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Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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cancer

Is There Beer in Heaven Part II

            In part one I talked about the fact if each human came up with their description of heaven, none of them would be the same and very few people I know think streets of gold and floating on clouds playing harps was a human thing to want to do. Now I have another question or should I say observation.

            We hear people say they expect to be with their loved ones in heaven, or see a best friend again. I agree. In fact, as my mother took her last breaths my father heard her say more than once, “I am coming.” He guessed she was talking to her mother, or perhaps the daughter they buried nineteen years before. My husband buried his daughter fifteen years ago when she was 27 after a vehicle accident. So here’s the question; when we meet our loved ones in heaven will a toddler know his/her aged parent? Will a 27-year-old recognize a father that may be 85 when the last time she saw him he was 55? Will she age? Continue reading “Is There Beer in Heaven Part II”

It Takes a Warrior

The nurse woke Maggie the morning after her right breast was removed. “Your husband wanted me to make sure you saw this.” She held up a framed picture of them holding compound bows. The inscription on the glass read, “To my warrior. Now you have an advantage. Your chief loves you.”

Even though it hurt, Maggie laughed. “We are professional archers. I have complained my boob gets in the way, now it won’t. That’s why we decided I shouldn’t have reconstruction. He tells me it will take a warrior to beat cancer and get strong enough to compete again.”

 

In response to Charli Mills May 31, 2018, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about warrior women. It can be myth or everyday mothers and wives. Go where the prompt leads.

Grief Can Do That To You

Today is National Grouch Day. Sesame Street has Oscar the Grouch and he is constantly complaining, about something; anything. He’s a glass-half-empty kind of fellow. The picture above shows a definitely unhappy child: maybe he’s hungry; he didn’t get to have a new toy; he doesn’t know when he’ll see his Mom again because she left in her military uniform; or his father is crying and he’s never seen him do that after talking on his cell.  The reason for the tears: he just found out his favorite uncle died.

My husband and I spent the last couple of days at the funeral of his cousin Jerry. The first of fifteen cousins in his generation we had to say good-by to. It can be frightening to think our age naturally puts us in line for it to happen more often and closer to home. The fear of the unknown date can cause you to get grouchy; the riled emotions and sadness can cause you to get grouchy; trying to find a funeral home in a big, unfamiliar city can cause you to get grouchy; and so can the noise being made by other guests in the hotel you are trying to sleep in.  It’s an emotional time for everyone involved, especially for the spouse left behind that has to figure out what the “new normal” is going to be.

Jerry had been sick for a long time. Sometimes you couldn’t even tell there was cancer in his system; other times, you didn’t think he would last another week. So when the end finally came, it was not a surprise. How much it hurts was a surprise. We all said it was a blessing he was no longer in pain. We added, he wasn’t here long enough to suit us.

I’ve been to far too many funerals already. I’ll share with you that both of my parents funerals were like a party week. The relatives came, the neighbors, the friends. People we hadn’t seen in a long time made contact with calls, cards, and flowers. It was festive. The pain set in afterwards when the house was quiet, and the company disappeared. Then the mind asks, “What just happened?”

Jerry’s funeral was like that. Cousins converged on Baltimore from Chicago, Boston, Knoxville, TN, Rochester, NY, and Miami. Friends came from next door, Washington, DC and Maine. We laughed about some memories and cried over others. We hugged each other; we said I love you. One of the family members didn’t speak to me and it really hurt my feelings. I thought he was mad at me, but then I found out he didn’t talk to hardly anyone. Grief can do that to you when you aren’t ready to face it yet.

I know this isn’t my usual type post, and there are lots of other reasons to be a grouch, but this reason is on my mind. The National Day of calendar suggests spending time with a grouch on this day and give them a reason to smile or pass them one of your own. It may help them be less of a grouch, and just maybe help them to heal from the pain of loss.

 

 

National Girlfriends Day

 

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For me, the role of a girlfriend changed as I aged.  In grade school it was anybody of the same sex that I did something with.  In high school it changed to a girl I could share my secrets with and they wouldn’t tell.  As a young mother it was any other young mother that was learning along with her children how to get on with life.  It makes me shake my head when I think about how we thought we knew how to tame the world.  Oh how naïve we were.  (Good thing we didn’t know it.)

Now I’m a grandmother and one of my best girlfriends is my adult daughter.  If she weren’t so busy we would do more things together.  One of my childhood pals lives near by and we enjoy a long  lunch every couple of weeks.  We know each other’s life story; we listen intently to each others troubles and triumphs.  I laugh a lot when I am with her.  I have a few ladies that I get together with to sew.  They are my quilting girlfriends.  My acupuncturist and her sister are also my girlfriends.  We celebrate our birthdays together.  I have one of those special friends in another state who I might not see for two years, and we can pick up a conversation right where we left it the last time we saw each other.  One aspect of girlfriends that dismays me is when you become close with a work mate, then change jobs and loose touch with them.  I guess they were really an a acquaintance.

I recently wrote about something my mother’s best friend did for her when she was sick with cancer.  I’ll share it with you.

One sunny day, Mom was in her recliner snoozing when Doris arrived.  She said, “Come on Beck, we’re going for ice cream.”  Mom gave her a sad look and didn’t move.  “I’m not dressed.”  Doris went to the coat closet, got out Mom’s light, long rain coat and then stood by her chair.  I don’t think Mom had been dressed, or outside in more than a week.  It was getting towards the end.  Mom finally got up, Doris helped her to the bathroom, put her coat on her and walked her out to the car, maybe a jeep at that point.  They came back about an hour later.  Mom walked herself into the house, had color in her cheeks, and was smiling.  That was the kind of friend Doris was.  Helping to make good things happen, even though she was now suffering with rheumatoid arthritis. 

That’s what a girlfriend does, lifts up her friend no matter how young or old, in good times and in the unhealthy.  I’m a lucky lady to have the girlfriends I do.  We talk about things: current events, life, dreams, other relationships, our families.  Lots of times a girlfriend can help me see a situation in a different light; I’m thankful for that.

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