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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Repeat (01/24/13)

TITLE: Seventy Times Seven
By Linda Buskirk
01/29/13


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"Do you want my roll?" she asked her daughter for the fourth time.
"No, Mom. I ate my roll and I don't want or need another. Oh look, it's starting to rain outside."
The diversionary comment worked only briefly. A glance to the window, a remark about the wind, a few moments of silence, and the meal resumed.
"Would you like this roll?"
Exasperated, the daughter said sternly, "Look, Mom, I appreciate your offer but, as I have explained repeatedly, I ate my roll and I don't want another one and you don't need to keep asking."
The mother looked blankly at the daughter she loved, then lowered her head, wounded and silent.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, Mom. I just..."
A tear welled up in the daughter's eye. Angry about her behavior, she tried to internally rationalize. She thought, "If only Mom was like she used to be... If I could just help her remember..."
She knew such thoughts were excuses for her inexcusable reactions to her mother's dementia. She loved her mom so much. She moved her from a state away to this retirement apartment home where meals and housekeeping allowed her mom to keep some independence. All the amenities and a beautiful dining room provide a relaxing place to visit and dine, but the daughter ruined it with her impatience and refusal to accept reality.
A gentle hand on the daughter's shoulder startled her in her shame. She looked up to see the face of another woman whose mother lived at Bay Meadows. Her eyes were kind as she motioned to be followed. When the two daughters stood face to face a few feet from the dining area, the wiser one whispered, "Seventy times seven."
"Forgiveness?" asked the ashamed daughter.
"Yes."
"But my mother hasn't done anything wrong. I don't need to forgive her. I just need to quit correcting her. If anything, I am the one who is guilty here."
"Exactly."
"Oh..."
Suddenly the reference to Christ's words became crystal clear. As many times as her mother repeated things in their times together, that's how many times the daughter had sinned with stinging replies.
"I see what you mean. Thank you. I will try to remember."
"I know it's hard, but I have learned that love is most important. It's what my mother has always given me, and love is the most important thing I can give her now."
"The greatest gift is love. Show her love, seventy times seven times."
"Exactly."
With new understanding, the daughter returned to her mother's table.
"I'm back, Mom. I love you."
"And I love you! Would you like my roll?"
"Thank you! Let's share it."


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This article has been read 194 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/01/13
This is a really intense story. I think you did a fantastic job of covering the topic while still delivering a great message.

My only suggestion might be to add a little bit of action in between the dialogue. This can help the reader understand where the character is coming from as well as identify the person speaking. For example: "Forgiveness?" The daughter twirled her hair with her finger while she nibbled on her bottom lip. Hopefully something like that will show you what I mean and that the daughter feels guilty which is why she is performing nervous tendencies like biting her lip.

Overall I think you did a great job with this painful subject. You covered the topic in a fresh way. The ending brought the story full circle.
CD Swanson 02/02/13
This made me well up and brought a vitally important message in the interim. Nicely done, and you did a phenomenal job with a very sad subject. Yet it was presented in a way that offered hope. Good work!

God bless~
Melinda Bozak 02/02/13
Dementia brings about such conflicting emotions to the family who finds themselves in the position of caring for or watching those they love slowly slip away. This story paints an accurate picture of the frustration and even irritation that can sometimes occur. It then follows by describing the shame that is felt for expecting the loved one to 'just' remember and to just be who they used to be. It is so sad, but in these situations to love means that we must now live in our loved one's reality. I smiled when, at the end of the story, I could feel the change in the daughter's attitude. It reminded me of some repeat conversations that I had with my grandma. We were living in her world, sometimes even becoming different people.
This is an important topic and the message is a blessing.
Melinda Bozak 02/02/13
Dementia brings about such conflicting emotions to the family who finds themselves in the position of caring for or watching those they love slowly slip away.
This story paints an accurate picture of the frustration and even irritation that can sometimes occur. It then follows by describing the shame that is felt for expecting the loved one to 'just' remember and to 'just' be who they used to be. It is so sad, but in these situations to love means that we must now live in our loved one's reality.
I smiled when, at the end of the story, I could feel the change in the daughter's attitude. It reminded me of some repeat conversations that I had with my grandma. We were living in her world, and sometimes when necessary, even becoming the people she believed us to be.
This is an important topic and the message is a blessing.
Loni Bowden-Horn02/09/13
This is a poignant and moving story. It is often difficult for a family to deal with dementia.

It often reminds us that forgiveness is the key to restoring any relationship.

Congratulations on your third place ribbon.
Catherine Craig 02/10/13
Clever use of dialogue to bring attention to a painful topic.