I hope you enjoy reading this one. Best to read it all at once and without interruption.

Good-bye Mary Hello Sam Sunday.. July 24.. 2011

Sam was sitting next to his 3 children.. staring off into nothingness. Only now and then did he hear the words of the pastor. Dearly departed were sounds Sam heard and then his thoughts tuned out the world. How could you have left me like this Mary. Sam thought. May be she was getting him back for the one indiscretion he had. Sam and the guys were having a night out at the bar. Too much to drink and Mary walked in and there was the barmaid sitting in Sam-s lap. The howling laughter from Sam-s buddies when the barmaid-s butt hit the floor could not mask the anger from Mary. Mary had taken Sam home but not until she had given that woman the ..what for... Sally the barmaid quit that night. Mary had really been angry. A thin wisp of a smile crossed Sam-s lips. .. I really thought she had forgiven me for that.. Sam was thinking. Maybe not. That was 30 years ago. Now Mary had left Sam. The smile vanished.

Sam felt his son-s lifting him up. At 83 Sam needed the help but would never admit it. Sam slowly walked to the casket and placed a single red rose on top. ..My Mary.. why did you leave me?.. he spoke in a low whisper. Standing there alone with Mary.. Sam wondered about everything that he and Mary ever did. He did not want to move. Sam felt his son-s again.. one holding each arm. He did not realize he had not moved for 20 minutes. Sam let himself be guided back to the chair. The funeral ceremony was over. Sam found himself back home sitting in his chair.. not remembering how he got there. Both his sons.. Frank and Sonny were talking to people.. thanking them for coming and the condolences they offered. Sam was lost in his thoughts.

..He hasn-t said a word.. to anyone.. Sonny told Frank. ..I am worried!.. He will be OK Frank replied.. Mom is gone and he needs some time to get over that. Frank-s attempt to allay Sonny-s worries was only partially successful.
Sonny was still concerned about his Dad. It-s getting late Dad; want to go to bed now. ..No.. was Sam-s reply. You boys get some sleep. I-ll be fine.
And so Frank and Sonny went off to bed.
Sam did not move from his chair for several hours nor did he notice the time going by. A lapse in his thoughts allowed Sam to look around. He barely remembered sitting in his chair for the last 8 hours and noticed it was almost 5 A.M. ..Better eat.. Sam thought. Sam made coffee and some scrambled eggs and a slice of toast. He took a bite of toast and placed the food on the table. As Sam sat down he looked around and said ..Mary.. would you like some tea?.. Then the realization that Mary was not there. Sam-s head fell to his chest. The rush of thoughts of Mary being there and not swirled around inside Sam-s mind. Sam stood.. picked up his keys and headed for his truck. He drove absentmindedly to the new Kroger store.
Inside he went to the flower section. Sam had not liked this store in the beginning. You should get food at the grocery store.. oil at the auto parts store and flowers from the florist! Sam had told Mary. ..It-s a new way Sam.. and I like it. Besides they are open all the time. So Sam capitulated to Mary-s desire to shop here. ..Aahh.. She does the shopping anyway so let her have her way... Sam rationalized. He still did not like it. On this morning.. Sam was glad for the Kroger store. They were open and Sam wanted flowers.

The woman in the floral section was cheery and talked a lot Sam thought. He had not paid much attention after the first few words. Sam paid for the flowers and was on his way as fast as he could get back to his truck. He drove straight to the cemetary. He could barely remember being here before but somehow seemed to know exactly where his Mary was. Sam walked to Mary was buried. The grounds keepers had removed everything. Grass now covered the spot where Mary-s casket had been less than 24 hours ago. Sam was angry that even the flowers had been removed. Sonny had taken care of the headstone. It was a beautiful black marble with the whitish streaks running through it. The inscription read.. My beloved Mary.. Center of our family... 1921- 2002 Sam knelt beside Mary-s grave and placed both the yellow roses and the red ones beside the headstone. Mary had always liked yellow roses and Sam liked to give her red ones.. so he had always brought both to her. And today.. that would not change. Sam did not know what to say so he just stayed there.. thinking of Mary.. thinking of their life together.
Sam had met Mary when he went to work for Johnston Construction after coming home from the War. She was the daughter of the owner.. Harry Johnston. Harry Johnston was not too pleased his only daughter had fallen in love with a carpenter.. but talking to Mary failed to change her mind. If Sam asks me to marry him.. I will.. she had told her father. And Sam did ask and Mary said yes. Sam and Mary were married and Harry did what any father would do. He promoted Sam to foreman. It was a decision he did not regret. Sam worked hard and long hours; something Mary let her father know about whenever she saw him.

When Harry retired.. Sam took over the company and kept it going. But he was not too busy to start a family. Soon he and Mary had the two boys.. Frank and Sonny. Mary had been a wonderful wife. She made Sam very happy. Even when Mary was mad.. he loved her dearly. She was even beautiful when she was mad. Sam did not know why but when Mary was mad it had always made him smile. Maybe it was because he would gently hold her and kiss her over and over until she smiled. Sam had always loved that part the most. When Mary smiled at him.. His heart soared like an eagle on the wind. Sam remembered that smile and once more the thin smile crossed his face. But Mary is gone.. and that thought crashed upon him like a giant oak falling. The smile vanished.. replaced by an immersion in sadness.

Sam did not hear the man walk up behind him. Nor did he hear him speak several times. The man touched Sam on the shoulder. ..Say mister.. Are you Okay? ..he said. Sam turned his head and replied ..I-m fine.. Thank you...
..Well.. the man said.. I am leaving for the day and I wanted to tell you if you leave the flowers I will just have to remove them tomorrow..... Company policy!..
Sam-s mind flashed back many years. He and Mary had been on vacation.
After spending the morning at the beach they had returned to the cabana to shower. After dressing Sam and Mary had gone to the ocean front café. Two men sitting at the next table were making comments about how nice Mary looked. At first Sam paid no attention rationalizing that they were right. She is beautiful and she is with me. Soon the comments from the two became lewd and Sam went to correct the situation. It was obvious the two had been drinking. This made no difference to Sam. The two stood up. Sam only remembered part of the comment to send that ..Honey.. over and they would take care of her. Sam hit the man closest to him and loudmouth-s jaw shattered into a dozen pieces. The second guy turned to run but started too late. Sam grabbed him by the belt and the back of his neck. The next thing loudmouth number two knew his head was jammed between the struts of the wrought iron railing.. with one ear missing.

Normally Sam was a little slow at rising from a chair or after kneeling from doing yard work.. but not now. Sam stood fast and straight paying no attention to the pain from his knees.. hips and back. The adrenaline being produced blocked the screams of pain from the mind of his 83 year old body.
..Boy.. you put your hands on those flowers.. and you will need a space here! The last.. being simply a statement of fact. The grounds-man had heard all this before and usually stood his ground. But the man who stood before him was different. It wasn-t just anger that shown on his face but the eyes had fire in them. The grounds-man backed up slowly.. saying nothing.. and getting some distance away before turning to quickly walk away from Sam.

Sam stood ramrod straight watching the man leave. When the grounds-man was out of sight Sam turned back. ..Sorry about my losing my temper Mary...
Mary had always reminded Sam to watch his temper. It was just another one of those things he loved about her. She was always taking care of him. He was supposed to take care of her. Suddenly Sam felt weak. He sunk back to his knees. Sam had not felt the hot sun burn the back of his neck nor the sweat that soaked his shirt.. nor did he realize it was 4:30 in the afternoon. He had been kneeling at Mary-s grave for over 8 hours but had no sense of the time passing. Once again Sam was lost in thought and had no sense of a second visitor.

..Mr. Bailey.. a voice spoke.. Are you Mr. Bailey?.. Sam turned slowly around to see a man in blue. ..I-m Officer Williams.. Are you Sam Bailey.. sir?..
..Yes.. I-m Sam Bailey. Officer Williams helped Sam stand up. ..Are you okay Mr. Bailey? ..Fine..said Sam. Sam could hardly walk but managed to get to his truck. ..I will radio in that I found you sir.. your family is very worried... Sam turned the key and started his truck... Thank you officer.. Sam said as he drove away.

Sam went home and sat down in his chair. Frank and Sonny arrived soon after and had made a fuss about Sam being gone and the worry he had caused. ..How about something to eat dad.. Frank asked as he went into the kitchen. ..Just some coffee son.. Sam replied.
The sun had gone down and Sam had gone to sit on the front porch. The wind was picking up and Sam could tell a storm would be upon them soon.
Frank put the coffee on the table beside his dad. Sam was still in his own world and did not speak. Sonny had gone home for the day and Frank lay on the couch to take a nap. At 10 o-clock the time Sam always went to bed.. he stood up slowly and walked back to his truck. Sam headed back to the Kroger store.. the one that is always open. Need more roses in case the others wilted.. Sam thought as he drove along. There was a different woman in the florist section but she was just as cheery and talkative.

..Just get me the yellow roses and the red ones.. Sam stated. Whatever she was saying Sam did not hear. Sam was thinking of Mary. For the second time today Sam drove to see Mary. He walked in the dark to Mary-s grave not bothering to use the flashlight he always kept in the truck. At Mary-s grave Sam knelt in exactly the same spot he had early that morning. The roses were still there. Sam placed the new roses next to them. He tried to talk. He wanted to tell Mary how much he missed her.. how much he loved her and if she would come back he would be a better husband. But the sounds would not come. As much as he tried he could not speak.

The wind began blowing harder and the raindrops fell.. soft little ones at first. Then the rain fell harder.. and faster. Sam felt nothing of the rain. The rain that fell from his face were tears.. softly at first and then harder. Lightning cracked and lit the darkened sky. The thunder that accompanied the lightning was deafening. Sam heard none of it. The wind blew the rain and Sam was soaked but he felt only the sadness of Mary being gone. Sam could only think of Mary. He missed Mary more than his words could ever say. And the more he thought of her the more intensely he missed her. The storm had reached its peak. The wind was howling.. the lightning cracked.. thunder roared and the torrent of rain continued to thoroughly soak Sam. But he had no feeling of the rain.. the wind.. the thunder or lightning. Sam had no sense of the blood that had stopped flowing through his body. Sam did not sense the lack of oxygen which he was suddenly deprived. He did not feel his head hit the grass after falling nor did he know he fell. What Sam did sense was a light. The light grew brighter. As the light enveloped him Sam sensed something unusual. Sam looked hard and there was Mary. Sam-s spirit soared. ..Hello Sam.. she said.
Hello Mary.. I missed you! Sam told her. ..Yes.. I know Sam... That is why I came to get you.

The next morning the police discovered the body of Sam Bailey lying across the grave of Mary Bailey. Sam was buried next to Mary a few days later. The inscription on the headstone read.. Harry Bailey.. 1919-2002
Husband to Mary
It is a lovely story you wrote with a touching ending.

Often when a spouse pass on, the other one will pass on with a broken heart, this end as either a happy ending or a sad ending, depending on how you look at life. For me it a happy ending because Sam is with his wife again.

I knew of a family like that, only they had five children, three boys and two girls, the husband pass on and the wife to follow.