Since this blog post landed on April 1st, I thought I would share a silly short story that I wrote. I think you will understand why I am sharing this story on this day. It was either share this story or post that I had finished my memoir and then say APRIL FOOL’S! Which that would have just depressed me and not been all that funny!
So without further ado, here’s my original short story…
“Support Group” by Laura Hagemann
Mildred hadn’t considered attending the support group with Matthew (even though he regularly asked her to join him) until she visited him at home one day. It was at that visit that she saw with her own eyes the progress Matthew had made in grieving his wife Mallory. Matthew had invited Mildred for dinner and it was then that she saw how he had gone through the home and updated it so it no longer felt like they were waiting for Mallory’s return from a business trip. He had put her things in storage and saved for his daughters items they may want of their mother’s when they grow older. He was even serving one of Mallory’s recipes for dinner because it was a favorite of his daughters. Months ago the house was like it was frozen in time with Mallory’s things strewn about where she had left them before she died. And back then Matthew certainly wouldn’t have been cooking one of Mallory’s recipes. So, those were the reasons Mildred felt the grief support group might help her and she finally agreed to go. If this group helped Matthew maybe it would help her. Up until that point, she felt her grief was so different from Matthew’s. Mildred and Matthew’s father had been married for 50 years. She had more memories with him rather than without him. Matthew and Mallory had been married 10 years. A drop in the bucket compared to 50 years. And for that reason, Mildred thought her grief for her husband was more complex than Matthew’s grief for his wife. She was ashamed she felt that way after realizing grief doesn’t see numbers of years.
So flash forward to this moment when she sits quietly next to her son scanning the room of the grief support group. The support group members ranged in age from ten years or so younger than Matthew to around ten years older than Mildred. Matthew had explained that they would go around the room telling their stories and Mildred was welcome to share if she felt moved to do so. Matthew wasn’t pressuring her to share. He really just wanted her to see how the group worked. He didn’t have high hopes that his shy mother would share but he had high hopes that seeing how the group worked would encourage his mother to come back and maybe bond with the group the way Matthew had.
As the group started the members began sharing their stories. It was a grief support group made up of members who had lost someone significant to them. Most had lost spouses. Some had lost parents and a lucky few like Matthew had lost both. Mildred was surprised to observe that their grief felt fresh. She thought everyone would appear very healed but it seemed to be the opposite. They must save their expressions of grief for this group, Mildred thought. As one member after another shared their stories Mildred realized all the stories had eery similarities. Even Matthew’s story. And although she didn’t share (no surprise there, right Matthew?), her story would have sounded eerily similar to everyone else’s stories. Each group member lost their loved one when the loved one was killed unexpectedly by someone. And oddly it sounded like it was the same person who had killed all their loved ones. On the same day. At the same time. “What were the odds of that?” Mildred wondered to herself.
Mildred sat quietly for the rest of the meeting. The knowledge that they were all grieving victims of the same murderer constricted her throat and made it hard for her to swallow without a noisy gulping sound. She nodded her head and smiled half-heartedly when Matthew introduced her to members of the group after the meeting. It took all her energy and concentration to remain quiet and unquestioning until she and Matthew were alone and headed home.
“Did everyone there lose their loved one on July 3rd at the same time?” She managed to squeak out her question past her constricted throat once they were alone. “Yes,” Matthew answered calmly (she thought). “And were they all killed by the same monstrous person?!” Again, she was surprised the words made it past the lump in her throat. “Yes, ” Matthew answered calmly again. At that moment she stopped flying next to him. Her wings stopped fluttering and she floated to the ground with a shocked thud. Matthew flew down and landed on the ground next to her with his wings suddenly buzzing to a stop upon landing. “You’re shocked? Why?” Matthew asked his mother. She told him she was surprised he had been gathering with those who had lost loved ones on the same day, at the same time, by the same person. Now it was Matthew’s turn to be shocked “Mother, this happens all the time to bugs like us. When you’re a mosquito it’s not uncommon to die by the hands or bug spray of one person. Especially at a picnic.”
So that “twist ending” was my April Fool’s Day joke for you! Stephen King I am not! I hope you found this silly and enjoyable and that it wasn’t too jarring (or obvious) going from a grief support group to the way I ended it!
March- Brain Injury Month Summary
Our March Brain Injury Awareness Month posts ended last week, here is a review: More Than My Brain Injury, Art as Therapy for Traumatic Brain Injury, Movie for Brain Injury Awareness, and Writing My Brain Injury Story- Updated. And you can always check out Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA).
Monthly Feature of the Week: Book Review
Confession time. I haven’t really been reading! I am finding that I am not balancing creating art, cards and crafts with reading and writing. It seems if I am heavily creative artistically I am not writing or reading much. I hope to change that and find a balance because I just checked out some good books electronically from the library so next month I will have a real book review to share. Promise!
Daily Doodle Featured Weekly Project(s)
I got a watercolor kit full of half pans of watercolor in 36 colors. So I have started to create cards in this new style where I draw the image with my water color safe pen and then paint it with my water colors. I am really happy with the results!