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Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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death

Making Notification

The Army officer stopped the fleet car in front of the brick house at 217 Maple Avenue. As they looked at the house, he said to the Chaplain sitting with him, “I hate doing these notifications. All the family has to do is see us walking up the sidewalk and they know what they’re going to hear.”

“True, but these days they can hold on to the fact their child volunteered and had wanted to serve their country.”

“Doesn’t make losing one any easier, especially when I have to admit friendly fire  was the cause. And they always ask.”

 

In response to Charli Mills April 4, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about fire. It can be a flame that burns or a light that inspires. Follow the flames and go where the prompt leads!

The Ultimate Gift

When I started my new job the end of January, I asked, “Will we have a Valentine’s Day party?”

My boss gave me an incredulous look. “We have open house every Valentine’s Day, but please, don’t call it a party. Our donor families are rarely in a party mood.”

“Oh. Right.”

When I opened the top drawer of my desk, a note waited;

Be mindful that in the heart transplant unit a donor just had the worst day of their life and the lucky recipient is having the best and sometimes we get to meet both sets of families.

 

In response to Charli Mills February 14, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about valentines. It can be Valentine’s Day, the exchange, love for another, romance, or friendship. Have a heart and go where the prompt leads!

Is There Beer in Heaven?

       What is your impression of heaven? Do you believe heaven has streets paved of gold; that there will be tranquility for all and maybe a few angels still in need of their wings as depicted in books and movies.

      I remember when I was young my parents discussing their different desires if heaven were indeed a place they would find “heavenly.” My father wanted unlimited fishing holes, well inhabited hunting grounds and an ongoing poker game. My mother wanted all her children with her, but no meals to prepare or laundry to do, and she pictured a forest nearby where they could play and learn together. She also wanted an unlimited source of craft supplies so she could continue to be creative and busy. Continue reading “Is There Beer in Heaven?”

Thinking of Mom

47 years ago on this date, my mother passed away at home with my father by her side.  She had been sick so long we had started praying for what was best for her instead of asking for her to get better. I was in the upstairs bathroom and could hear my father through the open register to the kitchen below when he called the local funeral home director. It was about five in the morning. He said, “Gene, this is George, I hate to ruin your first day of deer season, but I need you to come pick up my wife.” Continue reading “Thinking of Mom”

Too Many Suffer

It’s National PTSD Awareness Day. I had to study the picture to figure out what it was showing me. In case you need help, the background is camouflage, for a military uniform, and there is a tear running from the very healthy looking green eye.

I know a lot of people who suffer from PTSD, not all military. The men and women who have served in war zones and seen the effects of combat on the human body suffer, mostly in silence, trying to make sense of the senseless. Generally it is an invisible problem, so easy for someone else to say, “Well, he/she came home without a scratch.” There might not be any visible wound, but I can guarantee they have emotional ones. Some just deal with it better than others. A friend named Norm had the job of arming war head bombs during the Korean War. He never was in a war zone himself, but to this day he wonders if any of those bombs he loaded, killed anyone. It keeps him awake at night, even after all these years.

Another group who suffer from PTSD are parents who have buried children. The siblings of that child suffer also. I just read an article by Paula Stephens entitled “What I Wish More People Understood About Losing a Child”. She called the death of a child an “out-of-order death”. It’s unnatural. The pain never goes away and the child’s birthday and the day they became an angel are the toughest days of the year for the family. The power of the date is sometimes overwhelming. If you know anyone in this category mention to them the fact you remember something about their child. It helps them to know people haven’t forgotten their baby (no matter the age).

Sometimes even a stressful job can result in PTSD symptoms for those who did the job. Police officers, medical personnel, company heads, and anyone who has dealt with a traumatic situation are in that group. And their spouses and families suffer with them. It is proven that support groups can help people who deal with PTSD, but it is also a fact that too many people don’t look for a group because “they can handle it on their own”. I find that sad. I thinks it’s very helpful for a person to know they aren’t the only one who feels the way they do and they are still normal, maybe with a new definition of normal.

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