“No, please,” he choked out. “I can’t do this without you.” His chest was tight. Agony strangled his heart with its greedy hands. Caleb shook his head as tears fell from swollen eyes that had witnessed his wife go through so much hell that past year. Softly, he whispered, while closing his tired lids and tilting his head back, “Please don’t take her.” The corner of his lips trembled when he sucked in a shaky breath. This wasn’t the way to let her go. Their family and friends had gathered in the brightly lit room, witnessing him behaving with such desperation. The life he’d created with his wife, Rene, was crashing down all around, shredding his soul into pieces, like glass shards from a shattering window, and he couldn’t do anything to stop it. The smell of sickness and death lingered in the air, assaulting his nostrils and lungs. This scent would be ingrained in his memories forever.
“It’s okay Caleb.” Her chest rose up and down as she labored to take shallow breaths. His gaze fell upon her sunken eyes. Lying in the hospital bed she’d spent entirely too much time in, she let out another painful moan. “Everything is going to be fine. You know I’m going to a better place. We will be together again.” Rene gave an exhausted cough, further proof of her long suffering.
“I know, but I can’t let you go.” With quivering hands, he leaned over to stroke her cheek, using the pad of his thumb while holding the side of her neck. “You’re my everything.” A trembling hand touched his shoulder, attempting to provide comfort. Caleb didn’t need to look up to know it was his mother-in-law, Grace. Everyone in the confined space of the hospital room had said goodbye to Rene several hours before Caleb took the seat beside her bed. Now that her end was so close, he wished more than anything that they would all leave. He couldn’t ask anyone to do that though. They were hurting, just as he was.
He sensed in her once brilliant blue eyes that she only had moments left. With a weak smile, she whispered so softly it was difficult to hear, “I love you. Please make sure Madison knows how much I love her, too.” Her labored breaths came few and far between, and she winced with the effort it simply took to breathe. She spoke those last words before falling into a morphine-induced slumber. A nurse stayed close, administering the pain medication as needed to ensure Rene’s comfort.
With tear streaked cheeks, Caleb bent down, gently placing his trembling lips onto hers. “I love you too. I always will.” The woman he’d counted on spending the rest of his life with took her last breath under his kiss. The piercing hum of the heart monitor confirmed what he couldn’t bear to accept; she was gone.
“No, no, no! Come back to me, please!” Caleb’s violent sobs echoed throughout the room while he gripped his wife’s withered, unresponsive body.
Once in a while, you come across a book that by all standards would appear to be just an ordinary, fluffy romance. Well this isn’t one of them. No you won’t read about hot sex, as a matter of fact the main couple waited till they were married. Wow that is a lost concept these days but so refreshing to see the angst and stress that alone caused. You won’t find immature characters living for the drama and demanding that each other prove their love. No, Abby and Caleb knew from the first look that they wanted each other and that trust and desire just grew from there.
Caleb became a single father to a baby girl after his wife Rene passed away. With a family that he couldn’t count on, with childhood memories spent with his parents that he could count on one hand, he dedicated his life to his daughter. With the help of Rene’s parents, who stepped in and became Caleb’s family, he focused his free time on his novel he was writing.
Abby, a Kindergarten teacher who had a past that was keeping her in one place, focused her time and life on her school kids and her best friend. With Abby’s mom remarrying and spending her retired time with her new husband, Abby was faced with an empty schedule, boring life and the longing for more. Her past refused to allow her to move on, how can she expect a happy life after what she had done as a frighten teenager.
One sweet little girl, who wanted a mommy, two lima bean plants and a host of caring friends and family members who were determined to become match makers paved the way for Abby and Caleb to explore if there was a chance for them to find happiness. The only thing stopping them, was Abby needed to forgive and let go of her past. Caleb, knowing what it is like to have to face past mistakes guided Abby to the point of freedom from her former self and choices.
This book, although not an intense and angst filled read was priceless. I am so glad I read this and saw the life lessons that we all need to learn. How forgiveness frees yourself, not the ones who hurt you. How one little girl with a pure heart can show adults how to share love of those she has in life. How watching the love of a father and daughter can heal the emptiness you feel inside because your father left you. This book is really about life and acceptance. Beautifully written, easy flow and consistency, it is just a beautiful book that all should read.
I was so happy to see that she is already in the process of writing the next book in this series about Abby’s best friend Leah and Caleb’s cousin. I was hoping that their story wouldn’t end at Abby and Caleb’s happy ever after. I am also still needing more of Madison’s innocent moments as the little pumpkin who helped bring her daddy and momma together.
~You can focus on your problems or you can focus on your dreams ~