Chasing Sunshine

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30 - Endings Are New Beginnings

***

“Mama… you peety.” Little two-year old Sol told his mother as they sat on the daybed on the front porch, her favorite spot as they watched the sunset.

Their son touched his mother’s long silky hair and her cheek as the orange hues played on her olive skin.

“Th-thank y-you, my l-love. Y-you are v-very h-hand… handsome too.” She stammered and smiled. Her tongue may be too weak to speak in long and complete sentences at that point but her smile still shone as bright as the sun.

“A wavu, Mama.” Their little boy said and kissed her cheek.

“I l-love you m-more, l-little Sol.” Shine whispered and kissed his forehead before wrapping her frail arms around him.

James sniffled and sobbed softly behind the camera then whispered. “I love you both so much.”


***


Sol folded the letter and smiled as silent tears flowed from his eyes.

"I love you, Mama." He whispered to the wind as he sat on Shine’s favorite spot on their front porch facing the beach and the ocean that she loved.

With a sigh, he stood up, walked to his car and drove off to meet his father.


//


"My love... When I'm gone..." Shine started.

"Ssshhh... I don't want to talk about it." James reprimanded and kissed her hair.

They were sitting on a blanket on the sand along the beach one morning during her 5th month of pregnancy watching the sunrise with her back against his chest and his arms snugly wrapped around her.

"So when can I tell you my final wishes? When it's too late?" She said nonchalantly.

One year. That was the most the doctors are saying she could live after their son was born. The inevitable loomed around them every day and night but James still refused to believe them.

His Sunshine will live and they will have much more sunrises and sunsets to watch together in front of their little home for years. That was what James believed.

"Just tell me after our little baby is born, okay?" He said.

"But what if..."

"No! You will live. We will take care of our baby together. Take him out on walks. Teach him good manners. Teach him how to love. We will raise him to be a good man. We will do that together, my love." He told her as he held her tighter as if binding her to the hopes he had.

She sighed, in submission, and leaned her head on his shoulder. "Okay. If you don't want to talk about that, let's talk about other things."

"What other things?" He asked.

"How much you love me and how much you want to make love to me right now." She giggled.

"Tsk tsk... Mrs. Faulkner, don't say you didn't ask for it." He grinned and with quick and smooth movements, he picked his wife up in his arms and carried her to the house.


//


James smiled at that memory. She knew it was difficult for him to even think about not having her around so she didn't force that conversation. Instead, she left him a video. It was never posted on her video blog but it was in her drafts where he found it after she passed away.

Now, sitting on his desk while he waited for Sol, he clicked on that file again for the thousandth time.


***


She sat on her hospital bed, a few days after she gave birth, with little Sol in her arms.

James went out to get some supplies for her and the baby and she was left in the care of her older sister Nicole.

The camera came close to the bed and there was a hand that reached forward a couple of times to fix her hair, it was held in a ponytail and she had light powder, eyeliner and lip gloss on, probably from the prodding of her older sister Nicole.

The camera zoned back again and Shine smiled down at Sol before she looked at it directly.

"James, my darling, this will be quick. You might come back soon and catch me doing this. I don't want you to get upset again but there are really some things I want to say to you before… before I go. I'm afraid I may never get the chance to say them if I don't let them out now."

The camera shook and her sister’s sobs were heard in the background. A few sniffs and a mumbled "Sorry" after, she steadied the camera again as Shine smiled at her.

"My darling, you are the best thing that ever happened to me. You showed me how to love unconditionally and without fear. You taught me how to hope and have faith even in the impossible circumstances. You are the best and you deserve the best." Shine paused and took a deep breath before she continued.

"I know you've done a lot for me already but let me ask you for a few more, okay? First, is for our little Sol, if you may, please show him videos of the happy times. Those times when we danced in the rain, swam together, ran along the beach, laughed and giggled and chased each other's kisses. He will never get to be with me that way and I want him to know that his Mama would have run with him if she could and chased butterflies with him if she had the strength to. I may not be able to, so please tell him every day and every night how much I love him." She said as she stared at Sol's adorable sleeping face. She gently kissed his forehead and blinked her tears away.

She then faced the camera again. "Next is for you, I wish that you continue your dream of becoming a doctor. Taking care of me held you off from that goal so I asked Daddy to help you get into a scholarship program so you can start going to med school next semester. I knew you wouldn't just let him pay for it so you will have to work for it by studying hard and I know you will. You will make me proud." She smiled.

"Don't worry about me and Sol, Dean and Rina are moving in with us and they will take turns with you in watching over us." Shine chuckled and shook her head. "Those two... They argue about everything and bicker non-stop but when it comes to family, they make a great team."

"Lastly, my dear husband, do not imprison yourself in my memories. If you ever find love again, seize it. Don't feel bad about it because love is always beautiful. When you chance upon it again after I'm gone know that you have my blessing."

"Be happy, Love. You deserve nothing less. I love you with all of my heart and I will always love you even after I'm gone."


***


James stopped the video. He took off his eyeglasses and wiped his tears away before putting the spectacles back on and running his fingers through his gray-streaked hair.

He took Shine’s framed picture and spoke to her. "I'm sorry, my love, but I will have to fail your last request because there is no way I will ever find another love like ours. You are the one and only love of my life for eternity."

Moments later, he heard three knocks on the door before Sol appeared with a smile. Their 22-year old son, with his mother's eyes, also has her charm and spirit.

"Pa? Ready?"

"Yes, son. Let's go."


//


Father and son stood before their family and a small audience on top of the steps with Shine’s huge portrait on an easel beside them, a few standing flower arrangements and a big white and yellow ribbon behind them.

That day was the opening of Sunshine Hospital, dedicated to the memory of a woman who has inspired and shone her warmth and love on everyone she met.

Dr. James Faulkner and his Medical Technologist son, Solomon Faulkner, cut the ribbon to open the yellow and white building with sunflower gardens surrounding it to the public. Its construction started a few weeks after Shine passed away two years ago with her own father, Ted in charge.

Two years ago... A couple of days shy of her 43rd birthday, after living a life full of love and miracles, angels came down and the gates of heaven opened to receive the soul of Mrs. Sunshine Malden-Faulkner.

She died peacefully in her sleep in their home. No tubes and no lines, just as she requested. There was no grief from her family. There was only gratefulness because of the miracle they received. For when the doctors gave them one year left to share with her, God gave them twenty-two.


THE END

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