|Hi, Mr. Durham,
My name is Tracy and I did a review of your short story The Weight of Death and I wanted to share my thoughts. Remember we are all here to learn and/ or improve our writing skills, so use what you can and let the rest go.
Overall my first impression was wow. What a strong and moving story that touched home for me in a couple ways. My favorite part was his way of handling his Aunt 'Manda Lynn, especially "Unaware of my Aunt 'Manda Lynn lying across the foot of his bed, her face buried in one of his pillows letting out intermittent sobs." and "She can still stay by his side and NOT drape herself across him like a dachshund, I sneered,". And the lines, " I pulled Aunt'' Manda up of the bed with as much force as I could muster. I walked her over to the chair next to my grandmother. I shoved her into it with more force than I needed to," and " 'Manda Lynn jumped up and cried "I'm not going anywherrreee." " Yes you are!" I grabbed her by the elbow and dragged her, shoving her out into the living room.. The llines,"She wept, I don't want him to die," and " Letting him go isn't going yo make that any less true," I stressed," I don't want him to die either, but I am going to let him go because it's the best thing for him," really struck home for me. A little over two years ago my best friend, and ex-mother-in-law died. About 18 months earlier, she told us she was having difficulty with her coordination, sometimes difficulty walking or even holding a water glass. The whole family knew her to be something of a hypochondriac, and brushed it off. She went to the doctors and huge ran a lot of tests. She had a disease called peripheral lateral sclerosis. Within months she could no longer care for herself and was losing the abilities to walk unassisted or carry anything. Her sons' made the decision to put her into a retirement home with a medical unit. In the six months she was there she declined rapidly, losing the ability to speak and swallow. Then we got the call, while checking her skinVa Kennedy bedsore was discovered. This bedsore is known to be fatal 100% of the time, in one to four days. We all rushed to her sideand took turns sitting and talking to her. Sometimes we went in as a group and carried on a conversation, as if she could join us. As day four was passing, the nurse told me her morphine dose had been increased,.yet she wasn't sleeping much and obviously fighting to live, but I couldn't figure out why. We had all given her permission to die, telling her we'd be okay. Then it dawned on me, my son was often in her room but rarely near the bed and I hadn't seen him speak to her since we had arrived. So I asked him to walk with me. I talked about her dying and how we'd all miss her, then I asked when the last time he'd spoken to her was and he said the day we'd arrived. I asked if he had told her it was okay to go, that he would be okay. He said never, he couldn't do that. I told him he had to, that's why she was fighting so hard to stay alive; she was worried about him. Then just before shift change, he sat and talked to her. Then the aid came in and said it was time to change the sheets. I was allowed to stay due to my paramedic training (not that I was going to use it on her). After changing the sheets, I told the aid we also needed to change her night shirt as the one she was wearing was soaked with sweat. During that process, she sat up a little and her eyes opened wide. I told her everything was okay now, she could go. She took 1 last breath and as the rest of the family returned, I nodded confirming she was dead to each one. She fought so hard just to be re-assured that her only grandchild was going to be okay. Not as surprising or as startling as you ending. I also had a grandfather on hospice, and as a paramedic I have seen death in many ways and you don't get used to it, ever. I'm sorry that was so long, but your story really struck a nerve. Not a bad thing, exactly the opposite. Your story drew me in and held me, because of my experience, just as it should. You hit all the key elements of a short story and brought it to a shocking conclusion. As for grammar and punctuation, I only saw a couple missing commas. I'll let you find them. You wrote an excellent short story! We are all here to learn and/or improve our writing, so use what you need and toss out the rest. Keep Writing!
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