My apologies for the late timing of this post.  Today was spent breaking off the weeds weeding, killing plants transplanting flowers and spreading mulch.  I never thought about needing a post until supper time when I realized it was Friday.

I wrote this short story months ago, but for some reason, never felt it was the right time to publish it.  When I realized I had nothing written for today, I thought about this story and felt that now was the time.

This is part 1.  I’ll post the conclusion next week.

*  *  *  *  *

Cassie sank onto the bottom step, her sneakers making a squeaking sound against the wood.  The sound took her back to that summer when she had sat in this same spot watching for her best friend to come home.

The summer when her eight year old mind struggled to understand the concept of death and heaven.

As she had sat there all those years ago, she had leaned out as far as she could, trying to see down the street that stretched beyond her own small yard.  She had counted the houses, imagining the people in each.

First there had been Mr. and Mrs. Talbot.

Mr. Talbot smelled like Grandpa Mason.  Mama said it was something called Old Spice.  Cassie had liked it, but had wondered what New Spice would smell like.  She smiled now as she remembered.

Mrs. Talbot was always baking cookies and cakes and good things, making Cassie try to find reasons to go visiting.

Mr. Talbot had died a few years ago, and Mrs. Talbot had sold the big old house to a young couple with a baby so she could move across town to be closer to her son.

Next there was Mr. Palmer.  Cassie had figured he had to be the oldest person she had ever met.  A fact that would have amused Mr. Palmer if he knew.  He had just turned eighty the week before, which meant back then he would have only been seventy.

And then there was Matt’s house.  Even though Matt was no longer there, that house would always be Matt’s in Cassie’s mind.

Cassie remembered sitting on that step as if it were yesterday.  She twisted on the step, angling herself so that she could look down the street better.  She leaned her head back against the post at the bottom of the steps, and closed her eyes, remembering ….

As she looked down the street, her tiny face puckered into a frown.  Matt was sick.  Mama said that Matt was going to leave soon and go live with Jesus in heaven.

Cassie didn’t really understand heaven, just what she had learned in Sunday School.  Miss Emily said that heaven was the best place.  She had told the class that when Matt went to heaven, he would never be sick again and never be hurt, or anything.

Cassie liked the sound of heaven, but Mama said that when someone went there, they could not come back like when they went to the store and then came back home.  Mama said that once someone went to heaven, they had to stay there because Jesus wanted them there.

She leaned farther, trying to see if Mrs. Newman’s car was in the driveway.  Since Matt had gotten sick, he couldn’t come to play with her anymore.  And when she went to his house, they sat on his bed and watched TV or played Candyland on the table in the living room.

She scooted forward some more, looking around the plant that grew at the edge of the steps.  She could see Mr. Palmer’s car but not Mrs. Newman’s.  She inched a little farther, careful to keep the seat of  her pants on the step.

She was not allowed to leave the step.  Daddy and Mama had said.

A butterfly came and landed on the flower next to the step.  Cassie and Matt liked to watch the butterflies and she decided the yellow and black butterfly was the prettiest thing she had ever seen.  She sucked her lower lip in and reached out slowly.

“Cassie, what are you doing, sweetheart?”

She pulled her hand back and turned around to look at Mama in the doorway.

“Mama, see the butterfly?”

Mama came out and down the steps just before it flew away.

“Oh!  Isn’t that pretty!  I’ve never seen one like that before.” Mama sank down onto the step.  “What are you doing sitting out here all by yourself?”

“Waiting for Mrs. Newman to bring Matt home so I can go over.”

She watched Mama frown and knew something was wrong.

“Honey, I don’t think Matt will be coming home again.”

“Why?  Did he go to heaven?”  Cassie felt tears in her eyes and looked at her Mama as they fell down her face.  “I didn’t say goodbye!”

“Oh, honey.  He didn’t go to heaven yet; but he is very sick and he has to stay in the hospital.”

Cassie began to cry.

“I don’t want Matt to go to heaven Mama.  Why does he have to go to heaven?  Why doesn’t God make him all better?”

“I don’t know, honey.  I just know that sometimes people, even children like Matt get sick and go to live in heaven.”

Cassie was silent as Mama wrapped her arm around Cassie’s shoulders and pulled her closer.

“Mama, can we go to the hospital so I can say goodbye?”

“Yes, we can do that, but I’ll have to call his mom first and find out when it will be okay.”

Cassie leaned against Mama’s shoulder just as the butterfly came back and fluttered around their heads.

“Hold still, honey,” Mama whispered.  “Don’t scare it away.”

They sat just barely daring to breath as the beautiful creature settled on Cassie’s knee.  Cassie watched it, studying the beauty of the thin wings and the spots and colors.

When it flew away, she turned and smiled up at Mama.

“I wish Matt could see it.”

*  *  *  *  *

Next week- conclusion

© Drusilla Mott and, 2012


First of all, I was nominated last week by Wayne Augden for the Versatile Blogger Award.  If you will all forgive me, I am just going to give Wayne my heartfelt thanks, but not carry through with the rest of the process.  The rest of this blog will explain why.

For all of you that may have wondered about my absence from your posts, I have decided to share with you about my health the last few weeks.

As I told you last week, the first few weeks in November, I felt tired, run down; with headaches and problems focusing on what I was doing.  I explained that was why my comments to your posts were almost non-existent for a while.

I actually felt like I was reading a foreign language at times, one that I had never learned.  I was finally reduced down to skimming through the posts and then filing them without commenting.

Some of you already know that I did not feel well on Thanksgiving. The feeling got progressively worse as time went on. I still am not sure what was wrong. I was told there was a stomach bug going around, but am not sure, with all that I was feeling, if that was it or not.

I woke up the Sunday after Thanksgiving with feelings like indigestion: nausea, pain, that kind of thing. Then it went into feeling like I had a basketball beneath my ribs. By Sunday night, I had a great tightness and chest pain with sharp pains that went up into both sides of my neck.

This made me think it was a heart attack. I began to pray that the Lord would not let me have a heart attack, that He would put His hand on me and make my heart okay.

I reminded Him that I did not have health insurance and we could not afford huge hospital bills. I reminded Him that He had kept me safe and healthy all this time and asked that He continue. And I promised that if He would let my heart be okay, I would really begin to take action on my weight and health.

I have felt for some weeks that I really needed to do something about the weight that I have gained, but just never seemed to find the time for exercise. I had been walking on the treadmill during the summer and then things just started happening to keep me from continuing.

Those months of walking/running had helped me lose 10 pounds – which I immediately gained back within days of not walking. I had been feeling so weighed down and heavy, like I was carrying a ton of weight around my torso.

It made me realize I really needed to do something to take control of the situation. I began walking again about three weeks ago. Not like I had been – which had been built up to walking/jogging for 45 minutes to 1 hour each day.

I was basically starting over, but I felt so much better afterward.

Anyway, this thinking and praying about a heart attack happened late Sunday night–just the illness and excruciating pain with me and God in the darkness. As I prayed, I began to feel His reassurance and love fill me and then the pain began to ease from my chest. I could feel His directions on the changes that I needed to make in my daily life, starting with the food I ate. I felt peace settle in and I drifted off to sleep, assured that He was in control.

I thought we had come to an “agreement” but during the night, the pain started worsening and working lower, until Monday afternoon when it seemed to have settled in the lower right part of my abdomen.

This of course made me wonder about my appendix. The pain was like I was being torn apart, taking my breath away with the sharpness of it. I looked up online and found that quite often problems with the appendix started with pain at the stomach, which was near where it had started.

So Tuesday night, I began again to pray about this new possibility; praying and reminding and pleading for His healing. Suddenly Matthew 17:20 came into my head and so I reminded Him of His promise that if I had just a little faith, I could move mountains — nothing would be impossible.

Immediately the question came into my head, “But wasn’t that just for the disciples?” I don’t know where the question came from, but I felt like I was being challenged.  I said, “I am claiming that promise for myself” and I began to bind the pain and the illness and demand in Jesus’s name that it leave my body.

I have not prayed like that very often before. I have always prayed that He would undertake and heal and work things out. But that night I felt I needed to pray myself to bind up whatever was wrong and take control of it. I felt like I was in a battle over it, and once again it was just the illness and excruciating pain with me and God in the darkness fighting for my well-being.

I felt the pain ease, and clung to His promises. A little while later, there was more pain, and I cried out about His promises, and the pain went. I woke up in the morning with extreme tenderness, and a sharp pain if I moved wrong and pulled that area; but no more excruciating pain like I was being torn apart.

Today I still have slight pain in that one area, but almost feel back to normal.

I remember asking God in those dark hours of the night, why He was allowing it to continue when I felt sure He had promised healing. I feel His answer was that I needed to remember it, to have it etched in my heart as a reminder to take care of myself. And if it had been for a shorter period, or had been less severe, I probably would have forgotten and gone back to my old habits eventually.

Going through this experience was terrible. I have never felt so sick nor felt so much pain; but being this side of it has me feeling so blessed and strengthened.

As bad as it was, I thank God for it.  I sat in church yesterday morning, feeling like I was an entirely different person in the Lord than before I got sick.   I have never felt as close to Him as I did during those dark hours, and I have resolved to do everything necessary to keep it that way.

I am also now determined to buckle down and really take control of my health.  I will keep you updated on my progress and ask that you be my support network and hold me accountable for it.

© Drusilla Mott and, 2011