Chapter 85: Rescue
We finally make it to the beach and everyone crowds around us. I lose track of the little girl in yellow. I can barely make out what each person is saying they are so excited and crying and talking at once. Rob holds his hand up and yells, “We are here looking for our daughter, Merri Land. Who are you all? Do you know her?”. Everyone seems to stop talking at once, a tall man with short dark hair walks closer. “I know Merri, she is my wife. I can’t believe you have found us. My name is Ross. “, he exclaims as he holds his hand out.
I rush forward and hug him close, “Where is my baby? I need to see her!”, I cry. “Our daughter, Maggie, has just run to get her. It may take her awhile to get here though, she has her hands full. We can walk up to the cabin.”, he explains.
“Your daughter, is that the one in yellow? I thought she looked like Merri as we were pulling up.”, I ask. “Yes, that’s Maggie. She is 6 years now. She was born the first year we were here.”, he says proudly. Rob is lost in the crowd, talking to everyone. I hold on to Ross’s arm, “Is she ok? I prayed that she would live and that she wasn’t alone. It looks like one of my prayers was answered, she isn’t alone. Is she alright?”, I ask nervously. “Oh, yes. She’s great. She just has her hands full with the twins. It’s hard to get them all rounded up.”, he explains again. “Twins? You have 3 children?”, I ask.
He interrupts, “Well, no… we have 5 children in all. The twins are just the newest addition to the bunch. “, he answers proudly. I stop walking, “Five children? Oh my!”, I say as tears stream down my face, realizing everything I’ve missed. I start walking again, when I look up, I see Merri. My beautiful Merri. I run to her, crying and tears pouring down my face. She realizes who I am and runs toward me too. I finally get my hands on her and pull her close. We collapse on the ground, crying and holding each other.
Rob finally catches up and bends down to hug her too. We sit on the ground for a long time, just holding each other and crying. “I knew you would come for me!”, she cries. “I never gave up on you. I’m so sorry it took so long! We had rescue team looking for you, but they never came back with any good information.”, I tell her. “We finally just bought a boat and started searching ourselves! I knew we would find you, I could feel that you were ok.”, I continued. “I’ve waited so long for you to come, but we never gave up. I knew we would be found somehow. I have so much to tell you! Come, follow me to our house.”, Merri says. We walk to her house still holding on to each other. I’m not sure when I’ll ever let her go again. Then, I see the children. The little girl in yellow, comes running up to Merri and hugs her.
“Mom, this is Maggie.”, Merri says proudly. Then a little boy, smaller than Maggie comes running over, followed by a little girl toddling along. Merri scoops up the littlest and says,”This is Jay and Leigha”. We walk into the house, I’m surprised at how nice it is. She leads me into a small bedroom, crammed full of bunk beds and cribs. I see 2 tiny babies laying in each crib, tears stream down my cheeks as I scoop up one of the babies. “These are Alora and Harrison. They are only a few months old.” I sit on the couch, holding one of the twins and I’m surrounded by Merri and her children. I try to hold and hug each one. “I’ve missed so much!”, I cry. Maggie and Jay snuggle up on either side of me as Leigha tries to climb in my lap. I pass Harrison to Merri and pick Leigha up and sit her on my lap.
“I’ve told the children all about you. What wonderful parents you are and how much you love them,”, Merri explains as she gives her Dad a big hug. Rob picks up little Leigha and pops her up on his shoulders. She squeals with excitement. Ross shows us proudly how they have set up the indoor plumbing and water for the sink and showers. We finally get all the little ones to bed and we sit in the living room talking and catching up on all that has been missed on both sides. They explain how Ross, Merri, Ariel and Teddy all survived the plane crash and then meeting Isaac, Chris, and Callie several months later and how they survived their boat sinking. Reluctantly, Rob and I walk back to the boat to sleep, we had stayed up half the night talking and I could hardly bear to leave Merri. But, we all needed sleep and Rob needed to radio back to the mainland and let them know that we had found Merri and to arrange a rescue ship to be sent. Ross and Merri are giving us a tour of the island tomorrow and we plan on talking to all the residents.
The next morning, everyone gathers at The Well. It has become the informal meeting center of the island. Ross starts off, “We have been rescued! Merri’s family has found us and they have arranged a ship to come and take everyone home. Unless there are some that want to stay?” Everyone starts talking at once. Isaac steps forward, “Misty, the children and I will be staying here. We have made our home and have almost everything that we need. Of course, now that we have been found, keeping in touch with everyone and the mainland will be possible.”
Once Isaac made his announcement, everyone else seemed to want to let us know their intentions also. Chris raised his hand, “Our family will be going back. We love what we have created here, but we want to be back in civilization. We may come back at some point though”
Alonzo steps forward for his family, “We will stay. I have no place in the modern world. I’m not sure how I would be accepted. Callie agrees to stay and raise our children.”, he pauses and looks at Teddy, “You are part of our family too, we understand if you want to go though. We do not want to keep you from your daughter, Cassie, but it would break Callie’s heart if you took her.”, Alonzo concluded. Teddy then says,” I will stay, I don’t want to take Cassie away from her mother. I appreciate you thinking of me in that way.”.
Ross finally speaks again after hearing from each family. “Merri and I are going. She has missed her family terribly, I want to see my family again. We may be back at some point though. We want to raise our kids near our families.”.
Everyone is crying and hugging each other. After all we have been through it seems strange that we are going our separate ways. Rob steps forward and announces,” A rescue plane will be dropping supplies later today. Just some things you haven’t had for awhile. Some food, snacks, drinks, also some new books, magazines, and newspapers to help get you caught up with the world again. The ship will be here at the end of the week, so everyone who plans on leaving start packing! Now that we know about this island, communication will be set up to keep in touch with the mainland. Actually, you aren’t that far from Monte Vista.”
Everyone who is leaving returns to their own cabins to starting packing, the others sit around the fire pit and wait for the shipment to come. I follow Merri to her home and help her decide what to take with her. She looks around her small home, “Well, there really isn’t much to take. We only have a few bits of clothes apiece, the kids have a few toys, other than that. I can leave it all behind. Everything here is threadbare and almost worn out. “, she says with a sigh. I hug her close, “I’m so glad you are OK. I’ve been sick with worry. I’m so proud of what you have done here, having these children alone here with no medical care. I’m amazed at how strong you are.”, I say to her with tears in my eyes.
“I’m just so glad I wasn’t alone, I wouldn’t have made it in the early days if it hadn’t been for Ross. He’s so strong and took care of so much. It was such a relief when I found him, I didn’t know what I would do. Ariel and Teddy were just kids. Then finding Isaac, Chris and Cassie helped even more. Isaac can build anything, he showed us how to get the water system set up. I can’t wait to see everyone! How is everyone at home? “, Merri asks.
We sit and talk all day, I fill her in on everything going on in LP. She shows me all around the island, telling me the story of how Misty came to be here and then the story of Dreama and Teddy. For a deserted island, there has been some drama! I spend time with each grandbaby, spoiling them as much as I can.