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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Flowers (10/03/05)

TITLE: In Lieu of Flowers
By Brandi Roberts


My parents and I had never gotten along. Oftentimes I wished they would just leave me alone. But even with all their nosiness and annoying habits, I never would have asked for them to die. On November 22 they were killed in a car accident.

I was bombarded with flowers and little cards full of well-wishing sentiments. A memorial was set up at the scene of the crash, littering the side of the road with every kind of floral arrangement the gift shop could create. Every day, a new batch would come, driving me insane with its soft scents. As I dictated the arrangements for the funeral, more and more would flood into my home. Tiger lilies, carnations, roses and baby's breath - they covered the cabinets of our - my simple home. They sickened me. Every new scent drifting across the house provided me with just another reminder that my parents were dead.

When the funeral home requested that I write the obituaries, I acceded. I was the only one who could write an acceptable memorial to my parents' lives. I sat down at my kitchen table with pen in hand and began to write.

It is with much regret that we announce the sudden passings of our beloved Richard & Elaine Cretch. They are survived by their daughter, Danielle, their parents, Thom & Rosa Cretch, and Edward & Helena Barringer. Richard & Elaine lived a full life. They found joy in the simple things, and hope in their faith. Married out of high school, they built their home and lives on the love of God. Both were employed in the mission field, and spent many years ministering to the homeless of the city. Our family would like to thank those who have lifted us up in prayer and have offered their condolences. Funeral services will be held Saturday, November 30th 11:00 am. at the Spring Haven Full Gospel Assembly. If you would like to show your support, in lieu of flowers, our family requests that a small donation be made to the Spring Haven Lost Sheep program.

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This article has been read 1076 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anita Neuman10/10/05
This is so sad! I'd like to know more details - is this a true story? How old were you (or how old was the character)? Your description of the flowers filling the home was realistic and well-written. Good job.
Phyllis Inniss10/12/05
We must all die and yet death, especially when it's sudden, comes as a shock. It's sad when you are faced with the reality of it and losing both parents at the same time is a double blow. Very well written.
Allison Egley 10/12/05
I like it. To me, it seems as if there could be something added to the end, but I really can't think of what. Which means that it's probably much better the way you wrote it.
Linda Watson Owen10/12/05
Heartrending and real. A well told account whether true or fiction.
Julianne Jones10/13/05
Well told and distubringly honest. Like Allison, I felt that there needed to be more at the end, but I don't know what. It does makes the reader think, and that might be enough. Thanks for sharing.
Alexandra Wilkin10/13/05
This was very well written - I almost got the feeling that you were conveying how sorry you were that you did not know the parents better. Would have liked more background and exploration of the dynamics of the relationship. This is very well written but I felt as though something was being held back. God bless.
Jan Ackerson 10/13/05
I gather that writing the lovely obituary was a means of healing some of the hurts in the relationship--am I right? A bit more background on the specific difficulties you experienced might have helped, and some closure about how writing the obit changed you. The writing is excellent; this just feels like the "middle" of a piece.
Garnet Miller 10/13/05
Nice article. Very sad that a daughter had to do this for her parents.
Shari Armstrong 10/13/05
This was very well done -and a very interesting take on the topic!
Crista Darr10/13/05
I am impressed with your writing. I see you growing and improving with every Challenge. You began this piece very strong and it seemed to fizzle a bit at the end. Still, great work!
Laurie Glass 10/13/05
This drew me in and made me want to know more. Good writing.
Donnah Cole10/13/05
Nice piece! I would have liked for something to really "grab" my emotions though as a reader. For instance, let me know the depth of the character's grief, his/her regrets over the parent/child relationship, etc. I think you did express this somewhat by mentioning that the flowers sickened you. I just think there needed to be more of those feelings expressed. God bless...
Cassie Memmer10/13/05
More! :o)
Tammy Johnson10/14/05
Yes, you definately have more you could say! This is very good - the premise, the feelings, the tragedy - and then the hope. They are gone from here, but they knew Christ, so they live on. Good job! Give us more, please!
Julianne Jones10/14/05
Interesting contrast between the public and private image of the parents. Interesting too that the daughter saw both sides. Thought it was a wonderful obituary especially the line "they built their home and lives on the love of God" - how many of us would love for that to be true. As others have commented, I felt there needed to be something more at the end, but not sure what. You might even like to expand this into a much longer piece. Keep writing.
Debbie Sickler10/15/05
I agree that this is good, but needs something at the end. I think it might be good to bring it back around to the flowers again. Maybe something to the effect of "As I finished writing, and I lay my pen back down on the table, I took a moment to reflect. My thoughts were quickly interrupted by the doorbell. It was another delivery. More flowers." Or something along those lines any way! :) Good job though!
B Brenton10/17/05
What a wonderful thing to be said about you after death. With a life like that, everyone at the funeral should be rejoicing! They are now with their saviour.
Would have liked to seen it longer. But you know... what can you do?
Joseph Civitella10/19/05
This glimpse into the experience of the character in response to the event is quite powerful, Brandi. Well done. From the perspective that it's sometimes better to say less than to say more, I think you said just enough. But if you were to expand on this piece, especially if you elaborate on the experience or develop the character some more, you would give us a full view in lieu of a glimpse, and it seems to me your readers here would enjoy that.