Reading and writing books is what I do.
Alice had always loved her grandfather's wonderful, exciting stories but the last few months were the most wonderful and saddest of her relationship with him. The saddest because he was lost to her, the most wonderful because, in them, he opened a world to her she would, indeed could, never have known otherwise. Shortly after her uncle and cousin left with Mr. Cromwell for the States, Alice Mae went to her grandfather and, to her surprise; he didn’t know who she was. She said, "I'm Alice, don't you know?"
"Alice", he said, "Your Highness, I've heard so much about you, but never hoped to meet you." He bowed low peered at her out of myopic eyes. "You are so young," he said. "Your father has told me so much about you..." then his attention wandered and he didn't seem to know she was there.
He almost never touched reality with her after that; but no matter whom he thought she was it opened doors to another world and another life for Alice. Sometimes he thought she was one of his little sisters or one of his daughters. He even thought she was his mother once, but more often it was some fascinating person he met in his many travels. Her imagination took full flight and transported her into the lives of the people who he supposed her to be.
The evening before he died he looked at Alice with clear blue eyes and said, "I've done a lot of exciting things in my life and met a good part of the world's most exciting people. But I left the most exciting part of my life and the most important person till my life was almost over. To know Christ and have the excitement of living in the presence of the King of kings and Lord of lords has made the last years the richest of my life." Then he went to sleep and never woke up. And some of the members of the family that were there, and heard him, were never the same after that.
Dianna was there and she knew her life would never be the same. She would get to know that King herself and live in his presence.
Jonathan had a smile on his face the next morning when Dianna and Alice went to wake him up with his breakfast.
Dianna put the tray down and Alice put her hand on his cold, cold face and, with tears running unbidden down her face, she looked at Dianna and said, "He must have seen the King and went with him."
"Yes, I think you are right," said Dianna softly through her tears. She pulled Alice into the circle of her arms and they sobbed quietly together, then they went to get grandmother up. But she was already up and had three cups of tea ready for them to revive themselves before they told the rest of the family. "I was with him all night," she explained, "and I wanted you girls to go in and say good bye before you saw me. I knew it would make it easier than just hearing second hand from me he was gone - and I wanted you to see his smile. You did, didn't you? He went with God, but he left that message behind in his body for us to know that he is happy. We must never forget."
"We won't grandmother," promised Alice. She didn't know the tears were still running down her face.
"Oh death, where is thy sting? And oh grave, where is thy victory?" said Dianna in a shaky voice. She smiled through her tears and said, "Death doesn't have victory with grandfather, because it is not just that he is with God now, it is his victory because of his messages - the one last night and the one in his smile."
They sat by his bed and talked of how much they loved him, the things they would miss most and hold dearest, and the joy he brought to their lives. But in time they realized they would have to share the news with the rest of the family and Alice made it easier by saying, "I shall go and tell Aunt Evelyn now and she and Uncle Daryl will know how to do the rest."
Part of the Thomas family came to interment service at the grave site. Chester and his parents were there. Alice remembered out loud to Dianna that Chester was the one who brought the news of Uncle Lawrence's death.
Dianna told herself she was just imagining things, but she thought the spirit of the Thomas family was more malevolent than benevolent. She was sure she saw a smirk on Mrs. Thomas' face and was telling herself not to be foolish when Alice whispered to her, "They shouldn't be here. They hated grandfather, and I don't like them. I think I shall tell them to leave."
"No," said Dianna and held tight to Alice through the rest of the service. She noticed Aunt Evelyn moved closer to Daryl and looked uneasy. This is grandfather's good bye and I will not let anything take my mind of Grandfather and his God, she thought. She looked at her grandmother and noticed she was totally unaware of the Thomas family's presence. She leaned down to Alice and Whispered, "Grandmother doesn't know and that is what is important. That family is not important enough to even see. You don't do you?" and Alice smiled and shook her head no.