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Seasons Of Love

Seasons Of Love
A true story...

Our family home was nestled in a cove about one mile (as the crow flies) from the nearest paved road in rural, southeastern Kentucky. We lived at Litt Carr, Kentucky, which is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. It was a pleasure just to be alive and feel a part of those beautiful hills.

At the age of fifteen, I spent my summer vacation at the home of my brother and his wife. They were expecting their first baby, and he didn't want her to be alone during the days of her final stage of pregnancy. I enjoyed being with them that summer, but I missed my Mom so much. We were a close, loving family, and I had an especially close relation- ship with my Mom and Dad. They came to visit us at my brother's house during the summer. Our visits were wonderful, but when they left, I cried. It was like a part of me left with my Mom.

My Mom was physically beautiful and had the smile and personality of an angel. She was about 5'7" tall. Although she was slim and not a large woman, she somehow seemed strong to me. I felt she could handle anything. With a glance, she could calm us when we were frightened or comfort us when we were sick; yet, she could put THE FEAR into us if we did wrong. She was strong but oh, so kind and understanding. Her physical characteristics were inherited from her Indian ancestors. She had long, straight, black hair which reached almost to her waist. She had dark skin, green eyes, and high cheek bones. She was born Juanita Newsome in l9l9 to Minus and Selina Newsome. At the age of eighteen, she married my father, Noah Hall. On August 3, l965, I became an aunt to a beautiful baby girl named Charlene. Elated, I returned home with my parents! Life was going to be back to normal again.

A few mornings later, I arose early and went outside to greet the dawning day. What beauty! I loved to watch this new birth; the fog lifting from between the hills to join the fluffy white clouds, the dew still on the grass and flowers, and Mr. Sun peeking over the tree tops to put a smile on this newborn day. I loved the smell of fresh, clean, country air: I loved to listen to the morning sounds of birds singing from the trees and animal sounds in the distance. I just stood there and absorbed the beauty. This was the time of day in which I liked to be alone with nature and think. My Dad had left before daylight to go to work in his coal mine. My brothers and sisters were still in bed, and my Mom was busy with morning chores. As I started to think, I began to feel a little uneasy. Why? Nothing concrete. But why did I keep having this terrible feeling that I might lose my Mom? Was it because I had just spent a summer away from her and knew what an emptiness I felt when she wasn't around? I guessed that explained the uneasy feeling. "Relax. That's all it is," I said aloud. But the questions kept coming. Why did she take naps in the daytime now? Why would my normally energetic Mom be so tired? Was she trying to tell me something when she smiled so lovingly and winked at me from across the room? Why, when we were out for a walk one afternoon and I asked her for something, did she say, "What would you do without your mother?" This question was asked with her arm around me and a beautiful smile on her face. "Oh, please, God, don't let anything happen to my Mom. Don't take her away from me."

Summer ended, and autumn was in the air. My Mom said autumn was her favorite season. Mine, too. It was time for sweaters and cozy fires in the fireplace. My Mom, my sisters and I went for walks together and enjoyed the beauty of this new season. The hills appeared to be on fire from the bright-colored leaves on the trees. There were greens, yellows, browns, reds and bright oranges. Such a blaze of colors! As we walked with the cool, autumn air on our pink cheeks, we laughed and talked. I felt alive, loved, and happy. As we walked, we caught leaves in our hands as they fell from trees. We picked up nuts from the ground and stopped to watch squirrels scurrying around, getting ready for winter. Then we would return home and have dinner with the family. After dinner, we all gathered in front of the television with popcorn and home-made candy. Life was wonderful, and I felt so secure. But when bedtime came, I prayed, "Please, God, don't let anything happen to my Mom!"

A few weeks later, we looked outside one morning and exclaimed, "Winter is here!" Big, white snowflakes were falling. My brothers, sister and I ran outside with glee. How picturesque! We stood there in awe. Everything was white! The trees and shrubbery were laden with snow. Delicate, little birds were searching for food in the snow, and others were calling out to each other from the trees! I thought this must be what Heaven is like; so much beauty and peace, so pure. We played in the snow for awhile and then went back inside for breakfast. I couldn't wait to walk that mile to catch the school bus at the paved road that morning. I carried an umbrella over my head as I walked. I let my brothers and sister go ahead of me so that I could concentrate on the sights and sounds around me. I could hear the snow mixed with freezing rain hitting my umbrella. I reached my hand out to feel it on my skin. I watched and listened to snow falling out of trees. I listened to the birds and watched for squirrels. In one place, we had to follow a narrow path high on the side of a steep hill. Down below was a creek. We walked carefully so we wouldn't fall down that steep hill. Oh, I loved walking along that path. On one side, I could hear the water running and babbling from the creek. On the other, I could hear little noises from the woods. When we reached the paved road, we took off our boots which we wore over our shoes and hid them in a cave. This cave served as a shelter from the weather until the school bus came to pick us up. We attended Carr Creek High School.

At the end of the day, we walked the mile back to our home. Our Mom met us with a big smile and a delicious, warm dinner. After chores, she helped us with our homework from school before we all sat down to watch television together. And then it was bedtime. "Please, God, don't let anything happen to my Mom."

A few days later, we were enjoying a cozy evening together when I noticed that my Mom and Dad seemed to be concerned about something. My Mom went into the kitchen, and my Dad followed. I waited awhile, and then I went in to see what was happening. My Dad was telling my Mom that she must go to see the doctor. Oh, no! She didn't want to go, but he persuaded her. That night, I prayed, "Please, God, don't let anything happen to my Mom!" I cried myself to sleep that night.

The next afternoon, while we were sitting quietly together in the living room, our Mom told us how important it is to live right and to worship God. She then told us that the doctor had found a growth in her right lung. I was in a mild state of shock by now. I think I knew what this all meant, but I asked, "What does this mean?" She said, "It usually means cancer and then death." I was so deeply hurt and shocked. I didn't know what to say. What do you say when your worst fears are turning into reality? How can a forty-six year old woman die? How could God take her away? Then it was bedtime. "God, please don't let anything happen to my Mom!"

The next day while I was at school, my Mom was admitted to Home Place Hospital. I went to see her after school, but I couldn't speak. I just stood there with a big lump in my throat. I knew she understood. She sat there on the edge of her hospital bed and smiled so sweetly at me. An angel. "Please, God!" My whole body and soul felt pain and fear.

The next day as I walked up to our house after school, I saw my Dad standing on the front porch crying. "Dear God, no!" I walked up to him and said, "Daddy, what's wrong?" He told me that the doctors had said nothing could be done to save our Mom. The cancer was too advanced. Hodgkins Disease. I didn't know it was possible to feel such pain and despair as I felt right then. I knew my whole family felt the same way.

She was transferred to the University of Kentucky Medical Center a day or so later. She didn't want my sister and me to visit her very often. She didn't want us to see her suffering. So we baked cookies for her and sent letters by our Dad. She returned letters to us. When we did go visit, she looked so shockingly different! So thin and weak! But still smiling. An angel.

Christmas arrived. This was always an exciting time of the year at our house. Our Mom persuaded her doctor to allow her to come home for the holidays. We were happy and excited. How ironic, I was listening to our school choir sing, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" that day. We were excited but also scared when our Mom was brought home that night. What a shock! She was even thinner now. She was in a lot of pain. It was as though she looked at me, but she looked through me. I hurt all over. I had already lost my Mom. She groaned and prayed all night. The next morning, December 23rd, she was hemorrhaging and had to be taken back to Home Place Hospital. "Please, God!"

We always opened gifts on Christmas Eve. This year was to be the same. Our Mom told our Dad what she wanted us to have for Christmas, and he went shopping. Through sadness and pain instead of the usual Christmas cheer, we opened our gifts. Then Dad went into their bedroom and cried. Our older brothers and sister spent this time at the hospital with our Mom. Just a short time later, they walked through the front door, and, between sobs, my brother said, "Mommy's in Heaven."

Christmas would never be the same for me again. This was a milestone in my life which made the difference in before and after. There would never be another Christmas that would go by without memories of my Mom and her death. She was brought home in her casket on Christmas Day. She was in a pink casket and had on a pretty pink dress. Her black hair was a beautiful contrast to the pink pillow on which her head lay. She looked so peaceful lying there. No more pain. God was taking care of her now.

On Christmases past, my Mom always cooked big Christmas dinners. Our home always smelled of pine or cedar Christmas trees which were beautifully decorated. The house was filled with the smell of pies and cakes baking. Our home was filled with laughter and merriment. This Christmas, the beautiful tree was taken down to make room for mourners and visitors. There was no Christmas dinner to smell. My Mom's bed was removed from her bedroom, and her casket was placed there to await her funeral service. This Christmas, our home was filled with loss, emptiness, and grief.

"Why, God?" Our Mom died on Christmas Eve, was brought home in her casket on Christmas Day, and her forty-seventh birthday was three days later, December 28th.

I awoke one morning, and it was Spring. This was the season of new beginnings, new birth, a fresh new life. Isn't that what Spring is? What would this new life without my Mom be like? All I could feel was pain and loss.

In the seasons to come, I would remember things that she had taught me; remember her laugh, her touch, her smell, her smile. I haven't lost my Mom. She is right here in my memory, and we will be together again some day. We'll go walking hand-in-hand and make up for all the lost seasons. You see, it is Spring in Heaven. A new birth, a new life, a new home for eternity. No more sickness, no more pain, no more parting.

"Thank you, God!"

~~Author: Charlotte Dixon~~
Hazard, Kentucky

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