The glass shattered in her hand when she learned these would be her last 24 hours alive. The news was so shocking, she hadn't realized her hand was bleeding with shards of glass protruding from her palm. It was numbing for a few seconds, but the reality sunk in quickly knowing her time was running out.
Instead of going about her regular routine, Samantha grabbed her purse and headed for the door with dozens of eyes questioning her leaving. She knew they wanted answers, but she had none to give. "I'm leaving," was all she could get out of her mouth before the door closed and she ran down the hall to the building's exit.
"Mrs. Curtis!" her boss called from behind her, but she didn't even flinch. She just kept running for her car.
She drove home to her children wanting nothing more than to spend her last living moments with them by her side. "I love you so much," she assured them without revealing too much.
"Mommy, we love you too. Why are you so sad?" her son asked. It always amazed her how intuitive her children had become the older they got.
"Mommy isn't sad. I just want to spend time with you," she lied. There on the couch, they sat watching a tv show she had little interest in but knew they were happy. Her children clung to each side of her while she thought about tomorrow. Would they be ok without her? Would they remember her in ten years? How would her daughter look on her wedding day? Would her son graduate from college? Too many questions ran through her mind. There wasn't enough time.
"Let's go to the park," she offered.
Her children jumped up, "YES!" they answered before she could have another thought. The three grabbed their coats and headed for the door ready for an adventure. As they walked to the park, her children talked wildly about their day at school, what they learned, and what they wanted to do for lunch tomorrow. It was all too much for her to soak in. How could she leave them? It wasn't fair.
She watched her children slide on the slide, swing on the swings, and run freely on the grass. It was the ideal afternoon she never wanted to end. As the sun began to set, dinner was entering her mind. She wanted tonight to be the best last dinner, but all she could imagine making was eggs and toast. Breakfast for dinner was the family favorite. Together they ate as a family while Samantha took it all in. Time was moving too quickly.
The baths she considered mundane were special that night as she prepared her children for bed. Once the teeth were brushed, hair was combed, and children were dressed, she tucked each in for their sleep.
"Good night my dear," she said to each kissing both children on the forehead. She could feel the tears slipping down her cheeks as she shut each bedroom door. "I don't want to die," she whispered to herself before walking to her bedroom.
As she climbed in her bed, she said a prayer for the first time in many years. "God, please take care of my children. Please let them grow to be good people, be successful, and most of all, please let them be happy." She forgot how far faith could take her, but those words brought her incredible comfort that night. She knew it would all be ok.
The next morning, she woke looking around surprised she was still in her room. She wasn't sure what she expected, but her room was not it at all. She reached for her phone instinctively, but this morning there as a text message.
>False alarm. There was a HUGE error when your tests were read. Please call ASAP<
Samantha's hands shook as she dialed the number to her doctor's office. "May I speak with Dr. Brown? This is Samantha Curtis." Silence followed.
"Mrs. Curtis, there has been a terrible mistake. You are going to be fine." These words shook her to the core. She had a new lease on a life she had taken for granted. Today would be the first day of the rest of her life. She wasn't going to waste a moment more.