A/N: This story is based on my great great grandfather, Fred John Lay. Many of the incidents in this story actually happened to him and I just used my imagination on how the story would come together! Most of the characters are mine. As an example are the names of Fred's parents. Their names were never made known to us and I did research and still couldn't find a thing, so I picked out their names...Hope y'all enjoy it! :)
John Lay was hard at work plowing the fields on one very hot June morning. Sweat was pouring off his face, and his golden blond hair was soaked with it. He was too stubborn to stop working right now, though. He knew he had to finish plowing the fields, and get crops planted and harvested before winter came. The sweat on his back and his toned chest soaked his brown working shirt. He stopped his strong work horses for a moment just to wipe his brow. As he did, he suddenly felt something. A deep, sharp-shooting pain in his chest. He ignored it and went back to work, but soon the pain became unbearable and he began to feel dizzy. His vision was affected as well. He thought there were four horses instead of two, and he thought the plow kept moving. With his left hand, he clutched his chest and he dropped to his knees on the brown earth. His other hand was rested on the plow. John felt himself losing conciousness, and he fell forward onto the ground...
Annette Lay, John's young, 20 year old wife, was going about the house doing some work of her own. She had just put her two oldest children, Leonard and Barbara, who were both under the tender age of three, down for their naps. Annette went into a bedroom to check on her youngest child, Fred. He was a few months short of a year old. She saw baby Fred laying in his craddle, all smiley and playing with his little feet. Annette gently picked up her son and placed him on one hip. She pressed her lips against his silky-smooth, white face and breathed in his baby scent. She never got tired of it, ever since he was born some months back, she always enjoyed waking up in the morning and being so close to her baby. Annette loved each of her babies equally, deeply, but Fred, for some reason was special to her. He was the only one of her babies that looked more like John from day one. Which is why she named him Fred John. John after his father and Fred was for his great grandfather (Her grandfather). She smiled as he flapped his little hands and wiggled around in her grasp. He suddenly began to look over her shoulder and out the window.
Annette laughed quietly and she smiled at her young son. "What do you see Fred John? Is it your strong Pa out in the field?" She knew her husband was outside working, but to turn around and see her husband slumped over on the ground scared her. "Oh my word!...John!" She gasped and as gently as she could, she set baby Fred back into his cradle and ran outside. She was so alarmed to see her strong, 27 year old husband collasped on the ground with the horses unattended to. "JOHN!" She screamed, running out to the fields. "My John!..." She said as she dropped to her knees and cradled her husband in her arms. She began to weep as she was trying to get him to respond. "John!" He wasn't, of course.
"I've got to get him in the house and out of this heat!" Annette quickly thought. She hooked her arms under him and tried her best to drag him back to the house, leaving the strong chestnut-colored stallions standing there. With John being a man, he was slightly heavier than she, and it was hard for her to lift him. Hearing all the commotion, Jimmy, the farm-hand, came out of the barn. "Jimmy!...Run and get the doc! Quick!" Annette screamed. "Yes ma'am." Yelled the auburn-haired, sixteen year old boy. He ran to the barn, grabbed one of the horses and he took off, galloping the 20 miles down the road. After what seemed like hours, though it only was a matter of minutes, Annette managed to drag her unconsious husband into the house and into their bedroom. She got him onto the bed, and picked up his legs and feet so that he was lying down. Annette went and got a cool cloth for John's forehead to try and bring his temperature down after him being in the hot sun. She stayed with him until the door flew open and in rushed Jimmy with the town's doctor. The doctor immediately went over to the bed and thoroughly examined John. He then walked over to the window and stood there silently till Annette spoke up.
"What is it, Dr. Baumann?...A heat stroke?" Annette just stood there. Afraid of what his answer would be.
The red-headed young man spoke. His voice was very rough. "That...and I believe he's suffered a heart attack..."
Annette swallowed the lump forming in her throat and tears ran down her cheeks. "A heart attack?...He...He's too young! Why, he's only 27!...A man that young!...He couldn't have! It isn't possible!"
"It's very possible, Mrs. Lay." Dr. Hanz Baumann said solemnly. "I'm sorry...but his heart is failing him...and there's nothing I can do...He's dying." With a twinge of anger in him, Dr. Baumann walked out of the room. Annette turned her head and watched him leave. She then heard her husband stirring and quickly went to him and sat down on the bed beside him.
"John..." Annette managed to say as tears streamed down her cheeks. John, though he was very weak, lifted his hand up to her face and stroked her cheek.
"Shhhhh...Shhhh...Don't cry..." John said while wiping the tears that were falling down her cheeks.
Annette lifted her hands to John's hand which was still placed on her cheek. Her smooth hands gently rubbed his arm and his hand and all the while, tears were still seeping out of her eyes. "John...You're...You're dying!" Annette said as tears started to fall more rapidly.
"I know...Everyone dies sooner or later...It's just my time to go, Nettie."
"I don't know if I can let go of you just yet!" She leaned over, with her head on his chest and she was still weeping. He wrapped his arms around her tenderly.
"Didn't I tell you not to cry?" He whispered.
"I...I can't help it!...I don't know what I'll do without you!...I love you, John!"
"And I love you,...my sweet Annette."
"But what about the children, John?...I can't let them grow up without their father." She said, eyes closed but tears still streaming. Annette straightened herself up, but she was holding John's hands in her's.
"They won't...I'm still their father...They'll have me in here...No matter what." He said, gently placing a closed hand on his chest. John layed his head back on the pillow and closed his eyes. Annette leaned down and kissed his cheek, but she wasn't sure if John had felt it.
Annette lifted her face upward, tears streaming down her cheeks. "...to be absent from the body...and to be present with the Lord..." She whispered.
A/N: I have written this story over a process of a few years, so things are not always accurate and there are things that I have learned. I feel like in the beginning, my writing is sappy...and I see how much I have changed.
At the time I wrote this chapter, I did not know what my great great great Lay grandparents were. But now, thanks to a certain ancestry website, I found out that their names were Leonard and Karoline. :)