As part of the Weekly Writing Challenge: Flash Fiction:

separated by cmbl_in_bw on deviantART

She stood still, trembling. After all they had been through together – years and years of hard work raising their three unremarkable kids, even more years of scrimping and saving every last penny for their future, and a lifetime of compromise – it had come to this.

She could hardly believe it. Who would have thought that after 30 years of marriage, someone could just leave without looking back, simple as that?

Their kids were grown, and didn’t seem particularly bothered or shocked by their father’s decision. But she had been floored. Her entire world was shattered. Everything was different.

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When Great Expectations Are Shattered

When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time with my great grandfather. He’d sit in his wheelchair, his hands shaking, his body frail and bony, and his face wrinkled and pockmarked with the trials and tribulations of life. He would squint his eyes, shake his fist, and tell me,

“Hun, if you don’t have your health, you have nothing.”

As he became older and frailer, those words became his mantra. Until one day, his health failed him for the last time and he left us, finally free of his bag of bones, blissfully moving on to his next great adventure.

It would be many years before I would fully appreciate his words.

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This week’s Daily Post Writing Challenge is to write a piece of poetry. I haven’t written poetry in awhile, so I’m afraid I’m quite rusty, but I hope you like it!

Awakening, by ElenaKalis on deviantART

Breath in, breath out
  One foot steps in front of the other
    Each heartbeat echoes the one that 
came before

Breath in, breath out
  Eyes close at night, 
    Eyes open in the morning
Breath in, breath out
  My day begins
    And, as ever, my day ends

I have lived every moment before
       Reinvented ...
    They move me not

      And I wither

Breath in, breath out
  And now my feet are still
    Rooted in place, with roots that grow deep
      They dig into the ground and keep me 
frozen in place

Breath in, breath out
  My heart is racing faster
    My heartbeats are chasing each other
      Pulled forward by some undeniable 

Breath in, breath out
  Eyes close and
    Little explosions of colour against a 
backdrop of darkness
      Eyes open and
        I am blind, but then the scene 
comes sharply into focus

For the first time, I am awake.

The Man I Love

He is a big man. His hair is matted. His eyes … they are wild. He shakes. Sometimes, he screams. He tries the door. It is locked; he flies into a rage. Dementia has transformed the man I love, but when I am there, he is happy … and so am I.

Holding on to Reason, by Carts on deviantART

Written as part of this week’s Writing Challenge “Fifty”, where the task was to write a story in fifty words. I wanted to show how devastating dementia is, and yet how beautiful life can still be. Showing love, companionship, and solidarity to those who are most vulnerable, especially people with mental illnesses and brain diseases, is so important. Please, reach out to them, fight for them, and be there for them. Love them, no matter how their disease manifests itself. And of course, if you are their caregiver, take care of your own mental and physical health. Don’t be afraid to reach out, you need help too!