18, No Time to Waste

Chapter Sixteen

   "WHERE'S FELICIA?" I asked Cindy.

   "She's coming over later, mom." Cindy then told me how she had gone to the apartment to break the news to Felicia.

   "I decided," Cindy said, "I would tell her very calmly, but I didn't. I cried all the time I was telling her.

   "Felicia sat as still as stone. Finally she reached for this letter which was lying on the coffee table.

   " 'At least we know she is with God,' were her words. The moment she said that she began sobbing. I read Kathi's letter and asked her if I could show it to you. She said yes.

   " 'I guess your mom won't want to see me,' she said softly, but I said, 'Yes, she will.' I knew you would, mom."

   And I did. For now I could love Felicia completely and truly, just as Kathi had wanted me to. She had been the closest friend to my daughter and I wanted to see her.

   My mother and my brother and his family arrived . . . the phone was ringing . . . the doorbell was ringing . . . friends called to assure us of their love and prayers. And I was anxious for Vern and the boys to arrive from Salinas.

   My mother told me how Kathi had come to see her recently. She had been surprised, for it was the first time Kathi had ever visited her grandmother alone.

   "I had the day off, grandma," she had said, "and I just thought I'd come and visit you."

   They talked together of Kathi's decision to go to Missions Camp the following week.

   "I'm so excited," she had said. "I can hardly wait."

   When she kissed Kathi good-by at the door, that was the last time my mother ever saw her "sweet Kathi." What had made her take the long detour from Westwood to Pacific Palisades, just to "visit" her grandma?

   We learned also that Kathi had made a special trip to Hope's home the day before she left for camp.

   "Hope," Kathi had said, "we haven't been as good friends lately, and I'm sorry. I've been praying and praying for God's will to be done in my life, and He has answered. I didn't even ask to go to camp, they asked me."

   That was Kathi's good-by to her friend Hope.

   And the urgency of the letter that she wrote to Felicia was found in a similar letter to her friend Brad in the Navy.

   Kathi's letter to Felicia was a balm in an open wound. I carried it with me and showed it to my family and friends as they arrived.

   "It's almost as though she knew," some would say. Or, "It's inspired of the Lord."

   I went to the door to answer a persistent ring at nine o'clock and there was Kathi's old friend Tom.

   "Hi," he was smiling. "Kathi doesn't live here any more, does she?"

   I opened the door and asked him to come in the house.

   "Tom," I said as gently as I could, "haven't you heard? Kathi was in an accident. She was killed."

   I thought Tom was going to faint; he turned white and sat down.

   "Read this letter she wrote to Felicia three days ago, Tom", and I handed him the cherished paper. He sat down and read it; when he handed it back to me, his eyes were wet.

   "What a girl! Telling what she believed loud and clear, right to the end."

   I had to smile a moment remembering Kathi and Tom's heated discussions over religious doctrine.

   "She's with the Lord, Tom," I assured him, and he nodded.

   Around midnight when things had subsided, Vern arrived home with the boys. He enfolded me in his arms to comfort me and was surprised at the peace that had come to me.

   "Look, honey." I showed him Kathi's letter.

   "I'm out for the world," he repeated. "Only Kathi would say a thing like that." His voice was choked with emotion. "And you know what? She will reach the world with this testimony of her faith. Who could resist such an appeal?"

   We prayed! We thanked our Heavenly Father for taking our daughter straight home to be with Himself.

   "That where I am there ye may be also," Jesus said.

   What a comfort!

   "Honey," Vern reached for my hand, "she's home free."

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