“1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
The Holy Bible, NIV
1921 – He Needs A Wife
William Raven sat by his wife on the side of their bed. He mopped her forehead with a washcloth, attempting to cool her fever, then rushed to lift the enamel basin up to as she wretched into it yet again. Her colorless face was a nightmare he watched each day. The pain in her eyes made his heart ache, so he focused on her swollen fingers. This wasn’t his dear Marcella anymore. This ailing woman he and his son tended to was not the wife and mother they’d known and loved.
“William, you will have to find your own meals today, I cannot lift my head from the pillow…” Marcella trailed off and closed her eyes to the pain. She hadn’t made a meal in weeks, but she always felt the need to apologize for it.
“Don’t fret about things, Marcella,” he spoke softly to her. “Try to sleep. James and I can take care of ourselves.” Marcella grimaced. William was certain it wasn’t from pain, as much as from the disappointment of not being needed.
The doctor in Stone Creek didn’t have many suggestions. He was a very old man who continued to practice medicine only because the town needed him and not for the love of the work. He held onto his old methods and his only recommendations were warm baths. On occasion, William took her in to be bled to lower her blood pressure. This was the best the old Doc could come up with, and was the only medical knowledge the Ravens had.
William sat by her side as often as farm work allowed, held her hand, and promised to do everything she asked of him.
“Make sure you buy Rhode Island Red chickens come spring”.
“Yes, of course.” He held her hand tightly.
“Don’t plant the onions too close together.”
“I wouldn’t,” he stroked her cheek.
"Pray for James," her eyes closed and she sighed.
William nodded but couldn't find a voice to answer her with.
Her main concern was always about James. Her son was grown, but still her only child. In her weary and fevered mind, where past and present blurred, she never went more than an hour without mentioning the boy she thought still needed mothering.
“Make sure he finds a good woman. He needs a wife. We need grandchildren to carry on your good name…and laughter…this house needs more laughter…”
William wiped his quiet tears, scrubbing his stubbled face with his calloused hand and he gently leaned his aching head on her small shoulder.
All summer, the Raven family cemetery sat waiting up on the hill above the farm. A black, iron fence surrounded the handful of graves, the tall cottonwood tree standing guard at the top of the hill. That fall, William and James buried their beloved Marcella, shed their tears, then trudged back down to the empty home to contend with their loss. The house seemed very small with them so desperately avoiding each other’s eyes, for fear of seeing tears.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish