by Joanna Emily
With love you can overcome any circumstance...or can you? Delve in and find out!
“She’d fallen in love with him the first day she’d talked to him…”
How funny to think back now and realize the fact. My name is Joliet. I’m a small-town North Carolina sweetheart. Little did I know that at the age of thirteen, almost fourteen, my life would change forever. I met this amazing young man on a chat site one night, much by accident. Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let me start over…
My name is Joliet Ruby. I was born and raised in good ‘ole North Carolina. Since I was a young girl, I’ve always wanted to be a veterinarian. I grew up much like many small-town kids do, with more “parents” and “grandparents” than you could hope to imagine. My family’s always had problems, but whose family doesn’t? My parents are divorced, and my father has been remarried two times. I remember as a little girl playing with my dad and little brother, yet those happy times also include sad times. When my parents argued, when my dad left taking my brother for a while…this may sound bad, but I had a happy childhood.
My childhood was indeed happy; however I can’t say the same about my early teenage years. So much happened during that time it’s almost hard to comprehend. One day I came home from school only to have a ‘talk’ with my Momma; I couldn’t stay home alone anymore. Why? My father was Bipolar and she was scared he’d try to do something. Needless to say I was shocked. How could MY dad have a mental illness that had no cure?! I stayed at my Granny’s house from then on when my mom wasn’t home.
I looked up Bipolar whenever I got the chance, and I helped take care of my Granny. You see, not only was my father sick, my Granny had been sick for a long time and wasn’t getting any better. She had diabetes and it was slowly killing her. She’d already had a liver transplant because of it and now she needed a kidney transplant. Watching her get weaker each day took a major toll on me; she was like my second mother.
Joliet glanced up from her computer screen. In this century it made sense to type instead of write, but oh how she missed the feel of the pen touching the paper. She blinked, clearing her thoughts and looked at the clock. It was three in the morning. Noticing for the first time how tired she was, Joliet saved the file. After closing down the laptop and hiding it, she exited her study and slowly made her way down the hall. She stopped to check on her sleeping children and found them out like a light. She smiled to herself knowing in her heart these children were her blessings. Joliet continued down the hall and quietly entered her room. Slipping gently into the bed, she was asleep before her head hit the pillow.
The next morning she was up before anyone else in the house. She glanced at the clock; 5 a.m. She’s only been asleep for two hours. She suddenly felt the need to write so she quickly and quietly eased herself out of bed and made her way down to the study. Carefully, she removed her laptop from its hiding place. While waiting for it to boot up, Joliet glanced out the window. She’d been blessed in this life; she was sure of it. The laptop caught her attention with a minor “ding” to signal the need for a password. Joliet punched in the password and waited until the home screen was up before clicking on the icon that read “Story”. After reading what she’d written so far, she started typing, adding more to the story.
My Granny was the one person that I could talk to about anything; she was the one who use to cuddle with my cousin and I and read us bedtime stories, complete with the different voices. I didn’t realize then that memories like that would mean so much to me in the near future. My Granny had to go to dialysis three times a week because her kidneys weren’t working correctly. Every day she had dialysis, I was scared for her. It sucked the life out of her. We started saying ‘Good’ days were the ones without dialysis. It was pure torture just to watch what it did to her; I can’t even begin to imagine what it felt like to BE her in that situation.
The beginning of a few sad years came on July 31st, 2009. My mom got a call really late at night/early in the morning from my Granny. Rule #1 in our house: Late night calls or early morning calls are bad news. Little did we know how bad this call actually was. This call is one that tore my whole world apart as it did for the rest of my family; my Granny had had a massive heart attack. After she’d been taken to the hospital, they put her on a vent and everything. Later when everyone got to the hospital, excluding me, they were taking her in for more tests. I regret not going that day because that was the last time anyone heard her voice ever again. When she saw everyone she said, “Oh, hey..”.
My Granny passed away on August 1st, 2009. Together as a family we decided to take her off of the ventilator and everything; she didn’t want it anyway. At her funeral, we played “Go Rest High On The Mountain” by Vince Gill and to this day I still can’t listen to it without crying.
Joliet wiped tears away from her eyes and felt a hand on her shoulder. Her husband and true love stood there, “I thought I might find you here. Are you okay baby girl?” Quickly saving and closing the file, she look up at him. “How long have you been standing there?” “Not long.” Joliet looked at the clock; 5:30 A.M. She must have woken him when she got out of bed. “Want some breakfast?”, she said with a forced smile. Looking at him, she already knew the answer even before he said the words. “Sure baby.” He then held out his hand to her just as he always did, but instead of letting her start walking to the kitchen he pulled her close and hugged her tight. “I love you.” Joliet’s throat closed up with emotion because he always knew just what to say, he’d always known just what to say. They stood hugging for a few minutes until he finally let her go and took her hand once again. Hand in hand, they walked down the stairs and to the kitchen where Joliet was shocked. He’d already cooked breakfast for the two of them and it was her favorite. She looked at him and he just shrugged, “I got up when you did, but figured you needed time alone so I decided to cook us something.” Instead of answering, she walked up to him and kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you baby. It looks delicious.”
They sat down at the table and enjoyed a nice breakfast together in a comfortable silence. Once they’d both finished eating, they put the dishes in the sink and went to watch television. By this time, their youngest child, Daniel, was wide awake and bounding down the stairs with more energy than anyone should have at this time in the morning. Joliet smiled at her husband and went to meet their son at the bottom of the stairs. When he saw his mother, Daniel, who was eight at the time, jumped into her arms and gave her a big hug. “Good mornin’ mommy” “Good morning sweetie,” she said as she carried him into the living room. She set him down on the floor and he immediately went to his father, “Morning Daddy!” Joliet sat down on the couch and watched the two of them talk and play for what seemed like hours. It was 7:30 before Daniel realized his favorite show was on. He stopped playing with his dad and curled up to watch TV. Watching the two of them curled up together made Joliet smile and she quietly slipped away to her study to write some more.
Now I mentioned that this was only the beginning of a sad chain of events and it was just that. About a month or two after Granny’s death, our family cat, Shadow, started getting very weak and sick. I was the first one to notice that her stomach was bloated and she didn’t act like she felt good. One day while my brother and I were at school, my mom took her to the vet. She either had fluid in her stomach or she had cancer. This news was heartbreaking to me. So, instead of making her suffer we decided it would be best euthanize her. The night before we did she slept on my bed and I thought she was ready to go on her own; I wanted her to go on her own. I kept telling her it was okay and that Granny would be waiting for her, but she just refused to let go. I stayed up all night with her and in the morning I carried her into the vet’s office and I laid her down on the table.
The vet came in then and she was very nice. She told us all about what we could do with her body, we could keep it and bury her or they’d cremate her. We couldn’t keep her because we had nowhere to bury her, so we had to let them cremate her. She gave us time alone to say goodbye and I don’t think I’d cried that much since Granny’s funeral. The rest of the day we all stayed home and grieved.
Joliet wiped more tears away from her eyes. Why was it so hard to write about this when it happened so long ago? She knew why, time doesn’t heal all wounds. Yes, they’re less painful, but they’re always there and always waiting to be let loose again. She sighed and continued typing.
Nothing happened the rest of 2009, but in January of 2010 my cousin Michael passed away unexpectedly. We saw him in Wal-Mart one day and two days later, we got a phone call saying he was gone. It was unbelievable. He’d had an underlying heart condition that no one knew about. It shocked everyone that this loveable and caring and all around great guy was suddenly gone.
Everything that happened just seemed so depressing and unreal at the time. I didn’t realize ‘til much later that I had sunken into a deep depression and I’d been finding ways to hurt myself to “control” the pain. At the time, it seemed like a good idea. But, enough about the bad things that happened during my teen years, I want to tell you about the wonderful thing that happened to me in 2008.
Joliet was startled by a loud noise coming from one of the bedrooms down the hall. Her eldest, and only daughter, Annabelle was now awake and blaring some of her favorite music. Joliet got up from her study and walked down the hall to Annabelle’s room and opened the door quietly. Her daughter was up cleaning her room and dancing while she was doing it. The child had OCD almost as bad as she did. Annabelle turned down her stereo, “Mornin’ Mom. Did I wake you?” “Oh, umm, no. I was just writing and heard your music and thought I’d pop in to tell you good morning.” “Oh, well, okay then. I’m going to finish cleaning and then I’ll go eat something, okay?” “That sounds good baby girl. Don’t forget to say hi to your dad and little brother or brothers if Joshua ever wakes up.” Joliet then walked over to Annabelle and kissed her forehead. “I can’t believe you’re going to be going to college soon.” Annabelle smiled, “I know, I know Mom. Now, go back to writing.” Joliet walked out and closed the door behind her, but instead of going back to her study, she walked to Joshua’s room and knocked on the door. No answer. He was sixteen and thought he could sleep ‘til noon. Instead of waking him and causing an argument, she just went back to her study and sat at her desk where she continued typing.
The one wonderful thing that I can tell you helped my get through my teenage years comes in the form of a person. Sometime during the end of May, I was on the internet using my cell phone and I found this site called MocospaceTM. Once I’d created a profile, I started talking to some people in chat rooms. As is the case with most chat sites, some of the people were pure jerks, but then a name popped up that asked “Does anyone like Rascal Flatts? If you do I.M. me”. The post caught my attention, so I messaged him and that’s where it all starts. He was a city boy from San Antonio, Texas who loved country music. We talked for what seemed like hours that night. I think we stayed up ‘til 4 or 5 in the morning. We instantly clicked and from then on we talked every day. On June 3rd, 2008 he asked me to be his girlfriend and I immediately said yes. Little did I know how much he’d come to mean to me.
The young man that I now called my boyfriend was Michael Edmund. He was the sweetest and most caring person I’d met in my life. He always knew when something was wrong and he always knew just what to say to make me smile. About a week after we’d gotten together, we told each other “I love you” and we meant it. I knew from then on that if I ever dated after him, it wouldn’t be as magical. Some of you may say that it was only teenage love, but I can tell you right now that it wasn’t. During the first few months of our relationship we had “month anniversaries” and we got to know each other. He knew more about me than any other human had ever known before. I trusted him, which was hard for me to do after my dad.
Joliet looked up from the screen and glanced at the clock. It was now almost 9:30 and she decided it was time for a break. She could stay here and write all day, but she had plenty of time before it needed to be done. She saved the file and password protected it before exiting her study and going to Joshua’s room. Hearing guitar music coming through the door was a sure sign that her oldest son was now awake. Joliet knocked on the door and waited until he opened the door. “Mornin’ Mom. Did’ya need something?” “Nope, just came to ask if you wanted anything for breakfast. I’m going downstairs now to cook for your brother and sister, if she’s still here.” She was worried he’d say no, like all the other mornings, but he surprisingly said otherwise. “Sure Mom. I’ll be down in a few, and I think Belle’s still here.” Seeing the surprise on her face, he leaned over and kissed her cheek causing her to smile. “Okay, well, I’ll go start on breakfast then.”
After being thoroughly shocked by her son’s attitude this morning, Joliet made her way downstairs to start breakfast for the kids. She glanced in the living room and saw that Annabelle had gotten caught in a tickle war. She smiled and called out, “I’m making breakfast for y’all. I’m glad you’re working up an appetite.” Amongst the laughter, she heard an “Okay Mom”. She chuckled and continued on towards the kitchen. Joliet paused at the refrigerator and glanced inside; good, she had pancake mix. All of the kids loved her pancakes. She pulled the box of Aunt Jemima’s out of the fridge along with the carton of eggs. Pancakes and scrambled eggs would give the children plenty of energy for the day. While she cooked their breakfast, she fixed herself a glass of cool iced tea. Once everything was done cooking, she fixed each of the plates, and she put whipped cream smiley faces on each stack of pancakes. After setting the plates down at the table, she noticed for the first time how quiet it was. She glanced back into the living room and what she saw made her smile; her husband and their children were praying together. She watched and when she heard the soft “Amen”, she walked in and laid a kiss on her husband’s cheek. “Breakfast is served kids.” As they made their way to the kitchen, she sat down on her husband’s lap to rest for awhile. He just put his arms around her and held her close, knowing she needed the rest.
Joliet must have dozed off because she didn’t remember hearing the kids leave, but she was laying on the couch, covered in a throw blanket. She stretched and then went to the kitchen where she heard some noise. Her handsome husband was washing the dishes and putting them away before he had to go to work. He hadn’t heard her come in, so she snuck up behind him and put her arms around his waist. He turned and kissed her nose playfully, “Almost done here, then I need to get ready for work.” Joliet sighed; she’d have the house to herself again today. “Okay, I’ll be in my study if you need me.” Before she left though, he grabbed her waist and pulled her close, giving her a long, slow kiss. “I love you.” Joliet smiled, “I love you too. Now get busy or you’ll be late for work.” She started to walk out of the kitchen, but when she made it to the door she turned around and watched him for awhile. After watching him for five minutes or so, Joliet left and went upstairs to her study. She booted up the laptop, opened her story, and began typing.
How one country backwoods girl could find an angel is beyond me. I’ve told him many times what an angel he is to me and every time he always says “Only to you baby girl.” Always. It was one of those special things I loved about him from the beginning. Our relationship was perfect at first, no, it was amazing. I was in a daze for the first few months of our relationship I’m sure.
Alas, no long-distance relationship is perfect. It was all my imagination. Every relationship for that matter goes through their ups and downs...long distance just makes it that much harder. The fights started happening as they do in most relationships. It was nothing major, you know? They were just minor disagreements that blew up into something more. Upon getting together, we never realized just how stubborn we both were. We butt heads...A LOT. I guess every relationship comes with hardships though…
Joliet’s train of thought was cut short by the abrupt ringing of the phone. She saved her file and grabbed the phone on its third ring. “Hello?” “Mom? It’s me, Joshua. There’s been an incident at Daniel’s school.” Joliet’s heart began to race as she took a deep breath and clutched the phone more tightly than before. “Son, what…what kind of incident?” There was a pause on the other end of the line. “Joshua!”
The young man sounded near tears telling his mother what he had accidentally done. Dropping his brother off at school was an ordinary thing for him, but today was not ordinary. Daniel had forgotten something and had run back to the car, but Joshua hadn’t seen him. He’d backed up and hit him. Joshua would probably never forgive himself, but he had to tell his mother so she could get to the hospital.
“Mom…I accidentally backed into Daniel with the car. I didn’t see him there. He must’ve come back for something, and I was upset with a message from Lucy…I’m so sorry Mom…” Joliet was speechless. Her eight-year-old had been hit with a car driven by her eldest son? Impossible. Yet it had happened. “Joshua…listen to me, get your sister. I’ll call your father. Meet us at the hospital.” Her oldest son, who tried to never show emotion around anyone sounded five again, “Yes ma’am.” “I love you Joshua. Now hurry.” “I love you too Mom.” They both hung up the phone. Joliet immediately called Michael to relay the news of what had happened and he said he’d be home to get her in five minutes. Joshua meanwhile found his sister, and they headed to the hospital to wait on their mother and father.