Some of her earliest memories were of good times with her mother. She remembered being not much more than a toddler. She was so small that she had to climb up into the kitchen chair. It was like climbing amount Everest. She could also walk under the kitchen table without bumping her head. Sometimes she played with the canned goods in the cabinet while her mom stood at the sink washing dishes. Little Mary-Belle occupied herself of hours with pots and pans and wooden spoons as a toddler. She remembered so much of the good times. She also remembered her mom’s face.
Mary-Bell’s mom was so pretty before she had cancer. She had medium brown hair that was highlighted with golden strands that glittered in the sun. One bright sunny morning Martha took her daughter to the beauty shop. Mary-Belle got her bangs trimmed and her mom had her hair colored to a light golden blond. She looked like a movie star with golden tresses. Her mom was stunning, no matter the color of her hair. She remembered the good times. Memories of the good times with her mom gave her hope that she would overcome the situation she found herself in now.
This cold night would be over soon to welcome a brand new day.
She thought about her mother’s voice. Martha had a gift of reading in different voices, and Mary-Belle loved that. She read her stories about princes and princesses and how they lived happily ever after. Suddenly, her mother needed her. Mary-Belle felt the pain of pent up tears threatening to spill. She loved her mother, even if she didn’t feel loved in return. She felt compassion for her mother, even though she was suffering in frigid solitude.
As the temperature dipped even lower, Mary-Belle’s body was dangerously close to shutting down. She wasn’t shivering quite as much. She thought it might be warming up outside, but her body was lying to her. She tried to will herself to stay alert. She had an urge to take her coat off, because she was feeling warm, but her lips and ears were cold as death from the deadly chill.
Mary-Belle thanked her lucky stars that she was still aware of her surroundings and the dire circumstance she found herself in. This bump in the road was almost as dire as the situation leading to her mother’s death. As bad as this frigid night was, the death of her mother left her with a chill that was worse than she was experiencing now.
Martha took her final breaths on the nineteenth of December. There would be no Christmas that year. That evening was forever etched in her memory. Martha released a quiet sigh and she was gone. Mary-Belle was almost asleep next to her mom when the thundering silence of no breath sounds startled her awake.
“Mommy? (Pause) …. Mommy! W..w..wake up! Please wake up Mommy.” Mary-Belle threw her little arms around her mother one last time and cried tears of anguish. She instinctively new it was useless to plead with her mother to awaken. She knew her mother was gone. She ran next door and cried for Charlie to wake her mama up, knowing that was impossible. Life as she knew it would change many times. Mary-Belle became a ward of the state.
To be continued
Image credit: Me