Wednesday, May 16, 2012

MFF#9: A Mother's Lament by Leona Pence


Welcome to Unwritten's  May Flash Fiction challengeEvery story (600 words max) begins with this sentence: 

 I never expected to be in this position so soon, saying goodbye to my son.


I count myself blessed beyond measure to have in-laws I truly love and admire. So, today's story by Leona Pence pulls at my heartstrings. No family is immune to petty bitterness and hurt. Read on to see what I mean...

A Mother's Lament

I never expected to be in this position so soon, saying goodbye to my son. Tears fell in rivulets down my cheeks as I dumped a plate of cupcakes into the trash. I carried a wrapped gift into my spare room and added it to the growing mound that my grandson would never see.

My son had telephoned the night before promising to bring seven year-old Neil to visit me. It had been six long months since I’d seen him. Ten minutes into that visit, my daughter-in-law, yet again, became angry over an innocent remark and stormed out.

I arose early and made a batch of cupcakes, carefully decorating the tops to grab a young boy’s fancy. I remembered my son and daughter’s pleasure over these treats.

I glanced out the window just as my son’s car pulled into the driveway. My heart sank in my chest when I saw that he was alone. Oh my God, what have I done now?

“Mom, why in the hell do you go out of your way to piss Sheila off?” 

“I haven’t spoken to her in six months,” I countered.

“And you didn’t see your favorite child’s Facebook boast that you paid for her son’s school clothes and books?”

“She doesn’t have any money, Jack.  She’s about to have a baby and Bill lost his job. I had no idea she'd post that, but you've never let me buy your son anything. ”

“I didn’t hear you offer to pay for his school supplies. Sheila’s right. You always loved Jill best, and now you’ve chosen her son over mine. You don’t deserve to see him or me.”

“Jack, please. I do love you very much.”  My words fell on deaf ears.  The coldness emanating from his eyes chilled my soul. His last remark will be forever etched in my mind.

“I love Sheila, and a wife trumps a mother anytime. I’ve made my choice. “

He didn’t even say goodbye.  

Two months later, I heard through the grapevine he’d moved his family 2000 miles away. I knew I’d never see them again.

****
Leona Pence is a sixty-nine year old widow, mother of four, grandmother to eleven, and great-grandmother to a four month old boy. She started writing very late in life, after her husband died six years ago.She credits F2K for giving her confidence in her abilities. She's been a classroom Mentor there since April of 2010. She's currently revising a novel that she'd like to have published someday, hopefully not posthumously.

18 comments:

  1. This reminds me so much of home and one of my brothers and it has happened twice (both of his marriages)with him. Which makes us realize it isn't totally the wife, but probably the husband (son) which causes the problem. In this story I see the son as the catalyst from the 'favorite daughter' part. From my brother it is him as the 'hated, mistreated son'. The sad thing is the affect is has way beyond the mother. Siblings,cousins, aunts and uncles have to live with the same feelings. Really sad.

    Anyway, great story.

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    1. Thank you for your comments. A lot of family break-ups are caused by petty jealousies that magnify with time.

      I have a wonderful, supportive family, but I let my mind wander back through generations and see this type of thing pop up.(Yep, I'm old. lol)

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  2. I feel so fortunate that my family is pretty close. Oh there are frictions from time to time, what family doesn't have those? But when one of them is ill, they are all there to support each other. Stories like this reinforce my thankfulness. Thanks for sharing this. Good job, Leona! I wish I knew more about your characters.

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    1. I agree with you, Dixie, I'm thankful everyday for the family God gave me.

      My characters are pure fiction but the idea for them came from situations that I have seen in others.

      Thank you for your comments.

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  3. My mom tries very hard not to play favorites with the grandkids between my kids and my brothers. Sometimes the families don't make it easy though. My brother's son lives with his mother (they are divorced) in another state. Me and my kids live three doors down. The problem with buying things for my brother's son is that when the divorce happened, she tried to buy nice, expensive things for him, but when he got home to his mom's house, she and her new boyfriend would pawn whatever she got for him because she and her boyfriend didn't work. After a couple of times of this happening, it made her not want to buy him nice things. So they worked it out, she does buy him nice things, but they stay here when he leaves. Another issue is that I help my mom out more then my brother, and this makes her want to get things and do things for my kids that we can't afford to do. For instance, I've been paying the taxes on her house for the last five years, or longer, while my brother still has his car insurance coming out of her account and he can't afford to pay her every month for that, but he can afford to go out and buy two ipads, and a 71 inch flat panel tv, among other things. It makes her want to help them or do things for them less. I think every family is different, and sometimes there is more to it then just what's on the surface. Good story. Thanks Leo.

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Jeannie. Situations like you've described makes it rough for everybody. One of my daughters lives a few houses down from me and I love having her nearby.

      I'm one of eight children. My parents were pretty fair to all of us and our kids. I'm sure it played a part in how close we are now.

      But...now that I think about it...maybe they did like David best. (A whole new story there. lol)

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    1. Thank you for reading my story.

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  5. Thank you for sharing this story with us. I felt the sadness and hopelessness of the mother/grandmother who wouldn't get to see part of her family again. Its sad when families do this without trying to talk and understand. Good job.

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    1. Thanks, TJ, I agree. My kids and grandkids mean the world to me. So many people hold grudges for the silliest reasons and everybody around them suffers.

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  6. This one touched a heart-string - the chord dark and lonely. The story captures more than just a family torn apart, it reflects a broader loss around the country - around the world - of losses provoked by people reacting, not communicating, and making too much of life all about themselves.

    Good portrayal - so glad you found writing!!

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    1. Thank you, Judy, you are so right. The world would be a much better place with communication and compromise.

      I think writing found me. It can pinch pretty hard at times to keep one moving.

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  7. This was so well done Leona! I can't even imagine what it would be like to not have grandparents in my kids' life! This really moved me and got me thinking about family and how lucky we are to have the one we've got! Pretty awesome for 600 words or less! And...um,...I'm waiting for that book of yours!:)

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    1. Thanks, VJ. Yeah, most of us are lucky with our families, but lots are not.

      As for my novel, I'm still revising. Maybe we'll finish at the same time. VJ, your chapters are still in my mind from the novel workshop. You are such a good writer... finish it...please.

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  8. Leona I loved it, what a heartbreaking story that happens to often.

    Kim

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    1. Thanks, Kim. It happens way too often.

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  9. Good job Aunt Leona. I have always liked reading your stories.

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    1. Thanks, Vicki, I'm happy that you like what I write. Hopefully, this was the nudge I needed to get crackin again.

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