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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Week(s) (02/10/11)

TITLE: Time To Go
By sandra hoolihan


It seemed a simple thing to allow my eyes to flutter, but the gasp heard from little Clara would suggest I had miraculously lifted myself upright and asked her to have one of our famous bedside tea parties. It would have been a simple enough gesture if this wasn’t my last hour before dying.

“Did you see that?” the sweet voice of my granddaughter asked hopefully. She was trying to whisper, but just like the times she tried to contain her enthusiasm at the library, anything above the quietest of whispers sounded like a yell. “I think Grandma was trying to open her eyes!” she insisted sounding hopeful and excited.

I could picture her wide eyes glaring at me as she tugged on her Mommas skirt bouncing with more enthusiasm than the somber crowd that was gathered would have been comfortable with. I tried to smile for her, but I just couldn’t find the strength.

“Oh, Sweetie” said my daughter Trudy in voice filled with sadness. Her voice quivered as she added, “Grandma’s week and needs us to be very quiet so she can rest.” I pictured her absentmindedly petting Clara’s golden locks while wishing it were my own hand stroking the child’s soft silky hair. I imagined that her little head smelled like strawberries.

Over the last several weeks Clara had come by my room to visit, bringing a different teddy bear with her each day to have tea with me as I recovered from my latest bout of the flu. This time, however I wasn’t recovering. I tried to keep my energy up, but as each day passed, I could feel myself succumbing to the the stillness I often felt right before drifting off to sleep at night. Now, a flutter of the eyes was cause for excitement and the rattle in my chest gave no promise of recovery.

Three weeks ago we were all happily gathered together in celebration of Trudy’s announcement of her pregnancy. I wanted to be the one to take care of her while her body did its hidden work, but instead she became my caretaker. She had to watch my body deteriorate without knowing that I too was experiencing my own hidden miracle. As I lay almost lifeless, my spirit was building up and my soul began to yearn and hunger for something I knew was beyond this room.

Father Lorenzo cast a shadow over my bed as he prayed a final prayer over my body. There was weeping and shuffling of feet as the drone of a Latin prayer filled the room. They all responded with a unified and deflated “Amen.” I wanted to hold their hands and tell them I wasn’t sad and neither should they be.

Finally, the time had arrived when my body was ready to empty itself of its occupant for the last 86 years. I never liked goodbyes, but I knew they were all waiting on me. There was no unfinished business, but for some reason I held on just long enough to feel a cold hand against my cheek and hear the littlest voice whisper that she would love me always. And with the scent of plump red strawberries filling my senses, I went on my way.

2 Corinthians 4:16
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

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This article has been read 274 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Brenda Rice 02/17/11
Like like your MC's voice. Creative and interesting. Thanks for sharing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/21/11
This is a sweet story. I do believe sometimes people had on to life just long enough for their loved ones to be ready for the grieving process.

I noticed a few typos week instead of weak and some missing apostrophes to show possession.

All in all, it was a nice story with good characters that I could relate to and fell in love with. Nice job!
Mildred Sheldon02/21/11
So tender and sad, but also a gentle loving story of the end of ones life upon this earth. Very well written and keep writing.