Authors: Wanda E. Brunstetter
© 2016 by Wanda E. Brunstetter and Jean Brunstetter
Print ISBN 978-1-63409-207-4
Adobe Digital Edition (.epub) 978-1-63409-855-7
Kindle and MobiPocket Edition (.prc) 978-1-63409-858-8
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes, except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without written permission of the publisher.
All scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual people, organizations, and/or events is purely coincidental.
Cover design: Müllerhaus Publishing Arts Inc.,
Cover model photography: Richard Brunstetter III; RBIII Studios
Published by Shiloh Run Press, an imprint of Barbour Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 719, Uhrichsville, Ohio 44683,
Our mission is to publish and distribute inspirational products offering exceptional value and biblical encouragement to the masses.
Printed in the United States of America.
lsie stood trembling at the foot of her sister’s hospital bed, listening to the doctor give Doris and her husband distressing news. In addition to a broken leg, plus a nasty bump on the head, the fall Doris took down the stairs earlier this evening had caused her to miscarry. It wasn’t fair. The broken leg would heal, but Doris and Brian had waited a long time for her to become pregnant. The joy they’d felt over the pregnancy, which Doris had seen as a miracle, disappeared before their eyes, like a glass of ice melting on a hot summer day.
Elsie glanced at Arlene, standing beside her with tears trickling down her cheeks. She, too, felt their sister’s pain.
When Doris had been taken by ambulance to Union Hospital, Brian rode along. Elsie and Arlene had hired a driver to take them, leaving their husbands at home with the children. Right now, and for many days ahead, Doris would need her family’s help and support.
It hurt Elsie to hear her sister’s anguished cries after the doctor left the room. Brian took the news hard as well, yet seemed unable to offer Doris the comfort she needed. Even if sometime in the future Doris got pregnant again, she might never get over her loss.
Elsie and Arlene moved to the other side of the bed, across from Brian. Elsie reached out to clasp her sister’s cold hand. “I’m so sorry.…” The words nearly stuck in her throat as she swallowed around the lump that seemed to be lodged there.
“I’m sorry, too.” Arlene placed her hand on Doris’s trembling shoulder. “Elsie and I will do everything we can to help you get through this.”
Doris just closed her eyes and continued to weep.
Brian looked up at Elsie with a distant stare. “Would you mind leaving us alone for a while?”
Elsie slowly nodded. Her body felt heavy as she let go of Doris’s hand. As much as she wanted to remain at her sister’s bedside, she understood Brian’s request to be alone with his wife. This tragedy was something the two of them needed to deal with together. At least for the time being. Hopefully Doris would eventually be more receptive to their sympathy.
“We’ll be in the waiting room if you need us.” Arlene turned toward the door, and Elsie followed. They took seats in the waiting room down the hall.
Dabbing at her tears, Arlene turned to Elsie with puffy eyes. “What if Doris never recovers emotionally from this? What if she’s unable to conceive again?”
“We must pray for her and try to think positive. If it’s meant for Doris and Brian to have a
then it will happen in God’s time.”
“You’re right. Larry and I never expected to be blessed with another child after Scott was born. The doctor said due to the damage done to my uterus, it wasn’t likely I’d get pregnant again.” Arlene smiled, despite her tears. “Then eight years later, along came baby Samuel.”
Elsie nodded as she reached for her sister’s hand. “You’ve been blessed all right.”
“Doris is going to need our help when she leaves the hospital in a few days. That means we’ll have to put looking for Dad’s will on hold for a while.”
“It’s not a priority right now.” Elsie was sure their brother wouldn’t be happy about the delay, but it couldn’t be helped. Their sister’s needs came first. She would give Joel a call later on and tell him what happened.
Joel had been sneezing and blowing his nose so much it felt raw. He hated being sick—especially while spending Thanksgiving alone with a less-than-exciting frozen dinner. With only the company of his television set during the holiday, he’d given in to self-pity. Kristi was probably at her folks’, eating a moist turkey dinner with all the trimmings, while he sat at home on the couch with a box of tissues and a bottle of cough syrup that was six months past its sell-by date. Joel didn’t care how old the stuff was; he needed something to relieve his nagging cough.
Pulling himself off the couch, he ambled out to the kitchen to replenish his glass of water. He remembered how his mother used to stress the importance of staying hydrated when a person had a cold or the flu. Joel felt like he had both, because, in addition to coughing and sneezing, his body had begun to ache. “I probably have a fever, too,” he mumbled, going to the sink and filling his glass with cold water. He would have taken his temperature, but he’d misplaced the thermometer.
Joel set the glass on the counter and pulled a tissue from his pocket as he felt another sneeze coming on.
Ah-choo! Ah-choo! Ah-choo!
As the final sneeze hit, a muscle in Joel’s back spasmed, and he fell to his knees from the pain.
Oh, great! How much worse can it get?
He gritted his teeth, pulled himself up, and tried to straighten, but the pain was too intense. Walking bent over while holding his back, he shuffled across the room to the refrigerator. He grabbed an ice pack from the freezer compartment and wrapped it in a dishtowel. Since the living room was closer than Joel’s bedroom, he headed in that direction, grimacing as he inched his way along. When he reached the couch, he somehow managed to lie down and stuff the ice pack behind his back. This was one time Joel was glad he didn’t have any work lined up for a few days. It would give him time to recover from the pain surging up and down his back. But it would be a long weekend, being alone and feeling so miserable.
Joel wished he could lie back on the sofa and relax while someone tended to his every need—making sure he was fed and being there to keep him company. He would have had the help he needed if he hadn’t lost the special woman in his life.
Pouting, Joel glanced at his cell phone lying on the coffee table. He thought about calling his friend Tom, but Tom had gone out of town to spend Thanksgiving with his family and wouldn’t be back until Sunday evening.
Maybe I should call Kristi. If she knows I’m not feeling well, and that my back’s acting up, she might feel sorry for me and come over. It would give me the chance to tell her once again that I’m sorry for messing things up.
Another jolt of pain shot through Joel’s back as he reached for the phone. It would be worth the agony if Kristi responded to his call. In desperation, he punched in her number and held his breath. Several rings later, her voice mail picked up. “Kristi, it’s Joel,” he said, groaning. “I have a bad cold, and during a sneezing attack, my back went out. I’m really miserable and barely able to function. Would you please come over to my place and put your nursing skills to work so I’ll feel better?” He paused, searching for the right words. “Please call me or drop by. I really need you, Kristi.”
When Joel hung up, he kept the cell phone by his side so he wouldn’t have to reach for it if she called.
“Was that your cell phone I heard buzzing?” Kristi’s dad asked as they sat at the dining-room table eating pumpkin pie and drinking hot chocolate.
“It may have been.” She scooped a dollop of Mom’s homemade whipped cream off her pie and dropped it into her cup. “I turned the ringer off before I put the phone in my purse so I wouldn’t be bothered with any calls while I’m here.” Truthfully, Kristi half expected Joel to call, and he was the last person she wanted to talk to today. Even though he hadn’t called her for several days, she had a hunch, with this being a holiday they’d previously spent together, he might get nostalgic and decide to call.
“Why don’t we play a card game after we finish our dessert?” Kristi’s mother suggested. “All the food we ate today has made me sleepy, and a rousing game is what I need to keep awake.”
Dad yawned and leaned back in his chair. “I’m with you, Jo Ann. There’s something about eating turkey. Even if I don’t stuff myself, it causes me to feel like I need a nap.”
“It’s the tryptophan,” Kristi said. “Tryptophan is an amino acid found in turkey, and it’s known for making people sleepy.”