Sunday, October 31, 2010
Ann stared down at the headstone. One night a year, Halloween night, she and the other unhappy spirits came out. It was their one night to visit, to haunt, or to make things right. If she could shed tears she would have. Instead she floated, a misty spirit, over the small grave. Ann tried to rub the dirt and mold off of the headstone, a useless task, her fingers went right through it.
The headstone had fallen over and cracked in half some time ago, but Juliana’s birth and death in 1858 seemed like yesterday, the pain had never subsided. Instead Ann knew she had allowed it to burrow and grow in her heart, thus she had never been able to move on. She had protected that bitterness, holding onto it, even 152 years later.
Ann remembered the difficult birth of baby Juliana, her small hands and feet, her milky brown eyes, and downy baby hair. Juliana had been her first and only child. She had only lived a few days before dying and Ann’s heart had been broken. She had given up living and some weeks later taken her own life, leaving behind her grieving husband, Ezekiel.
Before becoming a mother Ann had never known she would love her baby so much. She’d had no idea of the bond between mother and baby until she’d held little Juliana in her arms. There were so many things Ann regretted, but she now realized that she regretted taking her own life and never trying again, never having another baby. She also regretted leaving Ezekiel alone, as he had never remarried and known the happiness of a family. She had not felt this way until now. Why things had changed, now, this year, she did not know.
A light began to shine on the small, broken headstone. Ann looked up at it, marveling at its whiteness. She felt drawn to it; a desire to follow it up into the night sky. She could see a woman standing in the light, smiling at her. The recognition was instantaneous. It was Juliana---a grown-up Juliana---but her Juliana!
Juliana held her hands out to Ann and welcomed her home. It seemed Ann had made things right at last.
Corrina Terry ©2010
Picture credit: Willow @ http://magpietales.blogspot.com/2010/10/mag-38.html
Happy Halloween 2010!