TITLE: Dear Dorothy 3/07/18
By kate mackereth
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Putting words in God's mouth is a bit risky and I don't think I've done it well enough.
I am concerned that I have made Dorothy's independence attractive when really I wanted to show how God pursues the wild at heart so intently, how he loves a challenge since he is wild himself.
I also did not communicate the bit about her son clearly enough, I was thinking of him being a non believer as I know how hard that is for a parent, his death was a spiritual as well as physical one. The 'trying' is in reference to how Jesus did all he could by dying for us but I really haven't communicated this properly. I sort of like how readers should have to wonder about some things since it's a personal letter but it's too vague I think, including the bit where she questioned God's faithfulness.
I think the end winds up a bit slow. I particularly like the bit about trying to get Dorothy to shower as having worked in aged care this is a very common problem us nurses have dealt with in dementia!
I didn't know how to lay it out but I notice in the challenges that Faithwriters space things out a lot. Have I spaced it too much, particularly at the end?
I know that 'nipping at your heels' is too used a phrase..... um what else? It was hard to go a bit deeper without giving away it was God and not a husband. I wanted the letter to be intimate and readers to feel the history of a relationship. I wanted readers not to realise it was God till near the end and to then view it all through a new lens. Of course if you read this first before the piece then I've ruined that!
It's my first time submitting a critique, I might wait until I see how they are done before I submit one, but I will certainly re pay the favour to someone soon.
Be honest, I very much doubt anyone could be harsher than I am on myself.
I was drawn to you like wind to a dandelion.
We met on a mountain. You were climbing it alone, as you always did. Your hair flew behind you like the tail of a wild animal as you leapt from rock to boulder.
Dirt smudged cheeks, blood scraped knees. Life was gasping for more as it rushed through your veins.
When you saw me, you smiled over your shoulder, daring me to chase you. So I did.
At the cliff’s edge I held out my hand, but you took your chances instead, your laughter twirling above the tree branches, up, up and away.
I haven’t stopped chasing you since.
Your friends thought I was just a phase. Your parents thought I was stealing you away from them. Even you questioned my intentions, believing I wanted to tame you like all the others that had tried and failed. But I love the sound of a brumby’s hooves thundering against the earth more than anyone.
And so I won you over the same as the moon lays claim to night. They all said you were too headstrong, but you met your match in me Dot.
We share a zest for adventure, the same ache for beauty. We talk of skipping stones and lakes, of eagle’s nests and stars. You speak of mysteries and I talk back of hearts. You fight with me. I fight for you.
When cancer threatened to overtake you, I stood still and let you beat your fists against my chest, scooping you up when you tired out.
When motherhood exchanged your body for saggy breasts and your career for sleepless nights, you screamed at me for your worth. I admit that I grinned, but oh, how ravishing you were.
When your son died in front of our eyes, I know you loathed me for not saving him but I tried Dot. He was my child too.
When you doubted my faithfulness I was less than impressed. You know I prefer your tangled mane to the braided charms of others.
Your heart strayed then, not mine, my love.
And when Alzheimer’s turned your pantyhose into scarfs and your commode into a wash basin, I was not deterred my darling. Your handbag can hoard rotten food in handkerchiefs as much as your pretty mind desires. I promise I won’t touch it, although brave is the nurse that does.
This Dementia is tugging at your memory, nipping at your heels. You’re scared. Lost. But you’re not alone.
I saw you place your pen down and stare at the handwriting of a six year old girl. I saw you spend hours settling a baby only to realise it was a doll.
I know how surprised you were when you shoplifted a jar of prunes. Then how appalled you were when you couldn’t find the shop to return them. I know you enjoyed them though. You rebel.
The nurses promise a waterfall for your shower, it’s the only way to get you to bathe. They ration out blueberries as medication and take you to your treehouse so you’ll sleep.
You get in trouble for offering piggy back rides to other patients. They just don’t know how to have a good time do they?
You veer off track, you trudge through mud and the clouds thicken as you climb.
You can’t see my face.
You can’t hear my voice.
Don’t be afraid, my love.
You might feel weak. But I am strong. And even if you can’t remember me, I’ve not forgotten you.
It’s the last year of your life Dot, the last mountain for you to climb. We’re going to do this one together.
I’ll take you to the highest peak where you’ve never been before.
So come, take my hand.
I’ve got you.
I know you’ll love the view from the top.
Your husband forever,
Ps. Please stop biting the nurses, you know they’ll confiscate your dentures if you keep it up.
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