Laughter and Love Continues by: Emily Poppel
Laughter and Love Continues
By: Emily Poppel
His smile glistened in the sunshine. The curly blonde hair bounced joyfully as he narrowly escaped his father’s clutches. The peals of laughter could be heard from within as the girls watched their little brother play the game which they remembered so well.
Dad was older now, evidenced by the silver wisps above each ear, but he still could tumble and toss in the lush green grass of the pre-noon sun and pursue his giggly victim. The little tornado darted across the narrow strip of lawn to tempt his father amidst the orchard of blossoming trees. As teenagers, my sister and I wondered if the game would continue, if we slipped outside to join our little brother in the teasing and terror of the early game of fox and goose. It had been a winter game as well, but so much more fun now with all the smells of early summer and in the warmth of the sun.
We paused on the steps. It hadn’t been that long ago, that the laughter was no longer heard. The peals of laughter were all but memories, subdued as chores had been taken over and the tedious responsibilities became theirs. For a time, Dad had someone come in to help with the baby as he couldn’t seem to bear the sight of us. It seemed to tear at him and I think he preferred to remain dead along with our mother. I remember his smile when she lounged on the couch beside him. He was content to sit and hold her hand while watching the new color television as we quietly played in another area of the living room. He was happy. We were all happy, especially now that a new member would soon join our special little group.
On weekends or late afternoon while mom prepared the meals, Dad would entice us out into the sunshine saying he had something to show us. We, of course realized it was just a way to give Mom some space. Many times the treasure which he’d found while tending the acres of fruit trees, was a trick to begin ‘the game’. He seemed to love the chase especially when we’d collapse in laughter and he’d shout, “Gotcha!” But when any one of us would trip and fall, his manner would change to deep concern and we’d get bundled up in his big strong arms as he transported us safely to the nurses’ station inside the house once again. Amidst the tears and pain, followed by laughter at the often inept bandaging of our great and mighty rescuer, we could see the twinkling in the eyes of the two grown-ups who loved life and loved their little family.
Going back to the memories had been something we’d all do time and time again. For while the pain-scarred hearts of three would struggle to keep things going in a daily routine, the little fellow kept everyone on their toes. The blonde, curly-haired, blue-eyed treasure had a way of reminding each one of us that he needed care and plenty of love. As he grew from a tiny, squalling bundle into a whirlwind of activity, it wasn’t hard to shower him with love and care. One look into his face took you quickly back in time, to another face not five years ago.
She was beautiful. Her face filled with joy and her blue eyes twinkled with pride as she took from your hand, the tentatively-held report card. Her blonde hair bounced as she picked you up and twirled you around the room. The never-ending flow of love bubbled through the laughter and giggles which willingly came from within. She was a gem of a woman, a faithful wife, and a wonderful mother so full of life. One who’d left this world in a moment of pain, while producing a replica of herself. Indeed, a little boy who, as yet, knew not the heartache of death.
Could we continue on despite the painful memories and realization that she would neither see him on his first day of school nor proudfully watch any one of us graduate? The opportunity to cry at our weddings or hold her first grandchild and shine her love further down the line was an experience gone forever. Yes, we can go on because she has left us treasures in the surroundings of this place, in the tender care of our father when the tears well up in our eyes. Her laughter is heard in the wind, which blows amidst the leaves of the trees; her tenderness, in the soft tickle of new grass between our toes. Her very presence lives on within each one of us as we love and care and support one another just as she did. Her example lives on as we embrace the reality, but continue to hold dear the memories which come alive from the face of the legacy she left behind.
About Emily Poppel
Emily Poppel, born and raised in Manitoba, she is a wife, mother, and grandmother recently moved to Alberta. A Canadian writer of articles, poetry, and short stories published in rural and larger newspapers, as well as in the anthology, Prairie Writers – Volume 3, Emily is inspired from life’s turn of events seeking lessons to share with the literary world. Life and Laughter Continues came amidst the aftermath of 911. To contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
See the rest of the Pregnancy and Children Short Stories