’t care if there were any raises or bonuses in my future. I resisted the urge to walk into my supervisor’s office and quit only because I knew being unemployed and doing nothing would ultimately be worse.
The battle began every morning at five. I’d stare at the ceiling and say, "Abel, get out of bed." This was something I had to say a lot, as if hearing a voice, even my own, helped give me the push to face another day. Once I convinced myself I could do it, I went running.
Running in Ogden was a solitary activity. I never saw other joggers. Ogden was a blue-collar town, and my course weaved through blue-collar neighborhoods. Most of the people up at this hour were warming their cars and scraping frost from their windshields before heading to work.
I came to relish the solitude. My four-mile runs were the only time I let my thoughts focus solely on Krista and Hope. Punishing my body to its limits helped dull the sorrow that always seemed just about to burst to the surface. And having a set time to channel my thoughts on my dead wife and daughter allowed me to better concentrate on other things throughout the rest of the day. It didn’t matter the temperature or the weather, I made it a point to run every morning. It gave me the extra energy I needed to make it through another day.
A late January snowstorm dumped six inches of heavy, wet snow on northern Utah, making the drive home slow and tedious. As tired as I was from work and the commute, I knew I had to shovel the sidewalk and driveway so it wouldn’t become an icy mess.
I was halfway through when my mom drove down the street, headed in the direction of home. She honked as she passed, then did a U-turn and parked in front of my house. I knew why she stopped. She was returning from her latest session with a grief counselor and was coming to tell me about it. I was surprised when she first mentioned she was seeing one because, until that point, I thought she had been handling Krista’s death rather well. For the last month, after each visit, she would tell me about what they had discussed and then try to convince me to see the counselor, too.
I kept shoveling as she got out of the car. To avoid the ice, I needed to have the driveway cleared before the sun set.
"I had such a good session today," she said, her voice bubbling.
"I’m glad," I said. I scraped a long section of the driveway with the shovel and threw the snow onto a pile in the yard. My hands were cold, and I wished I had worn gloves.
My mom told me about some of the insight he had provided. "You should take some time off work and talk to him," Mom said, her voice losing some of its ebullience and taking on her motherly tone.
I wanted to say, "I’m doing fine without him." Instead I said, "Between work and trying to finish the house, I don’t have time."
Working on the house had become a therapy of sorts. Being occupied with painting, drywall, and floorboards when I came home from work prevented me from dwelling on my sorrows. Sometimes I felt if I started crying, I wouldn’t be able to stop.
But Mom kept insisting. "I’ve told him about you," she said. "He’d really like to talk with you."
"I’m sure he would," I said. "Every hour he spends with me is another seventy-five dollars for him."
My mom was quiet for a few moments. I knew my comment had upset her. I kept my eyes on the snow.
"I wish you’d stop being so cynical," she finally said. "He just wants to help."
"I don’t doubt his intentions, Mom."
"Then why won’t you see him?"
I stopped shoveling and looked my mom directly in the eye. "What is he going to tell me? That Krista’s suicide isn’t my fault? That I need to accept my loss and move on? I know all this, Mom. Besides, I think I’m doing fine without him." I was tired of everyone telling me what was or wasn’t good for me or what they knew I needed. How could anyone relate to what I had gone through?
"I just think talking with someone would be good for you."
"Listen," I said, starting to feel annoyed. "I’m not going to tell a complete stranger about the most horrible experience of my life. Dwelling on something that neither you nor I can change isn’t going to make it any better." I said the last part rather sternly. I tapped the shovel on the driveway three times. Clumps of snow fell to the concrete.
"Okay," my mom said. "I just want you to know that there are people that are willing to listen."
She walked back to the car and drove home. I cupped my hands together and breathed on them to warm them before finishing the driveway.
I wanted someone to talk with, but a counselor wasn’t that person. I needed someone who had lost a pregnant wife to suicide, or at the very least, a young widower. I needed someone who could really understand what I was going through, not the trained, sterile words of a professional. Since finding a young widower wasn’t going to happen, I was determined to tough it out alone, one day at a time.
For a month I debated whether or not to continue wearing my wedding ring. It had become a sad reminder of what was missing from my life. Even so, the thought of removing the ring from my finger filled me with guilt. It seemed like an act of infidelity — a rejection of the vows Krista and I exchanged on a cold winter morning and disavowing the years we had spent together as husband and wife.
The tipping point came when I was looking at linoleum samples for the kitchen floor. I had narrowed my choices to two — a blue-gray pattern designed to resemble tile and one the color of desert sand. As I stood deciding which one I wanted, the salesman asked if I wanted to take the two samples home and have my wife look at them.
I picked up the blue-gray sample and ran my fingers over it, feeling its texture. "I’m not married," I said.
"You’re wearing a wedding ring," the salesman said.
The linoleum sample now felt like dead weight in my hands. I set it down.
"My wife passed away two months ago," I said without looking at the salesman. I couldn’t think of another way to say it. My words were followed by an uncomfortable silence. I never realized the complications of wearing a wedding ring while being a widower.
I changed the subject and told the salesman I’d take the two samples home so I could make my decision. I could tell he felt bad about his comment, and I told him not to worry. "I create awkward situations wherever I go," I said as I walked out the door.
That evening I removed the wedding ring from my finger as I worked on the house just to see what it would feel like. The world didn’t come to an end. Aside from my left hand feeling a little lighter, nothing seemed different. As the night wore on, however, I began to feel that part of me was missing. I fought the temptation to put the ring back on and managed to go to bed and fall asleep without it. The next morning, my alarm didn’t go off and in my rush to head to work, I forgot about the ring. It wasn’t until I was well into my commute that I realized I had forgotten to put it back on. The rest of the day was a loss. I couldn’t concentrate on work. The missing ring was too much of a distraction. I needed it back on my hand. It was a relief to come home and put it back on. Something needed to be done, but I didn’t want any more awkward moments from wearing it.
The solution to my dilemma came that weekend. I passed a jewelry store in the mall and out of the corner of my eye noticed some gold chains. The idea came to me that I could put my wedding ring on a chain around my neck. I found one I liked and put my wedding ring on it. The chain was long enough that the wedding ring rested on the center of my chest.
On the drive home I kept tracing the ring with my finger. It would take some time to have the ring there instead of on my hand, but it was something I thought I could adjust to. Besides, it felt good to have the ring close to my heart.
The major repair projects on the house were completed the first week of February. It was a relief to have it done not only because the work had left me drained both mentally and physically, but also because I was tired of living at my parents’ house. Staying with my family had become tedious affair. I was used to having more space and freedom. And there was a continual sadness at their home that permeated everything. My new house would give me the quiet solitude I so desperately sought.
I moved in the following Saturday. With the exception of the couch and bed, I hauled what remained of the life Krista and I had shared together myself. There wasn’t much to move. Krista and I had never had much time or money to accumulate many things and most of Krista’s possessions had been given away to family members, close friends, and thrift stores in the weeks after her death. The only belongings of Krista’s I kept were photographs from our life together, her journals, poetry, books, and a few small personal items.
By the end of the day the entire house was unpacked, except for the room I planned to turn into an office. I wandered in there and stared at the few boxes of Krista’s things that were piled in the middle of the floor. Should I dig into this tonight? I wondered. My shoulders ached with the exhaustion of moving and unpacking. I knew, too, those boxes represented more burden than I wanted to go through that day. They were filled with memories that could weigh as much as the whole world. I sighed and walked out of the room. The boxes would sit untouched for weeks.
With the major work on the house completed, my evenings became free. It was the time alone each night I found the most difficult. The loneliness of the house was oftentimes unbearable, the silence unnerving. Every quiet minute alone reinforced the emptiness that consumed my life. To cope, I often turned on the radio in a far room to provide enough background noise so it felt like there was someone else in the house. I also started watching three to four hours of television every night. After a few weeks, however, I found this too isolating. I missed interacting with other people. I wanted to feel like I was still part of the human family.
To fight the seclusion I joined a church basketball league that played on Tuesday nights. Thursday evenings I had dinner with James and Grace — two good friends Krista and I had met at college. Dinner with them quickly become the highlight of my week. Most of the meals I cooked at home, when I bothered to make something, were simple — canned soup or chili, eggs and toast, or tuna fish sandwiches. I usually ate them over the sink because eating at the kitchen table alone was another reminder of who was missing from my life. Conversely, I loved talking with my two friends over a good meal. Basketball games and dinner became small events that helped me through each week.
Friday nights I forced myself out of the house no matter how tired I was. Most of the time this meant going to a movie — one of the few activities I didn’t mind doing alone. Movies were a great way to lose myself in the lives of the characters on the screen. For two hours I could escape the dark reality of my own life and experience the trials and joys of another person. I tried to fill the remaining evenings with other activities; I went grocery shopping, cleaned the house, or finished the remaining small projects that needed to be done. It wasn’t enough. There were still broad swaths of time where I was alone with nothing but memories for company.
But it was weekend mornings that were the most difficult. There was no hurry to get out of bed and run, no work to contend with. No alarm clock to wake me. In those first moments of weekend consciousness, I reached to Krista’s side of the bed searching between the sheets for her warm, familiar body. When the fog of sleep finally drifted from my eyes, it took only a moment for that longing to be replaced with a deep sadness. I missed awaking to the soft push of Krista’s breasts against my back or her heated kisses on my neck. I missed holding her close and nuzzling my face into her hair and breathing in her presence.
To fight the longing and loneliness that accompanied these mornings, I began running six or seven miles. I loved the longer weekend runs more than my regular weekday jogs since the sun was up and the temperatures were warmer. And the streets were as quiet as they only can be on Saturday mornings. By the time I was finished those longer runs, the sadness and yearning had been flushed out of my system.
One day after an invigorating seven-mile run, I found myself remembering my recent trip to Phoenix. I was thinking about Jennifer and the way her hair would brush against her shoulders or the playful shove she gave me during our lunch at the ballpark. Since my return to Utah, thoughts of her had crossed my mind occasionally, and I considered calling her just to see how things were going. I never did call, even though she had given me her phone number and said we should keep in touch.
That morning, however, as I lay on the living room floor, letting my body recover from the run, I picked up the phone and dialed her number. Jennifer seemed surprised by the call, but we talked for over an hour. She told me about and the long, frustrating process of applying for jobs at local high schools and how excited she was to finally enter the world of teaching. Teaching was something, she said, she had wanted to do ever since she was young.
I don’t remember saying much during that call. Mostly I listened to Jennifer talk about her life. I do remember hanging up the phone and feeling elated that I just had a real conversation with someone — one where the subject of Krista didn’t threaten to arise. The phone call made me feel like I could be myself with Jennifer.
The next weekend I called her again. This time it was after Sunday services. We talked for over an hour. Jennifer gave me the latest information on obtaining her teaching certificate and her night out with her girlfriends on Saturday. I told her about the then undefeated season of my church basketball team and minor work I was doing on the house. That second call established the pattern of the two of us talking for an hour or two each weekend. It quickly became the part of my week I looked forward to the most. I anticipated those calls because I always hung up feeling happy that I had spoken with her.
One Sunday our conversation became more serious. Instead of her usual, cheerful self, Jennifer sounded downtrodden and depressed.
"Everything all right?" I asked.
"One of my good friends got engaged yesterday," Jennifer said. There was an envious quality to her voice.
"Aren’t you happy for her?" I asked, and then cringed, realizing this probably wasn’t the right thing to say.
"Of course I’m happy for her, it’s just that . . ." Jennifer’s voice trailed off into silence. I listened to her soft breathing on the other end of the phone wishing I could be there to comfort her. "I turn thirty in July. I’m not anywhere close to getting married or even dating for that matter. Do you know the last time I went out on a date? It was over a year ago."
"What about lunch at the ballpark with Brent and me?" I was trying to lighten her spirit a little, hoping she recalled that afternoon as fondly as I.
"I take it back. My only date in last year was with a married man and a recent widower."
"At least one of us was single," I said and chuckled. Jennifer didn’t seem to appreciate the remark.
"Don’t you understand, Abel?" she said. "Now that she’s engaged, I don’t have any single friends. It’s just me. Why don’t I buy a house full of cats and accept spinsterhood right now?"
"You’re only twenty-nine," I said.
"If I could just fall in love, I’d be so much happier."
Her remark floored me. "Love has its own set of challenges," I said. "And it doesn’t guarantee happiness." I thought back to some of the struggles Krista and I had in our marriage. Though we always seemed to work through the problems that arose, there were times I remember feeling sad and depressed.
"I know the challenges that come with love," Jennifer said. "I was engaged once." She said the word "engaged" the way someone would say the word "murderer."
"Look, Jennifer, I didn’t mean — "
"Don’t worry about it, Abel. You didn’t know."
I debated whether to cut my losses and end the conversation early.
"His name was Steve," Jennifer said. "I thought he was perfect." The way she said it made me think this was a recent event.
"I didn’t know you were engaged," I said. "When did this happen?"
"Four years ago," Jennifer said. "It all ended four years ago."
I returned home from work one cold February evening feeling sick. I had a pounding headache and an upset stomach. Usually quite healthy, I thought that the stress of the last several months was finally catching up to me. I skipped dinner and went to straight to bed hoping I’d feel better in the morning.
I awoke suddenly several hours later. In the moonlight I could see Krista’s college graduation picture hanging on the wall. I was a sound sleeper and rarely did I wake up during the night without cause. There must have been something — a noise perhaps — that awoke me. The alarm clock read 12:43 a.m. I listened intently for any kind of noise. Nothing.
I was about to lie back down when the doorbell rang. In the dark I picked up my sweatshirt and jeans off floor and put them on as I made my way to the front door. As I groped the walls of the dark hall, the thought came to me that perhaps my friend Nash was looking for a place to spend the night. His marriage to his wife, Heather, had been going through a rough patch lately, and he had stopped over on occasion when things were going bad, though he had never stopped by this late.
I looked through the living room window. There was no one on the porch. By the pale orange light of a nearby streetlight I could just make out a small, unfamiliar car parked in front of my house. I waited a few moments, trying to see if anyone was lurking nearby, then turned on the porch light.
Halfway between the house and the unfamiliar car, I saw a person walking in the direction of the car. The person turned as the light came on and walked back to the front door. The person was a girl who didn’t look a day past eighteen. She was dressed in jeans and a denim jacket. The jacket looked old and threadbare. As she approached, she brushed her long, brown hair away from her face revealing shallow green eyes. When she went to knock on the door, I noticed her hand was shaking. I couldn’t tell if it was from cold or fear. Her knock was soft and timid.
"Who’s there?" I said.
The girl’s voice sounded tired and scared. "My car . . . it broke down in front of your house. I need to use a phone."
I opened the door. Cold air washed over my bare feet.
"Why don’t you come in while I get my cell phone?" I said.
The girl shook her head. She looked at the car and back at me. Her eyes pleaded with me to hurry.
As I headed back to my bedroom for the phone, I left the front door open, hoping that the girl would come out of the cold. When I returned, she was still standing on the porch, looking back at the car. I handed her my cell phone. The girl dialed a number, then turned to make her phone call.
I closed the door halfway in part to give the girl some privacy but also to slow the flow of cold air that was filling the house. I sat on the couch and watched through the window as the girl paced back and forth while she talked. "Please come and get me," she said. "Please." She seemed frustrated by whoever she was talking to and made the request several times. As her frustration grew, her pacing slowed. Finally she stopped in front of the living room window, her back toward me. After another round of pleading she turned, and I could see a tear streaking down her face. Our eyes met for a split second, then she wiped her cheek and turned her face from me.
There was a click from the furnace in the basement, and a moment later the heat kicked on. I made a mental note to myself to buy a storm door. Finally the girl finished her call. She looked at the ground as she handed me the phone.
"Thanks," she said.
"Do you want to come in?" I said. "It’s warmer here. You can wait inside until your ride arrives."
The girl shook her head. "My two kids are in the car. I want to keep an eye on them."
She headed back to the car, looking at the ground as she walked. I didn’t like the idea of this girl sitting in the car, alone with her two kids in the cold. Waiting with her was the least I could do. I retrieved a flashlight and a pair of shoes from the closet and headed outside.
It took only seconds for the cold to penetrate my jeans and sweatshirt. The temperature had to be close to zero — cold enough to chill even those with a thick coat quickly. I hadn’t bothered to put on socks and the frosty air ate through my shoes. I hoped that the girl’s ride would arrive soon.
When the girl noticed me walking toward the car, she tried to start it. Each time the engine sputtered and died. I tried to imagine what must have been going through her mind. Was I a rapist? A murderer? A child molester? Each step I took toward in her direction strengthened her resolve to start the car.
I rapped softly on her window. She rolled it down an inch — just enough space for our words to pass through.
"I’m not going to hurt you," I said.
The girl didn’t say anything. Instead she just stared at me. The steam from her breath began to fog the window.
"Look," I said. "Your car isn’t pulled off to the side of the road all the way. Why don’t you put the car in neutral, and I’ll push it to the curb?"
The girl nodded, then fumbled with the gearshift. I walked to the back of the car and started to push. In the dark I couldn’t tell what model the car was, but its general shape reminded me of a Rabbit or Yugo. Where my hands were pressing against the car’s body, I felt pock marks of rust. The car was light, in the cheaply made sense, and I pushed it to the side of the street quickly.
When it was parked safely at the curb, I shone the flashlight around the car. The inside door panels were missing from the back doors. Fast food wrappers, dirty clothes, and a yellowed newspaper littered the floor. An infant, wrapped in a blanket, slept in a worn-out car seat. Another child, a boy who looked about two, was sitting in a second car seat on the passenger side. His eyes were big and alert. Both children looked like they were in need of a bath.
"You want to take your kids inside while you wait?" I asked. I knew what her answer would be but asked anyway. Part of me was hoping she’d agree. I wanted this girl and her children to come inside and let me make things better for them. Helping her would help assuage some of guilt I still felt about Krista. I hadn’t been able to help Krista when she needed it, but I could help this girl and her children.
"We’ll be okay. Someone should be here soon," the girl said.
"Do you know what’s wrong with your car?" I wasn’t mechanically inclined but thought there might be an outside chance I could at least take a peek under the hood.
"I’m out of gas."
That’s all? I thought. You’re out of gas? Why didn’t you say something?
I told the girl that I had some extra gas in the garage. It took only a moment to locate the red five-gallon gas can that was used for the lawnmower. From its weight, it seemed to be half full. I returned to the car. Seeing the gas can, the girl got out and opened the gas cap. We stood in the cold listening to the sound of the gas drain into the fuel tank.
"How long until your ride comes?" I asked.
"Soon," she said. "My grandmother only lives a couple of miles from here."
The gas can gurgled as the final drops emptied into the car.
"Try to start it," I said.
The girl nodded and put her key in the ignition. After a few attempts to start it, the engine sputtered to life. She turned the heat on high and moved the vents so they were blowing toward her children. She checked each child to make sure they were they were wrapped tightly in their blankets, and after she seemed satisfied they were warm, she stepped out of the car.
"Thanks," she said.
"There was about two gallons in that can. Is that going to be enough to make it home?" I was ready to follow her to the nearest gas station and fill her tank if she had a long way to go.
"I only live about a mile away. I thought I had enough gas to make it home. I was wrong," the girl said.
I wondered if her home was as bad as the car. I wanted to invite them all in to my house and feed them and give them all warm clothes. The girl’s body was still shaking. I hoped it was only from the cold.
"Why don’t you sit in the car?" I said. "It’s warmer there."
The girl got back in the car. She rolled her window down a little more, then adjusted one of the vents so some heat blew directly on her.
"I knew I was low on gas when I picked up my kids from the sitter," she said "I passed a couple of gas stations on my way home. I should have stopped. I’m sorry I had to wake you."
"Don’t worry about it," I said, thinking I wanted to give so much more. She seemed so frail, and I worried that her kids were hungry.
"I don’t have much money. I don’t know when I’ll be able to pay you back."
"You don’t have to pay me back," I said. "Just take those kids home and put them to bed."
The girl smiled and looked straight ahead. I sensed that she didn’t know what to say. It was as if she was not used to receiving things without giving up something in return.
A moment later a late model Cadillac drove down the road, made a U-turn, and parked behind the girl’s car. The girl got out of the car and hurried over to the driver’s side window. The window rolled down slowly. The face of the driver was hidden in the shadows. All I could see was the occasional puffs of gray cigarette smoke that floated into the night sky.
The girl said, "Yes, I’m all right." I heard an old, scratchy voice come from the darkened interior of the car, though I couldn’t understand what it said. The girl said, "I told you, I’m all right." More words were exchanged. Finally the window rolled up, and girl returned to her car.
"Thanks again," she said. She rolled up the window and waved good-bye as she started up the road. The driver of the Cadillac waited a moment before following. I caught a glimpse of the driver as the car passed. It was an older woman. She was bundled up in a coat with a high collar that reached her chin. On the hand atop the steering wheel, I caught the orange glow of her cigarette between her fingers. I watched the taillights of the two cars until they stopped at the corner and turned right.
I hurried back inside. I could feel my headache and nausea growing worse. The time spent in the cold had not been good for me. As I tried to fall back to sleep, my thoughts kept returning to the girl and her two children. I wished I had done more to help or insisted that she bring her kids inside. I felt unable to help those who needed it most.
As I lay in bed, the unsettled feeling in my stomach grew. Five minutes later I was in the bathroom, emptying the contents of my stomach in the toilet. After several minutes I finally felt my stomach was settled enough to let me sleep. I grabbed a cleaning bucket from under the kitchen sink and placed it on the floor next to the bed should I be unable to make it to the bathroom in time. I found myself wishing Krista was here. She had always been a good nurse when I was sick. She never hesitated to bring me books to read, hot bowls of soup, tall glasses of orange juice, or a cold washcloth to wipe my face.
I tossed and turned but was unable to sleep. Finally I grabbed the cleaning bucket and went to look for something to read. My bookshelves were in the same room as the boxes of Krista’s things. As I scanned the shelves, my eyes kept darting back to the boxes, which were still stacked in the middle of the floor. Unable to find anything to read, I opened the flaps of the top box. Inside was a stack of three-ring binders — Krista’s journals. Krista had always been a regular journal keeper, and her accounts of our life together filled several notebooks. I thought about what I was doing and closed the box. I went to the living room where I tried to interest myself in late night infomercials. Between ads for knives, juicers, and cleaning solutions, my thoughts kept drifting back to the journals. Finally I convinced myself it wouldn’t hurt to peek inside.
"Just one," I said to myself. "Just read one entry and put it back."
I returned to the room and opened the box. Sitting in a lotus position, I opened one of the notebooks to a random page and started to read. The entry was dated January 11, 1999. It was the second week of winter semester at school and our third week of marriage. We had been running late that morning, and as we drove to school, we became ensnared in a traffic jam. When it became apparent we weren’t going to make it to class on time, I lost my temper and told Krista it was her fault because she had taken so long to put her makeup on that morning. My words elicited an angry response in return. It was our first fight as a married couple. It wasn’t until that afternoon we had apologized and made up.
Krista described the day, the mood, and my words perfectly. Reading the entry was like having Krista in the same room, retelling the experience. I turned the page and read her next entry. Smiling, I read another and another. There were tired entries from working late nights as a desk clerk at a local hotel, exasperated entries when days just didn’t go as planned, and happy entries when everything seemed to go her way. There were detailed accounts of trips we took to Wyoming, Denver, Las Vegas, and Zion’s National Park. Reading her journal was a bittersweet experience. Each entry brought with it a cascade of memories. I found myself engrossed in what I read, reliving our life together, one day at a time. Then I came across an entry that made everything stop.
May 30, 2001
Today is a day that is written in the stars. I am pregnant, or in other words, I am going to have a baby. I came home from work today and noticed that my period was late. I thought, I’ll just run over to Wangsgard’s and pick out a pregnancy test. I did. I took it. I told Abel. I had always dreamed of how I would tell him and I wish I would have waited, but I was so overwhelmed with it that I just didn’t wait. He is happy, but I think he would have been happier if I surprised him. Not that it wasn’t a surprise, but it is such a big event to just spring on someone in the bathroom. I should have been more patient.
Which is a very funny thing to be thinking when I’m very overwhelmed and happy and peaceful. I think the most wonderful thing about being pregnant is knowing that in order to get through this, I will have to rely on the Lord every minute.
I don’t know where to begin other than it will be all right. I know that the Lord will make things all right. This is right. It’s a child. My child. My little one, who the Lord will send. My little one, who I must protect and teach. My little one, who must learn why he or she is here. My little one, who will have to be taught everything. It hasn’t sunk in. It doesn’t seem real. Abel is happy. I am happy, too.
To be honest, I am feeling rather peaceful right now. I love the Lord. I love Abel. I pray that great joy will ensue.
I stared at the page, wishing Krista was right there, but for a different reason. I didn’t miss her anymore. I hated her. I threw the journal against the wall. Several pages broke free of their binding and floated to the floor like white feathers.
"You did a great job of protecting our baby," I said. I curled up in fetal position and cried, holding my gut as if my insides might all slide out. The crying didn’t help my upset stomach, and a minute later I was back in the bathroom throwing up.
When it was over, I lay on the bathroom floor waiting to see if anything else was going to come up. My head throbbed. but it wasn’t from being sick. It hurt from being sad and angry. I was tired of feeling this way, tired of snapping at my family and friends. I needed to learn how to enjoy life again despite the tragedy. Some friends and family were slowly moving on with their lives, and I needed to do the same. I had done a reasonable job to this point, but the time was fast approaching when I needed to start living again. What I had been doing was just hanging on. I needed to have a reason to wake up every morning. I needed to feel alive. The problem was I had no clue how to go about that.
When my stomach felt reasonably settled, I returned to the room and reassembled the scattered pages of Krista’s journal. I didn’t bother to read other entries or try to put the lose pages in order. I placed the journal back in the box with the intention of never reading it again. There were some things that would always be too painful to relive.