David, Mary, and Nara were pleased with Thomas’s rediscovered faith. Although Thomas felt a peace that he had not felt in several months, his faith was not as strong as it once had been. He continued to pray, attend Sabbath meetings, and read scriptures, but not with the intensity that he once had.
Thomas worked long and hard on the jaguar carving for the king. His jaguar encounter in the woods proved valuable as he was able to add subtle and striking detail to the hardwood carving. The king was delighted with the jaguar and paid much more than the original amount agreed upon and commissioned Thomas for additional carvings to be displayed in the palace. Thomas was thrilled!
After the king left, Thomas went to the market, found a beautiful blue silk tunic made from some of the finest silk and embroidered with small white and yellow roses and brought it home to Nara. She loved the new tunic and shared in his excited and honor that the king loved his work.
Thomas and Nara celebrated their 4th marriage anniversary by spending two days at the cascading waterfall. His cousin, Aaron along with his wife Fina and two children, ages 5 and 3, went with them. They reserved two of the huts and traveled up on horseback. Pipi and Riporty, now a large black dog, along with Aaron’s dog followed along. While there, they swam in the pool, fished, target shot, chased off a fox, and spotted a mother bear with her two cubs off in the woods. Riporty desperately wanted to chase after the cubs, but knowing that he would most likely end up being attacked by the mother bear, Nara held him back then tied him to a tree with a long rope made of thick durable flax fibers that were difficult to chew through. He was not happy about that and gnawed at the rope. All were amused watching his antics to free himself. They all had an enjoyable, peaceful, and relaxing time at the waterfall.
Thomas continued to carve animals and a few people for the king and others that commissioned his work. Nara became a master weaver. In fact, the queen commissioned Nara to weave a blanket for her. Nara was ecstatic at the prospect of doing work for the queen. She also trained some horses and took an occasional art class from Mary, however, the majority of her time was spent weaving blankets and rugs.
Nara still longed to have a baby. Daily, she gazed at the cradle that Thomas made for her, yearning for a small baby to lay in it. She loved children and enjoyed being around them. She taught children during their Sabbath meetings. Those she taught loved her and would always beg to go to her house as she always had a tasty treat for whomever might drop by. Because of her love of teaching children and her love of weaving, Nara decided that she would teach weaving. She was extremely excited at this idea and anticipated filling her home with children to teach them what she loved doing.
It did not take long until Nara had more little weavers than she could handle. A few mothers would come and help her with the children. Nara found a fulfillment in her life that she had not previously felt. She wondered if this is what God wanted her to do, to teach other children. She found peace with that thought, yet still yearned for her own baby.
One day while preparing for her class of young weavers, she accidentally overheard Mary talking with one of the mothers about her deep disappointment of not having any grandchildren. Mary, knowing how Nara felt about being childless, was always extremely careful about what she said. Mary loved Nara and did not want to hurt her in anyway.
For some reason, what Mary said deeply affected Nara. She tried not to let it show during her weaving lesson, but as soon as the children left, Nara, followed by Pipi and Riporty, mounted Flora and headed to the waterfall. She needed to get away. She needed to mourn, again. She needed to be alone. After she had gone a good distance, she slowed Flora down and allowed Pipi and Riporty to catch up to her. They took a couple minutes to veer slightly off the trail to drink water from the creek. They then continued on the trail toward the waterfall, when suddenly, after rounding a bend, Flora spotted a large brown bear standing on her hind legs feeling threatened. Flora naturally reared up, just at the one moment when Nara was looking at something in the woods and not holding on tightly. Nara sharply slid off of Flora’s back, slamming onto the ground and forcefully hitting her head on a sharp rock, instantly knocking her unconscious. Pipi and Riporty barked and barked at the bear and her two cubs until they ran off into the woods.
Flora nudged her nose at Nara, willing her to get up and continue the ride, but she did not move. Pipi also nudged at her, but she still did not move. Riporty, instinctively knowing something was wrong with Nara and that she needed help, sprinted back to the city, while Pipi and Flora stayed behind seeming to watch over Nara.
Riporty first went to Thomas and Nara’s home. Mary happened to be close by and saw Riporty urgently barking. She immediately had a foreboding feeling come over her. She petted Riporty and thanked him for coming to her. She ran to the woodshop to find David and Thomas, with the dog following along. David and Thomas promptly ran to their horses, mounted them and commanded Riporty to lead them to Nara. Riporty, understanding the command, ran to the waterfall trail. David and Thomas hastened, going as fast as their horses would go. They found Nara laying on the ground, a pool of blood behind her head. They checked for injuries then Thomas swiftly but carefully lifted her onto his horse, and rushed as fast as he felt he could back to their home. David retrieved Flora and took her back to their home, with the dogs following. As he took Flora’s reign, he thought he noticed a tear coming from her eye.
When they arrived, a healer was already there. The healer cleaned and with healing herbs, bandaged the gash on the back of Nara’s head, but after peering at her eyes, she looked overly concerned.
Thomas, seeing the look in the healer’s eyes, pled with her to save Nara, then walked out of their house, visibly upset. David followed after him, hugging him and crying with him. Aaron and Fina, already hearing what happened, ran up to them and asked what they could do. Thomas asked Aaron if he would help David give Nara a blessing. Aaron quickly agreed. They went back into the house where David and Aaron gently placed their hands on Nara’s head and David with tears streaming down his face, pronounced a blessing of comfort and peace, but not of healing. After he finished, he looked at Thomas’s pleading eyes and told him that he felt strongly that he was not to pronounce a blessing of healing. Thomas pled with him, telling David that he had to heal Nara; he could not live without her. Aaron hesitatingly agreed with David; he felt the same inspiration.
Thomas ran out of the house to the creek alongside the waterfall trail where he found some privacy; he looked up at the heavens and screamed to God to heal his beautiful wife! He cried, he prayed, he pleaded, he even made a deal with God to heal and save Nara. Pipi had followed Thomas and nudged his head on his lap, trying to comfort Thomas. He looked at the sweet face of Nara’s dog and asked him what had happened. Thomas wished that Pipi could have talked to him to tell him how Nara fell off of Flora. After spending a few more moments grieving with Pipi, they walked back to the house. Thomas sat by Nara’s side, held her hand and quietly talked to her.
Thomas kept constant watch over Nara. The healer continued to attempt different herbal remedies and used her gentle healing hands to send positive and healing energy into her body. Nara still did not respond to any stimulus. Several family members and friends came to see Nara and to give Thomas support.
Nara’s parents and siblings arrived the next morning. Nara’s younger brother, Noah, ran over to Nara and hugged her unresponsive body. Noah abruptly announced that he saw Nara above her body. Tumu, Nara’s father, told Noah that was not possible. Noah insisted that he saw Nara. He said that Nara was smiling and waving at him. Thomas became irate, knowing what that would mean. He yelled at Noah telling him that was absolutely not possible because Nara was going to live and not die. Noah, lips quivering at the intensity of Thomas’s words, and being brought into a gentle hug by Rebekah, looked up at Thomas and told him that he was sorry, but he saw Nara. Noah quietly reported that Nara looked beautiful, peaceful, and happy. Thomas ran out of the house, David following close behind him.
While Thomas and David were outside, Tumu placed his hands on Nara’s head and pronounced another blessing. He also could not bless her with healing, but feeling inspired of the spirit, gave her a blessing of release. There was not a dry eye in the room.
When Thomas and David came back in, Mary instructed Thomas to hold Nara’s hand and it was alright to let her go. Thomas looked at his beautiful mother incredulously, still not wanting to believe that he could lose his precious Nara. Thomas went to Nara, took her hand, kissed her on the lips and told her that he loved her and could not live without her. Nara opened her eyes for one brief moment, looked at Thomas with adoring love in her eyes, then took her last breath.
(To be continued…)