The Christmas Bracelet
John was life’s smile, but now he was gone…
Swept away as a bride from the South Carolina coast, Kathryn Sullivan creates a fairy-tale life with her husband in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her picture-perfect world is shattered, and life rendered meaningless, when John loses his battle against pancreatic cancer.
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My mother’s prized possession was a gold charm bracelet given to her as a wedding gift by my father. Every Christmas, my dad took my little brother and me to the local jeweler to select a new charm for our mother’s bracelet. We spent the entire morning at the jewelry store trying to select just the right charm. I will always remember her look of delight on Christmas morning when she opened our gift. The last charm we ever picked was a heart. I was only ten.
I hope that this gift is not too presumptuous. Is it too forward of me to say that you are gracefully dancing your way into my heart?
A sideways glance in his direction told her that he was intently watching her, and even though her reaction was carefully being scrutinized, Kathryn’s eyes filled with tears when she lifted the gift from its box. In her hands was a gorgeous silver charm bracelet with a single charm, a delicate silver heart.
Without saying a word, she kissed him on the lips, and regardless of what her mother might say, she didn’t feel the least bit silly.
* * *
KATHRYN’S ARTHRITIC HANDS ACHED AS she picked up her cup of coffee and took another sip. She returned the cup to its saucer. Wincing in pain, she rotated her wrist from side to side, sifting through the charms which John had given her. It took her two or three minutes to locate the silver heart, and by the time she found it, she was angry.
She fussed at John as if he was sitting directly across the table from her. “You didn’t flutter your way into my heart, John Sullivan. It was an incredible, heart throbbing stampede, and now I don’t know how to live without you.”
She put the Christmas card into its envelope, wiped a tear from the corner of her eye, and removed the next envelope from the stack. As she removed the card from its envelope, memories from their forty-seven years of marriage came rushing back.