The Last Smile

Author's Notes: This is another story in the Faith's Anthology. It is stand alone and hopefully I will be able to write all the stories with her in them this way.

Glinda Shaw knew she was teetering on the edge of staying being on the material plane and going to the great beyond. Even with the help of the oxygen tube, each breath she took was laborious and took so much of the little energy she had left. She wanted to close her eyes just to take a little nap, only 5 minutes, but she knew better. If she closed her eyes they would not open again. She would have the time for the never-ending nap in 10 minutes

Sad little Nigel Shaw was next to his mom. Her little Hugbug did not know exactly what was going on, but knew it was not good. Grownups only whisper around him when he was naughty or something bad has happened or about to happen. Even if the grownups were not whispering around him, all the nurses and doctors coming in and out of the room told him something bad was happening to mom. Doctors and nurses were only around when people are sick and the more that are around the sicker the person was.

Glinda smiled as she looked at her son, her pride and joy, and mustered up the strength to say “Nigel I need you to do something for mommy.”

Before he could hear what it was Nigel said yes. He was going to do anything she asked for Glinda’s son wanted to make her happy. Even with his mom putting a happy face on Nigel knew it was not real. If he did what she wanted then maybe that synthetic smile would become real.

“Nigel, when your dad supports you and what you want to do say thank you for believing in me to him.”

“I will mommy.”

Glinda got all the strength she had for she knew this was the last time her son would see her. She did not wants his last memory of her to be her crying. Her face had the last smile her son ever gave her on as she said in her strongest voice she had in weeks. “I knew you would, now tell daddy I need to see him. I love you Nigel.”

Nigel was happy for he knew that smile was real. It cannot be that bad if his mom had a real smile on her face. Her little Hugbug gently hugged his mom’s tummy and ran to the door to get his daddy.

Her husband, Tom, saw the struggle Glinda was having with her eyelids and wished that she would just close her eyes forever. The lady who would always own his heart was in so much pain. The train ride which was her life was pulling into the final stop. He was there to help her take with her whatever she did not have to leave behind.

Glinda smile for she knew her man thought she was hanging on for him. To try to give him more time with her. Even with it just being in a cold sterile hospital room, there was no place Tom would rather be, than at his wife’s side.

Glinda knew it was only 5 more minutes, she was tired and a nap was still calling her. It would be so easy to take that nap and then wake up to do what she needed to do for herself. She knew that she had to stay up past her final bedtime for herself, not her husband. She knew one day he would know that and not beat himself up for thinking she hung on for him.

“Tom, it is almost time for you to go. I want to take a nap. But before so I can fall asleep quick I need to ask you to do something for me.”

“I am not going anywhere Glinda, I am staying while you take your nap. I will do anything for you other than leave your side right now.”

There was no power which could had made Tom where he was alive. He would had fought both the armies of Heaven and the hordes of Hell to stay for his wife’s last breath. He was not going to let her die alone, no one deserves that fate.

Glinda was not going to fight her husband right then. She wanted to spare him the pain of seeing her last breath, but knew he had to be there for his sake. He had to be there until the end of phase of their love. She knew that she would always be alive in his heart so they were just moving onto the next phase of their eternal love story. She smiled for his love and devotion to her was more than anyone had the right to ask, demand, or expect.

“I need you to tell me you will support our child in his decisions. You will be strong for him and let him be his own person. You will guide him and give him a great path to walk down, but he will be his own person. You need to support him and let him become who he should be.”

Tom looked down at his wife and his tears fell on her face like a gentle rain. Those tears along with his response of yes gave Glinda the absolution she needed to have the strength to close her eyes. Glinda knew her son would not have to endeavour people trying to make him a clone of them, like she had to with her mother.

Before she took the permanent nap, one last smile came across her face.”I know you will and I love you.”

As those words left her body, the beeps on the life support machine left also. The lines on its screen flatline. The nurses did rush to treat not Glinda, she had a do not resuscitate order. They rushed in to treat Tom, they wanted to help the living to carry on.

Tom broke down and cry for the first time in decades as the first nurse who came in held him up. Nigel heard his dad crying so he knew something was very wrong, grownup do not cry over spilled milk. Nigel started to cry as he came into his mom’s room. Then the dad saw his son and to this day he swore that Glinda gave him one last gift: of the strength to stand on his own so he could hold his son and wipe away both of their tears.

No matter how hard he tried Nigel could not stop crying. He knew he had to but wanted but saw it as he was letting his mommy down. “Daddy I am being strong, I am for mommy. I want to be.”

“I know you are Nigel.”

Nigel remember what his mom asked him to do and it felt right to say it now.“Thank you for believing in me dad.”

*********

Nigel did not understand why he was happy, he should not be. His mom went away and will not return. Yet, he was happy that his dad was tying his tie, instead just using a clip-on tie. Nigel insisted on getting a real tie, he knew his mom hated clip-on ties. The Hugbug did not want his mom to hate what he wore to say goodbye to her.

Nigel knew it was fine to feel that happiness when he saw the look of approval his dad gave him. As the now motherless child guilt from being happy faded away his dad said “Your were right Sport. You mom would had love seeing this tie on you.”

Something told Nigel this was a place his mom would want him to say “Thank you for believing in me dad.”

Thinking back on the last vow he gave his wife Tom said “Son I will always believe in and support you, you need not thank me.”

The boy who was going to become an grown up before his time said. “I do, mommy asked me to do so when you support me. I do not really know what that means, so when it feels like you are I will say so.”

Tom left out a laugh of joy for he still felt Glinda’s love after she was gone. His wonderful wife had made it so each time he was there for their son Tom would remember that last smile she gave him. Death was no obstacle to her to make sure she was still in their lives.

“If mommy asked you to do so then always do. Mommy made me make a promise that I will always support you. Your mommy still loves you and each time you thank me for believing in you, you are also thanking her for believing in you.

Now we need to get going, people are waiting for us.”

**************

Nigel’s father gave a small elegant eulogy before the preacher gave the formal emotionless one. Father Dowling’s words were true but were hollow. It was from he had no real connection to Glinda. His sense of loss was a splash of water compared to Tom and Nigel’s tsunami.

After he finished Nigel asked his father if he could say a poem he made for his mom to everyone. Tom said yes. As the Priest was going on with the funeral mass Tom walked up to the coffin with his son and told Father Dowling what was going on. Father Dowling smiled at Nigel, it touched him how much that boy loved his son and the priest announced what was going on.

Nigel recited the poem he has written in his soul:

My mommy went away and will not come back
My mommy love me that is a fact
My mommy was kind and made me smile
My mommy hug me when I was sad
My mommy held my hand and made me feel safe
My mommy was kind and made daddy smile
My mommy kissed my boo boos to make them better
My mommy would smile just looking at me that made me feel good
My mommy was kind and made everyone smile
When I grow up I want to be a mommy like my mommy.

Tom could not believe that he could had been prouder of his son. Tom sister, Dorothy curiosity perked up about her nephew, that young boy had no fear to show his emotions. Nigel was going to need a strong female role model to balance her brother and who better than herself, the caring lady thought.

At the repast, Rik Edmundson,one of Glinda’s cousins, came up to Nigel and Tom. “That was a nice poem you gave Nigel. but you cannot be a mommy. Only little girls can grow up to be mommies.”

“While I want to be a mommy.”

“No you do not, you want to be a daddy for you are a little boy.”

Nigel’s eyes started to form tears. He loved his dad but knew he wanted to be a mommy. Nigel also knew that he was better suited to be a mommy There was no reason why he should not be a mommy when he was a grownup.

Tom was not going to let any more pain befall his son today. Plus he was going to keep his word he gave his wife. He will support his son with whom he was or wanted to be, even if it was being a mommy. Also this cousin was being too literal, Tom surmised his son wanted the role of the mother and Tom thought that was great. His son had a huge kind heart that wanted to nurture others “Rik, if my son wants to be a mommy when he grows up then he will be a mommy.”

Rik knew that his logic was not welcome there and left the Shaw men to themselves. Those tears in Nigel’s eyes quickly dried up and he hugged his dad. The young boy was quickly learning what support truly was, being their for another as they reached for their true potential. Tom saw Glinda’s last smile as their son said “Thank you for believing in me dad.”



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