Author Topic: New Story- 'Time to say goodbye.'  (Read 651 times)

Offline norfolkdumpling

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New Story- 'Time to say goodbye.'
« on: August 21, 2023, 11:04:30 PM »
This is the hardest story I will ever write! I have lots more unfinished but this one is for closure.

It was Steve Ross's birthday and he felt every one of his 70 years. Dora turned over and gave him a loving kiss. 'Happy birthday, darling.'
'Thanks. I hope you haven't got anything planned for today because I really don't feel up to it.'
'I haven't and I don't think the family have, shall I ask Carl to call?' (Their son in law, Carl Perkins was now a GP in the practice where Ron's wife Terri once worked. He and Pru lived in Whistledown.)
'No. I'll be fine once I've had breakfast. Steve had had type 2 diabetes for 8 years and when he had done his first test of the day he frowned. 'What's wrong?' asked Dora.
'Reading's a bit higher than normal.'
'Perhaps I had better call Carl.'
'Don't fuss. It's probably just a blip. Steve hoped that the time had not come when he would have to move on from oral medication to insulin injections which he had been warned was likely to happen some time. He took his tablets and reminded Dora to take hers for high blood pressure which he also took. Dora was becoming rather forgetful and he was a bit worried about her. The door opened and their grandson Artie and his wife Jemma who lived next door in the annexe came in.
'Hi Gramps, happy birthday.' they chorused handing over a card. Steve had specified no presents as he had all he needed.
'How are you feeling?' asked Jemma.
'As well as can be expected in the circumstances.' said Steve. 'More to the point how are you?'
Jemma was 6 months pregnant and had not had an easy time in the early months.'
'Much better now, thanks. Have you two got any plans for today?'
'Nothing special, why?' asked Steve.
'I would like to do some more work on the painting.'
Jemma was an accomplished artist and had already painted portraits of Colonel Maddox and Slugger using photographs. This was her first attempt at using live models and was of Steve and Dora together. She was going to paint all the family and the finished works would adorn the walls of 'Colonel G's.
'Well I don't mind for a little while but I get a bit bored if I sit still for too long. I could do with having a walk.' said Steve.
'No way, it's absolutely freezing out there. You'd catch your death of cold and nans can't go either with her tendency to bronchitis.' Artie said.
'I thought you could tell me more about the charms on your bracelet while I work, nans.' said Jemma.
'Good idea, and Steve can help.' said Dora. 'It's in the jewellery box on my dressing table, if you fetch it I'll be able to remember more easily.' said Dora.
'I'll just go and fetch my painting things first.

 
norfolk dumpling aka loopylin

Offline norfolkdumpling

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Re: New Story- 'Time to say goodbye.'
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2023, 07:59:16 PM »
'I'll be off to work' said Artie. Shall I make you a drink before I go?'
'Coffee would be nice.' said Steve.
Their daughter in law, Jenny, arrived then. 'You get off Artie love, I'll see to the drinks.' she said handing Steve a card. 'I've made you a sugar free cake to go with it since you don't want any presents.' she said. 'Carrie will be here after school. She's made you a card.'
Steve smiled. Jeff and Jenny's youngest child was the apple of his eye. 'I'm being spoilt' he said putting the two latest cards on the sideboard beside Dora's. Jemma had painted the front of their card herself, it was a horse's head and look very lifelike.
'There's some post here.' said Jemma handing Steve some envelopes that obviously contained cards. There was one from Ron, Terri and their daughter, Rikki, one from Hazel and Ben, one from Callie and Dave and one from Artie's sister, Stephanie and her husband Brian.'I think Ronnie's coming over tonight' said Jenny. She gave Steve and Dora coffee, had tea herself and gave Jemma, who was off hot drinks, an orange juice, She then went and fetched the fruit cake which had one lighted candle on it. 'No singing, please!' begged Steve as reluctantly he blew out the candle. Jenny handed round slices of cake which everyone pronounced delicious. Jemma collected the bracelet and handed it to Dora, then set up her easel and began to work. After finishing her drink Jenny went into the kitchen to wash up and start lunch preparations. Dora began to finger the charms. You already know about how Steve came to buy the bracelet and the spinning 'I love you charm'. The next one was the horseshoe. It was our first weekend away together to celebrate Valentine's day and I was a bit disappointed when I opened the box because I hoped Steve was going to propose but he didn't. After that weekend I found out for certain that I was pregnant with Jeff. Steve proposed to me when uncle was in a coma in hospital and we hoped he heard but later after he'd died Steve did it again under the lightning tree and presented me with the champagne in a bucket charm. I was already wearing my engagement ring.
'Oh Gramps, how romantic!' said Jemma but Steve had fallen asleep. The Liverpool crest was bought when we went to pick up Cathy for the wedding and Steve secretly bought the church charm then too. She opened it to reveal the bride and groom. The house was bought when we moved into Copper's rest, The cradle with the baby inside is one of my favourites and was bought to celebrate Jeff's birth. Like several of the others Steve had it specially made at a jewellers in Leeds. The cross was to commemorate uncle's death and the tree Slugger's. Not many people knew that I lost a baby girl in between Jeff and Pru and the holly wreath was bought the following Christmas.
Dora yawned. 'I think that's enough for today Jemma love, I'm a bit tired.' Jemma put the bracelet back, gave Dora a kiss then packed up her painting things and went home. Dora had promised to leave Jemma the bracelet in her will because Jenny had one of her own and neither Pru nor Stephanie wanted it. In the afternoon Pru visited with her card and thought that Steve didn't seem himself. She decided to ask Carl to call after evening surgery. It had been a busy one and Carl wanted nothing better than a bath, a hot meal and bed but Pru never bothered him unnecessarily so he called in to wish Steve a happy birthday at once sharing his wife's concern.
'You feeling a bit off, pops?' he said.
'I'll be okay, just tired.'
'His sugar's up.' said Dora and Steve gave her a dirty look.
norfolk dumpling aka loopylin

Offline norfolkdumpling

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Re: New Story- 'Time to say goodbye.'
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2023, 12:27:10 PM »
Carl did his own test and said. 'I'll test you myself for the next few days but I think the time has come when we need to start you on insulin.'
'I don't want to have to do injections!'
'The family can all learn and take turns'
'Huh, over my dead body' said Steve.
'It could well be if you don't take my advice.' said Carl. 'Your kidneys could fail for a start.'
'Okay, I get the picture. I'm going to bed.'
'Goodnight then, Pops, nans.' said Carl. Later at home he told Pru 'I think you're right to be worried about Steve. I'll make sure I call in every day for the next few days and test him myself.'
'He won't like that!'
'Better safe than sorry. '
The readings did not improve so a week after his birthday Carl approached Steve with a syringe with Jenny looking on to see what it involved.
'No!' said Steve. 'I don't want it. I'll stay on my meds and take a walk every day.'
'Dad, it's freezing. You can't go out for a walk in this.'
'I'll wrap up warm and someone can come with me.'
'Steve, please listen to Carl. I don't want to lose you.' pleaded Dora.
'Get me an exercise bike Jenny. I can do that indoors.'
'You are not physically strong enough to do enough physical exercise to make a difference' said Carl. 'These injections go in your tummy easily. You'll hardly feel them.'
'I'm not bothered  about the pain I just don't want to go down the road you're talking about.'
All the family including Steve's favourite granddaughter Carrie tried but he was adamant that he didn't want injections. He persuaded Jeff to bring a metal chest out of storage and spent time stepping on and off it which ended up with him losing his balance and falling. Fortunately he didn't break anything but a badly sprained ankle put a stop to the exercise. Everyone tried again to persuade him even getting Ron Stryker to add his voice but Steve was adamant. Dora begged Carl to do something but he said 'I can't force him, nan.'
When it was obvious that Steve's health was deteriorating Dora pleaded with him every day sobbing her heart out.
'Don't turn on the waterworks, girl. It's not going to work. I've had enough!'
'But Steve-'
'No!'
'Sorry Steve, but I need to get you into hospital' said Carl as November gave way to December and the Christmas cards started arriving.
'I'm going nowhere. They'll only try and give me treatment I don't want and if I go into a coma I forbid you to move me or give me treatment I've already refused!'
Carl looked across at Dora who was wringing her hands and crying.
'Can't you see you're making nan's ill too. That's very selfish of you and you've never been a selfish man. Come on, be sensible it's not too late.'
'You promised you wouldn't leave me again' sobbed Dora.
'Till death us do part, that's what I promised.' said Steve. 'You have plenty of people to take care of you when I'm gone' he said.
Dora did not believe that her lovely Steve could turn so quickly into someone who would not listen and was curt with everyone.'
'It's probably the disease that's causing him to be like this, nans. I'm sorry I can't do any more.'
Steve could no longer get up unaided and one of the family would get him up in the mornings and put him to bed at night. It got so he wouldn't allow them to dress him so he sat in his pyjamas and dressing gown. He barely ate or spoke and Dora knew he was slipping away from her.

norfolk dumpling aka loopylin

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Re: New Story- 'Time to say goodbye.'
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2023, 10:20:33 PM »
Carl told Dora that he thought it best if Steve was moved to hospital as by now he was hardly aware of what was happening. 'We won't disturb him tonight but I'll arrange it first thing in the morning'
'But he said he didn't want treatment.'
'It's too late to do anything but in hospital he will get continuous care until the end.'
It was around 3am when Dora woke from a fitful sleep. for the first time in ages Steve was fully awake and said he felt cold.
Dora fetched another blanket and took him in her arms.
'I'm sorry for how I've been lately, love and I'm sorry I have to leave you but I know my time has come.'
'No, Steve. Carl is going to get you into hospital.'
'It's not happening. I won't be here in the morning so it's goodbye for a little while. I'll come back for you when your time comes and we'll be together forever. Kiss me one last time and hold me. Dora did as he asked and after a few minutes he gave a long sigh and closed his eyes for the last time. The family had been taking turns to sleep in another room and tonight was Jeff's turn. Dora gave a high pitched scream. both bedroom doors were open and minutes later Jeff appeared.
'He's gone, Steve's gone' sobbed Dora. Jeff looked at Steve whose expression was tranquil in death. He helped Dora to an easy chair and tucked blankets around her then he phoned Jenny and Carl. Jenny arrived within minutes and made Dora a strong cup of tea then she went and made up a bed in the small bedroom that had once been Pru's.
'I should have made him do what Carl wanted.' said Dora.
'No-one could make him do what he didn't want to. We all tried mum, you know that.' said Jeff. 'He knew the consequences.'
'What am I going to do without him?' sobbed Dora.
'You still have all of us.' said Jenny.
'I don't want to be here.'
'Don't say that. Jemma's baby will be born soon and you want to be here for that.'
Pru and Carl arrived minutes later. Carl went over and did a quick examination of Steve then went over to Dora.
'Do you mind if we leave Steve here till morning? I don't want to call the undertakers at this time.' Dora nodded.
'I'll give you a sedative then you should go to bed in the other room.'
'I want to stay with Steve.'
'That's not a good idea. He's very cold already and you need to keep warm because you've had a shock.
'Come on mum, let's get you settled. Jeff will stay here but I need to get back to Carrie.' Carl handed over a couple of tablets and Pru got a glass of water and watched her take them. She and Jenny then went in to the bedroom and settled Dora in bed. Jenny went home not glancing over at Steve. Pru stayed until Dora went to sleep then went to find Carl.
'Can you help me to wash him love?' asked Carl but she shook her head.
'I'll help you' said Jeff.  When they'd finished they dressed him in clean pyjamas and combed his hair into his normal style.
'Are you okay if we go now Jeff, I have surgery in the morning.'
'Yes I'll be fine.'
'I'll sort out a death certificate and phone the undertaker first thing.'
Jeff didn't feel he could go to bed so he got dressed and sat in the chair beside the bed.'
'Well dad, at least you got to die in your own bed.'
norfolk dumpling aka loopylin

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Re: New Story- 'Time to say goodbye.'
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2023, 05:06:26 PM »
The next day Dora woke at around 7am and felt instantly bereft. When Jeff looked in on her she was crying softly and he went and put his arms round her. 'Oh mum, I'm so sorry. I hoped you would have a few more years together .'
'I always thought I'd go first because of all the bouts of bronchitis I've had over the years.'
'I'll go and make you a nice cup of tea  and how about some toast as well.'
'I'm not hungry.'
'You need to keep your strength up. Jenny will be here once Carrie has gone to school. I think you should stay in bed till the undertakers have been.'
'No, I'll get up after I've had my tea then I want to sit with Steve.'
So Jenny found her sitting by the bed holding Steve's cold hand. Jeff had gone to tell Artie and Jemma the sad news. Jenny had not yet told Carrie as she had an important exam that morning. It had been hard trying to act normally but she had managed it. She tried once more to get Dora to have some breakfast but to no avail. When the undertakers men arrived she gave him one last kiss the tears streaming down her face then watched as they took him away. Jeff and Jenny would take care of the funeral arrangements and Steve would be buried next to Slugger as he had asked an a double plot had been purchased years before. Artie's older  sister, Stephanie Ross had not followed the family in working at Follyfoot but was a flight attendant married to an airline pilot. They had no family and lived in London. She was naturally upset when she heard about her grandfather's death even more so when the funeral had been arranged and she realised she and her husband would be away on duty which they could not get out of. the day of the funeral it snowed heavily. The family did not want Dora to go but she was adamant and 2 days later insisted that she be taken to choose a tree to be planted in the grove of memories. She chose a plum tree and told Jeff that when her time came she wanted a cherry tree. It was several days before the tree could be planted s the ground was so hard. the next morning when Dora woke up it was to see Steve looking 50 years younger sitting on the chair beside the bed. she had insisted that she wanted to sleep in their bed after Steve had been taken away and Jenny and Pru had stripped and remade it. Thinking she was dreaming she rubbed her eyes and blinked but he was still there.
'S-Steve?'
'Hi, yes it's me. I've been allowed to come back and be with you till the end because we were so close. No-one else will be able to see me and I won't always be here when you have company but when you need me, I'll be here. You wont be able to feel it if I touch you but hopefully it will be a comfort to you.'
The door opened and Jenny came in surprised to see that Dora was smiling.
'Morning mum. you look better this morning.'
'I had a lovely dream that Steve was here with me.' she said noticing that the chair he had been sitting on was empty.
'Do you feel like anything more than toast and marmalade for breakfast?'
'No that will be enough.'
Do you need help getting dressed?'
'No, I' okay thankyou.'
Jenny went to make breakfast and when she came back also had a small pile of envelopes. 'Christmas cards I expect. '
'There'll probably be some more from people who don't know. I'll look at them later.'
'I'll sit with you while you do if you like.'
'No it's okay.'
'Well if there's nothing more you need I'll be off. Jemma will be in for morning tea to hear more about your bracelet and I'll be back at lunchtime.' She kissed Dora and left. Dora got dressed and Steve was back smiling at her.
'Eat your breakfast and take your tablets then we'll look at the cards together and you can put all those you've received on the string.'
'I can't do that!'
'Course you can it'll brighten the place up a bit!'
Dora did as he asked. Most cards were from people who knew and they had been very careful about the messages they contained.
If Jemma was surprised to see them on display she said nothing.
norfolk dumpling aka loopylin

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Re: New Story- 'Time to say goodbye.'
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2023, 10:17:17 PM »
'You're looking a bit brighter, nan' Jemma said. Dora didn't reply so Jemma fetched the bracelet.
'Let's see, where were we- ah yes the oyster.' She opened it to reveal a pearl.
'It's a shame you didn't know Steve's auntie Milly. She was such a help to us while Jeff and Pru were young so Steve bought this charm in memory of her because she was as precious as a pearl to us. Next is the swan, you see inside is a cygnet. As you know I love the lake and have always wished we had swans, we had ducks and ducklings but no swans which is why Steve bought this one. We had a second honeymoon when Jeff and Pru were old enough to be left in the care of our friends and we went to Scotland, hence the piper. The tree was bought after uncle died and the saucepan is to remember Slugger. I'm going to have to stop now Jemma dear, I'm feeling a bit emotional
When Jemma had gone Steve went and laid his hand on Dora's. Although she couldn't feel his touch his presence still comforted her.
'You ok now sweetheart?' he asked.
'Yes, just a bit tired.'
'Have a lie down then. '
She did as he suggested and he lay down beside her his arm laid protectively over her. When Jenny came back later she was sound asleep so she left her some sandwiches in the fridge and put a note on the coffee table to tell her they were there.
Christmas was fast approaching and when schools broke up for the holidays Carrie paid her a visit one afternoon while she was looking through her box of treasures and talking about them to Steve.
'Who were you talking to nan?'
'Nobody, just myself.'
Steve left hastily but Carrie stared at the spot where he had been standing and gasped.
'What is it dear?'
'Nothing.' but Steve who had been closer to Carrie than many of the other relatives suspected she might have caught a glimpse of him.
'What are you doing, nan?'
'Just looking through my box of treasures.'
Can I see?'
'Well, I might cry a bit. Memories sometimes have that effect on me.'
'It's ok. I can make a lowance!'
That phrase which Jeff had coined when a young boy had become part of the Ross vocabulary.
From the box Dora produced a battered exercise book.
'This was supposed to be for Slugger to write recipes in but all it contains are variations on the stew he was so fond of cooking. She passed it to Carrie. 'Careful, it's very old. Next she drew out two favours. 'I sewed these for grandad and uncle Ron when they went in for a jousting competition. You know about that of course.'
Carrie laughed and nodded. 'And here is a candle from the cake that Grandad bought me and the cork from the champagne bottle Ron bought. This is the brooch Wendy Bendiger gave me when I won the cross country at the Follyfoot races. It was the only event that didn't have a prize and Wendy thought I should have one. This is my school bible and in between the pages is a pressed rose. Steve gave me a red rosebud from the tree that used to grow outside the bungalow on our wedding day and he kissed it several times so I would always have a kiss when I needed one- and oh dear I need one now' she  said as the tears began to fall. Carrie hugged her.
'Sorry nan. I'll be in trouble with mum for upsetting  you.'
'Certainly you won't!Tears have always come easily to me but if you don't mind dear I would like to be alone with my thoughts now.'
'Of course. I'll go now, bye nan, see you soon!' Carrie gave Dora a hug and a kiss and as soon as she'd gone Steve re-appeared.
'I'll have to be careful when Carrie comes. I think she saw me!' He said.

norfolk dumpling aka loopylin

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Re: New Story- 'Time to say goodbye.'
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2023, 10:08:14 PM »
A little later Jenny came in. 'Ron has been on the telephone he would like to come and see you.'
'That would be good, I haven't seen him since the funeral' said Dora.
'I'll tell him to come this afternoon then' said Jenny.
When Ron arrived he was carrying a beautiful poinsettia.
'It's beautiful, Ron. Thankyou.'
'Well it's certainly better than the last time I gave you a plant.'
Dora laughed as she remembered that the flower from that plant had ended up being eaten by a horse.
'It's good to hear you laugh, girl. How are you?'
'Wondering why I'm still here when Steve's gone!'
'Now then, don't talk like that. You still have your family and there's the new baby to look forward to. Terri and Rikki send their love They've gone Christmas shopping. I haven't brought a card as I know however people try it won't be a happy Christmas for you. I see you've got some though.'
'Yes and people have put kind messages in them. I wasn't going to put them up but S- someone said I should. The family are all getting together on Christmas day as usual but I just don't feel ready to face everyone together.'
'You cant stay here with a lightly boiled egg, girl. How about if you just go for the meal and then come home.'
'Well I certainly don't want to be there when they give out presents. I haven't bought any and I don't want any!'
'Look Dora, your family love you. Tell them how you feel- if you don't, I will!'
'No, it's alright Ron. I just don't want to make people miserable.'
'You don't think they will be sad without Steve?'
'Yes of course but with me there it will be even worse!'
'Hey look, I came to cheer you up and now you've gone all maudlin with me!'
'Sorry Ron, what are you and Terri doing?'
'Going to a hotel with Rikki and Stuart- first time ever.'
'Would you like a drink, there's some sherry left over from the funeral.'
'No ta love. I'd best be off, now you take care of yourself and 'll see you in the new year.' He gave her a hug.'
After Ron left Steve said 'He's right you know.'
'I'll only go if you come.'
'I can't I have to stay here and besides if Carrie saw me before she might again and I'll definitely stay out of the way when she's here.'
Next time Jenny raised the subject of Christmas Dora told her how she felt.
'Oh mum, it will be bad enough without dad but if you don't come either...... Well leave it with me and I'll think about things. I don't want you to be unhappier than you are but I don't want you to be alone.'
It was Jemma who came up with the solution
norfolk dumpling aka loopylin

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Re: New Story- 'Time to say goodbye.'
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2023, 11:06:08 PM »
When she came in the next day Jemma said 'Nans how would you feel if Artie and I had our Christmas dinner here with you?'
'I can't ask you to do that!'
'Honestly we don't mind. Being in a crowded room for all that time would not be good for me. I'd just like a quiet meal and then go of for a rest. Mum has said she'll put our presents to one side and Artie can collect them when he delivers ours.'
'Won't Artie mind?'
'He's fine with it and so are mum and dad.'
'Well thank you so much. I'll be fine with that if you're sure.'
'Absolutely!'
'I'm feeling well today and I'd like to try and put the finishing touches to the portrait and hear some more about the bracelet.'
'You know Jemma love I'm feeling rather emotional talking about these charms. Most of the rest are to do with weddings, births and anniversaries. There's some I'll tell you about today but if you don't mind  what I'd like to do with the rest is make a list of what they commemorate and leave it with the bracelet. That way I can do some when I feel like it- one or two at a time and if I need to have a little weep I can.'
'Of course nans, I'm so sorry I didn't mean to upset you- I just like listening to your memories. I'll just fetch my things then get the bracelet.'
When Jemma left Steve asked 'What's wrong love?'
'I think the weather's got to me. It's so cold.'
'It's warm in here though.'
'I know but I'd like to go down to the lake one more time but I know I can't.'
'Jeff would drive you there. Just a quick circle round and back.'
'I know but it won't be the same without you Steve.'
'Oh, I see. You must take care of yourself Dora.'
'Why my life is nothing now.'
'I'm here for you.'
'Yes but only in the bungalow, we can't go anywhere together.'
Jemma came back and while she went to fetch the bracelet Dora wiped away a tear. Steve sat on the chair nearest to her with his hand on hers.
'You know Steve went to Liverpool to find his mother don't you?'
'Yes- and you were very upset.'
'He came back in April and on the anniversary the year after we married he bought me this golden heart as a symbol of his love and a promise that he'd never leave me again- but he has' she said unable to stop the tears.
'Oh nans, please don't cry. I don't think you should do any more.'
'Just this last one. Valentine's day was always special to us. This year Steve bought me the wishing well. It was the last one because it was the last time he went shopping. He said it was not the same if someone bought a charm for him and anyway the bracelet is really full and heavy and I can't wear it. It has given me pleasure just to look at it and remember but as I said the memories are now making me feel sad. Take it back now Jemma please.'
Jemma felt tears come into her own eyes. Her baby was due in February and she hoped Dora would live to see it but was afraid that grief might overtake  her. Jenny arrived then and made Dora a strong cup of tea. When she went home to fetch her painting things Jemma had phoned her because she was very worried about Dora.'
'You know mum I think you should come and stay with us at Follyfoot where we can keep an eye on you.'
'No I want to stay here. I'm sorry if I'm being a nuisance but I want to spend my last days with all my familiar things around me and where I can still strongly feel Steve's presence, Follyfoot belongs firmly  in the past.'
'It's okay, I understand- and don't you worry about Christmas day. You'll be fine with Jemma and Artie.'
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Re: New Story- 'Time to say goodbye.'
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2023, 10:10:47 PM »
On Christmas Eve Dora watched the Carol service from Kings College. She intended to watch the midnight communion because she now had a television in the bedroom but fell asleep before she could switch it on. Steve stretched out beside her and watched as she slept. The finished portrait now graced a wall at Colonel G's  along with those of the Colonel and Slugger. Dora had pronounced them all very good.
She didn't feel like a big Christmas dinner so Jenny served her a small portion of turkey breast with vegetables and gravy. Jemma also ate sparingly but Artie had a good appetite and did the delicious meal full justice. Dora and Jemma both managed a small piece of Christmas pudding and custard and after Dora and Artie had drunk coffee and Jemma orange juice the young couple left.
' I expect this will be my last Christmas, Steve.'
'Yes. we'll be together soon and you'll be young again, like me.'
On Boxing Day Dora woke up with a cold and Jenny insisted she should stay in bed. Several days went by and there was not much in the way of improvement. 'I don't think she wants to get better.' said Pru to Carl.
'You may be right but I'll keep trying to get her well.'
On New Year's day Dora began to improve and secretly Carl thought it was because he had threatened her with hospital. She began to get out of bed a little more each day and eat more food. Hazel called in to see her bringing a light sponge cake. Carrie often popped in after school and Dora even helped her a bit with her homework .Steve disappeared all the time she was there and sometimes Carrie's eyes would look around the room as if searching for something- or someone. January was bitterly cold and the school closed for 3 days because the pipes were frozen and the road from the village to Follyfoot was blocked and Jeff and Artie had to clear snow away from the farm and the houses so people could get from one to another and of course be able to care for the horses.
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Re: New Story- 'Time to say goodbye.'
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2023, 09:12:36 PM »
With help from Steve Dora made a list of the remaining charms for Jemma:-

Bible- Jeff and Jenny's wedding, Chimney Sweep Pru and Carl's wedding, Praying hands Ronnie and Bianca's wedding,
Bell-Jemma and Artie's wedding Wise Owl- Ronnie's graduation, Nappy pin Stephanie's birth, Teddy Bear Artie's birth. Doll- Carrie's birthTwo rings intertwined- Silver wedding anniversary, Rose with ruby- Ruby wedding, Caravan- opening of touring site. She put the list in an envelope marked 'charms' and put it in the jewellery box.
Two weeks before her due date Jemma began to have contractions and on 29th January baby Dorothy Rose put in her appearance. She was rather small and spent 3 nights in hospital but was back home soon after February blew in. Once inside Jemma did not  go out again so the family visited her instead. Dora was eager to see the baby but was not allowed to venture outside so photographs were brought instead.
Steve looked over Dora's shoulder and smiled glad that he too had been able to see the new arrival. Many people caught influenza and so stayed away from the new baby and Dora. When Jenny first went down with it Pru stood in for her in looking after Dora but when she too fell ill Jenny had no option but to take over again. She kept as far away from Dora as she could, wore a mask when preparing food and washed her hands frequently. Unfortunately these measures were not good enough and Dora caught influenza which turned to bronchitis.
Jenny recovered but Dora got progressively worse. When Carl examined her he shook his head sadly.
'I think the fight has gone out of her' he said. I think she was just waiting to see the baby. I think that might buck her up. The weather has improved so it won't do the baby any harm.'
The next day Dorothy was taken in to see Dora. Jemma did not go close to the bed and Dora did not hold her but lay smiling. The baby seemed to have her eyes fixed on something and Steve got the impression that like Carrie she could see him. He smiled at her and she raised her little hand as if in greeting. After she'd gone Dora sank back on her pillows and had a bad coughing fit. Jenny decided to stay the night and went to sleep in the spare room. Early the next morning Steve took hold of Dora's hand and to her surprise she could feel his touch. 'Come on girl, up you get. We're going for a last ride. '
'But I can't. It's too cold!'
'Yes you can. You're free now and you won't feel the cold. He helped her up but she could still see herself lying on the bed.
'Am I dead?' she asked.
'You could say that or you could say you've come alive.'
Suddenly Dora noticed that like Steve she was dressed in jeans and a jumper. She felt well and young. She took his hand and they left together.

To be concluded.
norfolk dumpling aka loopylin

Offline norfolkdumpling

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Re: New Story- 'Time to say goodbye.'
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2023, 09:55:44 PM »
She took his hand and they left the room for the last time. When Jenny entered  later she tried to rouse Dora but she was unresponsive. She felt cold to the touch but there was a smile on her face.
'Oh mum, I'm sorry I wasn't with you. I didn't hear you cough at all after 2am and I just thought you'd gone to sleep and drifted off myself.'
She phoned Carl, then Follyfoot. For some reason Carrie had woken early and went to look out of her bedroom window. She blinked and could not believe her eyes for she saw her grandparents as they'd been in their younger days on horseback. As if knowing she was there they stopped, turned round and waved before riding away. When they reached the secret lake they stopped again dismounted and gave Copper and Alex a final farewell. The horse galloped off  back to their heavenly pasture.
'Time to say a final goodbye to our life here and go and be re-united with those we love' Steve said taking her hand. 'Oh and by the way Happy Valentine's Day!'
They both stood for a moment looking around them and then towards the farmhouse. They shared a kiss and  were gone.
When Jeff went to tell Carrie the news she smiled through her tears and told him what she had seen.
'You must have been dreaming' he said but Carrie knew better.
Dora was laid to rest with Steve on a  bright February morning. The church was packed and afterwards everyone gathered at Colonel G's to share their memories. The next day Jeff planted the cherry tree in the grove of memories glad that his parents were now re-united for ever.
norfolk dumpling aka loopylin