Lurline fell alone with the severity of this decision. Despite her husband’s absence in the hospital, they managed a life together and started building a home for the family they were born to. He maintained a farm and a church. Jeral had made a long trip to the hospital when it was time for his wife to deliver his child, but he was not allowed to stay, so he returned home.
As Lurlene was in bed, she worried about how Jeral would react if she took her family home and saved her child’s life. She painted her face, worried by the doctor’s words. He looked at his hands for her in frustration and denial, only to confirm that his wife was, in fact, absent from his body.
Lurline handled the present: her church, her husband and the life inside her. Then he said, as if all he could do was let go: a long marriage, fatherhood, their rightful future. Keeping a hand on her Bible, she glimpsed her wedding ring. He had not removed it since Geral had slide it over his finger years ago, but he decided to remove it now, which took a lot of effort, as his fingers were swollen.
Once it closed, he whispered looking at his Bible and wedding ring. In life they were his identity, but in death he would be a memory.
If she was about to die, Lurleen needed to know what happened in her last moments. As she approached my mother, holding her Bible and wedding ring, she blamed herself for such happiness, but she had no other choice. She didn’t want to cry, but seeing my mother holding me, Lurleen had tears in her eyes. She placed the ring and the Bible in my mother’s hands with the request that Jeral have received them if she did not survive it surgically.
These symbols of love and commitment felt like cement in my mother’s hands. He took a deep breath and nodded yes. Even if my mother had no idea of Lurline’s trouble, she knew how deeply she was appreciating her new friendship.