The following is the end of chapter one although it does not pick up where Wednesday’s post left off (it skips a few pages).
More Chapter 1
A few more people talked about Mom. They said she was funny and smart and talked about how much they loved her. No one talked about the cancer that kept her hooked up to machines in the bed in our living room Even the home nurse only mentioned her beautiful smile and how it lit up the room on even the darkest days.
After the closing prayer everyone began to leave the room. Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa stood in the double doorway, shaking hands and hugging guests as they left. I stayed behind to look for the lady in white. I ducked between the men and women as they talked about my mother, my family, and the good ole days.
“There goes Emily. That poor darling.” One woman whispered.
“Look at that red hair. She looks like Matt and has Janet’s spunk.” Another man stated.
Then I saw her. She was tall, slender, and her skin was clear and radiant. She was wearing a long white wedding dress, like the one in the portrait, and a crown of daisies atop her blonde curls. She beckoned me to come closer.
“Shhh, not too loud sweetie.” She whispered. “I don’t think anyone else can see me.”
“I thought you were in Heaven and then I saw you over there in that box, and now you’re here!”
“I wanted to see how you and Daddy were doing so I thought I’d hang around for a bit.”
“But you died.” I whispered.
“I know. It was a nice funeral.”
“Are you a ghost, like Casper?”
“I’m not really sure. I just want you to know that I’m still here for you. I want to spend time with you and do some of the things we didn’t get to do when I was so sick.”
“What do you want to do?”
“Do you want to play hide-and-seek?” Mom asked.
I smiled and nodded. I ran up the aisle and past the coffin that held the body that looked like my mother. I climbed up the stairs and hid behind the podium in a small space just my size. I waited there for Mom to find me. She surprised me and I giggled when Maw Maw walked right past her and picked me up.
“Emily, this is not the place for games. Look at what you’ve done.” Maw Maw pointed to the crowd of people staring at me. Many of them had taken their tissues out and were crying again.
“But Maw Maw, I was just playing hide-and-seek with Mommy!”
“Don’t be ridiculous. You need a nap.” She held me tightly against her. I smelled the fresh powder on her face and felt the brooch poking against my chest. I looked over her shoulder. Mom was following us up the aisle. She smiled and held a finger to her lip. I realized then that everyone in the room thought she was gone forever, and only I knew the truth.