Memories Linger, Hope Endures is a story of Lily Mae, a woman now well on in life who looks back at the love she once had and a hope steadily growing in her life.
Climbing the mountain ~
Lily Mae stopped and watched the rattlesnake mosey across the trail about six feet in front of her. She gave it plenty of time to slither down the side of the trail and find a warm rock to curl up on. Overhead, two red-tailed hawks circled.
Lily Mae stood at the bottom of the hiking trail she had been climbing for the last thirty years. She was used to these battles between raptors and snakes. It was interesting to see which one would be the victor. Her well trained dog, Woof, sat motionless beside her. He kept a wary eye on the dangerous rattlesnake. Suddenly the larger hawk soared down at amazing speed. The skilled hunter quickly grabbed the snake and removed its head. Within seconds it was over. The hawk flew up with the headless snake dangling from powerful talons.
Lily began her hike up, the hawk and snake now forgotten. Using her long walking stick she skillfully maneuvered up the rough trail.
The trail wound its way up the side of the small mountain behind her home. The summit was only about 2500 feet, but the trail had several steep switch-backs. It took her nearly two hours to hike to the top. As she focused on the trail, Woof bounced through the grasses, exploring.
Once on top, Lily Mae climbed up on a rocky outcrop. Here is where she loved to sit and read, write, or just think. Often she just gazed out at the valley below, let the memories linger, and remembered her past. How long must memories linger?
Here is where Lily Mae sorted out her feelings and grew from an injured soul to one who accepted who she was. It took her years, but Lily Mae had finally accepted the fact she had loved and lost. Now, it was time to let hope enter her heart. Hope and a new determination to let go of the fear of loving again. After all this time she still struggled with thoughts of opening to love again.
Memories linger ~
When she was twenty years old, Lily Mae fell in love and felt all was settled for life. She was so in love and happy. All she ever wanted had fallen into place, her own home, a yard to garden in, children to raise, and a husband who provided for them all. She was active in the lives of her children. Sports and dance classes gave her the opportunity to be involved with other young mothers who enjoyed growing up with their children.
Her life was very routine, but never boring. She became very creative with crafts, cooking, sewing and writing. She was the perfect wife, mother and homemaker. For ten years life was good, then the eleventh year brought on many changes she was not prepared for. She had suddenly realized the change was foreboding. An uneasiness crept into her days and the nights felt long and lonely.
Even though she lay in bed at night with her husband, there was no contact, no love. He would just say “goodnight now” and turn away. Then came the sound of snoring as he spiritually left her alone. She tried so hard to convince herself that it was normal, after many years, for a couple to fall into this way of life. When she was no longer invited to go to employee gatherings with her husband the fears began rising. Invitations to parties and dinners of their close friends began to fall off, for he no longer liked attending them. Even their best friends gave up on them. The children were growing fast and Lily Mae felt she was no longer needed as much as she once was.
She began taking classes in English literature and creative writing at her local college. Her husband encouraged her. He said he was proud of her for wanting to grow and find her own interests and skills. Lily Mae was not sure how to take that and resentment started growing. Her own interests? He might as well have said “your own life.” A few friends she still had left from her husband’s work place began asking Lily Mae why she did not come to the gatherings anymore. When she explained that her husband preferred to go alone there was an uncomfortable silence. Then what she had feared came to the surface. Sandy, one of the few employees who still kept in touch with Lily Mae, could no longer hold back her concern. She asked, “Who is that woman who comes in every day to have lunch with your husband?”
She could tell he no longer loved her. Lily Mae tried her best to keep the marriage going and focused on keeping the house and kids organized. Fear led to pain and the pain led to the realization that it was over. Ten years of happiness, then just like that! It was gone! There was no marriage to hold on to, no love to continue growing over the years. Divorce quickly followed and he remarried a year later, leaving Lily Mae to finish raising the kids.
Single mother ~
Being a single mother was never in Lily Mae’s thoughts. From somewhere deep inside, she found the strength to go on and do what she had to.
Years went by and she survived, but the hurt and loneliness never left, for the memories linger always. She had been working for many years and did okay for herself and the children. She made sure they had all they needed and saw them through the school years, the graduations, their growing pains and the hardships of becoming young adults. They did well. The “kids” had become adults and had good lives of their own. Lily Mae had found herself alone and wondering what to do in life besides her job and being a mother.
It had not been easy. She struggled for so many years to keep food on the table. Her ex-husband never helped her, financially or morally. She had vowed, after the divorce to never marry or fall in love again. Even after she retired there was not room for love, but she painfully felt the void. And memories linger a long time.
Hope endures ~
Now, so very many years later, Lily Mae sat at the top of her little mountain with a new hope in her heart, a new love creeping in. She had met a man who had impressed her with his caring ways. Now she sat on her mountain, with eyes closed, and let her Spirit take over. She felt a profound spiritual change and realized there was no more hurt and fear within her heart or soul. It all left her.
She felt cleansed, refreshed, as the tears flowed without stop for such a long time. It seemed like an eternity she sat there and allowed the tears to wash away the past of resentment, fear and pain. All that was left was this wonderful feeling of renewal and hope. The memories linger still, but the pain is gone and she found forgiveness.
Whether the love she felt would grow and become real, become part of her life, she did not yet know. She just knew she still had room in her heart to love fully.
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© Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved Phyllis Doyle Burns
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