Our Echo
Title, story type, location, year, person or writer
Add a Post
View Posts
Popular Posts
Hall of Fame

The Beginning of the End - The End

Story ID:2246
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Family History
Writers Conference:$500 2007 Family Memories Writing Project
Location:Fort Lee New Jersey USA
Person:My First Wife Georgia
View Comments (2)   |   Add a Comment Add a Comment   |   Print Print   |     |   Visitors
The Beginning of The End - The End

Vanessa and I watched the heart monitor. The line went flat

and suddenly started up again. Her pulse went from zero to sixty,

faltered and went flat again.

The nurse entered the room. "She's gone. I saw her heart

rate spike near the end. I think she heard you talking to her

and wanted to say goodbye."

We left the room.

I was in shock, as I walked ahead of Vanessa. The machines,

the nurses, and the doctors were fuzzy images floating around me.

I reached the nurses station and realized Vanessa wasn't

beside me. In a haze, I'd left her behind. Behind me, I saw

Vanessa being held by one of the nurses, who taken care of

Georgia until the end.

The Nurse stroked her back. "Vanessa, it's OK. Here's

your dad." She handed Vanessa to me. Vanessa and I held each

other and cried.

Vanessa and I sat on the sofa. We were stunned. "Now what,

Dad?" she asked.

I had no answer.

Memories surrounded us. The sofa where Georgia spent her

remaining days still had the extra cushions I'd used to make

it higher, so I could get her to her feet. A shelf on the TV

stand held our wedding picture and a snow globe with all the

major buildings in New York City. If you wound it up, it

played the classic "New York, New York."

Justin came home from school. He'd refused to join us

at Georgia's side. He wanted to go to school. He didn't want

to be there.

"Well? he asked?

I looked at him. My red eyes were his answer. "Mom's gone."

He went to his room without a word.

Vanessa found comfort with her computer. I left her alone

and went to our bedroom - my bedroom now. I opened the closet.

Georgia's clothes hung in a long row. She never had the chance

to use them since moving to New Jersey. She spent her last

month in hospital or night gowns. "What am I going to do with

these?" I asked myself.

In the afternoon, I called Frank Patti. "Frank, this is Mike

Smith. I spoke to you last week about my wife. Frank, I need to

talk to you. Georgia passed away this morning. I need your help.

When can I see you."

"Mike, I remember our talk. I didn't know it was going to be

so soon. I give you my condolences. You can come now if you like."

An hour later, I sat in Frank's office. "Mike, I'm sorry.

I know this is hard for you.We have many options. Do you need a lot?"

"No, she wanted to be cremated.."

"We'll take care of that for you. What about a service?"

"Frank, neither of us have family here. My family is back in

Nova Scotia - that's in Canada."

He nodded.

"Frank, I don't know. I want her to have a service, but

she didn't now anyone here. The only people I know here are my

work friends. I guess a few will come."

"We have a small chapel here…unless you want to use a church."

"We don't have a church here yet. I think your chapel will

be fine. I figure twenty to thirty people will show up."

"You'll need an urn," he said.

He helped me pick one.

"Mike, when do you want to hold the service?"

"I don't know." I was still in shock.

"She'll be cremated." he said. "There's no rush. You can

hold it whenever you feel comfortable."

"I think it needs to be on the weekend. The only

people I know are work friends. How about next weekend? That

way, they can be here. I don't expect many, but it's the

best time for them to come. Otherwise, no one will be there."

"I understand," he said. "Let's make it 2 PM on Saturday."

"Sounds good. Frank, I am so alone here in New Jersey.

Thank you for your understanding."

"Mike, what about music?" Frank asked me.

"Frank, there is a song I always wanted it be played at

my own funeral. Georgia never expressed what she wanted. I

think this may fit. It's called, 'I Walk With God' by

Mario Lanza. The song always touches my heart. Mario sings it

with such passion. I have the CD. Would that be OK?"

"What ever you want, This is her day."

A week later, I walked in to the funeral home with

Vanessa and Justin. The chapel was full of flowers. They

came from various groups in my company and even from my

last company back in Ohio.

I stood in shock. How could so many care about

someone they didn't know.

"Mike?" Frank touched my shoulder. "You need to talk

to the Chaplain. He wants to ask you a few things."

In a daze, I allowed Frank to lead me away.

I sat in a small office with the Chaplain. "Mr. Smith,

I'm sorry for your loss." He said it with compassion,

unlike so many others, who had had no idea how strong the pain

was."Tell me about Georgia."

I told him about Georgia immigrating to Canada from

Hungary during the Hungarian revolution. We spoke about our

many moves, her parents passing on, her sister's murder and

Georgia being alone.

"Mike, do you want to speak? You don't have to."

"I need to." I said. "No one here has met her. She came

here a month ago. She was very sick. I need to tell our story."

The room filled with my work friends.

The Chaplain spoke.

I heard little through my tears and the constant ringing

in my ears.

He called me up. I stood in front of Georgia's wedding

picture and looked out on those who came. "None of you knew

Georgia." I began. "She came from a distant country and

eventually we met…"

I talked for a long time.

"And now, it is time for me to say goodbye…" At that

point I lost my composure. "I'm sorry, I can't go on."

I walked to my front seat, tears streaming down my

cheeks. I saw my son. He was crying for the first time.

I sat between him and Vanessa, held them close - the last

hymn played.

My co-workers filed by. One-by-one they shook my hand

or hugged me. Tears flowed freely. My good friend Bob came

by. He took my hand and then put his arms around me. "Mike,

I'm so sorry."

My tears flowed.

Bob's daughter Abby was next. She was four-years-old.

She reached her little arms around my neck. Her soft

lips touched my cheek.

She started to walk away but turned back. Her arms

wrapped around my neck Once more. Her pink lips pressed to

my cheek again. This time she blew, making the loudest noise

possible. Everyone began to laugh - including me. She knew everyone

was sad. She made it right.

Many of us returned to my house. My workmates brought

food and drink. We sat, talked, and did our best to make

the best of the day.

One-by-one, they drifted away, leaving Vanessa, Justin

and I on our own.

I thought back to the day I said to Frank, "I think it

needs to be on the weekend. The only people I know are work

friends. How about next weekend. That way, they can be here.

I don't expect many, but it is the best time for them to come.

Otherwise, no one will be there."

The date I picked was October 18th - my birthday. I didn't

look at the calendar when I picked the day. I was thinking

only of a day when people could attend.

Michael T. Smith

Thank you for reading this series. It has been healing to write.

I wanted to post this today, because of the date.

Ginny, the wonderful woman she is, always tries to make

this date special for me. We were busy on the weekend. I wanted

to write this story then but didn't have the time. We planned

for me to come home tonight, write and post this story, but because

of traffic, it took me more than two hours to get home.

Thankfully, Ginny knew I had to get this out, and gave

me the last few hours to write it to you. She too knows the pain of


Michael T. Smith

PS I mentioned I had a song played for Georgia's service. You can listen to it here:
This song always makes me cry