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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Hum (06/06/13)

TITLE: The Subtle Sounds of Pain
By Rachel Malcolm


The swaying of the hammock reminds me of a mother rocking her baby, and once again, I can feel the sting of tears. Has it been three whole weeks since my baby was born lifeless? The wind is picking up, but it brings no relief from the suffocating heat. The rush of warm air only leaves me hungry for the heat wave to break.

Let it hurt. Stop fighting the pain. I always prided myself in being strong, never crying. But, I’ve never hurt so wholly before. I feel the grief tighten in my stomach, a quivering in my chest, an ache in my throat. The intensity of emotion frightens me as it rises from within and covers me completely.

The storm of tears ends as suddenly as it had begun. There is a strange sense of peace that I am surprised to find here at this place of suffering. I feel God’s love surrounding me like flowing water.

Slowly, I become deeply aware of my surroundings. All of my senses are awakened to a hum that seems to grow in depth. My gasping breath slows as I concentrate on the sound. Red flickers like static under my closed lids, and my whole body seems to be trembling with the sound.

On the surface, the harsh grating of a lawn mower seems to overpower everything else, but, there is more. My senses lift me into the treetops and I can hear the leaves trembling rapidly. The heat hasn’t subsided, but the sound cools me and I am awakened to another layer of the hum. I can hear the buzz of a bee as it flies from flower to flower, and then I can hear another… and another.

My pain is like the hum. There are so many layers to this pain. At times it is so consuming that I can’t hear or see anything but my pain. It shakes me. It grabs all of my attention and leaves me weak and drained of all other emotions. At other times, I am visiting and laughing, but suddenly it seems so strange to laugh and I can hear the pain again. It’s just below the surface.

I let my mind draw out the hum of the bees again. I settle here. The hum is always about me, yet I am often unaware of it. It is a small, and yet significant part of the tapestry of sounds that embrace me. I will always carry this pain. It will forever change me. Strangely, this thought is comforting. I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to “move on.” Even the thought of those words makes my heart thump sickeningly. For me, it is synonymous with “moving away” … from my baby, of leaving her behind. I will carry her memory. I will carry my pain and let it change me, but I will not carry it alone.

Sweet Jesus, You are with me! Carry me in my sorrow and fill my life with a purpose bigger than myself. Let this sorrow be a catalyst for change that begins in my own life and pours out into the lives of others. Lord Jesus, love through me.

Author's note: the people and events in this story are fictional.

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This article has been read 375 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Brenda Rice 06/13/13
Incredible story. May I presume it is true? What a deeply personal subject to share, but you did it so well. Some things are never forgotten but thank God the pain is cover with a Holy Balm that only our Father in Heaven can provide.
Genia Gilbert06/17/13
I have recently been reading about first person fiction, and how effective it can be. I think you have mastered it! This is very well written, deep with comparison and thought. Great job.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/17/13
Wow what a powerful story. I thought for sure it was based on a true story because you captured her emotions so fully. As a former maternity nurse, OB was usually the happiest place in the hospital, but when it was sad, everyone there felt the pain. You captured that pain and then offered a glimmer of hope that some day, the pain might lessen some. Good job.
harvestgal Ndaguba06/18/13
You did capture the heart of a grieving mother. Great writing.
Ellen Carr 06/18/13
This is very well written and kept me engrossed from start to finish. Although it is fiction it has the ring of truth that is good fiction. Well done! Keep writing!
Danielle King 06/18/13
I'm surprised this story is fiction. You captured the emotions of a grieving mother so expertly. The whole piece is beautifully put together and I think it will do well with the judges. Great job.
Brenda Rice 06/18/13
I was the first to comment on your entry. I'm even more impressed to learn this is your first entry. What a great job. Blessings.
Linda Berg 06/20/13
You captured the emotions of a grieving mother or really anyone experiencing a deep grief. It can be a constant companion in life, although not always overwhelming and debilitating as God does give comfort in time. Congratulations on your superb first entry.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/20/13
Congratulations! Happy Dance!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/20/13
Congratulations on placing 2 in your entry and 14 overall! Very impressive for first entry. I can't wait to read more from you! (The highest rankings can be found on the message boards)
Mar  03/20/14
Congratulations Rachel!