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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Break (02/06/06)

TITLE: New Ground
By L.M. Lee


“Watch it! Be careful or you’ll break it…”

Looking around my where my living room was I now wonder why I even bothered myself with such details. That crystal vase I fussed over the day we moved into our dream retirement home is lying shattered on the slab. Funny, it is completely shattered, but not one piece moved.

And that silly Pixie statue he won for me on our first day is sitting undisturbed on the night stand. How could that be? The entire house has been swept into the Gulf, but there sits that silly statue mocking me from its perch.

The girls next door are almost giddy at the thought of getting a new home, new furniture, new cars and a new neighborhood. They’re young. They haven’t collected a lifetime of memories to have them erased in one day. Their biggest worry is surviving the process in a cramped apartment with their children until their 4,000 square foot of latest conveniences are restored.

I keep fighting the feeling of hopelessness, the “why bother” attitude. Why even try? Anything I get can be ripped away at a moment’s notice. Just give me an air mattress and a toothbrush. At least I know I could escape with all my worldly possessions then.

I know that’s wrong.

I keep telling myself I’m fortunate and how blessed I am. My family escaped unharmed. The children are all safe. Their homes are fine. Their jobs are secure. We’re all okay. Isn’t that what matters most? Why do I feel such pain and grief?

I should be happy. I lost all of my earthly possessions, but I have excellent insurance coverage, after all John was tops in sales for his company. No other insurance agent met his record. If anything, we were over insured. Of course John is laughing at me from beyond saying, “I told you so. Aren’t you glad I paid all those premiums now?” I can just hear him.

I smile to myself. He was such a good man. I miss him so much.

I feel tears roll down my cheeks.

“Stop it, now!” I shout to myself. The words echo through the emptiness of the neighborhood. There is nothing to absorb the sounds. No houses to break the impact of my rage, only a clear azure sky and the sound of waves searching for sand among the debris littered beach.

There are no pelicans or seagulls. They were all swept away. Dead fish smell permeates the air.

The reality of my world breaks my heart once again.

Why am I so sad? Why am I so angry? Why do I feel so hopeless? Why can’t I find the energy and enthusiasm those young girls who lived next door have? Why can’t I get past the loss and move on?


“Mom, you ready?”

“Is there anything you want to bring?”

“What about the Pixie dad won for you?”

I feel myself encircled by my son’s strong arms. I lean into him hoping to absorb his courage.

“Maw-mère, Poppy won this little statue?” asked a head of curious strawberry curls as pudgy fingers carefully lifted the memento from its platform.

“Yes, sweetie, Poppy won that for me on our very first date.”

“Can I keep it?” twinkling hazel eyes implore me.

“No, honey, that’s Maw-mère’s. She’ll want to keep it.”

“It’s okay, as long as she’s careful and doesn’t break it.”

“Oh Maw-mère, I’ll take perfect care of it!”

“I know you will sweetie.”

“Ready mom?”

I nod. I’m too overcome with emotion to speak. Waves of sorrow rise up in my throat choking my words. I blink back the tears stinging my eyes with their presence.

We stand. We take one last look. Reaching for the hands I dearly love, we join hands and I bow to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the day, for my family and humbly ask…O, Father give me the courage of Caleb who took a city at eighty…and the strength to break new ground.

© 2/6/06

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This article has been read 1118 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sharon Singley02/13/06
this is just beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.
Joan Scott02/14/06
I thought your writing was very moving. I could feel the emtion you shared and could feel the courage arise as you prayed. Thank you !

Joan Scott
Gwynn Turner02/20/06
Very inspiring! Thank you for sharing this. :)
Betsy Tacchella02/20/06
This is a very heartfelt piece. A world shattered yet there is hope in God. Thanks for sharing.
Kate Wells02/20/06
This was so powerful. I could feel the grief and the struggle to persevere through it. My favorite line ..."O, Father give me the courage of Caleb who took a city at eighty…and the strength to break new ground."
Congratulations on your well deserved win!

Marilyn Schnepp 02/25/06
Better late than never! This is the first chance I have had to read the Editors' Choice entries; This piece is Great! It put a lump in my throat, a tear in my eye and gratitude to God for His loving care. This is a deserved Win and Congratulations! Your piece will continue to haunt me...such loss, such devestation! God Bless.