Each one lives on

As she stood at the foot of the cross, the dust swirled at her feet. The noise of the jeering crowd seemed distant as a cocoon of silence enveloped and crushed her. Her sadness was solitary and pierced at her heart, wishing every breath she took could give life to her dying son, limp on the cross.

Her tears washed her into a sea of memory. Mary remembered the birth of her only son, blessing the world with his miraculous presence. She remembered his curiosity as a child, helping his carpenter father in the workshop, his growing strength as a young man, his loneliness and outspokenness for the oppressed. He was only young, his life about to begin, cut short so cruelly by those who didn’t understand him. Mary was proud and blessed to have him. She knew, but could not understand why, her son was being taken from her and from the world. She wished for more as her world sank into darkness, her son taking his last breath.

For Mary, and the world, the saddest day and the gladdest day were just three days apart. The world would forever remember the joy of an empty tomb. Her son returned, but not to her and not for long. But the world would always be filled with hope because he was born and remember him by the stories told by generations to come. His life will not end.

As she stood holding her cross, prayers silently passed her lips. Would her prayers be heard over the minute but deafening sounds of the life-saving machinery that was keeping her son alive? Her sadness was solitary, despite the crowds of medical people hovering in this small, airless space, stripping her of any private moment with her son. Rebecca wished for silence, but feared that silence meant the end.

Her tears washed her into a sea of memory. Rebecca remembered the pain and joy of her first born coming into this world. She remembered his triumphs as a child, helping his father build in the shed, his fierce protection of his sisters, his pride in his job. He was only young, his life about to begin, cut short so cruelly by a disease she didn’t understand. Rebecca was proud and blessed to have him. She wished for more, one last touch, one last word. As her world sank into darkness – only three days after this cruel disease had shaken her world – her son took his last breath.

For Rebecca and her world, the gladdest days ‒ when her life was normal and her family was still whole ‒ and the saddest day, were just three days apart. Her hope was gone, for now. Her son, though, will live on in the family stories, the treasured memories, the speaking of his name. He will not be a mere memory or a photo. His life will not end, because those who love him will speak of him.

This story was originally written for Grieve 2017, an initiative of the Hunter Writers Centre. To learn about Grieve 2018 please visit Hunter Writers Centre.


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