Tag Archives: love

Two Candles

I’m eating a Boston cream donut today.

Boston cream donuts: your favourite kind.

Matt nine years old 001 (2)

Since your death I’ve eaten too many,

Always an excuse to eat one—or two.

 

Too many excuses to drink and eat.

 

Today’s your birthday in Heaven at 38

Where you’ll continue to age,

But here on earth, forever 36.

Matt19crop

Always 36.

 

In my solitude I insert candles in the donut,

Between my tears I light two wicks:

One for each birthday you’ve missed on earth.

 

boston cream

 

I make a wish—a wish that’ll never come true—

And blow out flickering flames.

 

Happy birthday in Heaven, sweet son.

Happy birthday, Matthew, my cherubic babe.

Matt baby

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My Son. My Grief. Eight Months Today.

I seem to be able to compartmentalize my life, not that it seems possible to do so. Although I don’t want to be around other people most days, when I am, I hold in my tears. People tell me I’m strong, but I’m not. I just don’t like sharing my grief with others and I hide it until I’m alone. People don’t understand. Unless you’ve lost a child, you’ll never understand. And I hope you (whoever is reading this) never lose a child.

I may smile, but it’s not a real smile. I may laugh, but it’s not a real laugh. Not like before. When he was here. My life seemed so simple then. All problems back then too minor. Why had I ever worried about “such and such”? Bigger issues would take over, when he died. Nothing back then could ever compare to now.

It’s a horrific horror story, losing a child. I never EVER imagined I’d lose one of my children. How could such a thing be possible? They were all healthy. Loss had never affected us. Sure, I lost grandparents. I was devastated at my parents’ deaths. But parents always predecease children.

No, not always. Not in my case. And that’s a rarity. Parents aren’t supposed to outlive their children.

I’m so overwhelmed with grief over my son’s passing, eight months today, that I don’t know how I manage some days. I’m not in denial he’s gone. I know he’s gone.

Dead, funeralized, buried.

But I miss him. Every second of every day. He’s first on my mind when I wake in the mornings and last on my mind at nights. When I do sleep, that is. Sleeping pills have become my best friend, but they don’t always work, and those are horrific nights, when I cry and toss and turn and want to be somewhere else. Where, I don’t know. Where else is there to go?

I’m not suicidal. I’m not a believer in life after death. I’m not that far gone I’d kill myself to be with him. I have two other children. And grandchildren. And a husband. And I want to continue my life, such as it is. I still have goals and dreams. I still have trips I want to take, places I want to visit and explore. I have stories in my head. I have the book of my experience with my son’s last three months I want to write, which I’ve titled (in my head) “Three Hearts. My Truth as I See It.” Whether I can ever write it remains to be seen.

I have no desire to give up everything to—maybe—join him.

Of course, at the time, when he was given a death sentence, I would have given him my life. I’d have done that for any of my children. Or grandchidren. I’d prolong each of their lives, if I could.

My son was a kind soul, loving and giving. All he wanted was to live to see his children grow. During his last days, he cried many times over that. His tears weren’t for him; they were for his two girls, whom he dearly loved.

I’d have given my son my heart had I been able. So he could have lived.

That’s all he needed. A heart that wasn’t full of cancer.

But death doesn’t work that way.

Death takes who it wants, when it wants.

We can’t bargain with death.

Death.

Death is just death. There is nothing else once death shows its face.

Matthew, my son, I miss you so terribly. And I know how humbled you’d be to know how many grieve for you. Not just me, but the rest of your family, and your friends. Even your co-workers. So many people.

You were such a simple soul. You’d help a stranger in the street.

And, dear reader, I’m not eulogizing him as people do after a death. My son truly was a perfect person. He was honest, sincere. A hard worker. He loved life. He loved his two children more than anything, and had he been able, he would have given his life for either one. But he was never called to do that.

Death took him before he could.

 

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My Experiences with Death

My Experiences with Death

(This is an abridged version of my essay for the Guided Autobiography course I’m taking.)

I was nine when I experienced my first death, too young to understand and grieve for a grandfather far away in Bermuda, a man I’d seen maybe a half dozen times. I don’t remember being told he had died, but I found my mother in the basement laundry room, weeping, and asked what was wrong. We didn’t go to his funeral; I don’t think Mom went either, being pregnant at the time with my youngest sibling. Nine was the age of my granddaughter Taylor, when she stood by her uncle Matthew’s open coffin, staring and crying so hard I thought she was having a meltdown.

My next experiences with deaths were years later, when my grandmothers died at the ages of 89 and 90 (my paternal grandmother achieving her goal of reaching her ninetieth birthday). I was close to them both and grieved, of course, but it was if their deaths were expected, at their ages. Plus they were grandparents, and all grandparents die before the rest of us, right? How funny perspectives change. Now that I’m a grandmother, I hate how I had justified their deaths. I don’t want my grandchildren to say, “Oh, she was a granny; she was old. She needed to die.”

Had my father taken better care of himself, he may have lived longer than 72. When he started passing out at the kitchen table due to lack of oxygen, Mom forced him to go to the hospital. He didn’t want to go, saying, “They’ll put me down.” She always regretted her decision, wishing she had let him die peacefully in his sleep.

While Dad was in the hospital, the nurses told us to limit our numbers in the small waiting room, as other families were unable to use it while we were there. Other than short rotations to shower and bring in food, we were there for five days. Mom slept in a cot by his bed, while eight of us (me, my four siblings and their spouses) snuck into a large empty room, snatched linens from the closet, and slept on the cold, hard floor. Nurses found us there the first night, in the dark, and told us to leave. As before, we ignored them, and the second night they brought us pillows.

When we were told there was no hope for Dad, they moved him out of intensive care and nine of us hovered around his hospital bed, waiting. When we thought he had breathed his last, a hush swept over the room. Stunned and shocked, we all looked at each other. And then he groaned, a deep guttural sigh, and we all jumped. Naïve me thought he had come back to life; perhaps the others had, too. This was my and my siblings’ first real experience with death.

Seventeen years later, my mother’s death, on Good Friday, in 2016, was worse. Perhaps it’s because I’d been closer to my mother. I must have been in denial my mother would ever die because it took me and my brother three days after she was admitted to the hospital before we flew to Ontario from Nova Scotia. My once-vibrant mother had morphed into a shrunken, frail woman, shrouded in linens like Dad had been, with numerous tubes and wires snaking from beneath the sheets. Mom had always taken care of herself. She even had her own teeth—pristine perfect teeth—pure white without the use of whitening agents. When the paramedics arrived at her home to transport her to the hospital for observation after a fall, the first thing they wanted was to remove her teeth. Someone said, “No, her teeth are her own,” which changed the paramedics’ attitude, realizing they weren’t dealing with the usual elderly senior.

Mom, like my father, didn’t have to die, even at 89. She was caught in a catch-22 type situation. Drugs for pneumonia would work against her heart condition, and drugs for her heart would work against the pneumonia. Ironically, she was scheduled for heart surgery to remedy her minor heart condition until pneumonia struck. Oddly, no one, including her, knew she had pneumonia until after that minor fall at her home.

We children had the horror of deciding our mother’s fate. After agonizing for hours, we decided to let her go. We left the room while they transported her down the hall to palliative care. One of my brothers and I returned to her condo, a five-minute walk away, while my sister and another brother sat in the waiting room. My youngest brother was on his way.

As it turned out, my siblings and I thankfully didn’t have to play God. Unbeknownst to anyone, Mom had been dumped, and ignored, in the palliative care room and died alone. The nurses forgot to notify my two siblings in the waiting room that they could go to her room, and when my brother and sister decided two hours of waiting was long enough, they snuck into her room. My two sons, driving almost nonstop from Nova Scotia to Ontario, had stopped to pick up my nephew in Ottawa, and arrived minutes too late. My nephew was the only one who went in to see her body. I almost wished I had never left home because she never really knew I, or anyone, was there, and now all I remember is a shriveled figure that was not my mother.

The loss of a child is an unsurmountable grief, from everything I’ve read, a death that stays with a parent forever. And I know that to be true, something I never ever thought would happen to me. It’s a constant ache. Life is different now. Some mornings I don’t want to get out of bed; some nights I can’t go to bed. I don’t want to be around people as much anymore, either. I don’t remember crying much immediately after my son died, but I must have, because my husband caught me one day. “You can’t keep crying like this,” he said. “You have to get over it.” And then he paused, “Well, it’s only been two weeks, I guess it’s okay.” I was aghast. My husband was telling me I couldn’t be upset? I know he regretted his words immediately after saying them. Matt wasn’t his son, so he doesn’t suffer my pain; he doesn’t know what it feels like.

Matt’s death, a year after my mother’s, has overshadowed hers, and I hate I don’t think of her as much anymore, being so consumed with him. But occasionally, I’ll pick up the phone to call her, forgetting, mostly wanting to share my grief with her.

One horrendously rainy afternoon, when Gary and I were driving to a burial, I reached to the floor for my purse and my phone. I needed to tell my mother how sad I was going to a burial and how wet we’d all be. And then I hesitated. And the tears flowed. The burial was hers.

I read Ted Kennedy’s memoir, True Compass, a few years ago. He wrote a passage that resonated with me: “I wish that life were simpler. I wish that loved ones didn’t have to die too young. I wish that tragedy never haunted a single soul. But to wish all that is to ask for an end to our humanity.” I loved his eloquent wording, and after digesting his words, I understood why death exists and received confirmation of that the next time I looked at my grandchildren. If death didn’t exist, neither could birth. Life brings birth and death, giving us a certain perspective, making us appreciate life.

The other day, I discovered a grief quote on Facebook. One of the lines rings true: “Grief is just love with no place to go.”

 

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Thirty-Seven Years Ago

Thirty-seven years ago a babe was born,
But eight-pound Melissa
Became ten-point-six Matthew,
Would I cherish a cherub boy?

 

You charmed me with chubbiness,
Wide blue eyes, generous smile, 
Wiggling limbs in white flannel,
“A football player,” a nurse proclaimed!

 

You grew and grew, handsome and smart,
My middle child of compassion and heart,
Always there with helpful hands,
Drying tears, yours and ours.

 

Did that nurse know you’d be a Brady fan?
The Patriots stirred your heart
As did Kyla and Abby, your two loves,
Who lit your world on fire.

 

I dubbed you the Tin Man—
“All I want is a heart”—
Luck should have been on your side,
But your hearts were doomed—all three.

 

“I got a heart, Mom, I got a heart!”

Joy and weariness lined your words,
I wept for another mother,
A death to save a life.

 

Life went horribly wrong,
Exchanging “I love you” on Tuesday
To watching you go on Saturday
After I promised you wouldn’t die.

 

Though comforted you phoned loved ones,
I wish I’d said, “Wait a while,
There’ll be more hearts,”
Despite your famous words, “I gotta go.”

 

A three-month roller coaster ended,
Days alternating between life and death,
Could we have done more?
Should we have gripped you tighter?

 

I miss you, my dear impish son,
So much you’ll never know,
Endless days I crave to die
So I can join you in peace.

 

Instead I add tears
To white wine and Bud Light.
“Gotcha, Mom,” you say,
When I spy a discarded can.

 

I hold on though I want to go,
I gulp another breath
And pretend I never cry,
“I’m okay,” I say when asked.

 

Tears aren’t the way to begin a day,
Nor to end the night,
But weeping starts and doesn’t stop,
I shouldn’t be without my child.

 

Horrid clichés mark my soul:
Life takes the good before the bad,
Gone before your time,
Children shouldn’t predecease parents.

 

Why does my heart beat fast
When yours stopped too soon?
I’d trade places if I could,
But your voice echoes, “Oh, Mom, stop!”

 

Your father called it Matt’s Moon,
That glow the morning of death
When God swiped your unassuming soul

To improve His holdings in Heaven.

 

Rest in peace, my dear son,
At home upon the hill,
I’ll forever cherish my cherub boy.
Fuck cancer. Fuck, fuck fuck!

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The Spot Writers – “Death in the Family,” by Tom Robson

Welcome to The Spot Writers. The title of this piece is the prompt for this month and comes from Tom Robson, author of Written While I Still Remember, a Patchwork Memoir.

***

Death in the Family.

There is an irony in this prompt which requires me to publish a story, on line, on the occasion of my eightieth birthday. Achieving this milestone brings the reminder that death looms large. Yet I am the exception that proves the rule that the males on either side of my family tree don’t last too long in this life. Both grandfathers just made it to seventy. My father’s body succumbed, before he reached sixty, to the long term effects of wartime malaria and breathing in noxious substances working at an oil refinery. Uncles passed long before their spouses, while  many of the females lasted well into their eighties and even ninety. Perhaps I have inherited a preponderance of their genes.

More irony. At birth I was not expected to emerge without damage. Birthday minus one, through to delivery I had refused to somersault, seeming determined to be born feet first. In 1936, even at the prestigious St James Infirmary in Leeds, extended breech births to first time mothers were risky. Perhaps the fifteen minutes of fame that fate entitles us to, were the first minutes of my life when the medics saw that I was alive and apparently undamaged. My mother often told me that I cheated death when I was born.

I was never allowed to deal with death and loss as a child, teen and young adult. In consequence, funerals were alien experiences and occasions to be avoided.The first funeral I attended was my fathers, when I was 34, married and with a family of my own. My children did not attend their grandfather’s funeral.

To put this avoidance in perspective, I grew up in wartime Britain. Every day, death was in the news. Two uncles were taken. Conversation around their deaths excluded myself and my young cousins. But all three of us heard our grandfather’s ale-stimulated opinions of the U-boat attacks, the navy that refused to stop for survivors and the blame that could be attached to Churchill almost as much as Hitler. But he did not argue about our evacuation to the countryside after another son was killed in an air raid, before he even enlisted in the army.

After the war, there was a polio outbreak  where we lived. It took the lives of a few children but there was no gathering of schoolmates at the burial service. Fear  of contagion was more powerful than the need to grieve during  that particular summer vacation.

In my early years of teaching my best friend was killed in a car accident. I should have read the eulogy I prepared but I could not bring myself to attend the service and face friends and students at the school where we both taught.

The surprising consequence was that my stumbling excuse that I couldn’t deal with the ending to his life, was understood by many of our friends and colleagues. My generation of Brits kept ‘a stiff upper lip” but often it was because we avoided confronting death. Many understood. We were discouraged from being in the presence of its aftermath. We did not intimately know death. We did not confront it. We did not talk about it.

I was sixteen when my father’s mother was eighty. In her declining years she would spend time living with which ever of her children agreed to take care of her. She would live with one until it was agreed that another wanted her or felt guilty enough to take a turn. My father was her youngest and I was the youngest of her many grandchildren. We had been close in the war years when my mother and I spent time living with and helping her.

That winter of 1952-3 she came to the warmer south of England to live with us. I gave up my bedroom to sleep on a cot in the “front’ room; that vestige of Edwardian lifestyle which was only used when people who had to be impressed came to visit. This teenager quickly spoiled its pristine appearance.

We had our Christmas dinner at my nearby aunt and uncle’s house. In the evening we were joined by various family friends. My aunt and her mother were avid card players. The preferred game was Partner Whist. Aunt Mabel organized sixteen or twenty of her guest into two person, teams to compete for the 1952 Christmas Cup.I partnered my grandmother. This delighted both of us.

I am not sure whether we won because we were the only sober couple, the only pair who treated the game seriously or whether my aunt cooked the results. My grandmother was almost delirious, still talking about how well we had played as we took her home and persuaded her that it was way past her bedtime.

On Boxing Day morning, we let grandma sleep in. My uncle arrived on his bike about 11:00am. He was making his Boxing Day round of visits to friends and relatives, enjoying a drink at each stop. He would be sleeping at one of his visits when he could be persuaded that he was no longer capable of riding his bike to the next ‘pit stop’

As he arrived we could hear my grandmother moving around and I was eventually asked to tap on her door and tell her “Bert is here!”

I did this and when there was no reply I opened the door, assuming my hard-of-hearing grandma missed my too gentle knock.

Grandma was in an untidy heap on the floor, her dead body reflected in the mirror on the wardrobe door.

I cried for help in a voice strangled by sobs. My father came and ushered me out of the room, calling on my mother to look after me and for Bert to help him.

After the doctor visited and signed the document certifying that she had suffered a fatal heart attack, the undertaker had been called and my uncle sent home to comfort his wife, daughter of the deceased, I had to be attended to.

To this day I do not understand why I was removed from the presence of my grandmother and why I was left alone and unwelcome at her funeral. I vaguely recall a statement from one of my parents that “it was better if I stayed away. It was not…” ;and the rest of the reasoning has gone but it was something like”funerals are no  place for children!”

I was sixteen. I was trying to believe that I was no longer a child. I had spent many days and nights, of the six years my father was away at war, at his mother’s home in northern Leeds, where she would be taken, by train, to be buried. I did not realize then that I needed to say goodbye. I only knew I was sad and I wanted to be there.

Instead, one of the many calls that Boxing Day afternoon, on our new-to-us gadget, the telephone, was to my friend Pete’s mother, asking if I could stay with them for a few days. Less than four hours after her death I was delivered to the Appletons, sat down at their late lunch of Christmas left-overs and given my choice of playing pieces for the evening game of Monopoly.

There had been a death in the family. Someone I loved dearly had passed away. Why was I not invited to say goodbye?

My grandmother left a reminder. I love to play cards. The only thing I do left-handed is deal cards. The only thing my father did cack-handed was to deal cards. My right handed grandmother, who taught both of us to play, also dealt left handed. I’ve been reminded of grandma many times in the sixty five years since she left, when asked, “Why are you dealing  left handed?”

* * *

The Spot Writers – our members are:-

RC Bonitz:         rcbonitz.com

Val Muller:                   http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A MacKenzie      https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Tom Robson     https://robsonswritings.wordpress.com/

 

 

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The Seamstress

Mom

 

(In memory of my dear, sweet mother, 1927-2016)

 

My mother holds the tangled threads

of her five children

gathered in her frail hands,

now adults, all of us,

grown,

yet her babies still,

siblings once woven so tightly.

 

She clutches the flimsy threads

delicately,

not wanting them to break,

but she knows when her time is done

the stitches,

almost brittle now with age,

will pucker and snap,

unravelling

like a knitted sweater

frayed at the seams

that slowly unweaves

and shrinks in the wash.

 

The five of us,

once finely patterned

within the squares

of a cosy quilted comforter,

are now knotted differently,

we are mismatched buttons,

different lines we stitched,

different designs we embroidered,

different templates we followed.

 

We may have been pierced with needles

or cut with scissors

and discarded like scraps,

but still forever entwined,

criss-crossing like lattice

or unfolding like yards of white lace

or glistening like beaded brocade,

other times jumping through our fitted hoops,

casting each other off.

 

Sometimes we’re bold like strands of gold

and other times we hide in the folds

as we try to patch our souls.

 

We are twisted

and at odds

the five of us—

two against three,

three against two—

faded appliqués of assorted shades and sizes

torn from a worn and loving quilted spread,

smothered with pinpricks of jealousy,

looping alone

and spinning yarns

and piping warped dreams

that don’t gauze the rip

or mend the tear.

 

We’ve forgotten the wicker basket

from whence we came—

a hamper once filled with love

and accessories with which to mend—

the one the seamstress hovers over,

ever watchful and caring.

 

But in times of crises—

when pockets are picked

and seams are shattered—

we gather and braid together,

our dyes running forth again

while we weave a tapestry of colours

into a padded patchwork

that frames our mother in love.

 

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Too Much Pain

Excruciating chest pain woke me around 4:35 this morning. I lay there for a good five minutes, wondering if I was in the throes of a heart attack or if one was about to start. A myriad of thoughts sped through my mind: do I wake hubby to go to the ER, do I sneak into the kitchen for an aspirin, do I remain still and hope it’ll pass?

Will it pass? Is it a heart attack?

The pain wasn’t localized to the left side; instead, it lay across my entire chest like a swath of mowed grass, deep behind my breasts. (I’m describing the length and breadth of the pain, not the pain itself. Mowed grass doesn’t hurt…or does it?)

While I pressed my hands against my body, willing the pain to subside, silly thoughts raced through my mind. I pictured myself prone on the hospital bed: legs unshaved, hair unwashed, void of makeup. I even pondered getting up, if nothing else to shave my legs. Hey, it’s winter! Who reveals legs in this cold?

And then my dear, sweet mother, who just last month turned 89, flashed before me. She had been taken to the hospital close to midnight the previous evening after suffering a fall and hitting her head. Luckily she had no broken bones, but after being examined, the doctor said she had pneumonia. For an elderly person, pneumonia is just as bad as a broken bone.

My mother.

I waited for the inevitable phone call. A minute or so—maybe less—and brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrinnnnnnnnnngggggggggg.

Hubby jumped out of bed. But even though the phone is on his nightstand, I had raced around the bed and reached it first.

I could barely hear my sister’s muffled voice. “It’s Mom.”

“I know,” I said. Stupid me spouted the episode I’d experienced, as if in that dire moment she–or anyone—would want to hear such an unbelievable story—or any story.

“She’s not gone yet,” Heather said.

And I perked up.

But Mom’s condition had worsened through the night, and the family (at least the ones in in Ontario), were called. The doctor wanted to sedate her so a breathing tube could be inserted, and he wasn’t sure she’d wake up. Two siblings of three siblings in proximity got to the hospital while she was lucid.

At noon, it hit me. My mother. She might not wake up. I may never see her again. And the tears flowed.

She’s improved slightly. She’s still sedated, still asleep, and has had her second dose of antibiotics to fight the pneumonia. Her oxygen levels are good. She’s stable. Apparently, she can breath on her own; the ventilator had been inserted to relieve the stress on her heart, and it will be removed in a day or two.

The next 48 hours are critical. The pneumonia has taken over, but if she can kick that, she might pull through.

Mom needs to have a fairly simple procedure—an unclogging of a heart valve. She’s been suffering the past year or so because of it, and it’s taken all that time for doctors to diagnose her problem. After numerous appointments, she was just last week approved for the procedure. All that remained was the appointment for the surgery. And then this happened!

The horrible thing is: If she’d had this procedure done when the problem surfaced, she wouldn’t be in the dire straits she is now. She could have kicked the pneumonia to the curb. Now, of course, her heart’s weaker, and it’s harder to fend off attacks.

I’m prepared for the worse, but I’m hoping for the best.

I love my mother so much. I don’t want to lose her. But I know it’s inevitable, as it is for all of us. Death takes everyone in the end. No one is immune.

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First Moves

First Moves

Despite the two-foot distance, Hubby’s breath is soft and warm across my face. The rankness of garlic isn’t a pleasant smell first thing in the morning. He barely touches me, just a flicker of a finger against my skin. He wants me to scoot over to him, wants me to make the first move. He won’t make it himself; not sure why. Why can’t he lay his arm across my chest or stomach?

So I lie there, as I do every morning, hoping for once he might make the first move, but he doesn’t. I don’t want to make the first move every morning. Once in a while, I’d like him to do so, to show me he cares, so I feel wanted.

If I ask why he doesn’t, he says he doesn’t want to disturb me. But that answer isn’t true, of course. If that were the case, he’d be quieter when he gets up to use the bathroom. Instead of throwing the covers and clumping to the next room, he’d gently alight from bed and walk softly to the bathroom. When he returns to bed, he could get into bed more silently and not huff and puff as if he’s blowing the house down. No, his answer doesn’t make sense.

I wish he’d make a first move. Just once!

I crave hugging and that wanted feeling before he leaves for work. I need that to start off my day, to pull me through loneliness or a busy day. To start me on the right track.

I sigh. I tremble. He doesn’t react. He must know I’m awake, more awake than I am most mornings, yet he ignores me. Maybe he doesn’t want to cuddle. He’s a busy man; perhaps he’s too deep into thoughts and can’t be bothered. Perhaps he doesn’t care.

I move. Just an inch. A hint to him to scoot over like his sly invitation to me. I silently pray that he might so I can feel better about myself. But he doesn’t. A counselor once advised me to take what I can, what I need.

I slither over. He reciprocates; he always does. He raises his arm, and I snuggle into him and wrap my right arm around his warmth. I lean my head against his cheek. His hand caresses my shoulder. We lie like that for 20 minutes or so until he squirms—the sign he wants to go. He kisses my forehead—the sign I should move back to my side of the bed. I disentangle myself from him, move over, and shroud myself with the linens.

All is right in the world. For a little while.

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The Spot Writers

This week’s post comes to us from Cathy MacKenzie, who writes short stories and poems. The current theme for The Spot Writers is to begin a short story with these four sentences:  “This is it. So very simple actually. Just the end. And no one can prevent it.”

Her new book, Between These Pages (over 60,000 words compiling 18 of her most recent short stories of varied genres), is now available on Amazon and Smashwords. $2.99 for the e-book; $10.00 for the print book. The kindle version for $2.99 can be found on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Between-These-Pages-ebook/dp/B00DP3RDOA/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374948755&sr=1-6

You can view all of her e-books on Smashwords at: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/camack.

***

The End

 This is it. So very simple actually. Just the end. And no one can prevent it.

When I see the storm clouds, I run. As quickly as I can. But I can’t run faster than the rain, which pelts me like shards of glass. My flesh feels like it’s being punctured, but no matter how piercing the drops, they won’t cut into my skin. Another attack—more deadly than rain—might succeed, for nothing can be deadlier than black storm clouds chasing me down a dark alley.

The buildings loom alongside me. I almost feel smothered, and I would be, were they real, but they’re just inhumane chunks of concrete and strips of mortar and rising steel—inanimate objects—nothing that can actually crush the life out of me, unless, of course, the structures collapse upon me. But that isn’t happening. No, it’s the human factor in the equation I worry about, not the dismal grey surroundings.

I envision airplanes from World War II hovering over me, like when I was young and standing in the flowing fields, my face upturned to the sky, awestruck by the thundering steel birds breaking through the clouds. Menacing. War is like that—horrific. Yet, when it’s over, it’s done. And relief pervades. People relax. Somewhat.

I want this war to be over. When will he leave me alone? He is my war. I have no enemies except for him. I want no enemies. Life is within my grasp, breaths with which to flourish and eyes to wonder.

Yet, continual life is unattainable with him in existence. He prevents me from being me. From living and dying. Yes, even dying. Dying at will. Dying at my time, not his.

This is his time—or so he thinks. But he doesn’t know my stamina. I can live forever if I so desire. As much as he thinks he knows me, he doesn’t know me at all.

I hear the planes again and I’m transported back to 1944 when I was a toddler, uncomprehending and staring at the monsters above me. Many more years passed before I understood how complicated life is and how I may never understand men and women. How I may never understand life—nor death.

Death. That’s his aim. To kill me. I know that. Does he think it’s as easy to kill me as a mockingbird? I’m fearless. I can beat him. Like The Amazing Race, I’ll outwit and outrun him to the finish, intact and whole.

I sense him behind me, even though I don’t see. I want to see, but I can’t. Not with dark descending and overtaking light. Light can’t exist without dark, for what is light if dark isn’t there to obscure it? What is life if there’s no death? What is happiness without sorrow?

Despite my happiness, I’m clothed in sorrow, like at Halloween when masqueraders don their masks of deceit and hide from the world. But it’s not October. It’s still summer and the heat and chill fall upon me, trying to smother me as much as he wants to quash me.

I’m stronger than you, I want to shout, but I don’t, otherwise I’d give myself away. I hide behind one of the formidable pillars and I thank the architect for his unusual design. For surely it’s a man, right? It’s always a man.

He’s still here. He still chases me. I’m not as strong as I had thought. I used to be stronger. Age does that. Life overtakes you, swallows you whole, spits you out in pieces. You can’t win, no matter what you do.

***

The Spot Writers- our members:

RC Bonitz
http://www.rcbonitz.com

Val Muller
http://www.valmuller.com/blog

Catherine A. MacKenzie
https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Deborah Dera
http://www.deborahdera.com

 

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Nine More Sleeps!

My daughter face-booked me the other day:  “I know a little girl who is very excited for u to come home. She keeps asking me how many more sleeps!!”

Well, as of today, March 22, we have eight more sleeps till we’re home (safely, I hope) in our other bed.

I’m excited, but sad at the same time. It’s a terrible predicament to be in, actually. We’ve been here in our home in Mexico (I hate to mention the area, cause I don’t want a bombardment of more northerners to flow here) since February 1. We’re usually here four or five months a year, but this winter it’ll only be two months.

I love it here. Absolutely, unequivocally adore it here. There’s not one thing I don’t like, except maybe the teeny ants that seem to invade my territory and the occasional huge “picture” spider. Some people call them “wallpaper” spiders; I use both names for them. They are humongous creatures and my worst enemies. But I digress…

The “little girl” my daughter referred to is my granddaughter, Taylor. I miss her, as well as her younger brother, Caden, and my son’s children, Kyla and Abby. Four grandchildren – what proud grandmother could ask for more?

I love them to death, my grandchildren. They are my pride and joy – my everything. I just can’t imagine my life without them. And I don’t know how I existed before they entered my life. They’ve made me complete, as cliché-ish as that sounds!

Okay, I know I’m over the top when it comes to my grandchildren, but I can’t help it. That’s another story…you may find it somewhere on my website.

So, back to the original purpose of this post: one week and a day or so before we leave our warm winter’s paradise and head back to cold Canada. We are hoping, however, that spring will have sprung before our plane lands!

Ajijic, Mexico, is a gorgeous place – our second home. Hubbie and I love it so much here, but that’s another story, as well. Suffice to say, if I didn’t have grandchildren back home in Nova Scotia, I’d probably be begging him to live here forever. I guess one has to be careful what one wishes for – I wished for years for grandchildren, but if I didn’t have them, I could possibly remain here in this paradise forever.

But, things happen for a reason. And I have my grandchildren. And I’d never ever give them up, not for anything in the entire world. And so, we will return back to cold Canada to wait for summer (just as we’ll return back here for the next winter). And I can’t wait to get back to Nova Scotia, cause I can’t wait to hug and kiss my grandchildren. More than that – I can’t wait to receive their hugs and kisses. I know it’s better to give than to receive, but when those little darlings wrap their arms around me and hold me tight and slobber their wet lips on mine, well…who could ask for more?

Not me. There’s nothing more I could wish for.

So, like Taylor, I’m counting my sleeps. Eight more sleeps until I’m back in my Canadian bed. And, since we arrive home at midnight, it’ll be nine more sleeps until I see my precious little beings.

Nine more sleeps, Taylor. Are you still counting them like I am?

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