Grandma at the Graveside

Driving to graveside with my heart crushed, I didn’t feel the after effects of the tears, but sniffled and wiped my nose. Silent and disbelieving, through the window, I watched the long line of cars proceed ahead. The lead car (the hearse) a few car lengths away. In my mind, I vividly recall every detail. The little blue casket dwarfed inside the giant Baptist Church. Flowers with blue bows, little stuffed lambs, and plastic rattles. A pastor trying to comfort a family stunned by the loss of an infant only a week old. It just couldn’t be, but it was.

He was an angel, here for a short time, but why?….. why?….. It seemed so cruel to watch my sister hold him, rock him, and then cry by his casket. Not just cry, but – rip-your-heart-out and die – despair. A grief that was palpable. The ache I felt is nothing compared to what she feels. I can’t imagine, nor would I want to. Is he in a better place? Well, sure. But why? Why him? Why us? Why do babies have to die? Tears well up and drop because…. I don’t know the answer to that, and I never will. All I can do is be there for her, and be as brave as she is.

We reach the graveyard. Tires crunch on gravel. The day is overcast – of course. There is a tent set up over the grave. It has a green covering to resemble grass – to cover the hole. The chairs face the “grass” covered in velvet cloth. It is the most depressing place I have ever seen. My sister is still with the family car waiting for the casket and has not yet arrived. It is only my brothers and I, with a few friends strolling up. I see Grandma Owens being led to a chair under the tent awning on the first row. It’s hard to look at anyone. I can’t bear to see the bloodshot eyes, and the red noses. The pain, all the more real, when you look in the face of your family. All of us hurting.

Grandma is holding up very well. She sees the flowers set delicately around the graveside. Beautiful sprays of baby’s breath with delicate blooms unfolding love for a little boy we knew for such a short time. I watch as she moves toward the flower spray near the back, to touch, and to feel, and check the tag to see if it’s hers. One second she is there, shuffling toward the buds, the next she is gone. Gone! It all happened so fast, and it took a collective gasp of horror around me to realize……Grandma fell into the baby’s grave! Oh my GOD!

My brother reacted immediately. He jumped up and ran to her. Fearing the worst, a broke hip or arm. He struggled and yanked her tangled legs from the fake green carpet that was now dipped into the grave hole. He tugs her up, shaking his head in disbelief. As shocked and horrified as she is, we quickly realize Grandma is fine. She is not hurt, only embarrassed.

My brother exclaims loudly as he leads her back to her chair, “Grandma! What are you doing? Stay out of that grave! It’s not your time yet.”

Chuckles blow from hands clasped over mouths. Heads, and shoulders shake, because really? Really! That just happened. Grandma took a dive into the grave.

We laughed that day seventeen years ago, a sad day, but we laughed. We still laugh about it. Beneath the tears and the loss, we will always have that memory of Grandma at the graveside.

**This is a true story**

This post brought to you by…

This week’s prompt was to write a short piece in which a character told a joke and a character cried. The piece has to be maximum 600 words and must be able to be read aloud in no more than 3 minutes.

****I have a BUNCH of pictures from today. We had about six inches of snow, plus we had the little girls, and boy did we play. I will post pics this weekend. Happy Friday!****

Bass Tower I

The following is a fiction piece.

On the twentieth day, of the second month of the year twenty-eleven..I stand in an underground hallway – gazing in each direction. My mind numb from the cold, and cold from the fear. Both – a constant I have lived with the past fourteen days. Would I live? Would I die? Could I withstand? Could I stay strong? Is this the end of time?

Fourteen days ago, I drove through sleeting snow to get to my job. It was a hairy ride, but in North Central Texas, weather changes. Could get worse….could get better. Either way, by the next day – no doubt – the sun would shine, and any snow and ice would melt. People emerge and continue on. By noon, it’s like nothing ever happened. It’s usually a sliver of what the weatherman predicts. So I drove to work, and I made it, like I always did. Snow has never kept me from clocking in.

That was two weeks ago and the snow just stopped. I haven’t seen my family. I haven’t heard a word in ten days. I don’t even know if they are alive……..or if anyone is…….other than the people trapped in this building.

The hallway curves to the left. A skylight covered in white. A connection between two towers. A gathering place for the forty-three survivors fighters. We discovered the hall as the warmest place. Closest to the ground and insulated. A strong support. The snow stopped at the fourth floor. Four floors.

I am not sure why the building did not (or has not) fallen. It creaked. It moaned. But it held. Both towers held. The cafeteria and parking garages – not so much. It’s still uneasy. You can’t help but wonder how much longer it can take the weight.

Part of me thinks the world is gone. Whatever happened to stop the temperature rise, to create an abomination of snowfall, and an enormity of this scale…well…it has to be the end.

But it’s not.

We are still here, myself and forty-five others. The thought passes too quickly to stop. My heart crimps. I swallow the lump in my throat. Forty-three others. There are only forty-three now and I will never adjust to that, but I can’t think about it. I can’t blame myself, or anyone else. I file it away, because today, the snow stopped. Today, the sun appeared. It’s the day we find out.

Are we the last ones?

A team of three will set out wearing hand-made gloves, hats, scarves, and snow-shoes. None of which we had at the beginning of this journey. You just don’t need it. Most of winter here is upper 50’s with a rare 30 degree thrown in. But now, everything has changed. Our new clothing items are a necessity. And they may not save us. But we have to try. We have to know…..what’s left.

I head to the stairwell to the fourth floor. I have said my good-byes to all but a few. I have promised to return. I’ve looked into every eye with determination. Seeing the desperation for news. Seeing hope, pain, and longing. And seeing the ones who have checked out. Resigned their situation to nothingness. They will not make it much longer. The fire inside that yearns to live, not only feeds your soul, but keeps you warm. Without it, you freeze. From the inside out.

At our window exit, I turn and take the warm hand of Margaret. I look into her liquid brown eyes. I beam every bit of strength I have into her soul. Be well – my eyes tell her. Remember what we went through – know why we are here. Don’t forget the days trapped in the elevator. Don’t forget how we got free. Don’t forget it was no accident. Keep HOPE alive. She is my friend. She is my family. Our short time has been a life-time. Without a word spoken, I turn from her, yet she knows I am with her.

Next, I grip Davey’s hand. The janitor, the rescuer, and the maker of all winter things. He is the oldest of the bunch at a spry seventy-two. But I couldn’t pick a better man to lead the left behind and continue to keep their fires alive. He will use every bit of his experience and know-how to keep the camp going strong, with resources a-plenty. My squeeze tells him everything he needs to know.

Lastly, I bend down and hug Brendan. The only child in our group. He is six and sharp, and now – well, he is wise beyond his years. He knows where to find water. He knows what water is drinkable and what is not. He can fit in the tiniest of spaces. He is lively and bright, and I don’t want to let him go. I don’t want to leave him. I feel his little back shake. I don’t hear his cry, he is too tough for that, but the silent weeping…….does me in.

For a split second, I want to call off the mission. I want to sit on the floor and just be. No worries. No fears. Just be. Just live what days we have left.

But I can’t. Moving toward the window, I look at my iPhone. Battery dead. I remember what I saw on that screen. The last text message I got.

Took shelter in church basement. We R safe. Girls w/me. Battery almost dead. I ❤ U!

That.

That is why I will go. That is why I will venture into the unknown. Because after fourteen days…. I have to know if they are alive. If I will ever hug their neck and feel their warmth again.

Lander, and Gary have stepped out. They await me, packs, and supplies in hand. They squint at the sun. It all seems surreal. I step through the exit and take my first unbalanced step on snow. My feet sink a bit. I hear the whisper crunch. I can’t look back. There is only forward.


**This weeks prompt is to imagine you are trapped alone or with others at a single place during a ginormous blizzard or its aftermath.**

A Flash of Red

Today won’t be pictures. Today I will focus on my other passion… writing. Especially fiction writing. I do well with my own stories, but seem to stretch to write fiction.

I feel like it’s a muscle I have to flex. It’s weak and unused, a little work out won’t hurt it, and maybe I’ll have a gun one day.

This week’s prompt for Red Writing Hood is based on dramatic entrance, courtesy of Webook. Write a short story based on this prompt:

An art opening at a lavish downtown gallery. A car crashes through the plate-glass window. The driver’s door opens, and an eight-year-old girl steps out.

For a split-second her jumpy eyes take in the glass shards, the frozen figures with chutes of amber, and the stoic illuminated paintings lining the walls. Then, she ran.

Her legs scramble for purchase over the slick floor. Feet crunching over millions of crystal fragments, digging into the bottom of her new red sneakers. She darted over the top of the broken window rim and hit the sidewalk. She found traction and soared. Red shoes flying with her gray hoodie flapping at her back. She heard the faintest of gasps from the porcelain people she left behind, but she couldn’t think about them as she made for a destination unknown.

She didn’t know where, only that she had to get away from the destruction of this place as fast as possible. It wouldn’t be hard for them to spot and they would be on her tail. Again. Stupid to take that wrong turn and hit the gas instead of the brake. Stupidstupidstupid. She knew better. She wasn’t new to running, or car jacking for that matter. She didn’t mean to break the law, but she had to survive. If they found her, and locked her away, she wouldn’t be able to find Sam.

Sam was the only one who could help. He had kind eyes. He gave her a nice meal and the new red shoes. She could tell him what she saw and what happened to her parents.

She listened to feet and breath smack and wheeze over the dark sidewalk. Listening for movement; of cars, sirens, and that other sound – the click of the gun cock. She shuddered in her sprint, but didn’t miss a step. A scuffling from a dark corner sent her in a scurry down the nearest alleyway, and behind a dumpster. She bent down out-of-breath. Gasping and listening desperately. Her unwashed hair beaded sweat on her gray shirt, the dirty blond strands splayed darker from the moisture, short and to her chin, it didn’t bother her at this point. She focused on breathing. She listened to her heart pound, and closed her liquid brown eyes, also beading – with tears.

Viciously she wiped her face, and squeezed the tears away. There was no time for it. She had a vastly important message. One that could save lives. She was the only hope and she had to stay sharp. She could not afford any more mistakes. She just had to get out of this. She withdrew the crumpled picture of Sam from the pocket of her faded black jeans. He was handsome with soft curls of brown hair, and brilliantly blue eyes. His smile brought her fond memories of swings and laughter. An innocent time. Numbers were printed neatly on the back. Still readable. An address. She had to get there, no matter how far, no matter which way, no matter what law she had to break to do it.

The sound of tires crunching over gravel creep slowly by the alleyway entrance. She moved her thin arms and legs into a wicked crouch. Poking her red shoes under a box, slipping the hoodie over head and borrowing down. The car inched by flashing a spotlight over the dumpsters. She stayed unmoving until it was far past and she could no longer hear the quiet engine purr.

Time to move.

Cherishing Love


Writing prompt instructions:
This week we’re going to switch gears and write a little poetry. Writing poetry helps us work on cadence and rhythm which can make for better fiction. So by flexing our poetry muscles, we can in turn create more fluid fictional pieces. Please write a narrative poem that focuses on the workings of a family, whether it be your own or one that you’ve created from scratch. Good luck!

    *This poem is written for Jason, my betrothed. I am not a poet, nor consider myself one. It is inspired by the first time I saw him with his two young children. I was already in love with him, but his calming demeanor, and patient touch, really sealed the deal upon witnessing. I love you and I am honored to be part of your life and your future bride.
Cherishing Love

Gentle spirit,
Gentle soul.
Shimmering pride,
Beams aglow.

Tender Gaze,
Tender Heart.
Life anew,
A brand new start.

Lifting Presence,
Lifting Force.
Blanketing comfort,
Down every course.

Firm Resolve,
Firm Reserve.
Generously offered,
Affirming deserve.

Engaging Smiles,
Engaging Resistance,
Persuading charm,
In timeless existence.

Loving Completely,
Loving Outright,
As precious as treasure,
In God’s gracious light.

[tweetmeme source=”angeliasims” only_single=false]