A Short Story ---
Annie’s Story… (Written by Lisa A Fallon – October 2021)
And just like that, it came to an end.
The dream was over. Annie woke up. Mom? Is that you? Oh my God! Nurse, Doctor, She is awake!
20 Years earlier…
Annie woke up with such a startle she almost pushed her little dog “Puff” off the bed. The same bed she previously shared with her husband of 19 years.
Their mini-American Eskimo dog was almost 15 years old, and she was recently starting to show her age. If it wasn’t sad enough for Annie to realize what was coming next with her beloved dog, she jumped up in bed, remembering what today was and started sobbing uncontrollably. Her dog moved over and started licking her face, encouraging her to get out of bed. Puff not understanding her emotions, but knowing she was hungry and had to pee really bad, nudged Annie out of bed.
Today was the day Annie didn’t want to think about, but it was a day she had to prepare her daughter and younger brother for.
The funeral was that morning. It was 5AM and Annie forced herself to grab her ancient bathrobe and let Puff out. As she was waiting for Puff to do her business, she was remembering that day she woke up so happy next to her husband.
He was in remission, and as they laid in bed together that morning, they made passionate love to each other in a way so tender and caring, that the thought of what they had both been thru the year earlier didn’t even cross their minds that morning. Good news had come from the Doctors the day before and they were both so relieved and excited to make their future plans.
Two kids they wanted, a dog, a cat, and a new house in a great little neighborhood around the corner from where they were renting. Dreams they knew would all come true now. They had a future together and they were looking forward to a new beginning.
Six years and six months later, a new kitten and three months early their daughter was born. Premature and her lungs not functioning properly, they were in for a slew of bad news. Tiny Rose with puffy cheeks and perfect little fingers and toes was fighting for her life. Of all they could imagine their life to be, they were now forced with yet more bad news to cope with. Their perfect future was yet anything but perfect.
As the next three months progressed however, Tiny Rose became stronger and fought with all her might to grow and develop into the perfect little angel she was in her parents’ eyes.
After six months in the pre-natal unit at the local hospital, little Rose was finally able to come home. Preparing for their daughter to come home, they had made her nursery so welcoming and warm. Winnie the Pooh was the theme, and it was a labor of love decorating and furnishing her room. Annie would sit in the rocking chair her mother had given them and just look in awe at the room before her just dreaming of the day they could bring their little girl home.
Today was the day she thought, as she packed her little girls’ outfit to bring her home in. With her husband Patrick by her side, they both looked down at their little bundle of joy with hearts so filled with love for this little girl, they had tears streaming down both their cheeks as they carried her out to the car. Their life was becoming complete as they looked back at six years and nine months ago this day, when they received the news that Patrick was in remission.
Double celebration this day they would remember and celebrate forever.
Four years later and welcoming the birth of their son, Patrick Jr. they never could imagine the news they would receive two weeks later.
Little Rose wasn’t so tiny anymore, and she flourished over the last four years. No one would have ever imagined how scared her parents were at the start of her life. Annie working from home and raising her little girl was all she could have asked for. She felt truly blessed and complete. Rose claimed her brother as her own baby, and their bonding started immediately. They were inseparable.
Then Patricks’ Cancer returned.
Their perfect little world caved in around all four of them. With a new baby, and a new kitten for Rose, they had the fight of their lives to battle now. No way were they giving up now that they had everything they wanted. A new little house purchased the year before right around the corner, a daughter, two cats and now a new son. Annie realized how far they had come, and how much she wanted to look forward to their future together.
Sitting down with their daughter and trying to explain to her what was happening with Daddy was the hardest thing they had to do together.
The original news of his Cancer after they were married was nothing compared to having to tell your own four-year-old daughter, while caring for a two-week-old baby boy, that their dad’s future was unknown. But they were gonna fight like hell to make sure they all had one together forever.
They adopted a puppy. Welcome to the family little ball of fluff named Puff. The kids were ecstatic. Patrick started chemotherapy again the following two weeks. Annie was right by his side the entire time. Every Doctor visit, every phone call, every chemo appointment. She was there. Their love had grown for each other ten-fold that year. Holding hands every night to fall asleep was their thing. They prayed every night with their daughter before she went to bed, and she would hold her little brothers’ hand and pray over him that daddy was gonna be ok.
She often wondered who GOD was and was he going to ever make her daddy well again like Mommy and Daddy had always prayed for and told her he was going to be just fine.
Days turned into months, and for the most part, Patrick was doing ok. Little Rose thought for sure all of their prayers were being answered. She still wondered where and who GOD was, and when her Daddy would be all better.
Patricks’ Cancer had progressed.
That day in church when little Rose all dressed up in her pretty little white dress that her grandma had made for her, left her mother’s side where she was sitting and went up to where the pastor was reading from and sat down at his feet. She looked up at him and asked him “are you GOD”?”
Annie remembered that day in church all too well, with tears welling up into her eyes again, she made her way back inside, fed Puff and proceeded to get dressed. An hour later the kids were up. She had breakfast ready for them and had their best Sunday clothes all laid out for them to wear that day. Little Rose still not sure about what the day was about, knew that her Daddy wasn’t coming back. When she saw the same pretty little white dress that her grandma had made for her the year before and still fit her small frame laid out on her bed, she knew she was going to say goodbye to Daddy forever.
After speaking with the pastor in church the year before, she felt her Daddy’s presence and knew that he was with GOD in Heaven making it a beautiful place for her and her mom and baby brother to join him again one day.
Preparing them all to leave that day for the service took all of Annie’s strength. Meeting up with her mother, Family and friends at the church gave her the strength she was asking for that morning.
The funeral ended that day with a newfound appreciation for life, and Annie felt so blessed to have her two children by her side. In them she found the strength to live the last few months by her husbands’ side, caring for his every need. In the end he lost the battle to cancer, but she had made sure his last few days were some of the happiest days of his life. With her children by her side and arms, they walked out of the cemetery and headed home with family and friends to an empty house filled with loss.
Two weeks later, Annie was in a coma.
Severe trauma to the brain they said. She may never wake up they said. If she does wake up, she may not be able to speak they said. She may not be able to walk again they said.
Three months later and their prognosis seemed very real indeed. Little Rose once again prayed every night with her little brother by her grandma’s side. She thought for sure that her mommy was going to join her daddy in Heaven. She didn’t want her mommy to leave them now.
She just had to wake up she prayed, she just had too.
Three weeks later Annie woke up.
She was dancing at her wedding. She felt so much love for him, she thought she would break into a million little pieces right there on the dance floor. He was holding her so tight to him, he never wanted to let her go. When they kissed and everyone cheered, she knew right then and there that she was the luckiest girl in the world. Her life with him was just beginning and she couldn’t be happier than she felt right there on that dance floor in his arms.
Fast forward to the birth of little Rose, holding her in her arms with Patrick right beside her, she didn’t think she could ever feel so blessed that her little girl was alive and thriving and they were bringing her home to her “Winnie the Poo” nursery room. Rocking her daughter back and forth in the rocking chair her mother had given her that was the family heirloom. She herself had been rocked in that very same chair by her mother when she was born. Singing her daughter songs, that her mother had sung to her when she was little filled the room all around her.
Looking down on her precious little boy asleep in the same crib that was her daughters. Watching him sleep brought tears of joy to her eyes. She had a daughter and now a son and she felt her life was now complete. Hearing her two children laugh and play together was so loud that the sound of their voices pulled her into the present.
Mom? Is that you?
They were all getting ready to say their final goodbyes to Puff. She had held on for four weeks longer than they expected her too. Everyone had said Puff was waiting for Annie to come home. A week later she was at the end of her life, and they were preparing for an angel to come and help her cross the rainbow bridge.
With Puff held in Annie, Rose, and little Patricks’ Arms, Rose said a prayer and told GOD to make sure that Daddy played with her every day in Heaven. Just then with the slider door open on a beautiful Sunny, fall day a breeze blew in taking Puffs last breath with it. With a tear flowing down from Puffs eye and tears in everyone else’s Puff Ball passed on.
The first day of school arrived the next September and Rose was more than ready to go. She was so excited and nervous at the same time. But the thought of leaving her baby brother behind was making her very hesitant to get on the school bus.
Annie said a quick prayer hoping that Roses’ dad was there with them. Another silent breeze on that Sunny, fall day pushed Rose forward and
with grandma, Annie, and her brother by her side she finally climbed aboard and was welcomed by the school bus driver on her very first day on the big school bus.
Annie was left alone with Patrick by her side. Walking hand in hand up the long driveway back into their little house, Annie remembered the very first day she and Patrick Sr had walked up that driveway for the very first time and moved in to their first home together.
Walking inside and remembering all of the memories they had created there with each other, their children and their pets brought a single tear down her face.
Annie’s Mothers diagnosis through her into another loop of pain.
Stage Four Gio blastoma Brain Cancer they told her. Maybe six months left of her life. Annie just didn’t see how her life was ever going to be happy again. So much loss, and so much pain she had been through the last few years. Her mother went downhill very quickly. No amount of radiation was going to help her mother survive her diagnosis.
On a Sunny, fall day with her bedroom window wide open, and wearing her favorite old and mended blue sweater a gentle breeze blew in and took her mother’s last breath.
Everyone sitting around the table that Thanksgiving Day saying what they were grateful for brought Annie to tears when she listened to her daughter Roses prayers. Knowing that for sure she knew that her Daddy and her grandma were dancing and singing up in heaven and that she knew deep down in her heart that they were ok and that her mom was gonna be ok too.
Remembering that day in church years before when little Rose all dressed up in her beautiful white dress that her grandma had made for her especially for that day. She was holding her little brothers’ hand beside her and her daddy and asked the pastor if he was GOD, and if he knew for sure that her Daddy was going to be ok.
Annie knew right then and there that yes, she was going to be ok, and yes, they were all going to be ok. She had no idea what their future would bring, but she knew it could only get better than what she was dealt with in their past.