ONCE UPON A TIME...a wife spent most of an eight month period beside her terminally ill husband at their "vacation home" on Mercy Hospital's 4th floor oncology wing.
Excursions were rare but when able, the two would walk the hospital halls and grounds hand in hand.
The hospital had a nice little gift shop on the first floor that the couple would pass by in route to fresh air and sunshine. Sometimes, the husband would become too weak on the journey and they would have to pause for rest beside the gift shop window.
A large display of Brighton jewelry was just beyond the glass. The wife was drawn to a pretty necklace. Something about it made her smile.
One day the husband felt stronger than normal and asked his bride if she would escort him and his iv pole into the shop to point out the exact necklace she liked so much.
The husband was a great provider for his family and a generous man. The wife expected to receive the necklace as a gift from him maybe on her birthday or for Christmas. But as is the case with terminal illness and chemotherapy, the husband's thought processes became cloudy. The necklace was never mentioned to anyone other than the husband and the gift was never received.
In August of 2013, they wheeled the husband out of Mercy Hospital as he completed his final life extending dose of chemotherapy and returned home to die.
He passed away in January of 2014.
In December of 2016, the wife sat in her living room flanked on either side by their two precious children, now sixteen and seventeen years old. They presented their mother with her Christmas gifts. As she opened the first gift, a luxurious throw, a Brighton bag slipped from its folds.
As the mom reached into the bag, the very necklace that had brought smiles to her face during some of the darkest days of her life fell into her hand. Tears fell from her face as she whispered the story to their children.