Let’s take a look at my upcoming book for Authors of Main Street’s 2017 Christmas boxed set.
I’m having a great time writing this book. Children make Christmas, and this story is no different.
Ellie Newsome’s marriage is crumbling, and she’s gone through a few rough weeks. She desperately needs to talk to her mother. But her mother has Alzheimer’s, and is in a nursing facility.
The excerpt takes place in the nursing facility and Ellie has yet one more let-down.
The Christmas Stocking
All twenty-four-year-old Ellie Newsome ever wanted was a happy home, a trustworthy husband and the sound of pitter-patter dancing across her floors.
She’d never wanted to settle for less…but she had. Had she known Ryan had only married her to give him babies, she’d not have said yes. But she had. Now, her hopes and dreams were gone. Gone as quickly as her husband had taken the coward’s way out, and deserted her a week after the second miscarriage and two weeks before Thanksgiving.
Alone, an ailing father, her mother in a nursing home, and with no way to support herself, Ellie had only her faith for comfort.
Little did Ellie know, God was about to intervene.
One week before Thanksgiving.
Twenty-six-year-old Luke Conway has lost his wife in a car accident. Luke is still hospitalized and in critical condition. His two children have nowhere to go but the Children’s Home in Apple Lake, Georgia. Except the Children’s Home is full. And no one else in town has room, or is too old to care for the children.
A social worker knocks on Ellie Newsome’s door late at night with Luke’s daughter, nine-year-old Danni Conway and six-month-old Brett Conway, by her side.
At first Ellie refuses to care for someone else’s children, but finally gives in when the social worker promises to find the children another home within a week.
It’s now two weeks before Christmas, and the children are still with Ellie. She’s determined the children won’t go without Christmas, even if the worker places them before Christmas. She discovers shopping for them and teaching Danni to bake cookies, gives her more joy than she thought possible.
She’s had no contact with the children’s father, neither has the case worker informed her of his condition.
One week before Christmas
Luke Conway is about to be released from the hospital, but he can’t go home. He needs care. The case worker hinted at Ellie to take him in until he is better. Ellie refuses.
After Luke is allowed to visit with his children at the hospital, Danni misses her father so badly after they go back to Ellie’s, she cries for an entire day and through the night.
Ellie calls her friend Gage Landon, who knows Luke. Gage assures Ellie that Luke is one of the most honest and above board men in town.
Ellie relents and allows Luke to move into her home until he has recovered from his injuries from the accident, with one condition. The police must visit at least once a day to check on them, unannounced.
Excerpt: Ellie visits her mom in the nursing home.
Ellie turned corners down each hallway toward her mom’s room, avoiding walkers, wheel chairs and patients in search of their rooms or fighting to take up residence in someone else’s room.
Orange cones lined one section of the hall and the entrance to a room two doors from her mom’s room. A weary housekeeper pushed a wide heavy mop across the floor, then plopped it into the lavender scented water to rinse and begin again. She looked up as Ellie approached.
“Watch your step, ma’am, the floor is wet.” She shoved a strand of hair from her face and blew upward with her bottom lip. “Wouldn’t want you to fall.”
“Thank you, I’ll be okay.” The scent was pleasant and reminded Ellie of the cut flowers her mom always arranged in a beautiful bouquet in the hallway of her home. Viola Rand had the same green thumb all the Rand women had inherited. Ellie had also inherited the Rand’s green thumb. Her mom had taught her the pleasure of growing flowers and vegetables. Memories of her mom in the garden were vivid and bittersweet.
How easy it would be to turn and run out the door, never to return. But then her mom would be in the same situation as many of the other patients were. There were plenty of lonely and forgotten souls, and she refused to allow her mom to become another statistic.
As she approached her destination, the thought she was fortunate to still have her mom, racked her saddened state of mind, and the more anxious she became. The visits always filled her with dread too. That dread included what condition her mom would be in today.
She wanted her mom back, but realized she couldn’t change the past or see into the future.
The tiny figure she called mom, sat enveloped by a lavender blanket in a recliner, her legs crossed in front of her and next to her heart, she embraced a baby doll wrapped in the same color blanket.
The devastating separation hit Ellie all over again as she reminded herself her mom no longer recognized her as a daughter. The blank stare on her mom’s face and the empty eyes…her once beautiful, sparkling hazel eyes, was more than she could endure. For once, she was glad her dad wasn’t here to witness his beloved wife’s condition.
Ellie squeezed back tears, walked to her mom, wrapped her arms around the thin shoulders, then hugged her tight, unable to let her go. Her mom shrugged her aside. In sorrow, but yet still hopeful, Ellie gazed into those dull, vacant hazel eyes, searched for recognition, but found none. Nothing. It was as though Ellie no longer existed in her mom’s memory. No. It wasn’t as though her mom recognized her. She didn’t.
Sadly, once her mom’s Alzheimer’s advanced to a certain stage, Ellie’s existence and her mom’s memory had deteriorated. Again, Ellie bit back a sob and covered her mom’s hands with hers, then slowly turned them over and memorized each vein and crease.
Those hands, that had with love, accomplished so many tasks for her family…those hands that had protected her from harm. One day they would be no more.
Her mom focused on the door with a longing and spoke in a monotone expression without acknowledging Ellie. “I’m waiting for my daughter.” She tilted her head and stared up at Ellie. “Do you know my daughter?”
Ellie wrapped her arms around her mom’s shoulders again. “Mom, it’s me. It’s Ellie…your daughter. I miss you,” she whispered into her soft silver hair.
Oh, Mom. Where are you? Where have you gone? I need to talk to you.
Grief stricken tears trickled down Ellie’s face and onto her crisp white blouse for the mom she’d already lost. For the mom who would never recover from her horrendous disease. Yet deep inside her mom’s brain, Ellie knew she somehow recalled she had a daughter.
She simply couldn’t position reason enough together to pull up the memory.
Please check out my other books, available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, and Apple. http://caroldevaney.weebly.com/my-books.html
I wish you Butterflies, Music and Love…