Cleo sat at the desk in her mother’s living room and rested her head in her hands. Fatigue had set in from sitting with her mother all day. She glanced at the phone then the clock on the wall. One of her sisters would be there in fifteen minutes to relieve her of her watch for the day. Memories of her youth surfaced in her thoughts and tears crested her eyelids. Cleo knew she wouldn’t have her mother much longer. What would she do without her? She had been her strength all these years. Her eyes grew heavy and soon sleep overtook her.
A hand on Cleo’s shoulder woke her from her slumber. She turned to see her mother standing behind her. Cleo rushed to her feet and took her mother’s hand in her own. “You shouldn’t be up, Mom. You might fall.”
“Oh, don’t worry about me.” Cleo’s mother squeezed her hand, raised it to her lips and kissed it. “I just wanted to say goodbye.”
“There’s plenty of time for that later. You shouldn’t be up.” Cleo stood. “Let me help you to your room.”
“No, no, I’m fine. I can make. You need to rest.” Cleo’s mother shuffled back to her room.
Something wasn’t right. Cleo knew it. She got up from her seat and went into her mother’s bedroom. Snugged under the handmade quilts, her mother slept. Cleo tiptoed to her and placed her hand on her mother’s forehead. Cold. She placed her fingers against her neck. No pulse.
The front door opened and shut. “I’m here. Where you at?” Wilma walked to the doorway and stopped. “What’s wrong?”
Tears streamed down Cleo’s face. “Mom’s gone.”
My grandmother and her sisters used to tell this story since I could remember. My uncle, who is married to my Aunt Wilma also added to this story. He stated he was running late that night from working at the coal mines. He rushed home to changed and shower. When he entered his house, the phone rang. He answered it, expecting my Aunt Wilma to be on the other end.
“I’m running late. I’ll be there in a minute,” he said.
“This is Momma. There’s no need to hurry. I just called to say goodbye.”
“Oh, Mom. You can tell me when I arrive.”
The phone went dead. He left the house after cleaning up and went to his mother-in-law’s house to meet up with my Aunt Wilma and my grandmother. When he arrived, he learned my great grandmother had died two hours earlier. He received the call only an hour earlier.
She is also the author of: The Legend of the Travelers: Willow’s Journey