He Had To Do Something
In the darkening neighborhood, he ran, terrified to see his little boy out so late.
In the past months, he had received reports about him visiting the cemetery, but he didn’t pay attention to them.
His neighbor, however, told him something that night that made him realize how urgent it was for him to get to his son fast, or he might lose him forever. His discovery, however, would leave him trembling.
Nothing Was Working Out
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only thing that went wrong for Frank Sallow that year.
Being a single parent, he was trying his best to maintain a steady income and provide for his seven-year-old son.
However, everything seemed to be falling apart, from little Jeremy’s unexplained visits to the grave to Frank’s tumultuous personal life. Despite what he thought, the worst was still ahead. (Xanax)
He Had It All
Like most forty-year-old fathers in Kansas, Frank was a normal man.
It was no secret that he was proud of what he’d accomplished in his life, from his successful plumbing business to his comfortable home to his wife Sarah, who gave him a son, Jeremy.
Everything had been going well for their little family. It wasn’t until trouble knocked that things changed.
The baby, Jeremy, who had been healthy since birth, suddenly fell ill. With worry in their eyes, Frank and Sarah rushed Jeremy to the hospital.
In their mind, it was just a bad stomachache and hoped the problem wouldn’t be severe.
It didn’t take long for them to detect the doctor’s grim expression as he raced down the hall to speak with them, and they understood the news wasn’t good.
Keeping Their Composure
As a result of the doctor’s findings, Frank and Sarah learned that their child suffered from chronic kidney failure. Frank was left reeling after receiving the news, which hit him like a gut punch.
His body was tense as he watched Sarah talk to the doctor, watching her take a deep breath to steady herself.
As she spoke, she held her head high and crossed her arms over her chest. Frank was blown away by his good fortune.
It had always been Sarah’s strength that made her stand out. A woman with iron skin and an unwavering will, she had emotions as unrelenting as the noonday sun.
The whole time she had been trying to figure out what she could do for Jeremy, even in the face of such heartbreaking news.
It is usually difficult to pinpoint kidney failure in kids, according to the doctor. Due to the loss of 80% of kidney function, the symptoms usually appear when the kidney functions are compromised. The Sallows are left with a question: what can they do?
Time Is Of The Essence
As Jeremy’s condition was critical, the doctor already placed him on a waiting list. He had two failing kidneys. His time was limited.
In a miraculous turn of events, the family found a suitable match, and Jeremy underwent surgery to correct his condition. It was even impressive to the doctors how fast things developed.
As things started taking a turn for the better, disaster struck once again.
A Turn Of Events
Things began to fall apart after three months. On his way to work near the town lake, Frank inspected a building in town that needed septic system installation.
Until the phone rang, his day was going well. When he pulled out the phone and saw Sarah’s name on the screen, he grinned.
After answering the call, however, his smile vanished.
Seeing as his wife was missing him and wanted to talk to him, Frank pressed the phone against his ear. During the past few weeks, she’d been calling him at weird hours of the day or waking him up late at night to talk to him.
Even though the new side of her seemed strange at first, he quickly fell in love with it. Her voice and laughter drew him in, and he enjoyed listening to her thoughts and helping to resolve her problems.
His understanding of what was happening was limited.
She Needed Help
As he set aside his work tools, Frank said, “Hi, honey.”, his lips curling in anticipation of talking to his beloved. “Frank,” Sarah stammered, seemingly trying to hold back a retch. “There’s something wrong.”
He thought she was joking or role-playing, as she liked to refer to it. He giggled, preparing to play along. In spite of that, she coughed and threw up.
“There’s something terribly wrong. Please help me. Come home, please.”
Frank was already in his truck before Sarah could get the rest of that sentence out. He stepped on the gas, unsure of what was going on.
Since it was the middle of the week, Jeremy was still at school, meaning Sarah was home alone.
Frank had never driven so recklessly in his life. Today would be a first.
The Emergency Room
But although he reached home in time, finding Sarah bent over the toilet, he wouldn’t do much to help. She was throwing up blood and complaining about sharp pains in her lower abdomen.
Frank wasted no time strapping her onto the passenger seat and driving to the emergency room.
He waited quietly as the doctors tended to her, wondering in silence: Has someone cursed my family?
Asking For Help
Although Frank hated to admit it, he was suspicious about why Sarah suddenly fell sick. He called one of his neighbors, a wonderful elderly woman called Mrs. Leticia, to take care of Jeremy until he returned in the morning.
Sarah stayed in the emergency room for hours, the doctors doing their best to stabilize her condition.
The first thing she asked for when she came to was to see her family.
Frank frantically drove home to pick up Jeremy. It was already dark out, the hour leaning toward midnight. But on his way back to the hospital, his phone started ringing insistently.
It was one of the doctors who’d helped stabilize Sarah, saying she wanted to talk to Frank.
She could barely get her words through as she told him how much he and Jeremy meant to her. Before the room’s commotion ate her voice, she said one thing.
Hear These Words, Memorize Them
“I did it for him, Frank. For our boy,” Sarah whispered as machines beeped in the background and nurses hurled orders at each other.
“We’re losing her,” one said. “Calling in the doctor!” another yelled.
“Don’t let him forget how special he is to me,” Sarah stammered. “You too,” she added. “Don’t forget how special you are to me. I love you.” And then the line died.
Frank would break traffic rules for the third time that day. But he wouldn’t reach Sarah on time. The days that followed were dark, empty, and meaningless for him.
After laying Sarah to rest at the local cemetery, he canceled all his work appointments and stayed indoors.
He became a shell of his former self, drowning out his sorrow with alcohol. He still couldn’t wrap his head around what had just happened.
As days turned into weeks, Frank Sallow deteriorated in his house. He lost interest in the things that once made his heart flutter.
He even forgot to be a dad, and for the next few months, his neighbor, the sweet old Mrs. Leticia, had to take over Jeremy’s affairs.
Frank knew the pain would never end. Was there any reason to continue living without Sarah? How could she leave him like this? He had no clue that everything was about to change.
Frank had stayed locked in his house for six months, sitting in his room with Sarah’s wedding photo in his hands. He and Jeremy were living off his savings for the majority of this time.
But one evening, the seven-year-old came to him, sadness burning in his young eyes.
He had a book in his hand as he gently knocked on the door. What he said next snapped Frank back to reality.
“Mrs. Leticia is away for the evening, dad,” he said. “Can you help me with my math homework?” The request left Frank speechless. He stared at his son, then at the wedding photo in his hands.
He stood up, catching a glimpse of himself in the bathroom mirror. He ate back a cry as he realized how shabby he looked. How long had he been like this?
How long had he forgotten to be a dad? “Oh, Jere,” he said. “Come here.”
Back To Reality
Jeremy ran to her dad, and Frank scooped him into a tight hug. He couldn’t say how sorry he was for not being there for him for the last few months. He couldn’t even tell how many months had passed since they’d lost Sarah.
He spent that night cutting his messy hair and beard and cleaning the house. He helped Jeremy with homework, cooked lasagna, and put on their favorite family movie.
He hoped he’d make amends for not being there for him. But he was a little bit too late.
A Supportive Neighborhood
Mrs. Leticia, who had been helping keep order in Frank’s house for the last six months, was delighted to see him return to form.
Everyone in the neighborhood came in to say hi, lamenting how they suffered without his plumbing expertise.
Things were starting to look up for Frank until Mrs. Leticia came to see him one fateful night. She’d tell him what her son had been doing over the last few months.
“I’ve been taking him to Sarah’s grave,” Mrs. Leticia began. She explained how torn Jeremy was after losing his mom. At such a young age, his grasp on death was still limited.
He couldn’t even believe that his mom was six feet under the iris and daffodil bushes at the cemetery.
But with Mrs. Leticia’s help, everything was becoming clearer. But this was only the first part of her confession.
Over the last few days, Jeremy had been sneaking off to the cemetery by himself.
Frank didn’t think much of it when Leticia relayed the information. Theirs was a safe community where everyone knew everyone.
He was sure his neighbors were keeping an eye out for his boy. But the second part of Mrs. Leticia’s revelation left him worried.
This Time It Was Different
“Yesterday, he came to see me,” Mrs. Leticia said worriedly. “He does that sometimes,” she added quickly and with an unsteady smile.
“But this time, it was different.”
“He said he met someone at the cemetery, a friend.” Mrs. Leticia explained that few people usually visited the cemetery, which is why she was worried. But that wasn’t all.
The Boy At The Cemetery
She’d spent some time asking Jeremy about his new friend. But the boy didn’t divulge much information. He only said his friend was almost his age and had been sick, just like Jeremy some seven months earlier.
Jeremy loved talking to her at the cemetery whenever he visited his mom. “I followed Jeremy today,” Mrs. Leticia said as her eyes ran wet.
“I didn’t see his friend. Oh, Frank. I think something bad might be happening there. We need to stop it before it’s too late.”
A Spiritual Woman
Mrs. Leticia had long been known as a superstitious woman. With roots in Eastern Europe and the Caribbean, she was a very spiritual person.
Hearing her speak and listening to her take on what was happening reminded Frank of what Sarah had said before passing.
“I did it for him, Frank,” she said. “For our boy.” Frank thought she was only rumbling at the time due to heavy medication. But now, his heart began thumping in his ears.
Thinking It Over
What if Mrs. Leticia was right, and something terrible was happening? How many times had Frank heard the stories about people giving up themselves for their loved ones? He remembered how, out of the blue, a donor had appeared with a kidney for Jeremy.
He recalled how thankful Sarah had been. He also thought back to what she did afterward and how disturbed it had left him.
“I did it for him, Frank,” the once comforting but now cold words replayed in his mind. He took a deep breath, rubbing a hand down his sweaty face. Could he reveal Sarah’s words to Mrs. Leticia?
Keep Your Mind Intact
But he couldn’t let his mind walk a path rife with superstition. He thanked her for letting him know about Jeremy’s activities and promised to look into it. A few days passed, with Jeremy visiting his mom’s grave daily.
As much as Frank tried to ignore it, suspicions were growing on him. Then one evening, Mrs. Leticia came bursting through his kitchen door.
“I’ve seen him riding to the cemetery,” she almost screamed. “Please go after him, Mr. Sallow.” Frank didn’t need to be told twice.
A Blonde-Haired Girl
The first thing Frank saw when he got to the cemetery was Jeremy’s bike parked near the gate. He dashed inside and, true to Mrs. Leticia’s words, found his son standing over Sarah’s grave. But Jeremy wasn’t alone.
Standing next to him was a blonde-haired girl that Frank immediately recognized.
He’d met her parents a few weeks after Jeremy’s kidney surgery. Everything suddenly made sense.
The hospital had diagnosed the girl with liver failure, and Sarah, thankful for the donor who saved her son’s life, stepped up. She took some tests to see if she was a match for her. As it turned out, she was. The doctors set up for the surgery, helping her donate part of her liver to save the girl.
From the corner of his eye, Frank saw the girl’s parents waiting for her at the edge of the cemetery. He’d seen them at Sarah’s funeral but was too distraught to even say “hi.” He exhaled, knowing he was still far from uncovering this mystery.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.