“I can’t do this,” Cookie said, throwing up her hands.
“Mommy, are you all right?” Emma asked, tugging on her skirt.
“I’m going to go lie down,” Cookie said, suddenly feeling very tired. She brushed Emma’s hand away from her hemline and, with her eyes down, made her way out of the kitchen and down the hall to the master bedroom.
She closed the door and locked it behind her, then slid down to the floor with her back against it. “I can’t do this,” she said to the empty room. She held her head in her hands and stared at the framed family picture sitting proudly on the dresser. “How am I supposed to do this, Scott?”
Cookie knew that Scott had probably left them a small fortune. She wasn’t worried about the house or the bills. She was worried about being alone. With three kids. With a teenage son who was just hitting puberty and would probably need his dad more than ever as he got older. With a young girl who was just old enough to understand what had happened and that her daddy was gone and was never coming back. And with an even younger girl who probably grow up and not remember much about her daddy because he’d been taken away so soon. How was she supposed to take care of them when she wasn’t even sure that she would be able to take care of herself?
There was a knock at the door. “It’s just me,” Connie said softly from the other side. “Can I come in?”
There was a long pause, and Cookie hoped that her mother had left. But after a few moments, Connie asked, “Can I get you anything? Do you need anything?”
“I just need to be alone, Mama,” she said. “I just need to lie down.”
“Okay. I’ll check on you later.”
Cookie got to her feet and kicked off her pumps. She pulled back the covers on the bed and slid underneath them, pulling them up to her chin. She stretched out her arm and placed it in the middle of Scott’s spot on the bed. She had no idea how she would be able to sleep without him. The tears started falling again.
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