Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My fourteenth slice-of-life story...

Shriveled, my husband's dear grandmother tottered before me clenching her walker...almost disappearing beneath the heavy wool cape draped over her saggy shoulders.  We were eye to glistening eye.  Just beyond, her husband of 71 years. 

My hand gently found hers, wrinkly and worn.  I fumbled for the right words.   
Audrey was former teacher, you know; even at 91, still sharp as a tack.

"My sympathies," I whispered.  Our darting eyes fused.

"You can't even understand," she stated.

Her tidy yet transparent response arrested me.  
"I know; I can't," served as my shallow summation which grew deeper
with each passing thought..

Her Beloved just two weeks shy of 99.
The homestead in the hills they still shared.
The two cars outside they still drove.
The magazine and book collection they still devoured.
The classical music they still loved.

With pleading eyes, she gazed at the gleaming casket which now served
to package her life's every happiness.

"I just don't know what I will do," her words crumbled one on top of the next.

I held her, my able hands on her bony back.  I cried with her, our tears slid down slowly then faster.  She pulled back and entered a soul-searching stare.  The funeral home closing, she took stock.

"I have to tell him good-bye," she said
sounding more like a teenage girl
 than her December counterpart.


P.S. This brief conversation still consumes my thoughts and opened the door for much consideration on the larger theme --- loss.  I've webbed, I've positioned myself as Audrey, I've been writing this piece in my mind for three days.  Loss is difficult to write well.  I've seen sad movies, I've read sad books, I've had sad conversations.  To write loss, we have to feel loss.  I've revised more in this piece than nearly any other because getting the details 'right' here seemed so incredibly important. 

I know there's still so much to do with a small moment like this, but I think I need to put it away for awhile. 

Write on,


  1. The deep and enduring love is so strong. You told it well.

  2. We were there because your words put us there. I believe it's wonderful you wanted to keep it in your memory by writing it. My sympathies to you, your husband and his grandmother.

  3. The feeling of loss is deep in this piece. Don't change much. It makes a good beginning to the writing of their love story. Do you think you could?


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