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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent) (04/24/08)

TITLE: One Word of Blessedness
By Sally Hanan


Her filmy hair caught a whiff of breeze and exposed her eyes. She had been crying. Out there on the swing used to be her favorite place. It still was, but the anguish crowded out the pleasure. Scott was gone. “Gone to meet his maker,” the doctor had said.

His body still lay upstairs; she had lain there by his side for hours, willing him to live again, to come back to her, to his baby. He had not.

Near his body was the crib he had carved, each whittle one move closer to perfection for his baby. He’d always talked about making one, even though the cribs made in China were half the price. She had watched his fingers palpate certain spots of wood to ensure the flow. They seemed to know instinctively what was right, what was not...when he was breathing. He had said that he wanted the wood as smooth as her favorite ice-cream.

Lisa kicked her feet higher, daring the ropes to just let her go. What was it about a maker who had made a baby but taken the father?

It had only been a few hours and she already ached for him. She knew he was the one the first time she saw him standing beside the lawnmowers at the gardening store—knew by the gentleness in his eyes, the softness of his tone, the way he listened to her when she talked, even when she had nothing to say. Were he alive, at that moment, his full focus would be on her face. His arms would surround her and the baby and he would smile that smile of his that let her know she was loved. She wanted to be there now—in his arms—protected; moored to his love. She wanted to watch him treasure her words and feed them back to her in beauty.

He had always said that she would be a wonderful mother. Right at that moment, she didn’t want to be a mother. She wanted to be a wife. The swing slowed to a stop. She and her maternity wear crinkled to the grass below, tears and hair entwined with the wretchedness in her chest.

And then fingers gently pushed under hers, lifted her hand, her arm, her body to a standing position. She stared helplessly at the person in front of her—into the face of a woman who had driven five hours just to be there with her, to hold her and carry her through the throes of loss.

She leaned in to the warm body, tears already weeping onto the welcoming shoulder, mouth open slightly to whisper just one word of blessedness.


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This article has been read 884 times
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Sara Harricharan 05/01/08
Oh wow! I want to say that this is sad, but the hope here in that one word, it makes it seem 'just right'. I'm so glad she had a mother to come and comfort her and I liked the descriptions from when she was on the swing, such as 'crinkling to the ground'. Great job! ^_^
Joanne Sher 05/03/08
A very visual, moving piece. The anguish is so real, and that last word the perfect ray of hope in this place of no hope. Masterfully done.
Peter Stone05/04/08
Great job in potraying the emptiness and loss when losing the partner. Also liked the way in which the widow appeared to be the mother the article was about, but then the last one expanded on that beautifully.
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/04/08
We never outgrow our need of "Mom" as you showed so creatively. Your description of sadness was exceptionally well done.
Chely Roach05/06/08
Kleenex! Paging Mr. Kleenex!

This was so tender and beautiful, I could feel the MC's pain. Loved this...
James Dixon05/06/08
Great emotive writing.
Joshua Janoski05/06/08
I thought this story was just about a widowed mother, and then you surprised me with the widow's mother showing up.

Your writing style is beautiful, and it really gripped my emotions. I appreciate you sharing this sad, but beautiful story. It was a pleasure to read.
Debbie Wistrom05/07/08
So glad for the brick or I might have missed this talented entry. So much here to like,great job.
Jeffrey Snell05/07/08
Those of us who've lived with parents who are willing to be there for us no matter what are truly blessed. May we all be such to our children!
Catrina Bradley 05/07/08
Beautiful writing - such emotion in your words! Love the ending. :)
Dianne Janak05/08/08
Sally... I LOVED this. There is a "ministry of presence" that the Mom in this story, very beautifully illustrated. Sometimes that is all it takes, and there is a flow of healing that begins. You captured this ministry only a MOM could give brilliantly.. Thanks for this.