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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Week(s) (02/10/11)

TITLE: A Week Apart
By Glynis Becker
02/13/11


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One glance at the blue plastic pillbox reminded her what day it was. Only Wednesday? she thought, ruefully. How the days just bleed, one right into another, nothing to distinguish this one from the last.

Lilith shuffled over to the mirror hanging above her dresser. Isn't it strange, she thought, how our gait gives our age away even if our faces don't? As a girl, she had never been one to walk if she could skip and as a young mom she spent hours running after her own little girls. Now, like an old hound with no rabbit to chase, she ambled around her tiny room without pattern or reasoning. So she shuffled. Her back was stooped, her shoulders slumped. She was afraid her face, too, was now betraying her, new lines appearing almost daily before her eyes.

Her Howard had always stroked her cheek softly and called her his English Rose. She looked down at the gilded frame on the dresser, sitting atop a delicate pink doily. The oval frame held a fading photo of them on their anniversary trip to Hawaii. They had smiled and laughed, asking a young couple to take their photo at sunset. The last trip they had taken together. Many years ago now, but Lilith remembered it like yesterday.

That's what she had these days, her memories. Of course, Lilith had made a few friends at Whispering Pines. There were the ladies at the Tuesday Bible study. And the ones from her Friday knitting circle. But these were recent friends. Newcomers to her life. She wanted someone who already knew who she was. Not someone just to make small talk with about the weather—Gonna be a cold one out there today, don't you think?--or the state of the world—Kids these days don't even know the meaning of hard work. She wanted real conversation, something meaningful.

So she waited impatiently for Sundays. That was the afternoon set aside for her daughter and son-in-law to come see her. Or sometimes her granddaughter would stop by with those beautiful great-grands that hugged Lilith with their sticky fingers and stared at her with great wide eyes and fuzzy baby hair. She loved Sundays. Most times after her visitors left, she couldn't exactly remember what they'd talked about, but she was always overcome by a peacefulness. Yes, everything just as it should be. Lilith felt a part of life again, even for just an hour. Not someone on the outside, looking back at what she used to have, but a member of it, giving and receiving in the world once more.

* * * * * * * * *
“Looking great today, Mrs. Dunham.” The nurse on duty, Gloria, was one of Lilith's favorites. Always ready with a smile and a moment to talk. She asked, “Daughter coming today?”

“Yes. Grace should be here any minute.” Lilith was just stepping out of her room into the carpeted hallway. She had given her hair and face the once-over in the little mirror. After two tries she had settled on an outfit—her comfortable lavender pants and flowered blouse. And in a fit of whimsy, she added her favorite strand of pink beads, even though they didn't match what she was wearing. There's one perk of getting older, she thought, smiling.

Her room phone rang and she grabbed the doorpost to steady herself for a change in direction. As quickly as she could move, Lilith made her way to the phone and answered. Grace was on the other end.

“Mother, we're not going to make it this afternoon. Annie and the girls have been sick this week, and Trevor had two basket ball games this weekend. Ron just got back from his business trip, so we're running around like crazy and I really need time to relax before I go back to work tomorrow. Weekends are not long enough, are they? Are you well, Mother? I'll come by and see you next Sunday, okay? I promise.”

“That's fine, dear. I understand. You're busy.” Although, truly, it was not fine. She was disappointed. She was angry. And because she had no one with whom she could share the anger and disappointment, she was even more upset. Another week?

Lilith settled the handset back in its cradle and sat down in her rocking chair. She took a half-finished project from her knitting basket and the click-clack of the needles became the only sounds to break the deafening silence.


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This article has been read 347 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Patricia Protzman02/18/11
I enjoyed your story. An excellent description of an elderly person's feelings and life in a "home." As a nurse who worked in nursing homes for many years, I met many "Liliths."
Danielle King 02/19/11
I felt Lillith's disappointment at being let down by her family. You portrayed her very well and your descriptions were excellent. Well done.
Kimberly Russell02/19/11
This was a hard one to read: which means it was well written! My mother is in a nursing home and I stop to see her every day. It's heartbreaking to see those that don't appear to get many visits.
Henry Clemmons02/20/11
You told a very good story. I felt for your MC. You made me want to visit her. Good job of getting me involved in the story. Well done.
Catrina Bradley 02/20/11
I wondered if it would end this way, and I hoped it wouldn't. I'm longing for a happily ever after, but that's not always what we're dealt in life. I hope one of her Bible study friends comes to check on her! Your MC feels so real to me...I truly care about her.
Lollie Hofer 02/21/11
You did a good job of pulling us into Lilith's world. The name fit her so well. I could see and feel everything. Your descriptions were strong. Well done.
Rachel Phelps02/21/11
This entry broke my heart. Three of my grandparents have been in a nursing home and I could picture this so vividly. SO well done.
Noel Mitaxa 02/22/11
Real insights into the loss of connectedness among older people who need to maintain family contact as much as peer group company to stop feeling lonely. Yet you maintained some humour in your MC's relaxed dress sense. Vey sensitively written.
Helen Curtis02/23/11
A very sad and lonely tale. It's a great reminder that what may take an hour or two out of our schedule could be the event that gives a person hope and meaning for the rest of the week.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/23/11
This story speaks volumes. Being both a nurse and frequent inpatient at the hospital I so understand the feelings of your MC.

When I am hospitalized my roommate is what I lovingly refer to as a lol-which meant little ole lady long before laugh out loud. They often are lonely and seem to be forgotten.

I get very protective of my roommates and do my best to ease their loneliness. Your story just propels me to make my dream of getting a small therapy dog and go visit those in the nursing homes and hospital.

Your story helped give me the strength to make this dream a reality. Great job with wonderful showing of how the elderly can feel.
Carol Penhorwood 02/23/11
Heart breaking! We ourselves could be the next Lilith.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/24/11
Congratulations for placing 7th in level 3 and 23rd overall!