Strand of Pearls

My Life

This set of hubs will reflect parts of my life.

Strand of Pearls I

The first installment of "Strand of Pearls" stories

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Not Play Time

"Mommy, when is daddy going to get up and play with me?" a tiny voice came from beside her, surprising the newly widowed mother. She hadn't noticed the little blonde toddler as she squeezed through the forest of legs to reach her mother. "How do you answer that?" Betty thought, fighting back tears. "How do I tell my little girl her daddy isn't sleeping and won't be able to play with her anymore?"

The older children were supposed to keep Darlene away from the front of the room where the casket lay. But in their own grief they were remiss and she managed to make her way there. All nine pairs of eyes were focused on their father. Betty stood numbly with one hand on her swollen belly reaching down with the other to comfort her daughter. Darlene had no idea that she had ripped the remainder of her mother's heart from her with those words. How could she? She was only a year and a half old. Close behind her were her siblings of varying ages, from 3 to 19 years old. She didn't understand their sadness and confusion. She only wanted her daddy to play with her like he always had.

The Procession

After the service the mourners made their way to their vehicles to follow in the procession. Many people stopped Betty for a hug or to offer some words of sympathy. Most of them had words of praise for her late husband: "What a good man he was, he will surely be missed." she heard often; "I never had a finer worker. He put his all into everything he did." was another comment made frequently due to the many jobs Henry had held down to support his large family. One man said,"I will never forget how kind he was to us when we moved here from Mexico. He treated us as if we were family. He was always there to lend a hand."

As she awkwardly entered the car she thought of how this child inside her would never know his or her father. She smiled as she recalled Henry saying this one was going to be named Mitchell, whether it was a boy or a girl. He had wanted to name a child Mitchell for quite a while but the last four were girls. He loved his girls with all his heart but they were beginning to outnumber the boys. He had said once or twice that he wanted to have his own football team. "He just may have a football team after all," Betty thought, "most of the girls are tomboys."

When the procession began Betty's brief reverie was interrupted as the blue-eyed toddler pointed to the hearse and shouted, "That's my daddy in there!" Betty wondered how she knew. She was certain Darlene had not seen them put her father in the hearse. She wondered how she was going to help her small children understand their loss. After all even she couldn't understand how God could want this man enough to leave these children without a father and her without her loving husband.

The Funeral

He had suffered heart attacks before and survived them but this one was much more severe. Betty had prayed the nine consecutive days of the Infant of Prague Novena and had felt successful in keeping him alive, after all he was still hanging on. Watching him suffer and struggle made her begin to feel selfish in that endeavor. "Who am I to keep him here suffering if God wants him?" she thought to herself. At that moment she knew she had to let him go.

Now they were standing on a green carpet near a deep hole in the ground staring at a coffin wrapped in an American flag. The priest began with some prayers, then, trying to console the mourners, he related a story: "Betty told me she once walked into the living room to find Henry sitting there with a bible on his head. She asked him what he was doing and he told her that he was wishing that everything in the book was in his head."

Father stood behind Henry's casket blessing him and preparing to release his body to the earth. After more prayers and more nice talk about the man his military brothers demonstrated their respect with a 21 gun salute. At each volley everyone jumped and many began to sob heavily. The bugler then played Taps, accompanied by weeping. Sniffles were still heard as the flag was folded and numbly received by his grieving widow.

© copyright 2010

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Comments 35 comments

Linda Fowler 6 years ago

Very nice Dar.

Dardia profile image

Dardia 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thank you, Linda!

Janea 6 years ago

aww :(

Tina 6 years ago

very good made me cry

Rhonda 6 years ago


Penni 6 years ago


Kim Taylor 6 years ago

Very touching Darlene. I remember this about you, and it has made you the beautiful person you are today.

Dardia profile image

Dardia 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks for all of the comments! But more importantly, thanks for reading. :)

DeAnna 6 years ago

nicely written. very descriptive and relateable. thanks for sharing your story!

Dardia profile image

Dardia 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks, Deanna! The writing of my story is kind of healing but releasing it for public viewing made me a bit nervous. I'm glad I did though.

Andrea 6 years ago

Yep Aunt Darlene, it made me cry. The first few sentences and I knew it was going to. Very nice. You should write a complete novel about growing up without grandpa... the troubles, trials and tribulations that grandma and all of you had to go through.

crock10 6 years ago

That was awesome definately brought tears to my eyes !!!

Henry IV (Freddy) 6 years ago

of course it's (Freddie) as Grandma always spelled it. Excellent job, I wish myself and Henry V (Trey) could have met the Man we were named after. I love to think to think how pleased he would be to have seen the name go so far.

Jen 6 years ago

If I could quit crying, I'd tell you that its awesome, and I loved it, and I want a hug...:)

Dardia profile image

Dardia 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Henry IV, I am sure he is watching you and Trey and very proud of both of you! I wish I could say I knew him. All I have is this loving yearning in my heart and the stories I was told.

Dardia profile image

Dardia 6 years ago from Michigan Author

I'm sorry for making so many of you cry, but I have always heard that tears are good for the soul. Look at me I think they are!!!!

katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Dardia, This is such a touching story and as a fellow writer I must add it is very well written. Often the most heartfelt deep stories such as this are the hardest to put to paper and yet you've done so brillantly. Great work and may your pen continue to flow freely. Thanks and Peace :)

Dardia profile image

Dardia 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thank you, Katiem2! I have written this so many times in my mind and on paper for therapy. Of course those attempts were not so well written. I was surprised that writing it again could still cause surges of grief. I must admit my hubby helped me tighten it up, he is a great editor.

Betty Reid profile image

Betty Reid 6 years ago from Texas

Very touching. If you are writing a book, this is a great start.

Dardia profile image

Dardia 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thank you, Betty! As you read in my story, Betty was my mother's name. :) I have been told for years that I should write a book about my family. This is a great way for me get it all together.

Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Such a sad and touching story.

Dardia profile image

Dardia 6 years ago from Michigan Author

It is sad but it is life. Thank you all for reading I just have a little editing to do on the next part and I should be able to publish it tomorrow.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago

Such a heartfelt and touching story. If this is the beginning of a series, do you plan to compile it all into a book? You write beautifully.

Dardia profile image

Dardia 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks, Joni! Yes, I am thinking of making it into a book. My problem is that there is so much to say that I may have to write a few books. With a large family like mine there was a lot of sadness, a lot of laughter, a lot of fighting, but most of all a lot of love. I wish my mother were still here to help me write this story but even in her last 10 years her memory had faded enough that she could only recall a small amount of things that she had already shared with us. My mother wanted to be a writer and she wrote very well, even in her letters. So, this is in her memory that I write our family story. I hope everyone who reads it enjoys it.

Missi Darnell profile image

Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California

Dardia beautifully written and inspiring. Your mom must have been an amazing woman. I can't imagine the grief of having a baby not long after losing my husband. You've done a wonderful tribute.

Dardia profile image

Dardia 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks, Missi I hope I can do my mother justice. She was a very amazing woman. She was such a loving woman, even to strangers. She welcomed all of our friends into the family, and many of them called her mom. A few told us that they wished she was their mother. It sounds like you will do well also! May God bless you and keep you safe--always! That was my mother's blessing she would make the sign of the cross on our foreheads an speak those loving words. It always made me feel safe and blessed throughout my life. +

netlexis profile image

netlexis 6 years ago from Southern California

Very, very touching, Dardia.

Dardia profile image

Dardia 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thank you, netlexis! Now I have to decide where to pick up for part III since I was so young I have to get information from my siblings.

Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

I am sorry I came and read this after you came to my hub about my mom's death. I am sure I would have commented so no doubt I forgot to post comment. She sounds like my mother, I am sure they just don't make them like that any more and I know your feelings of devout love. God bless you.


Dardia profile image

Dardia 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks, Polly!

She was a wonderful woman, as I am sure yours was too. I think we need to start making them like that again. It would be a much better world with more like them in it.

izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

One of the saddest funerals I went to was one of my friend's husband who left behind her and their 2 and 4 yr old. In the middle of the ceremony, the 2 yr old girl shouted- "I just want daddy to come home!" It's been like 12 years since this, but I still remember it. I've often wondered how you explain this to little ones. I am sorry for your loss many years ago, but I can tell it's added to the person you are now and you have so many stories to tell, others to help. Great job!

Dardia profile image

Dardia 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Hello, itzettl!

I wouldn't doubt it if I shouted that out also. I wasn't told I did but I may have.

I don't remember my father only things I was told. It is strange how you can truly miss someone you don't remember but I do miss him. I have always missed him. And even though I now miss my mother, they are together again and that makes me happy. Thanks for reading my hubs and the nice compliments. I so appreciate it. :)

izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

It doesn't sound too strange, I can understand missing someone you didn't think you knew, but you are half him and so in a way you do know him, through yourself though. He is a piece of you always missing. I've always had a soft spot for kids who lost parents early in life. I was diagnosed with a chronic illness when my daughter was 2 and of course I had thoughts of what if I wasn't there for my daughter. You write inspirationally and I must finish your stories.

Dardia profile image

Dardia 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thank you, izettl! I was concerned for my mother. I have always thought it had to be very difficult for her losing her husband especially with so many kids. It wasn't easy for us kids either but my poor mother.

Your daughter would be ok. She would grieve and a part of her will feel empty. But kids are resilient and will bounce back easier than the adult will. She would still always love you even as she missed you. Just enjoy every second with her that you can. She will always feel that love no matter when you leave her. I pray that you will have a lot of time with her and little pain. +may God bless you and yours and keep you all safe!

izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

My best friend lost her mom when she was 9 months old to breast cancer. She is a wonderful person too and I know my daughter would be too no matter what.

You had to learn to be a bit more adult before your time. Many children can afford the luxury of being selfish for a while, but you had this situation of seeing your mom go through this and wow, I couldn't imagine doing that- so difficult for her.

May God bless you too.

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