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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)

TITLE: For Grandma
By Catrina Bradley


With one last gaze at the pristine package, I grip its top edge and open it to the air. Careful not to tear the wrapper, I slide a single sheet of floral paper from the stack inside and lay the packet on top of the clutter on my side table.

I guess this is the special occasion Iíve been saving Grandma's stationary for. It was one of her gifts to me on my 12th birthday. She also gave me a Bible with my first name written in gold on the cover. Evie. Iíve been saving that, too, I guess.

Iíd always meant for the first letter I wrote on the pretty stationary to be a thank you note to Grandma. But I didnít mean to wait over three years to write it.

I also didnít mean for it to be the last letter Iíd write to her.


Dear Grandma,

I know you donít have much longer, but I also know that dying doesnít bother you like it does most people. Youíre sure of where youíre going.

Iím sorry I havenít written to you before now, but honestly? I was scared to. But now I want to before itís too late.

You always knew me. Even back then, when you lived on the next block from us, and you were at our house all the time. I always thought you kinda understood me, even though I didnít understand myself. It was like you saw deep into me to stuff others couldnít.. . The hurt. The sadness. The wants. The loneliness.

Mom and dad only knew me as pouty and high-maintenance. They never cared about what was wrong, they only ever wanted me to stop crying and whining.

My brothers knew me as a crybaby tattle-tale. They made fun of me, they teased me. They hurt my feelings to make me cry, and then they laughed at me.

But you, Grandma, you knew I had problems, issues, and a reason to be in a bad mood. You didnít know what it was any more than I did, but you didnít pretend everything should be alright when it wasnít.

You let me be me, even when I wasnít perfect. Well, for a while, anyway. But you let me cry about my punishment. You didnít punish me for crying. You comforted me.

And you let me cry.

I wasnít ever scared of you, either.

I wish you still lived there. Maybe you could have helped me understand myself better.

I wanted to finally say thank you. I wanted you know how much I love you.

Iíll miss you Grandma.



I blow gently on the page, making sure the ink is dry before I fold the flowery page exactly in half and slip it into a matching envelope. The gummed flap sweetens my tongue. In shaky letters, I write, ďGrandmaĒ across the front.

Envelope in hand, I squat in front of the fireplace and poke the logs, bringing the flames to new life.

ďJesus, if youíre really there, please give this to my grandma when she gets to Heaven.Ē

I kiss the envelope before carefully laying it on the burning wood. The flowers wilt and curl, then disintegrate before my tearing eyes. In a rush, the papery ash sails up the chimney in a blackened whirlwind.


I stand and go back to my chair. The cushions welcome my slight weight and gently hug me. On the coffee table, a small handgun waits for me, shimmering in the firelight.

I lean forward and take it in my hands. When I turn the barrel towards me and bring it to my lips, my elbow dislodges the stationary and it slips from its perch. Grandma's Bible is bared, and it mocks me. My golden name winks at me, daring me to finally open the cover.

Until now, the book had lived quietly beside me amongst the clutter--a constant reminder of Grandma. I no longer really saw it, like a landmark you pass every day but only notice when it changes.

I lay the gun down in my lap and extract the Bible from the mess.

Maybe I should look inside before I go.

But only for Grandma.

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This article has been read 688 times
Member Comments
Member Date
william price10/28/10
I don't usually admit to tears, but this really moved me. Excellent story, masterfully told. This gets my double-way-kool award for creativity too. I'm glad your ending blew me away and not your mc. I'm keeping this story. Well done. And yes, grandmommy's are special as is the heart of this writer; very tender and true.
Rachel Phelps10/30/10
I loved the ending - perfect last line. The whole story just drew me in without my being aware of how you did it, which is a mark of an exceptional writer in my book. Well done.
Marita Thelander 10/30/10
oooo What I like about this is the line that caught my attention and settled in my mind as I read was exactly the right line: Iíve been saving that, too, I guess.

It was the perfect set up for your last two sentences. THAT, my friend, is purposefully subtle writing that is a true skill/gift.
T. F. Chezum10/30/10
A very unexpected direction and very well written. Great job.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/31/10
This is a powerful story. There's something about some Grandmas who just seem to get it. Teen suicide is once again on the rise. Your story has a great message and is well done.

My only red ink is little but very rarely do female teens use a gun to commit suicide.

But the message of your story is wonderful and is well written and left me holding my breath.
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/31/10
Your story is really excellent--bringing the character to life through her thoughts and her letter. I love the hope in the ending.
Virgil Youngblood 10/31/10
Well written. I did want to know what prompted her hopelessness, and how she became familiar enough with a pistol to use it, if her father didn't teach her. But, those are minor details.
Nancy Sullivan 10/31/10
I wasn't prepared for the ending - which actually turned out to be a beginning. God always shows up on time and has His resources in place. Your story is a powerful illustration of that truth. Great job.
Barbara Lynn Culler11/01/10
Good story. I also want to know what was going on with the MC.

Is this based on a true story?
Caitlyn Meissner11/03/10
The ending really surprised me. I'm glad the Lord can her a chance for new life. Thanks for a great story. :)
Scarlett Farr11/03/10
wow...that kept me guessing til the end and I never guessed that ending! Great story, kept me intrigued all the way through.
Edmond Ng 11/04/10
A very sad story with an ending that promises to make a difference. Enjoy the reading thoroughly. Excellent work!
william price11/04/10
Just wanted to congratulate you on our 1st place BC today. Bill's Choice.
I thought this was outstanding. Sincerely OUTSTANDING. I loved it.
God bless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/04/10
Congratulations for placing 9th in level 4 and 15th overall!