Wednesday, May 19, 2021

A Woman Like Her (short story) (6/6) by Leanne Dyck

Part five:  Mom tells me that my place isn't with her in Manitoba. It's with my husband, Byron, in BC. So I fly home and shortly after I do Mom dies.

Readers' Reviews:  Pass the Kleenex! Beautiful writing Leanne.

So very moving, Leanne. Thank you for sharing your experience, your thoughts and your heartache.

Beautifully written Leanne, you touched my heart!

Beautiful words indeed n thanks for openness about grief... Somehow your words helped me...shows I am not alone or crazy.

photo by ldyck

Part six

My grief is a heavy rock. It squeezes out all light, colour, emotion. It flattens me.

Byron is busy on his computer when I walk into his office. I pull open the fridge, grab a beer and take a swig. 

That gets his attention."What are you doing? It's the middle of the day."

"I'm going to finish this beer, go into the kitchen, take a sharp knife, and cut my wrists. Don't worry I won't make a mess. I'll sit in the bathtub."

 A day or two after mentioning that plan, I begin to see a grief counsellor.

The lights are dim. The sofa may be comfortable, but I sit bolt upright--staring at the tiled floor. The counsellor, pen ready, waits for me to spill my guts.

"Describe a typical day."

I don't look at him. "I don't understand what you want me to say."

"Start with where you work."

"I don't. I quit."

"Okay. So start with what you do first thing in the morning. You get up, have breakfast, and...?"

"And I feel tired so I go back to bed." Every time I open my mouth his pen moves across the page, I can sense it.

"For how long?"

"About twenty minutes--could be longer."

"Okay, after your nap you..."

"I try to watch TV but it's crap. I try to read but I'm not interested. So I go pester Byron."

"Byron is?"

"My husband.  I'm in his office but I can tell he's trying to work so I go have lunch. But I'm not really hungry so I stuff my face with donuts, chips--anything with sugar. Then I feel tired so I go back to bed. Look, I don't know what you want me to tell you. I spend most of my life in bed."

"How do you feel after you get up?"


"Do you think napping is helping?"

"I don't know."

"Well, you go to bed tired and you wake up tired. So...?"

I'm not stupid. I know what he wants me to say. "It's not working."

"What do you think you could do instead?"

"What do you think I should do?"

"That's not the way this works," he tells me. "Trust yourself, you know the answer."

"Um, I don't know. Go for a walk."

"Excellent idea." He sounds happy like we'd made some kind of breakthrough. If we have I missed it. "When was the last time you went out with friends?"

"I don't have any."


"Okay, some."

"And you went..." Long pause, fill in the blank, your answer goes here.

"We went to the beach."

"It was a nice day?"

"No, we went in a thunderstorm." I'm trying to be rude but he laughs. "Yes, it was a nice day. The sun was shining, the water was warm."

"How did you feel?"

"Relaxed, I guess. But then..." He doesn't say a word, just waits with his pen. And I give him. "Mom's dead and I'm enjoying myself like it doesn't matter. She was this wonderful woman, she did everything for me. Now she's dead, let's party. Like her life didn't matter. But then... but then I got out of the water. I found the most uncomfortable place to sit--between two rocks--I wanted to hurt myself."

"Do you often feel like you want to harm yourself?"

"Often? I guess. But I'm too much of a wimp to go through with it."

"Okay, so, you're back on the beach--sitting between a rock and a hard place and...?"

"My friend keeps coming over to me. 'Leanne? Are you okay, Leanne?'" And I just lose it. I'm bawling so hard that I can barely breathe.

"Take your time." He pushes the box of tissues closer to me.

Finally, I squeeze out, "I told her, 'I want to go home.'"

Sitting there, talking to him is exhausting, but I keep going back and one night, in my dreams, I see a child--her head is buried in her knees. She's crying. Between sobs, I hear, "I'm so scared. I lost my mommy."

I wrap my arms around her. "Don't worry. I'm here. I won't let anyone hurt you."

She raises her head and I recognize her--my younger self. Mom has entrusted me with her care. And I will always protect her.


A year or so later, I have another dream. Mom and I are doing the dishes. She washes and I dry. She scoops her hand into the sink, blows, and covers me with bubbles.

"Hey." I laugh.

"That's better." She dries her hands, reaches into her pocket, and pulls out a folded note. "Read this when it's time for you to wake up."

A mother's worries are many,

joys are far too few,

one of my greatest joys is to see you happy,

so smile, darn you


Your Mother

photo by ldyck

Thank you for being there as I shared this story. If you are grieving right now please know that someday you will see the sun again.

Related stories...

From Mom

A Woman with a Pen

Lasting Love

A New Reality

Sunday, May 23

Book Review:  Dropped Threads:  What We Aren't Told

Edited by Carol Shields and Marjorie Anderson

An anthology by women about women

Wednesday, May 26

Author Reading:  The Invisible Woman

by Leanne Dyck

a woman loses her identity

Sunday, May 30

Across the Water (short story) (children's fiction)

by Leanne Dyck

two children attempt to cross the water so they can play together