Annie’s sunny disposition was once again overshadowed by Ernie ~ the eternal pessimist. Some days Annie wondered just exactly what she found so attractive about Ernie lo those many years ago. She also wondered how she overlooked the moods and the seemingly endless nitpicking. But, looking back, she knows why. They were simply and wonderfully “in heat” back then. Finally, she wonders why she put up with him all these years. Surely, God will reward her when she gets to heaven, she thinks.
The day started same as usual. Ernie complained that his coffee was not strong enough and his toast dry. He then moved on to the weather, which was 30% chance of rain. Ernie waxed his truck the day before, so he was completely sure that we would get rain because, after all, it ALWAYS rains after he details his truck. Annie sighed as she recognized that it was to be one of those days… “Please God”, she silently pleaded, “Please, please, PLEASE give me some relief from the constant negativity.”
While Annie got busy around the house, Ernie turned to the TV. Annie whispered “Thank you, God” as the tension eased out of her body. Of course, there will be the occasional explicative exploding into the air once he settles in his ratty old recliner to catch up on the politics of the day. But, Annie can ignore all of that. It is when she is expected to be his audience with undivided attention that she hates the most. Yes, the TV will be his audience until meal time rolls around again, leaving Annie to putter around the house in peace.
Annie was drying the last plate from breakfast when she heard a thud sound come from the living room. Hurrying in, she finds Ernie on the floor, his face a grimace like she never saw before. Without a moment’s hesitation, she reached for the phone to punch 911. The paramedics from the nearby firehouse were the first to arrive. They quickly attended to Ernie while, at the same time, assuring Annie that Ernie will be alright. She wonders if they know that for a fact or are they just telling her what they think she wants to hear.
Annie heard from childhood that when a person dies, that their life flashes before them right before they die. She always wondered how that worked. Annie had 2 near death experiences in her life, but there was no slideshow. She assumed that experience would only happen were she to really die. As always, her wandering, wondering thoughts lead to the question about how anybody knows this happens at the moment of death because, after all, who can speak after death to tell it...
Annie is jerked out of her thoughts when Ernie began to convulse. It was that exact moment that her life with Ernie began to flash through her own mind. In an instant, she saw the “slideshow” of their life together…the moment they first met, the electric in the air as interest sparked between them, the love and laughter of their courtship and the happiness of their wedding day. Scenes continued to flash through Annie’s memory of the many trials, tribulations, joys and sorrows of a shared lifetime. Annie saw more good than bad. She saw a wonderful man who was true to their marriage; a hardworking man who never slacked in providing for them. Annie remembered the moment Ernie first held each daughter and how tenderly he held them after birth while expounding on the beauty of each red, wrinkled infant. In her mind’s eye, Annie saw the love and attention Ernie gave to their children, nurturing always. The laughter of their children, and then the grandchildren echoes in her mind.
Accused by her own spirit, Annie is suddenly ashamed as she realizes that she herself had entertained negative thoughts about Ernie’s “negativity”. Did she not have some of her own? Again, she pleaded with God…”Please, please, PLEASE God…please don’t take my husband from me yet. I need more time to love him…”