He dropped by early in the morning. The mist was still rising from the field, and I had just dragged myself in to make some tea. Just a short visit,’ he had said and walked over to put the kettle on.
I sat, silently stunned at the image of him standing there, and stared. Looking back, I imagine my mouth had opened and closed several times, and it was more likely that rather than sitting, I sank into the chair.
Dead. That is what they told me five days ago when they came knocking on my door. An accident, they had said and yet now he was standing here making me tea.
He turned slightly and smiled that warm, familiar smile. All I could do was stare. All the questions were screaming in my brain to get out, but no words came.
“I’m sure it is quite a shock to see me, but I had to come.”
I only nodded as tears began to stream down my cheeks and drop onto the table.
“I would have come sooner, but…,” he hesitated before continuing, “it was difficult to arrange.”
He walked over and sat the cup of tea in front of me and proceeded to turn the chair around and sit on it. He always did that when he tried to get me to do something I didn’t want to do. It was part of his charm, and he used it well over the years.
I gathered all my strength and uttered the only words I could muster, “How?”
“The better question is why? Why am I here? The how isn’t easily explainable, but I suppose the simplest answer is that you needed me to be here, so here I am.”
I cupped my hands around the hot tea, willing them to burn and wake me out of this dream, indicating that my mind wasn’t finally broken, but they only warmed. Somehow, I found that in itself soothing.
“You need to take better care of yourself. Falling apart won’t bring me back to you.”
I laughed hysterically. “Well, actually, it seems to have done just that.”
He smiled. That loving smile which I had seen from across the table for almost forty years.
“Forty good years,” he added out loud.
So, not only was he here when it was impossible, but he could read my mind as well.
“I know you too well not to understand what you are thinking right now. I can’t stay long, but I needed to come and tell you one last time that I will love you forever, and you are still in my heart. That love brought me back here for a brief moment in time.”
“I miss you,” was all I could utter as the tears began to roll again. My brain knew that this was impossible, but all my other senses denied that fact. His essence filled the air, and those blue eyes twinkled with happiness and love.
“I know. I watch you missing me, and it makes me sad.”
“I can’t do it without you. I can’t keep going knowing that you aren’t coming home ever again.”
“I am home, my love. One day you’ll return home, too, and I’ll be the first one in line to embrace you. This is not a permanent goodbye. It is goodbye, for now, until we meet again. Then we will be together forever.”
“Why did God have to take you so soon? He could have stopped that guy from getting in his car, or He could have delayed you somehow. I could have asked you to do something else instead of driving into town for parts we didn’t need right away. You…,” he cut me off.
“Nothing can change the past. It has happened. I know you are mad at God, but don’t be. It is because of Him that I am here to tell you that you are not alone, and we will be together again. You need to take care of yourself for the boys and enjoy those grandbabies of ours for both of us.”
I nodded as if my resilience was crumbling. The words he spoke, I knew to be true, and while I was angry at God, I still believed. My faith had not crumbled; even though my life had fallen apart and my heart had shattered, I still believed.
“You promised me forever.”
“I didn’t break my promise. Forever is all we have. We just have a small break in between now and forever. I’m here to remind you of that and tell you that you have the strength to carry on without me.”
He slowly pulled me from the chair and into his arms. I sobbed like a little child. Lifting my chin with his finger, he forced me to look at him. He was smiling, and the love I had seen in his eyes all these years was still there. He kissed me softly and whispered, “forever, my darling.”
When I opened my eyes, he was gone. I was standing in the kitchen, hugging the air. Turning to look for him, I saw the cup of tea on the table, steam still rising from the cup. I walked over and sat down, and curled my fingers around the cup once more.
God had heard my prayer and responded. Every night since his passing, I had begged for just one more moment with him, one more opportunity to say, ‘I love you.’ He gave it to me, and I had wasted it.
“I didn’t even say I love you.”
A silent whisper in the air carried his words to me. “You didn’t have to. I already know that you do.”
I nodded knowingly. Others would say it was a dream and that I had made my own tea and just forgot. I know the truth. God allowed him to come back to me so that I could gather the strength to carry on. It is because of Him that forever is possible and that we will be united again.
I smiled, a genuine smile for the first time since hearing the news. Looking out the window, I saw that the mist had disappeared and the sun shone. It was going to be a good day. I was going to be okay.
Bowing my head, I prayed and silently thanked God for answering my prayers. I thanked Him for my faith and giving me a brief moment in time with my husband. Knowing that those words were true and we would meet again gave me comfort and the strength to carry on.
If you liked this faith story you can find others on the Faith Stories link of Leslie’s website.