The Token

Kingwell By Kingwell, 2nd Mar 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/349sunii/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Writing

A little boy dies leaving his cousin with a memory that would last a lifetime.

The Token

Nearly a hundred years ago when my mother was a young woman, there were few doctors in Out port Newfoundland. This was especially true of those who lived on islands and other places of isolation. Most people were born, lived and died without any medical attention. The average lifespan was about forty -five years and often children died in their first year. With only a midwife availably, many women also died in childbirth.
My mother’s aunt Patience, like most women of the day had a large family and among them at the time was her youngest a two and a half year old boy named Willie. It’s unlikely that anyone knew what Willie suffered from but everyone knew he was ill, and that he was still living was a miracle in itself. Mom would sometimes visit her aunt and her little cousin Willie, was always happy to see her. My mother loved the little boy as if he was her own and he wanted to be with no one else when she was around.
Years later, mom would often speak of the last time she saw him. She had gone to visit her aunt as usual, only to discover that Willie was at death’s door and running up the stairs she was soon standing by his bedside. The boy must have heard her voice or knew her step, because when she entered the bedroom he opened his eyes and for a second there was the trace of a smile on his face. She took his hand and thought she felt the tiniest squeeze. Willie was tired however, and soon fell back into a fitful sleep. Crying softly, mom went back downstairs to where her aunt had a cup of tea waiting.
Mom could think only of Willie as she sipped her tea and both her, and aunt Patience tearfully wondered if the boy would live through the night. Getting ready to leave she looked toward the window and stopped in mid-sentence. There on the window ledge was the most beautiful little white bird she had ever seen! Afraid she might scare it away, she whispered to aunt Patience and pointed at the small bird. Her aunt however, could see nothing! Mom was stunned and walking toward the window kept pointing and saying “look, the bird, the beautiful white bird”. Try as she might, aunt Patience could not see anything.
Mom could not understand it and taking her hand she led her aunt outside. The bird was just a few feet away now yet showed no sign of fear. As mom watched the bird spread its wings and rose into the sky. Higher and higher it soared until it was lost from sight. She alone however had witnessed the sight – even outside her aunt had seen nothing.
Willie died the next morning, his soul at last set free from the body which had denied him the life of a child.
The day of the funeral was sunny and warm and as family and friends returned from the cemetery, aunt Patience called her niece aside. Perhaps it was the chirping of the birds in the nearby trees that reminded her but aunt Patience, speaking through her tears reminded mom of the white bird. “I guess I should have told you earlier” she said, “but I couldn’t do it that day. I knew when I couldn’t see it that the bird was sent only for you. It meant that Willie would be leaving us soon and because you were special to him, it was his last wish that you have something to remember him by. That’s why only you could see it - it‘s called a “token”, and was meant for your eyes only”.

Tags

Bird, Boy, Childbirth, Cousin, Death, Illness, Isolation, Kingwell, Lifetime, Midwife, Newfoundland, Token

Meet the author

author avatar Kingwell
I am 75 years old and retired.I like writing short stories, poetry as well other articles of interest.

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Comments

author avatar Xavier Bage
3rd Mar 2013 (#)

Very touching, Kingwell. Thank you for the share.

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author avatar Kingwell
3rd Mar 2013 (#)

Hi Xavier. There remains much that we cannot understand, Thanks for coming here.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
3rd Mar 2013 (#)

a most heart warming piece Kingwell...thank you

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author avatar Kingwell
3rd Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you cnwriter.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
4th Mar 2013 (#)

What a touching real life story, Kingwell, so well written that I had goosebumps as the tale neared its end. These cannot be explained and will appear only in the eyes of those with deep love and feelings. We know little of what life and death are about - siva

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author avatar Kingwell
4th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you siva.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
4th Mar 2013 (#)

Your beautiful story touched me very deeply...thank you Kingwell.

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author avatar Kingwell
4th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Delicia.

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author avatar Songbird B
23rd Mar 2013 (#)

Oh what a sad but wonderful read dear friend..You have a wonderful way of telling a story that truly captures your audience..

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author avatar Kingwell
23rd Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you songbird. I am pleased that you enjoyed it.

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author avatar Djbrat
25th Mar 2013 (#)

So heartwarming, thank you so much ♥

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author avatar Kingwell
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Djbrat.

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author avatar Mariah
7th Apr 2013 (#)

Tthis is a lovely story.
So sad but so special.
I enjoyed this very much.

Mariah

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author avatar Kingwell
7th Apr 2013 (#)

Thank you Mariah, So happy you enjoyed it. Hope you will read others..

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author avatar Writestuff
8th Mar 2014 (#)

This is an inspiring post. Thanks for sharing.

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author avatar Yvette van Niekerk
20th Apr 2015 (#)

Oh Kingwell, this is such a beautiful story, I feel sad for your mom's loss but it really touched my heart. Great story, you are a blessing.

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author avatar Kingwell
21st Apr 2015 (#)

Thank you Yvette and I'm pleased that you found that you found this old post. It is a true story and one that I heard many times during my childhood. Blessings.

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