Chapter 3

Rolling over with a groan, Samantha shielded her eyes from the bright sun streaming through her bedroom window. She lay there taking in the never changing room she grew up in. The trophies she earned still lined the shelves and of course, they were dust free so that meant mama still had her weekly cleaning schedule. Her mama took pride in her home ensuring it was spotless, even when Samantha was a child. Continuing her look around the room, her gaze paused on the shelf her dad had made her just for special trinkets. He knew how much she loved to collect rocks when she was little, so he made her a special shelf for Christmas one year. It was one of her most prized possessions, and she had been sad when she realized she couldn’t take it off to college with her. Looking at this shelf, at this moment, made her more emotional than she could have possibly imagined. She could remember that Christmas like it was yesterday, and she could still picture her daddy putting that shelf up for her. Suddenly feeling her cheeks dampen Samantha raised her hand to wipe the now steady stream of tears. Being home again was definitely going to be harder than Samantha previously thought. 

Samantha threw back her covers, sat up, and put her feet on the floor. She looked down at the clock on her cell phone to see it was ten o’clock. She couldn’t believe how long she had slept without getting up. Samantha knew how exhausted she had been, but she didn’t mean to sleep past dinner last night. Standing up, Samantha took the time and gave her body a good stretch giving it a good stretch. Walking over to the window, she looked across the ten acres her parents owned and watched as Rick, Jackson, and another man she had never met before, moved about mending the fence and tending to the animals. She watched them for a few more minutes, then gathered her clothes for the day, and headed down the hall to the bathroom. 

Standing under the water Samantha let the hot water cascade down her body. She wasn’t your typical farm girl from Georgia. She was only five feet two but could do anything the farm hands could do. She wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty and could throw hay bales as well as everyone else. As she washed her face, she couldn’t help but think back to when she wanted to scrub all the freckles off her face. In school, she had wanted long blonde hair and clear skin like all the other pretty girls. It was easy

to want to be them, from their easy smiles to perfect clothes. She just wanted to be the girl that all the boys wanted to date, not the girl who was just a plain Jane. Samantha rarely let her insecurities show because she was a very happy girl and loved who she had grown to be. Her mama made sure she had the confidence to do anything she wanted, but let’s be realistic, doesn’t every girl have a desire to look like someone they’re not? 

Shutting the water off, grabbing the towel, and wrapping it around her body, she walked over to the mirror, staring into it for a long minute. Samantha grabbed her hairbrush off the counter and ran it through her long curly brown hair. No matter the number of products she tried, there was no taming her mane when it dried; this was why she always wore her hair in a ponytail. 

Walking down the stairs, remembering just where to step so that there was no creaking, Samantha made her way to the kitchen.As she walked in, she noticed how brightly the sun shined through the sheer curtains and how it made the yellow walls look even more intense. Samantha walked over to the coffee maker and began making herself a cup of coffee. She then walked over to the fridge, opening the door to find that there wasn’t really anything to eat. She made a mental note to go grocery shopping later during the day. After scouring through the cabinets, she found herself a few slices of bread, and popped them into the toaster. After waiting a few minutes, she poured her coffee in a cup, took her slices of bread in a paper towel and sat down. As she was getting ready to grab her second bite of toast, the house phone rang. Walking over to where it still hung on the wall, she answered “Hello.” 

“Hey Samantha, it’s me Martha. I wanted to wait to call until I figured you were up. I did not want to come over too early. I didn’t wake you, did I?” she said. 

“Not at all. I have been up for the last hour. I just sat down to eat some toast, there isn’t much to eat in the house. How were you dealing with that?” Samantha asked curiously. 

“I usually went to the store every day, after your mom decided what she wanted to eat.She was a picky woman and I hated wasting.” Martha said with a laugh. 

Thinking about how stubborn her mama was put a smile on Samantha’s face. That definitely sounded like her. “Well, that makes complete sense. I will have to make a list and go to the store today. What do we need to do today?” 

There was a sound of papers rustling before Martha spoke again, “We should go over to the funeral home to start that process, but we will need to call the morgue to find out when we can get her body. We can do that when I get over there, I will head out now and be there in the next half hour. Do you want me to stop and grab something for you to eat?” Martha asked Samantha 

“No, I am okay. Thank you though.” Samantha replied. “The front door is unlocked so come on in when you get here.” 

“Okay. See you soon.” 

Throwing away the paper towel, Samantha walked out onto the back porch and leaned against the rail, placing her cup down. She was able to see Rick and Jackson at the fence mending the hole that the cows must have made. She remembered her dad always having to do that. Looking over to the left, she saw the man she didn’t know unloading hay into the barn; he turned to wave when he noticed her

watching. Not remembering her mom saying anything about hiring anyone new, Samantha made a mental note to find out more about this. She nodded her head and smiled in response to his wave, before being distracted by the loud clucking of the chickens. 

“Hey Samantha, I’m here.” The voice coming from inside surprised Samantha, as she turned to see Martha peek her head through the backdoor. Upon seeing Martha’s smiling face, Samantha waved her over, as Martha held up the papers in her hand. “I brought the numbers for the funeral home, life insurance company, as well as the bank, as we need to call them and let them know your mama has 

passed away. The papers I have here are for the life insurance information as well as her will that she had drawn up about a month before she died. I always make sure that I at least know where the information concerning all of these issues are located, especially for those who I feel I will see through the end of their life. It makes it easier when trying to help the family when they are dealing with their overwhelming grief. You mama fought me hard when I asked about them, because she sure didn’t see anything happening to her anytime soon. She would always say, ‘only the good die young’, Martha chuckled. 

“ That sounds about right with my mama.” Samantha smirked at the thought of her mama thinking she was going to live forever. “Do you want a cup of coffee?” Samantha asked as she placed her arm around Marthas’ shoulders heading back to the kitchen. 

“No dear, I appreciate it.” Martha said sweetly. 

Pouring herself one more cup Samantha turned and quickly asked Martha, “Where is our first stop today?” 

“We need to call the funeral home to confirm our meeting with them at twelve o’clock.”Back in the kitchen, Martha spread her papers out methodically on the table before grabbing the handset off the wall.She dialed a number, not waiting long before the person on the other end picked up, “Hello, I am confirming the meeting time for Mrs. Crouse? I am the nurse who was Mrs. Crouse’s caregiver. I am currently helping her daughter make the arrangements, and I was with her when you picked her up at the house.” Martha paused and nodded as the other person talked. After listening for a few more seconds, Martha said, “Thank you,” and hung up the phone. 

“We are confirmed for our meeting today. We better get a move on if we are going to get everything we need to do today.” Martha grabbed her purse, replacing the papers in their envelope and started towards the front door. Watching Martha gather her papers and stuff them in her purse, Samantha couldn’t help but feel relieved that someone was taking the lead in all of this If Martha hadn’t volunteer to take the lead with the planning, Samantha was sure she wouldn’t have be able to summon the energy to get our bed, much less take care of the arrangements. She was not in the right headspace to be taking charge of any of this. She has gone beyond her work duties to make sure this was an easy process for her and for this Samantha was profoundly grateful that Martha was with her mom when she passed. Breaking out of her moment of thought, Samantha grabbed her purse and went out the door following Martha to her car.

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