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“If it’s any consolation for you, she died instantly.” The words of the police officer played over in Rex Bernard’s head. It was their tenth anniversary. They had plans to meet for dinner to celebrate. It was bad enough the accident occurred on their anniversary but they had a ridiculous argument that morning over where to dine. He insisted she drive and meet him at the restaurant near his office. Her argument was she didn’t like driving in unfamiliar areas, but she finally agreed. Jill got lost. She impetuously drove along the foreign streets trying to find the restaurant and missed the stop sign. A truck hit the side of her car. She died instantly.
It was his first day back to the office since Jill’s death the month before. All the sympathetic stares and well-meaning words had exhausted him. He couldn’t wait to return home to rest. But he was reluctant to enter the empty house. It felt so cold and lonely since Jill was gone. A light rain dotted the sidewalk as he made his way to the door. He hesitated a moment before turning the key, not sure if it was the rain or tears that moistened his face.
Flipping on the light he saw something glistening on the kitchen table. Feeling a sudden wave of vertigo he grabbed the doorframe to steady himself. There on the kitchen table sat a gold frame holding a picture of him and Jill taken the night he proposed. Rex picked it up looking at the image of the happy couple gazing at each other with eyes silently speaking love. He clutched the picture to his chest and wept. He was puzzled at how the picture appeared on the kitchen table - and why?
The next night, still insisting on blocking happiness from his life, he was hit with another surprise. Small pink roses sat on the kitchen table – the kind that made up Jill’s wedding bouquet. Rex sat down at the table picking up the bouquet breathing in the delicate scent. He caressed the soft fresh flowers thinking of their wedding day, picturing how beautiful Jill was and how happy they had been. Again he sat weeping, blaming himself for her death and wondering how and why the flowers appeared.
Rex hurried home from work the next night to see what surprise awaited him. On the kitchen table sat an opened cookbook. He picked it up, “BBQ Meat Balls” he chuckled as he fingered the pages stained with BBQ sauce. The first meal she made after they had gotten married. He laughed thinking of that night, picturing Jill and the kitchen splattered with the sauce. He remembered how he wiped her cheek and kissed her sauce-splattered nose. These memories were replacing the pain-filled places in his heart with joy. But again he resisted the warmth of memories. Instead he embraced pain and regret as the sentinel to keep happiness from entering his devastated heart.
Nothing showed up for several weeks, until one night something sparkled brightly on the table. Rex could not believe what he saw; there it was Jill’s wedding ring. Hoping to ease his pain he had buried the ring with her. To keep it, he thought, would cause too much grief. Now all this was too much for him to handle. Who was playing this trick on him? How were these items appearing?
Later that night Rex was awaken by a dazzling light cascading over the bedroom walls. There in the light blue radiance, looking beautiful like a princess stood Jill. She reached her arms out toward him and in a soft voice said, “Rex don’t be tortured by my death. Death is just another step in our existence. I did not leave you. I only died and moved from this life to experience the beauty of the next. One day we will be together again. Be happy. Don’t waste life with regrets and sadness. Fill you heart with happiness and memories of the love we shared. I left those memories for you, to remind you our time together was precious. Keep the memories close. Remember me but enjoy and live the life you have now.” She then blew him a kiss and disappeared.