Selected again! So humbled and proud

Another day, another piece of awesome news!

Incredibly, one of my short stories was selected again by Secret Attic.

Once again, I took part in the Weekly Write. This time (week 47) I wrote a piece about grief. It’s a subject that I hate to say i’m terribly familiar with. As a result, I find it incredibly easy AND incredibly difficult to write about.

It followed the usual format – maximum of 300 words and using a given phrase within the text. For this comp the phrase I chose from the list of 3 was “shut the door after you”.

I think the descriptions I can create are vivid for the reader. I can still transport myself back to those dark days and conjure up the same feelings. It’s almost like reliving it or having a detailed flashback. Those experiences have given me content on multiple occasions, so I like to think that pain is now producing something positive.

The result though is an honest account of the thoughts and feelings I have had when navigating the horrible situation of watching someone you love pass on.

Saying that, the piece wasn’t autobiographical. There are many facets to the pain I went through that I still can’t say aloud, let alone write about or have reviewed. Some things, for me at least, are just too personal.

One day soon I just know i’m going to run out of ideas and words. My mouth goes dry at the very idea of this happening.

Anyway, the work that was selected, ‘Frozen in every way’, is below for you to take a look at. I hope you enjoy it or maybe find it relatable (although i’m sorry if you do).

Finally, I have to give credit for the inspiration I found for the drawing that accompanies this post. I’m not very good at drawing animals or people from memory, so I did a bit of searching and found a squirrel design that I liked, drew my own version of it and added my own embellishments. The inspiration was a drawing on Pinterest by Carlos Puentas at cpuentasdesign.

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TRIGGER WARNING – THIS WORK DETAILS THE PROCESS OF DEATH

Frozen in every way

I wipe the steam from the mirror and stare blankly at myself. Smells of papaya shampoo fill the air.

She always stole my expensive hair products.

The shock of splashing cold water on my face makes no difference.

Nothing will prepare me for today.

It’s an icy November morning. The sounds of the road to the hospice are muffled. I’m not paying attention. Painfully aware of the grief ahead.

In the car park I notice a red squirrel jumping erratically around a tree. I force myself to ignore natures beauty and go in.

She’s sedated with a chair waiting next to her. I sit there observing hell for 7 hours.

I hold her frail hand gently throughout. My tsunami of tears land everywhere.

When it’s over, I hear her say “Shut the door after you.”. A phrase I heard hundreds of times as a child. She didn’t want to catch a draft.

As I leave the room I glance at the motionless woman who raised me.

How do I say goodbye?

Kind nurses guide me away. I’m handed a heavily sweetened cup of tea. The coroner is on his way to collect my mum.

The dark journey home is illuminated by bursts of colour. People beneath are celebrating fireworks night with their friends and family.

I can’t imagine ever celebrating again.

Back home I stand still, stunned and frozen by flashbacks.

How do I end this day?

I grab her gin and some tonic from the fridge. I use her favourite mug with a watercolour red squirrel painted on the side.

The alcohol stings my throat and the bubbles fizz on my tongue.

I silently raise her special mug.

Thank you and sorry. For everything.

A draft wafts in.

I didn’t close the door.

**********

Published by stephc2021

Hi! I'm Steph, an amateur writer and illustrator specialising in Mental Health and being a self-confessed Spoonie. My website is home to any successful fiction I create, with stories that have won so far covering difficult subjects such as baby loss and mental health in grief as well as some funny and heart-warming tales when I get the inspiration. Every drawing and picture on my website was created by me. I spend a lot of time coming up with illustrations to accompany all of my posts and pages. I try to create original content across all of my channels, whether I'm writing about my own fiction or just generally musing on mental health or my own issues. I want to be part of the change because I believe the understanding of MH in the UK is getting better, but has a very long way to go. By being honest about my own struggles and symptoms I think others will relate and hopefully it will encourage them to talk to someone and get the help and support they need. Long term my goal is to help children too, help them understand their own mental health and how to help with the mental health of those around them. I live in the UK with my partner, daughter and dog, I swear frequently and I adore a well made, traditional, gooey, chocolatey, delicious brownie.

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