Martha Young pottered about the kitchen making toast and tea for breakfast. She set the water to boil and put the bread in the toaster. Meanwhile, she folded the laundry and made the bed. After the water boiled and the toast was done, she sat down with the morning paper and
her cup of tea and browsed through the news. At 9:00 sharp the phone rang and Martha answered it with a cheery, "Good morning Clark." Her son told her about his day at work and once again advised her to slow down and employ a maid. She answered, "Dear, we have had this
conversation so many times before. I need the housework to keep me busy. You don't worry about me and go to work." After a few more motherly admonishments she put the phone down and took out her grocery bag to go shopping. She bought a few odds and ends and then made her
way to the hospital.
As she entered the doors of Charleston General Hospital, Jim, the doorman said, "Good morning, Mrs.Young. How's the son?" She answered, "Fine, Jim. How are the wife and daughter? Has little Cassie started talking yet?" After exchanging a few more pleasantries, she made her
way to the elevator. On the way she enquired about the health of Susanne, the receptionist and chatted for a few minutes with Carla, the head nurse. Reaching the fifth floor she went straight into one of the rooms and started cleaning up.
The figure on the bed opened his eyes and said, "Hey Martha. So what's the latest news?" Martha opened the windows, put a bunch of fresh carnations in the vase by the bed and told him all the gossip she had heard. She went and sat next to him, smoothed the gray hair from his
forehead and kissed him on the cheek. "Jonathan dear," she began, "did you know the Sallie's daughter is to be married next week? I had hoped that Clark would be the one marrying her and but that boy just refuses to settle down. He will be the death of me." Jonathan took her
wrinkled hand is his and said, "Martha, will you stop bugging Clark about getting married. He is a strong, independent young man and will find a lovely girl soon enough." They talked for a little while longer and Martha got up to leave. "Bye Jonathan, I'll be back tomorrow. Don't flirt with Carla now. I might be old but I can still throw a good punch," she warned, with a mischievous grin. Jonathan had laughed and waved goodbye.
This was Martha's daily routine for the past few months. Ever since Jonathan was diagnosed with brain cancer, life was never the same.
Martha and Jonathan had met in high school and had fallen in love instantly. They were an odd pair. Jonathan was tall with lovely brown hair and eyes and Martha was short with blonde hair and eyes as gray as an overcast sky before the rains. Martha was a straight A student and Jonathan loved sports. He excelled at everything from baseball to basketball. It was a case of opposites attract and they got married soon after leaving college. They had a son named Clark and everything was going right in their little family until Jonathan started complaining of splitting headaches. He fell seriously ill. It was hard blow to all of them but resilient as they were they stood up straight and dealt with it head-on.
They had tried everything, chemotherapy, alternative medicine, nothing worked. It seemed as if God was bent on taking Jonathan away. The once healthy Jonathan, who always has time for a game of baseball with his buddies was reduced to a wisp of his former self. His mind and heart
were young, but his body refused to cooperate. Martha stood by him through everything. She was his backbone during the worst times, when he would sink into a crushing depression. Their love had endured and Martha was determined not to let her husband go without a fight.
One morning, Martha awoke as usual and went to the hospital for her daily visit. She reached her husband's room and saw Carla standing outside with a grim face. Carla said, "Darling, he died in his sleep late last night. He felt no pain and went peacefully. We tried our best to revive him but we failed. We waited for you to see him before we did anything else." Martha nodded silently and entered the room.
Her husband was lying on the bed, a peaceful smile on his face. Martha walked to him, lovingly stroked his hair, adjusted the sheet around his still body and whispered in his ear, "Goodbye darling. You are free at last. Your fight is over." She kissed his unmoving lips and took one long last look at his beloved face before straightening up and striding out to make the necessary funeral arrangements…….