“TJ, I think I want to go home.  I know you and Sam will take good care of my Harlan.  I want to go home, I would rather he be going home with me.  He’s not is he?”
TJ walked over and knelt down in front of Alma.  Neither of her grown boys had moved, other than to release her hands as TJ knelt.  TJ took her hands into his.
“Miss Alma, can we pray?”
Alma could only nod her head.  One more prayer wasn’t going to hurt.  She didn’t believe it would help anymore. She had prayed herself out.  But the last person she had said that too was shocked and tried to convince her otherwise. She realized it didn’t matter what she thought, others really felt they needed it.  So she had stop saying her own and just listened when others prayed.
“Lord, you have placed a mighty burden on a good woman.  Not just to day, but for the last four years.  I do not believe that she done anything warranting such a punishment. You may not have your hand in this, as some say.  I don’t know about that.  I do know she is hurting. There are gonna be a lot of people hurting over this.  This two men here have lost their Daddy.  The man they went to for advice. This family now has a hole, a big hole.  Lord, fill it.  Fill that hole. Console them as only you can.  Please somehow, ease them through this change of life.  You know their need better than me, probably better than them.  Help them with that.  I trust in you God, Amen”
Alma watched the top of TJ’s head move, shake.  His face expressing his will, eyes closed.  He meant what he was saying.  Almost detached mind, heart, and body, Alma watched, heard, and reacted to this heart felt prayer.  This was going to be the first of many prayers she fears like this. She couldn’t live up to them.  She didn’t know if she could hold her tongue anymore.  Harlan had kept her in check.  HE let her rant privately, rant until she’d dried up.  He knew how judgmental she was deep down.  The only other person in the world that knew her heart was gone.  She had no one to be is all with.  So many people expected the quiet, angelic Alma who was always by Harlan’s side.  Now, she had to be perfect all the time.


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