Retro Tuesday 6-6-2023

Writing Challenge 101 Day 4 – The Serial Killer (Loss)

Everything I learned about being a mother I learned from my mother.  Simple, right?  Of course, I learned from her.  But it’s not so simple as that.  I was the baby of the family, the introvert, the dreamer.  The nonconformist.  I lived inside my head, inside the stories I was always telling myself, understanding those stories and their characters better than I could ever understand the real world around me. My mother was just the opposite; she lived in the real world and had no use for the daydreams and fantasies of her youngest child.

I always thought this was the reason we so often clashed.  Now, however, I think we weren’t so different after all.  She had to live in a reality that I had not yet known.  She had a husband and kids and a house to run.  Groceries to buy, food to cook, and endless cleaning of house and laundry.  When I grew up and had these same things come to me, I had to learn how to live outside my own reality.  There isn’t a choice when you have children. 

I have come to understand that being a mother comes from the heart and from the soul.  It is the greatest surrender any woman can make to put aside her life for 18 + years to focus on her children.  Not all mothers make this sacrifice, but my mother did.  There are no absolutes in a mother’s world, no true rights or wrongs.  Everything we do as mothers is in the Now, the eternal present. There is no past or future in mothering. Every word we choose leaves its input on our child forever. As a mother myself, I can now see the challenges and sacrifices that she made from both sides.  She did the best she could in the Now.  When she knew better, she did better.  What better mantra for any mother?

Somewhere in the turmoil of our relationship,  the truth of being a mother changed.  Maybe she learned that you can’t fix your children.  Maybe she finally saw me for who I was and not who she wanted me to be.  Or maybe she just learned how to stop being a mother and start being a friend.  Time and again, she stood behind me without questions, no longer trying to fix my life, but simply being there. She learned that I didn’t need somebody to fix my problems (though I may have wanted that),  but, instead, I needed somebody to hear me.  I needed to know that I had value as me and not just as the person others wanted me to be.  I needed somebody who would never leave.

But there is no permanency in motherhood. Eventually, mothers go away from their children, leaving behind an empty space inside that will never again be filled in the same way.  Sometimes this leaving is first mental, just as you have gone away into a world of imagination where I cannot enter, our roles switched in what seems a tragic irony of fate.  Eventually, however, it will be forever. This, too, is motherhood.  A letting go, a final freedom, the ability of a child to physically let go of their mother when the time is right and the knowledge that, in truth, motherhood never ends.  It is an endlessness that has carried women from the first moment of the world, uniting us all back to the first mother, that very first instant when a woman looked upon the face of her newborn and fell in love.

What better tribute could there be?

Friday Fictioneers 5-24-2023

PHOTO PROMPT ©  Ted Strutz

The roar of the crowd was like a hollow drone they could hear clear down to their dressing rooms. Jay picked up his shirt and pulled it on, listening to the crowd. “They are ready to go.”

Kerry, dressed and ready, nodded.

Rudy just shrugged.

“Come on, Rudy, they are yelling for you.”

“Not for me, man. For Chris.”

Which was true, but there were some “Rudys” in the mix.

Chris led them towards the stage where they separated for each to make their entrance. Let the fun begin!

Friday Fictioneers 5-24-2023

PHOTO PROMPT ©  Amanda Forestwood

“Look at the cute steps,” she said with a smile, pulling her jacket tighter around her.

“Cute,” he said and yet he felt the pull of the beyond.

“Let’s see what’s up there.”

“All right.”  He took her hand and led her to the steps, heart pounding wildly. What lay beyond?

“Be careful, they are slippery,” he cautioned as they started up the stairs towards the frame of the trees.

Neither spoke as the sky rose up to surround them and they stepped off into another pasture. Far in the distance they could hear the sounds of music.

Friday Fictioneers 5-17-2023


He pulled out the first ingredients for dinner just as she walked into the kitchen, wine glass in hand.

“I didn’t know you could cook.”

“I have a lot of hidden talents.”

“You want to show me those hidden talents before dinner?”

“Maybe afterwards,” he said with a grin, slicing the orange in half.

“I guess I can wait.”

“It will be worth the wait.”

“Promises. Promises.”

“Baby, I don’t promise. I guarantee.”

“Big talker.”

“You know it.”

“Hummm,” she said, settling on a stool and watching him work, anticipation building.

Retro Tuesday 5-16-2023


I came face to face with mortality today.  On my way to work, a deer jumped in front of my car.  I barely missed hitting her.  All I saw was a flash of brown. Unfortunately, the deer was not so fortunate with the car heading in the opposite direction.  The thud sounded like thunder.  At the next intersection, I turned around and found the doe lying dead on the side of the road.

Just so you know, the other driver was fine. His car, unfortunately, was not.

Whenever I pass a dead animal on the roadside, or in the road, I always feel a pang of loss and sadness.  But should I?  Am I sad for the death of the animal or for the loss it seems to leave behind in the assumed life of a buck or a fawn? Mothers? Daughters? Fathers? Will this doe leave an emptiness behind? Will she be mourned by some creature beyond myself?

Some animals killed on the roadways are pets, but most deaths are deer and opossums and raccoon, animals with which I have no personal connection. Am I then mourning the death I know will come to the human animals I know?

The difference between animals and humans is, according to most sources, that humans have the consciousness necessary to comprehend the concept of death. We know the final end, know it can come at any time, any way.  Animals don’t have this consciousness. Or do they?

Was the deer afraid at the last moment?  Did it realize the dead-endedness of the situation; there was no way for her leap to end but in death?

Animals are not dumb beasts.  Anybody who has had a relationship with an animal knows this. I know animals can mourn.  They can love.  They can feel anger.  They feel fear.  But do they see death coming? Could the doe have known that, in her wild flight, she was jumping into the end?

I don’t know.  I do know that I will mourn the loss of the doe, the clash between humans pushing out, cutting down the forests, and the animals who have nowhere to go but inward in an effort to coexist with the race destroying their world.  Is this then what I mourned?

Friday Fictioneers 5-11-2023

PHOTO PROMPT ©  Jennifer Pendergast

Chris sat back on the couch, watching the woman and the girl coloring by the fireplace. Lacy looked up and smiled. He smiled back.

“Sure you don’t want to come down with us?”

“Oh, no, the floor is not my friend.”

“Come on, Grandpa Chris.”

“No, not today, Sarah.”

Lacy laughed. “Old men are too grumpy to color by the fire.”

“Grump,” he said.

She laughed again and turned back to the coloring, her auburn head bowed beside Sarah’s brown one. The two giggled and drew.

This was the life.

Retro Tuesday 5-9-2023

Hello, Just A Little Mail For Your Box

My mother died this past October.  She had Parkinson’s for years and she was finally just ready to leave.  I found peace with her going before the fact so the pain inside was not as sharp as it might have been.  In fact, I felt a sense of relief that she was finally free of the prison of her body.  We knew the day was coming, had for years. It was just a matter of waiting for the right time.  There were times when I railed against the world for the cruel joke of making my mother, the woman who NEVER wanted to sit still (She was the housecleaning Queen) and NEVER wanted anybody to do anything for her, a prisoner in a jail of flesh and bone.

Before her death, I was cleaning out some boxes and came across many letters and notes she had sent me when I was away at college. Every week, at least two notes, often saying nothing more than ‘hello, just a little mail for your box’ or a note or two about what the cats were doing. By then, the disease had taken away her ability to write.  I realized I would never read anything again in her handwriting.  The letters took on a whole new meaning, lifelines to a time which would never return.  I kept as many as I could find, knowing one day I would want to look at her familiar hand-writing once again and remember.

Handwritten notes, cards, pictures, these are the things we should treasure instead of what money will we get from the will, which of her possessions would we like.  I don’t need, or want, her possessions to remember her.  I would rather look at my notes from college, the years of birthday cards, Christmas cards, cards for no reason at all. These are the notes from her heart to mine.

Friday Fictioneers 5-4-2023

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

He’d walked by the building countless times but never noticed the images painted on the side before. Now he’d seen it, he wondered how he had missed it before. Some people might call it graffiti, but he was inclined to call it art. The way the Canadian Geese burst out of the pink smoke and the Blue Jay sitting on the tree in front of the cabin. Art indeed. It wasn’t until the Fall when he noticed the Canadian Geese were gone. He hoped they would be back by Spring.