She couldn’t face church. She couldn’t face all those concerned looks, the sympathy, the empathy, the pity, the “I know how you feel”, the “let me tell you about my pain”. She just could not be amongst people who cared.


Instead she drove to the lake. 


Silence isn’t silent at the lake, the waves gently break onto the stones, Choughs and Wood Warblers sing to each other, grasshoppers and crickets make their moves. There is something quieting in the non-silence of the lake.


Her breathing forms a pattern, first designed thousands and thousands of years before, nature calming human. She cries out to God in the stillness, in the silence of her wrenched heart, she roars her name and the simply monosyllabic question “Why?”


She sits on a rock staring at the lake, her tears fall silently, splashing onto jeans. 


 She hadn’t spoken to anyone in five days except God, a constant embittered cry. 


For twenty one years she had been nursemaid, nurse, maid, food provider, medicine giver, physiotherapist, therapist, speech therapist, taxi, ambulance, so many roles but mostly mother, mostly love giver.


Her daughter, Elise, was famous locally as the girl who could. The doctors had given her zero chance of a life but Elise and Sylvie played by a different tune, they sang in harmony in life and loved living. 


Sylvie hadn’t just lost a daughter but had lost her job. It was called. So she sat on a rock grieving instead of being with people.


She had kept herself quiet, twenty one years of quiet. Elise had got worse recently, her breathing laboured more each day, she kept quiet. Quietly she took one milligram a day storing it in a bottle in the fridge. It was the only unhygenic thing she did around Elise.


Washing, scrubbing and wiping were part of her daily routine, but at what point can you cross the line and take a life in the name of love. Her pastor was fond of a few phrases, his favourite at the moment was “What would Jesus do?” She didn’t think Jesus would kill Elise. She knew he wouldn’t. 


“Why?” She screamed it into the air and inside she caught herself before screaming the rest of the question. She was grieving, but she was responsible too, could she live with that? 


In overdosing Elise she knew her life changed, she could go to a physical prison, she would always be in the prison she created. But no even a murderer gets forgiven. Murderer, she shuddered. Is that what she was? Oh Lord, forgive me, I thought I was doing the right thing for Elise. It was wrong. I am sorry.


A light rain came across the rock where she sat and looking up she saw the rainbow, thank you Lord.


Now she must go to church and meet all her friends, all Elise’ friends, all the friends of the family and be comforted, each new day will bring new joy, she knew but still she grieved. She had been set free, one day she would share her story but for now she would be as silent as Elise.


One comment

  1. I see here two versions of the same story; I like the first one best. Obviously, something happened that sat heavy on your heart . . . or you had an idea for a story and had to get it down, in one version or another. Thanks for sharing "the back story" with me yesterday; it makes your motivation clear.I like that the daughter is named Grace in the second story.Good work!Charlene

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