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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Shhh. (02/18/10)

TITLE: Shh…It’s Okay, It’s All Right
By Barbara Mahler


“Shh…it’s okay,” I spoke in a hushed tone to my distraught son. “Shh..it’s okay, it’s all right, why don’t you sit down,” I said trying to cajole him. Already seated at a visitor’s table, I was afraid to stand up although my youngest son stood within arm’s reach. I could only repeat the words, “shh…it’s ok.” Tears began to stream done my face as the guards came closer and I became fearful that this precious time – a less than an hour visit with my son in a maximum security hospital was going to end before it had begun. “Shh, I repeated desperately trying to keep my voice calm despite Greg’s shouts and inappropriate behavior.
Then, it was as if what was real – wasn’t. My mind raced back to very different times spent with my precious child. Memories of happy hours flashed through my mind – short circuiting the painful reality of the present moment. I recalled the time we spent in New York City together during his elementary school years – his willingness to walk long distances in all kinds of weather - and the multitude of compliments I received about his behavior and cooperative nature. Much too quickly he was all grown up, but no longer the “youngest” – and how thrilled he was to relinquish his “youngest” position to his new baby sister. What a wonderful big brother he was – an Emergency Medical Technician who never hesitated to lie on the floor and play with his little sister - always willing to babysit – even on short notice!
The escape from reality that my memories provided came to an end as I again became aware of my son’s outcries. But to my relief he was sitting down – across the table. The guards backed away asking only, “is it okay now, Greg?”
Our time together resumed as Greg acknowledged the presence of his friend who was sitting alongside me. “Good to see you too,” John responded to Greg’s outstretched hand.
Grateful that his friend seemed to be able to engage him in conversation I felt somewhat at ease and settled back in the chair. As he struggled to talk with his friend I surveyed my son’s face and demeanor for something familiar – a gesture, a look – something that would console me.
“Oh, Greg, my dear, darling son,” my heart cried out. “What has happened to you? Where is the person that I know? How could you want to hurt yourself? Is it going to be all right? Is it going to be okay?”

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Member Comments
Member Date
AnneRene' Capp02/26/10
Every mother's nightmare! I wore your heaviness as I read this and commend you for sharing this heartfelt story.
I am pretty new round here but want to recommend Jan and Ann's writing courses to help with grammar, etc... They have helped me tremendously, and double spacing between paragraphs makes it easier to read.
I look forward to reading more of your stories.
Patricia Turner02/27/10
A very painful story and the emotion was communicated well. I agree that paragraph spacing would improve the readability of this story. Please do keep writing!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/28/10
This is very touching, I yearned to know more about Greg, was he there because he tried to commit suicide or because he'd committed a crime? Then I realized he was sharing an intimate moment with his mother and it didn't matter as much as the whys, but your writing drew me in and I'm ready to hear more. Good job.
Jan Ackerson 03/02/10
You definitely left me wanting more, and with unanswered questions as to the circumstances that put him there.

You did a good job portraying the emotional content--I was just looking for more of a back story, some narrative to fill in the gaps.