A story of letting go.
The tunnel she expected did not appear, nor did the white light at the end of it. It was strangely peaceful. She wandered around the places she grew up and the world seemed brighter than she remembered, softer. She could see people moving about their lives but could only watch as they drifted here and there. Their words seemed strange as if through a fog. The only clear words she heard were a soft, “When you are ready”. Each time it grew louder, “When you are ready”. Hannah wasn’t sure why but she remembered the voice. When she was young she could have sworn she heard it in a lullaby rocking her to sleep on nights she felt alone.
She was the youngest of twelve children. Her parents had her very late in life and she came as a complete surprise to them. Her mother passed away as she was born, but for some reason, she always felt her presence even as a baby. Singing a lullaby about all the beautiful horses she would have. Even as she approached adulthood this one lullaby brought her peace when she was stressed. As she sat looking out across the front yard of her parents’ home she began humming the lullaby again when she heard it once more, “When you are ready”.
Hannah wasn’t sure when the other person appeared by standing before her was a beautiful woman with long hair the shade of chestnuts flowing in waves down to the middle of her back. She wore a robe of impeccable white that brought to her mind fresh fallen snow.
“I am here to help you if you will let me” the woman’s words and accent was so familiar and comforting.
“Is that how it goes” Hannah felt something in her chest deflate.
“I am here to help you when you are ready to be helped. I will help you let go the ties you need to if you will let me help you.”
They now stood at the university Hannah so much wanted to attend. She had her sights on gaining a doctorate in Biology like her mentor. Life changed as did her dreams. Visions of the accident returned to her and of the life she saved. Visions of a young Japanese girl looking to attend the same college drifted past Hanna’s face as a living smoke, twisting and turning around her. She saved the girl but wasn’t able to help herself.
Hannah walked with the woman across to the campus to her favorite spot in front of the library under a Sakura tree. This was Richard’s and her special spot; she had come here many times while visiting her older sisters and brothers while they attended college. It was peaceful and a wonderful place to read. Here she saw him again and he looked as lost as she felt. She wanted to reach out and comfort him but her hand passed through causing him to look up and around him.
“Letting go is hard sometimes.” The woman spoke. “Harder still when it seems so unfair”
Hannah looked at the Sakura tree again feeling strange as if someone was watching her, no not her, Richard. Her senses seemed to expand and she could see the other girl now. The Japanese girl she had saved, Hannah could see the girl’s heart-shaped birthmark on her neck behind her left ear. The girl looked like she wanted to say something to Richard but could not bring herself to do so. The woman held onto her silver butterfly necklace as if she could pull the strength to act from it.
“Letting go takes great strength… I am here for you if you need me.” The woman standing with her placed her hand on Hannah’s shoulder and she felt at peace.
Throughout her life, she thought she knew strength, what it meant to make a tough decision. Few things were harder than this. She placed her hand near his cheek, something she had done many times after football practice and before their games.
Richard’s face came up with a strange recondition of the near touch looking straight at the Japanese girl he hadn’t noticed was watching him. As he offered her a seat Hannah turned to the woman with her motioning they needed to move. When they were too far away to hear the two Hannah asked the woman with her. “Does it get any easier?’ she looked back at the two talking.
The woman smiled at Hannah and nodded.
Hannah watched as the two hugged each other and while she couldn’t tell what they were saying she could even from the distance see they were both crying. For a moment she wanted to eavesdrop on them but held back. Time drifted on and she lingered near the Sakura tree, the woman with her not leaving; only remaining keeping her company. Although she no longer spoke it Hannah could hear it more and more, “When you are ready.”
Seasons changed and she saw Richard and the girl meeting more and more. Sadness moved to a friendship that she could sense. Their words were unclear but she felt in her heart they were ready to move on, but their eyes said something different. Were they like her? Did they too have something holding them back? The two sat talking infrequently when Hannah thought to herself, is it me?
“When you are ready.”
Hannah placed her hand over the girls hand and Richards hearing the two gasp. With all her heart she willed herself to move their hands. Memories of talking about her dreams with Richard flashed through her head as she struggled to move hands she could not touch. Dreams they shared hopes for the future. Their hands moved inches a surprised look on both of their faces, but she wasn’t strong enough.
Humming, she heard humming. The lullaby she heard as a baby. Tears filled her eyes as she found new strength she never thought she had before. Richard and the Girl were now holding hands looking into each other’s eyes. No longer the eyes of grief filled survivors but those seeking peace in each other.
“You are ready.”
With tears in her eyes Hannah looked up at the woman and in one brief moment, she realized. “Momma?”
The woman reached over to Hannah brushing her hair. “I have to take some of these memories from you for now. When we meet again… all will be well”
Before Hannah could think about what the woman meant the world around her filled with feathers swirling around her in a snowstorm of peaceful white bliss. The world seemed to fade away.
“She has very healthy Lungs.” The Doctor congratulated young couple from Hokkaido, Japan as they looked down on their beautiful new daughter. Something caught the baby’s attention as she reached towards her mother’s silver butterfly necklace cooing happily. As the baby reached her mother noticed a cute tiny heart birthmark on her baby’s neck near her left ear.
“She loves your necklace” The father spoke up as he looked down at his daughter.
“One day she I’ll give It to her. When she’s grown up enough.” Something changed in the woman’s eyes as she could almost hear a lullaby in the air. “Hana… we should name her Hana”
Both Doctor and father smiled at the name. The Doctor excused himself while mother held her daughter close humming a lullaby. The baby turning her attention to something near the window smiled and cooed again.
The wind seemed to sing a lullaby of the many pretty little horses Hana would have.
*picture drawn by MaybeIsPossible of deviantart.com