Authors: Tabatha Akers
This book is dedicated to anyone who has ever lost anyone close to them. No matter how much it hurts we have to know that they are there with their hand on our shoulder. They are Angels Holding Us Close!
I would like to thank Dena Stanley and Mackenzie Christiansen, because without them the book would not be complete. Thank you so much for your help. You both rock!
My husband and children, thank you. This book wouldn’t have been completed without your support and patience . You all are what makes my heart beat.
My family and friends, thank you for being so supportive to this crazy idea of writing. You are all the best.
Last but not least, to my Angel, Ashley, thank you, because without your hand on my shoulder I would never have been able to convey the feeling in this book that it deserved. I love and miss you so much my Sweet Angel Girl.
This book is all fiction. Any depiction of anyone, place or thing was purely coincidental. Maroa, Illinois is a real place, and at no point do I mean to depict the people of the city in a negative fashion.
Katie sits in her room staring out the window, thinking about the last few months. Watching the birds fly from tree to tree on this beautiful summer day, she can’t help but feel a sadness that never seems to leave her these days. Trying to push out the blue feeling, Katie turns on the radio and starts to listen to her favorite song, Angels among Us, by Alabama. This song just seems to help her not feel so sad.
Laying back on her bed and looking at the ceiling she remembers when her life was normal, and there wasn’t this feeling of loss in the house
all the time. Closing her eyes, she could see herself and her brother, Jackson, running through the house chasing each other. She could hear her mother yell to them as they ran out of the back door giggling, “Make sure you shut the door.” These thoughts that she often has are the little things that are always able to put a smile to her face, yet at the exact same time sends a sharp pain through her heart, like she had been stabbed with a knife.
Katie is only
fifteen but she has been through so much that it has made her question why things happen the way they do. While the last few years have been hard, the hardest part of her life was happening right now. She feels completely alone, and as if she has no one to talk to about it, even though she knows that if she needed an ear, her mom would be there in a minute. But that was part of the problem, she knew that neither her mom nor her dad would ever understand how she was feeling, and therefore would not be able to give her any help on how to make this feeling leave her.
When the song was over, she decided that she would take a walk to clear her head. She put on a pair of shorts and a t shirt, and grabbed her
IPOD. As she walked down the stairs she could hear her mom talking on the phone to someone, probably one of the neighbors calling to check on the family. The neighbors had been taking turns the last few months on checking on her family. By the sound of her voice, she could tell that her mom had been crying again, but that is nothing new. Everyone in the house had been crying at least once a day since the whole ordeal happened.
She went to the kitchen to grab
a bottle of water and to let her mom know that she was going to walk down the street to the park for a little bit. Mom held up her finger to signal Katie to wait a minute. Katie knew what she was going to say, and just hoped that she would not offer to go with her so that they could spend some time together. That was mom’s new thing lately. Anytime Katie left the house to go to the park, Mom always offered to go so that they could spend some quality time together.
n her mom hung up the phone, got up and walked over to the fridge and started taking out food. “Let me fix you something to eat,” her mom said to her.
“I’m not hungry mom. I just want to take a walk to the park. I need to get out of the house for a little bit,” she said grabbing an apple out of the bowl to appease her mom.
“You need to eat something, other than an apple. Why don’t we go out to grab dinner tonight? We can go anywhere you want to go,” her mom said as cheerful as she could muster.
“I don’t want to go out to eat tonight. I just want to take a walk mom. I will be back in a bit. I am just going to the park for a little while,” Katie said to her mom. She quickly kissed her on the cheek and darted out the door and
down the front walk before her mom could say anything else.
Katie took a deep breath and started walking down the street, t
hinking about the last few months. She could not understand why things turned out the way they did, but she knew that everything seems to happen for a reason. What made her mad the most was that she did not know, or understand what the reason was for the past few months.
Katie walked about a block down the road and turned right, walking past the empty house on the corner. The family that had lived there moved to New Mexico abou
t four months ago and no one had moved into the house yet. Though she was not friends with the girl that lived there, Katie knew that the girl whose name she could not honestly recall did not want to go. She continued until she got to the Weeping Willow tree that sat on the corner of Palm St, and Garfield St, where she took a left. When she rounded the corner she thought she saw something out of the corner of her eye flutter by. She looked around but did not see anything. She continued up the street and had only a block to go when something seemed to pull her to the right and up the hill. She couldn’t decide what made her want to go in this direction, but she couldn’t stop herself. As she continued up the hill she could feel an odd feeling that she could not pin point. It was like a hand was on her back guiding her forward to the place that she knew she really did not want to go, but did not seem to have a choice.
Katie looked up at the sky as she continued to walk through the town.
It was a sunny day, with very few clouds in the sky. Summer was always her favorite time of year. It was the time that the family always took a trip together to some of the coolest places. They never flew either, so anywhere they went they were crammed into the close quarters of the family minivan that she hated to be seen in. These days she longed to be seen in the family minivan. They always played the license plate game, trying to see who could find at least one license plate for every state. It was always challenging, but Jackson always seemed to do the best out of everyone.
Shaking the thoughts from her head, she continued walking
at a faster pace. She knew that if her mom found out that she did not go to the park like she said, she would be in a world of trouble, but she just felt like she needed to be where this feeling was sending her.
Katie continued up the hil
l just like she had every day for the last few months. She turned at the fifth row from the bottom and counted six headstones in. She stopped and dropped to her knees as she touched the name of her brother “Jackson Reed”. She ran her fingers across the dates as her eyes filled with tears.
She wiped the tears off her cheeks, and said out loud, “I miss you so much. I don’t know what to do without you here. I know we used to fight a lot but I would give anything to have you here annoying me today.” Looking around to see if there was anyone else there today, she noticed how at peace she was for the first time in a
Jackson is her eight
year old brother who passed away a few months ago. They all knew it was going to eventually happen but somewhere deep inside of Katie, she never thought it would happen when he was only eight years old and had his whole life ahead of him.
He had been 3 when they diagnosed him with a non-curable form of cancer that Katie couldn’t say
and honestly couldn’t remember. Though Jackson never seemed to let it faze him and always stayed positive all the way up to his last breath, Katie couldn’t help but feel so mad at him for leaving her. She knew that he was not the one to be mad at but she could not help it.
As she continued to sit there and talk to Jackson, she looked around often, not wanting anyone to really see her there. She has not told her parents that she was going there every day since Jackson died and she did not want them to start worrying about her.
“I am not sure why I am here right now; I was supposed to be going to the park. I really was not going to come here today. I hurt so much after I leave here usually, yet today I feel more at peace now that I am here. I may never understand why this happened or how you handled it so well being your age and all,” she said to Jackson wiping her face. “Mom and dad are not the same without you here. Things were so much happier when you were here, even when you were confined to the bed in the living room,” she continued.
Katie sat there on the ground putting her hand up to the headstone. She remembered when the living room was Jackson’s bedroom. They moved a hospital bed into the house and moved his toys and
his most important things out of his room to the living room. They wanted everything to be as normal as possible for him. She would lay in the bed with him reading one book after another, mainly about nature. He loved nature and could tell you information about almost any animal you asked about no matter how bizarre it may have seemed at the time. She could still remember having a football throwing competition and using the garbage can for the goal. Katie lost and could honestly say that it was not for the lack of trying. Jackson was good!
For someone who was sick he loved to have fun. Katie would only leave him long enough for her to go to school, and the last week she even skipped that.
She remembered the night that she couldn’t sleep so she went downstairs to the living room. She sat on the couch that was in the corner watching him as he slept. That was until he scared her heart out of her body when he sat straight up and said boo, with a huge smile. He always was pulling practical jokes on everyone in the house. After she gathered her heart back in and they both were stifling a laugh to keep from waking their parents, she went to sit on the bed with Jackson. She asked him, “Are you scared?”
Jackson looked at her and just smiled and said “no, I have seen where I wil
l be living and the fact that I will not be hurting or have these monitors hooked to me. I will get to run around and enjoy everything.” Jackson took her hand and lifted his other hand to wipe the tear that fell down her cheek. “Why are you crying?” he asked.
Katie was amazed at how calm Jackson was. It was unbelievable that someone so little could have
already came to terms with the fact that they were dying and yet she and her parents were struggling so much with the thought of losing him.
“I am scared of what it will be like without you here with me. You
will always be my kid brother and I can’t imagine not having you here with me. I remember the day mom and dad told me I was going to be a big sister. I told them I did not want to be, and then when you were born, I couldn’t wait for you to come home. In the first week I got in trouble because I tried to put one of my baby doll outfits on you. You should have seen the look on moms face when she came to get you out of your crib and you were missing clothes. I thought she was going to kill me.” They both began to giggle at the thought of what mom was thinking at that moment.
“You never told me that story before,” Jackson said laughing.
“Mom didn’t want me to give you any ideas if we had another baby in the house,” Katie replied with a slight giggle.
Jackson moved uncomfortably and Katie fluffed his pillow. He laid back and reached for the water that was always by his bed. He looked at Katie and told her that
” He was ready and that he knew that it was going to be by the end of the week that he was going to be with the friends that he had lost in the last few years”. He smiled at her as he felt her flinch, and said, “I won’t leave you if you are not ready for me to, but I am ready to not suffer anymore. I can stay but I am only going to get worse and I would rather you all did not see me get any weaker.”
Katie started to cry and hugged Jackson as close as she could get him without hurting him. “I know it is selfish of me to say that I am not ready for you to leave me yet, but I can’t tell you how much I will miss you. I know you shouldn’t be suffering so I will let you go. I love you so much Jackson and there will never be one single day that I don’t think of you. You make life worth it, and after seeing
how much strength you have had throughout this whole ordeal, never letting that beautiful smile leave your sweet face, you will forever be my inspiration in everything I do. I love you Jackson and I will never let go of you.”