Senior Center Forum Contest - Short Story
It's sad to think about the losses of our loved ones, but on this Memorial Day, May 31, 2021, I would very much like to honor them by remembering the good times, rather than focusing on the heartaches. And, if our experiences were not the best, try to pick out something good about that person. I believe that we can all heal. Sharing the good memories gives us the strength and the courage to get on with our lives; they would want that I'm sure.
I was seventeen years old when I attended my first funeral. On my seventeenth birthday, a friend of mine spent the night at my place. My friend received a phone call that her brother had drowned in the Dungeness River in Sequim, Washington. My first crush was on her brother. We never dated, but he seemed to have a knack for making me laugh; it felt good to be around him. In my mind, I thought that I was going to marry him someday. I couldn't accept the fact that he was actually gone out of my life. I was told that he was taking drugs. Of course, when you're in love, it's the last thing that I wanted to hear. So, of course, I didn't believe them. I have not taken any drugs in my life, except for prescribed ones. To this day, I miss the friendship that we had, but the positive thing out of this was that I was more determined than ever not to want to try them. I hope that people can give up this bad habit because it can kill them. My advice is to never experiment with drugs.
My grandmother, on my mother's side, lived to be one hundred (100) years old. She wrote her last poem on her one-hundredth birthday. She received the highest award in poetry. I like to remember her by continuing to follow in her footsteps. She prayed for her family daily, hoping that they would come to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I admired her for the way she could have a meal prepared on short notice. If you were planning to visit her, she would have a meal prepared for you when you got there.
My aunt was known for telling jokes, but she couldn't remember the punch line. She would come over with my cousin and play bingo with me and my mom. We had a lot of fun playing at different bingo spots. We also enjoyed playing at the Senior Center; I was a bingo caller there at one time. When she passed away after having hip surgery, she had developed a brain aneurism and was in a coma for forty days and forty nights.
When my mom passed away, my friend and I had a nice visit with her. My mom lost a lot of blood. The hospitalist explained to me that a blood transfusion would prolong her life for a little bit, but she would be in a lot of pain from having chest spasms. She was thirty-nine years old when I was born. She had a long and difficult labor with me. During the term of her pregnancy she had a tumor in her uterus. and I was born a breech baby. The doctors shook their heads because they didn't think that I had a chance of surviving. I told her that I was determined to get into this world; that's why I'm here. As for being a breech baby, I told her that I came into this world with both feet on the ground. I was a miracle baby.
One month after my mom passed away, a very special man, who was a good friend to me, invited me over to his place for dinner. He was excited about a sandwich that he had prepared for me. He went over to the refrigerator to pull it out, when he took a look at me, took one step back, and said that he couldn't breathe. Then he passed away after that. He was planning on marrying me. We had a good talk about rumors that were spread about us; he said, she said, kind of thing. It was a good thing that this happened, otherwise, I would have taken his passing much harder. He was a godsend in calling me every day while I was taking care of my mother.
There was another friend of mine who wanted to fix dinner for me at her place. I would voluntarily take care of her checkbook since she didn't have much money, and in turn, I would get dinner. Steak was one thing that she liked, but couldn't have. Because of her polio, she was not able to cut up the steak. This was something that I could help her with. It made her happy, and I was glad to do it.
She had two cats that I adored. They welcomed me over by sitting on my lap. One of the cats' names was ND and the other one's name was Tru-purr. I was happy that she had invited me over to her place. We shared jokes and stories about ourselves on what we did as teenagers. This was a good stress reliever for me; a lot was going on in my life at the time.
When my friend passed away, I was out of state. She had a bladder operation that turned out to be unsuccessful. When I received the news of her passing, I was shocked; it was totally unexpected.
There was another special friend that I got to know, who was a member of a weight loss group that I was a part of, and was a good friend of my sister's as well. She told me stories about all the mischief that my sister and she got into. These stories took me by surprise, but we had lots of laughs together. My sister and I are nineteen years apart; she is the oldest. Because she needed help with her laundry, I volunteered to help her with it. Since she couldn't bathe herself, and no one else offered to do that, I also did that for her.
She had to go to a nursing home. I was told that she wasn't able to remember people. At first I was hesitant to go and visit her because I was afraid that she wouldn't remember me. I was glad I visited her and that she remembered who I was. Her speech had slowed down, but we did have a nice visit.
She was a good confidant of mine, and when she passed, I was at a loss. I miss all the laughs that we've shared together.
There was another dear friend from the weight loss group who I enjoyed tremendously. She gave me a photograph of her that I treasure to this day. I admired her spunk. She cared about her friends. I was able to attend her funeral and spoke of the good times she and I shared.
When she passed away, there was a big void in my life. Down at the pier her husband had dedicated a bench in her memory; he later passed away. Both of their names were included on the bench; it was nice of him to have done that.
My special person lost his daughter this month in 2021. She was only forty years old. This was a tragedy. She was on drugs and didn't want to give them up. She was told that she wouldn't have a long time to live. When we received the news that she was in the hospital, later that same day, we got the news that she had passed. I choose to remember the good times that she had.
Memorial Day; is a special day to remember the loved ones that we've lost. Take the time today and cherish the memories. Don't dwell on the hurtful ones. Remember the good times that you've had with them. Light a candle, and sit back and honor their memory. They wouldn't want you to be sad, they would want you to go on with your life, happy and at peace.
Share your life with others; the experiences that you have gone through can be a help and benefit to someone that you were not aware of. I would hope that I can help someone who is hurting. I've learned a lot throughout the years and am continuing to learn. Life is a learning experience; I learn something new every day. This is exciting to me. I get concerned about the things that are currently going on, but I am optimistic that better things will come up in the future.
When I was growing up, I was often told to take one day at a time. As I have gotten older, those words have a greater meaning for me. I don't let things bother me as much as I used to. This doesn't mean that I don't have any bad days; I'm just as human as anybody else. When I see someone wanting to purposely get me mad, I get on the defensive; I stand up for myself, but they end up with people blaming everything on me.
When something happens, like the example above, it's easy to harbor unforgiveness. I can usually drop things fairly easily, but when someone constantly nitpicks at me, it's hard to forgive. I've learned that unforgiveness eats away at me. Bitterness enters in as a result. What drives a person to keep nagging at me when I tell them to stop? I've often heard that misery loves company. I say that it must be because I have blond hair and blue eyes. Some look at me and think that I don't know anything because of that. Either that, or they enjoy getting me mad.
My brothers are in heaven. One I knew and the other one passed away before I was born. He was about fourteen months old. The one I met was mentally retarded. Nowadays they call it developmentally disabled.
My dad didn't have good luck with his sons. His plan was to have them continue working on with the farm. I remember them on Memorial Day also.
Earlier on you could tell that I was a little upset. I try real hard not to let thing get me riled up or mad, but it's easier said than done, especially when everyone else around you is yelling and cursing. This is Memorial Day and I should let bygones be bygones. Life is too short for all that. If everyone could learn not be so angry at things, then we could live in a more peaceful existence. If it were possible, I would rather not have war. War never made sense to me. A lot of innocent people have passed away because someone misunderstood somebody else, and rather than try to find out what they meant, they decided it would be better off to kill them. What does that solve anyway? I take the time to remember our Veterans that have laid down their lives to protect us. I wish that they were still with us. Their bravery is to be commended. They are heroes; they want to honor our country by protecting our freedoms. My tears go out to their families when they get the devasting news about the loss of their son or daughter. Be with them and thank them for the service that they had performed.
In summary, remember those loved ones in spirit; they have been a blessing in our lives. Remember them as they were and remember those special moments; treasure them always in that special place in your heart. Take a moment, look into the skies, and say, Thank you God for bringing them into your life. Your life became better because of them. Lessons learned brought sunshine back into your life.
Written by Anna Marie Carlson
Monday, May 10, 2021