Marcie Edwards lay back in her bed, and sighed. She knew she was dying, she was hoping to live until midnight, her birthday. She was frail, nothing but skin and bones, giving her the look of a skeleton with a long thick brown braid draped over her left shoulder. At ninety-six, it was inevitable and in a strange way, she welcomed death.
She had given birth to four beautiful children; who were now in their sixties; with children and grandchildren of their own. Just one month ago, she had become a great-grandmother and all except the newest to the family were greedy self-centered ingrates. This new little girl, Sara, they had named her, was her only hope, for one child in the family, to be good, loving and greed free.
“Where did we go wrong William?” Marcie whispered her words to her long deceased husband. William had died sixteen years earlier and she had felt lost and lonely ever since. Tears ran down the sides of her cheeks, into her ears and onto her pillow.
“Mrs. Edwards, are you in pain, would you like me to give you another shot of morphine?” Her long time nurse Ellen Donnelly, ask her.
“No sweetie, but I do want you to call Thomas for me, there are a few changes I want to make in my will. Ask him to please hurry; I don’t imagine I have much longer, to get everything done.”
“Oh Mrs. Edwards, Please don’t talk like that, I want you to live for a long time, I would miss you something terrible,” Ellen said as her own eyes filled with tears. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she leaned down and kissed Marcie on the cheek, then hurried out of the room to make the call.
“Well my sweet William, I think we have just found the only one who cares for me, as she did for you. When you left, she was the only one, other than me, who shed tears at your passing. Yes, I think life’s plan outweighs our plans,” smiling to an unseen William, she dozed off into a dream-filled sleep.
“Is she dead yet, David,” Marcie heard the whisper of her grandchild, Adam.
“I don’t know, but Dad said she would die soon. Dad told me he was going to inherit the house and the cars; so I hope she is. I want the Lamborghini. Dad said when she died, the car was mine.”
“Adam, you have already wrecked the last two cars, Dad bought you, and you just got your license eight months ago… If you keep drinking and driving, Dad said he was going to ground you for a week.”
“So, with our inheritance we can buy hundreds of cars; and if he says he is going to ground me, I will just tell him that I will inform mom about his girlfriend, Dina,” Adam said with a snobbish disdain in his voice.
“Did you ever ask grandma if you could have it,” David asked him in a whisper.
“Of course I did, you twit, the day I went for my driver’s license, but the old witch said that it had belonged to grandpa and she was keeping it. Can you believe she was so stingy? Here comes Ellen, I will not ever understand why grandma ever let her in the house. Mom said she was probably stealing everything she could get her hands on. Come on David let’s go find a bottle and have a few drinks.”
Marcie slowly shook her head, “Well William, would you have ever thought our children and grand-children would turn out like this? You and I worked so hard after the depression. We saved and struggled and for what? Ungrateful bunch they are, hovering around now in hopes of getting everything we worked so hard for, just so that they can have more, more and more. Well my love, that is about to change just as soon as our lawyer gets here.”
Talking with Mr. Edwards again, Mrs. Edwards,” Ellen asked Marcie as she entered the room.
“I sure am and I just wish he would answer me back. I miss him so much Ellen. Have you ever wondered what happens to us when we die?”
“No ma’am, Mrs. Edwards. I am a Christian and I believe I know what happens when we die, we go to heaven.”
“I am a christian also, we even raised our children in the church, but you see what they turned out to be. But I regress, No, what I mean is, that the Bible says, in ‘1 Thessalonians chapter four, verses sixteen and seventeen, those who are believers will arise and go to meet him, along with the living, who are believers. So what happens in the meantime, to our souls, I mean, will we just lie there unaware, or as some believe, will we return in the body of a newborn, to try to get it right the next time.”
“I have never thought of it that way. Mrs. Edwards, but if it were to be that way, I sure hope I have atoned for my previous sins and mistakes, and will have a much easier life next time,” Ellen replied with a smile on her face.
“You and I both, how is it that you can raise children with love and kindness, giving them all you never had , but they only want more and give no love in return?” Marcie asked Ellen.
“You are asking the wrong person, as I have never married or had children. Perhaps you simply gave them too much, too often. Mama says if we had everything given to us, on the ‘proverbial silver platter,’ and we never had to work for what we want; we would not learn to appreciate anything. She says that by having to work hard, every day of our lives, we have a far greater appreciation of the little things. I guess she is right, because I am thankful for just having a job,”
“Ellen, do you ever wish you were rich?”
“To be truthful, yes, or at least I did before I…,” Ellen’s voice trailed off as she realized what she was about to say. She started to apologize, when Marcie held up a frail hand to stop her.
“Now do not be upset for what you were about to say Ellen, I know the truth you are reluctant to speak. I feel the same as you. After the great depression, my sweet William and I both felt that somehow, we would work hard and our children would not have to worry about where their next meal was going to come from. Therefore, we worked towards our goal. When the Ford Company, in nineteen-forty-seven, hired William, we knew we were on our way towards our goal. As time went on, and we invested in stocks, we became wealthier, the more we gave to our children, the more they wanted. We thought of ourselves as good loving parents, for wanting our children to have what we did not, but as you see, we created a greedy self-centered family.”
Groaning as she tried to turn onto her side, Marcie weakly continued, “Did you get in touch with Thomas Aims for me?”
“Yes ma’am, he said he was on his way and to tell you he and his assistant Jonathan, would be here in twenty minutes. Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“I think I would love to hear the rest of our book, if you do not mind. I sure love the way Catherine Coulter writes. We are on the last of her books, “Whiplash,” aren’t we?
“Yes, and I sure hope she writes another one soon. Her FBI series are the best,” Ellen said as she picked up the book, opened to chapter thirty-three and started to read.
Listening to the story, Marcie thought of how she used to read to her children. She hoped that if she were given another chance on earth, to get it right or for whatever reason, that she would be born to someone loving and caring as Ellen. Dozing off, loud voices in the hall woke her.
“Why did she send for you Thomas, I will be a lawyer, as soon as I pass the bar. She could have just asked me to write her will.”
“Arthur, if you have learned anything in that law school you attend, then you know as well as I do that that is against the law. You are part of her extended family, you know.
“Alright Thomas, but would you at least let me sit in on the meeting today, the family has decided that if she gives one penny to that girl or any of the hired help, we will fight it. The least you can do is give me the chance to tell her that?”
“Would you mind telling me why you have not discussed this with Marcie, before now?”
Before Arthur could answer him, Ellen opened the door and spoke to Thomas.
“Excuse me Mr. Aims, but Mrs. Edwards said to tell Mr. DeMill to take his stinky cigars out of her house and to stay out. If she smelled them in here one more time, you are to remove him from her will immediately.”
Huffing and cursing under his breath, Arthur hurried down the steps, grabbed his coat and left the house with his wife Linda, close behind him, whining over their possible loss.
Laughing as they walked into the room, Thomas Aims and Jonathan Wilders walked over to Marcie, leaning down they both took turns giving her a hug.
“Well Marcie, I can see you have not endeared yourself to the natives as of yet,” Thomas laughingly told her.
“Nor do I intend to. The only way to endear myself to that bunch of piranhas is to die, giving them everything and letting them fight to the death for all of it. Each one of them has already decided that everything I own should belong to only them and no one else. I have heard them arguing about it for a week.”
“I brought the recorder, as you instructed, and as you can see, Jonathan is here to witness what you dictate. Now, do you need anything before we send Ellen out of the room?”
Sighing and looking weaker by the minute, she said, “Ellen, please wait in my parlor and Thomas will come for you when we are finished. I want to try to finish our book, before I die.”
“Yes ma’am, I will be there waiting,” Ellen said as she wiped the tears off her cheeks.
After Ellen left the room, Marcie said, “Poor dear, I think perhaps she is in the wrong business, every time someone mentions my death, she tears up. I wish she were my daughter or granddaughter. What I wouldn’t give for a loving, caring child…” Marcie’s voice trailed off at the thought and there was a sad far-a-way look in her eyes.
After setting up the camera and recorder, Jonathan asked if Marcie would say a few words, just to make sure they had everything set up right. After doing so and some adjustments, they were ready to start.
“My name is Margret Ilene Edwards. I was born in Dallas Texas in the year of our Lord, nineteen-fourteen on the twenty-third day of February, as Margret Ilene Delaney. I am now ninety-six years old, in my right mind, with not long to live and today, I will give my last will and testimony. To my eldest child Linda…”
“I hope you do not think you will receive any of our mother’s money. People like you always think you will inherit a fortune, when you work for the wealthy. Is that why you have stayed with the old witch for so long?”
Ellen looked up from her book to see the eldest of Marcie’s children in the doorway of the private parlor. Taking a deep breath and praying she could control her temper, she said, “Mrs. DeMill, I have no notion of receiving anything other than my hard-earned wages. I did not seek a job with the wealthy; I was recommended to your mother by a mutual acquaintance. I have no idea how much money your mother has, or to whom she will give her money to, nor do I care, as it is none of my business.”
“You just see that it stays that way. If you receive one dime, we will keep you in court for so long and it will cost you so much that, you will end up losing everything you have. Do you understand me?”
“Of course I understand you, and I am sure your mother is well aware of this also. She would never put me into a situation that would harm me, in that way, she is a better person than that,” sighing deeply, Ellen knew it was only a matter of a few moments before then next greedy family member would come to threaten her, or warn her as they chose to call it.
“Ellen, I wish to speak with you a moment,” Nathan Edwards said while trying to look down his nose at her.
Ellen almost laughed aloud. Nathan looked so ridiculous with his back rigid and the haughty self-serving look on his face.
“Yes Mr. Edwards?”
“As you are aware, I am Marcie’s eldest son, and as such, I will inherit the most, or all of my parent’s fortune. I will see to it that you receive your pay, minus the days you do not work, after she is dead. I am telling you this, because I want everyone who works here to leave this house the moment she dies. We will take an inventory of everything here and if nothing is missing or stolen, by you or the other hired help; you will receive your pay.” Having said what he had come to say, Nathan seemed to pull himself up straighter than before, and left the room.
“Well for goodness sake, I have never seen so many greedy people under one roof. How can they be so uncaring? This is so sad for Marcie,” Ellen quietly said as she wiped away a tear.
“Would you look at that, she must be crying because she will not be getting our money from the old money bags, when she croaks. Poor ‘Ellen Nobody,” works here all those years for nothing,” Adam taunted her.
“Yeah, Dad told her she would get nothing and now she is so sad. Poor little Ellen, born poor die poor,” David taunted.
Ellen did the only thing she could do, she ignored them. After a few minutes of trying to upset her, they decided to leave.
Ellen tried to get back into her reading, but she was so angry that she was unable to read. Finally, she simply closed the book, and put it back on the shelf where she had found it.
“What are you still doing here? I would have thought you would be in your room packing seeing as she is not expected to live much longer,” Caitlyn said as she and Linda entered the room. “You were told by my husband that the moment she dies, you and the rest of the hired help are out of here, weren’t you?”
“Of course Mr. Edwards told me earlier, but as long as she is alive, I work for Mrs. Edwards and she asked me to wait in here,” Ellen said between clenched teeth.
“Oh yes, do as she said by all means, come Caitlyn we must not waste our time on hired help. They are so beneath us,” Linda ridiculed her as they left the room.
Ellen was feeling about ready to scream, when Jonathan entered the room. Smiling down at her, he told her that Thomas had called the doctor at Marcie’s request.
“She grows weaker by the minute Ellen. She asked me to come for you. Dr. Morrell said it would not be long now; Marcie’s heart is too weak. Please hurry,” Jonathan said as he beckoned Ellen to follow him to Marcie’s bedroom.”
When they entered the room, Ellen hurried to Marcie’s side. Taking the frail weak hand in her’s, Ellen said, “Is there anything I can do for you, to make you more comfortable?”
“No sweetie, you have done so much for me, for so many years. I just ask that you hold my hand until it is over. After I am gone, stay close to Thomas and do what he says, not what my children say. I know they plan to throw everyone out the minute I die, but I will still be in charge even after I am gone. Give everyone who works here my love and appreciation, I am just too tired to talk to all of them. I want you to know I love you as if you were my child…”
With her words, came her final breath. Margret Ilene Edwards died five minutes after midnight, the twenty-third day of February in the year of our lord twenty-eleven. It was Marcie’s ninety-seventh birthday.
“Happy birthday Mrs. Edwards, I hope you are with Mr. Edwards now. Life is too hard, so I hope you will not have to return to get life right, another time,” Ellen whispered as she bent down and kissed her friend on the forehead. Tears fell as she mourned the loss of her friend.
“I guess we need to let Dr. Morrell do what needs to be done,” Thomas said, taking hold of Ellen’s hand, he continued,” shall we go and tell the family, I know they will be so upset over their loss of a beloved mother. Well, they should be anyway.
Jonathan and Ellen both laughed, a sarcastic laugh at the same time, and then they left the room.
“Well then, since she is dead, I want the hired help out of here now. The family needs to be alone to grieve. And just when will you be reading the will, Mr. Aims,” Nathan Edwards said in his snobby voice.
As Marcie’s long time hired help started to leave the room and the Edwards home, Thomas Aims said, “Just one moment please everyone. You will not be leaving tonight or any other night, until I read the will on Monday. Everyone looked at each other; they were surprised to hear what Thomas Aims had just said.
“Do you think to undermine my authority, Mr. Aims? I will have you disbarred for this. This is my home, my being the only son and I will say who can stay and who will go. Is that understood Mr. Aims?”
“Of course, if it was indeed your home, but it is not, at least not until the reading of the will. Mrs. Edwards gave strict orders that immediately after her death, you and your family were to leave, but the hired help was to stay. She has given her orders, and if you wish to inherit anything whatsoever, you will do as she requested. The funeral will be this Friday, and I will have the reading of the will on Monday, in my office at one in the afternoon. I am sure you will all be there.”
Grumbling and outright enraged, Marcie’s family left her home.
“There had better not be one thing missing. I have a record of everything and I will make sure it is all still here on Monday afternoon. Do you all hear me,” Linda said as she headed out the door.
“Mrs. Duncan, will you see to it that there is coffee; I think we probably need a cup or two, after having to put up with that crowd. We need to have a private reading of the will, this morning, according to Marcie’s last request,” Thomas Aims told them, as he sat down on the sofa and took a deep breath.
“It is for sure that bunch would drive a person to drink, Mr. Aims, but I would be thinking of something a bit stronger, if I were a drinking woman. I do not see how poor Mrs. Edwards put up with them for all these years, since Mr. Edwards passed. Those kids were so angry when he passed and did not leave anything to them. They carried on and on about how unfair he was to have left it all to Mrs. Edwards,” Mrs. Duncan said as she headed for the kitchen. “Janie you and Laura come with me, I will need some help. I think we will heat up some sweet bread to go along with that coffee. It was Mrs. Edwards favorite,” they heard her say, as she walked towards the kitchen.
“Well my sweet William, do you think we did the right thing,” Marcie said as she embraced her husband.
“Oh yes, my love, we did the only thing that would ever help our family. I am not so sure how long, if ever, before they realize we gave them greatest gift of all, the chance of becoming decent human beings.”
“All their planning of how to spend our fortune, which we worked so hard for, was for naught. Now they will have to discover Life’s plan, the hard way,” Marcy smiled up at her husband.
“Indeed they will my love. I cannot help but wish we would be allowed to be in Thomas Aim’s office on Monday. It would be something indeed to see their faces, when they are told they are to receive only the homes they live in.”
“And of course, our grandchildren have their college funds, my sweet William.”
Laughing, William asked, “Marcy, speaking of life’s plan, what about my plan’s for the Lamborghini?”
“Oh yes, I contacted Mr. Cussler myself and he said he would be happy to add it to his new car museum. You know, after you were gone, he wrote quite a few more books and each one was better than the last. Oh, I forgot to ask, where do we go from here? Is the theory about living another life true?”
“I do not know Marcie, I waited here for you. To me it feels I have only been here a short while. I hope that if we are sent back to earth, we are given the chance to do it over together, once again,” William said as he bent to kiss his one and only love.
William and Marcie, turned and walked into heaven, to wait and see what life’s plan held in store for them, next.
To be continued…