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Letter To A Lost One

by RandomTalks


4 days.

That's how long it has been since her world changed forever. That's how long it has been since her husband died. It was strange. She remembered running to the hospital, she remembered the doctor taking her into a separate room and telling her that he was no more, she remembered laughing at his face and going out into the hall, she remembered calling his name and opening random doors and waiting for him to come out of one, take her into his arms and tell her that this whole thing was one big joke, his way of taking revenge on her for forgetting their anniversary. But then she saw him, lying on a hospital bed, covered in a single white sheet that had covered so many others, and she knew. She knew it was over. He was gone.

"Rebecca? Rebecca, sweetheart, you have to eat something, you can't go on like this." It was probably her mother, she was the one who had driven her home from the hospital that night after she had fainted in the hospital. She knew that people were worried about her, but no matter how hard she tried she couldn't bring herself to care. Besides how did it matter? He was gone. Jack was gone. And he was not coming back. Those were the only words that had been revolving in her head like a mantra since the moment she had regained consciousness. Those words were the truth, they were a fact; but they were only words after all, they contained no feeling. No meaning. Not for her.

For the first two days people came and went, offering their condolences, and assuring her that everything was going to be alright. She looked at their faces, listened to their words and saw and heard nothing. It was when she was doing laundry that day and came upon his shirt while folding the rest of the clothes, that it hit her. It didn't matter if she folded his shirt or not, because he was never going to wear them. He was never going to smile for her, or fight with her over the tv remote, or laugh at her lame jokes to make her feel good. He was never going to hold her after a long day, or hug her or kiss her.

That was the first time she had cried after his death. And once she had started she couldn't bring herself to stop. She screamed, she shrieked, she howled in pain, but it wasn't enough. The hole in her chest seemed to feed on her tears, on the memories that ran through her mind like tape recordings, it grew bigger and bigger until it consumed her from within and she could not feel anything except for the vast empty void that her life had become.

"Mommy?" she could feel her standing at the door, peeping from behind the curtain as if she was afraid to step inside the room. Sara, their seven year old daughter, sweet and innocent, and yet to learn that her father was dead. How could she tell her? How could she even look at her when her eyes reflected his and her lips always stretched into the same smile? She was afraid. She was afraid to turn around and be the mother she was supposed to be.

"Mommy?" she called, her nervousness echoing in her small voice. Rebecca swallowed. Still she couldn't turn around. She felt her mother rise from the bed and walk to the door.

"What is it sugar?"

"What's wrong with her? Is she sick?"

"She is just sad honey, because Dadda is away, remember? She will be okay though, so don't you worry"

"Did I do something? Is she mad at me?"

"What? No! Why would you say that?"

"Because she isn't talking to me, Granny. I must have done something!"

"Listen to me hon, you haven't done anything, you are a sweet little angel and right now your mother needs you to be the big girl I know you are. Okay? Why don't you go to your room and write something. You love writing, don't you? I heard you are very good with letters?"

No one said anything but she must have left because she felt the bed shift once again, and felt her mother sit down.

"You can't do this, Bex. You can't just stop functioning. Your daughter needs you." She sighed, because Rebecca had yet to say a single word that wasn't a sob or a cry or her dead husband's name. "I know you can hear me, sweetheart. Please, just be there for her. Talk to her. She is just a kid. She needs you."

And I need him. Rebecca listened to her mother, she didn't really hear her. So they just sat until it grew dark. Then her mother got up, fed her daughter and put her to bed. And then she was alone again.

Rebecca got up. She moved like a machine, walking through the empty house, setting the cushions right, picking up the stray toys lying on the floor and headed to the laundry room. She didn't bother switching on the light, she was accustomed to the dark by now. She began sorting the clothes by color but it didn't take much time, even though her daughter had a habit of wearing four sets of clothes in a single day. Jack always joked that she was going to be a model when she grew up. She remembered him, shaking his head in exasperation, when Sara went in to change her costume the third time simply because her frock didn't feel right. They were late by an hour to church that day. Rebecca stood up and ignored the stab in her heart.

She avoided looking at the pictures on the wall as she walked up the stairs and into her daughter's room. She didn't go near the bed, she just stood by the door, motionless for a while and then took a brave step inside. There were books lying all around the floor; color pencils, drawings, all scattered on the desk. She began arranging them into a single pile when she came across a sheet of paper and froze.

Dear Dadda,

Hope you are well. Mrs. M said that we should always start a letter like that. I can write paragraphs now, can you believe it! I am so happy. I was a little sad before. Mrs. M read mine after school and you and momma weren't there. But I am okay now. I am learning new words every day. Big words. Mrs. M said that I could become a writer when I grow up and she explained to me what a writer is and I think I would like to be one one day. I will write stories. And you will read them to me at night when you come back!

When will you come back Dadda? Mommy misses you, she is so sad, she does not smile, only cries. I saw her. She is not talking to me. If you come back I know she will. Come back Dadda. The girls at school say bad things, that you are not coming back. They are mean. I don't like them very much. I am mad at them. I am mad at you too. You went without telling me. Gran says I did not do anything, but I think i did. So you went and mommy is not talking with me. Please come back. I wont be bad again. I will be good and we will be very happy. Come back Dadda.

I wanted to send you this letter but I do not know where you are. I will give it to you when you come back, and you can be proud of me!

Love,

Sara

The tears that collected in her eyes never fell, she clutched the page to her chest and sank down onto the floor shaking with silent sobs. She felt the bed shift, heard the tiny footsteps approaching her and held the arms encircling her from behind.

"Mommy?" she asked, nearing tears herself. "What's wrong, mommy? Please don't be sad. I will be a good girl now."

Rebecca cried, the tears now falling freely from her eyes.

"I know sweetheart, I know," she sobbed. "Mommy's okay. We are all going to be okay. I am here."

And she meant it. She would be there. For her. For their daughter.


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Fri Apr 23, 2021 10:17 pm
LizzyTyler wrote a review...



Good Morning/Evening/Night,

This was a very powerful piece, and it definitely tugged at my heartstrings. I, personally, have never lost someone close to me, but that seems like how it would be.

The only thing I noticed was that you mentioned her going into a dark room, not turning on the light, and then proceeding to sort the clothes by color. Not quite sure what was happening there.

I also would have liked to see a little more life, and love, maybe in a flash back, or a flash forward. But that's just my opinion.

All in all, it is a great tearjerker, and it really brought out raw, unparalleled emotion. Keep up the good work!




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Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:55 pm
TheClosetWriter wrote a review...



The first thing that struck me about this piece was how accurately it portrays grief. The subject seems very close to heart for you and Rebecca's emotional progress is so honest. I feel there are almost messages of feminism as Rebecca is supported by her mother, is deciding to support her daughter at the story's end. The characters are easy to love and easy to identify with while themes of grief force anyone to think on a deeper level about the topic. Thus, I have only a few critiques and suggestions:

Character History

My favorite section of this short is the segment in which we are able to see into Rebecca's past with her husband. It adds a happier side to the tale and creates a more understandable protagonist:

"It was when she was doing laundry that day and came upon his shirt while folding the rest of the clothes, that it hit her. It didn't matter if she folded his shirt or not, because he was never going to wear them. He was never going to smile for her, or fight with her over the tv remote, or laugh at her lame jokes to make her feel good. He was never going to hold her after a long day, or hug her or kiss her."

All the additional detail given in this paragraph develops how we perceive Rebecca and Jack's relationship. It paints a fuller picture of them as husband and wife. More of this is always appreciated. I feel as if memories between Sara and Rebecca is also helpful for when they re-kindle their relationship.

Rebecca's Mother

Although Rebecca's Mother appears to simply be an advisor in this story, I feel that you can explore her character more. Maybe, she lost her husband early on too and can relate to her daughter's strife. Through this, the mother daughter relationship is further enhanced. Keep working on feminist ideas in this piece:

"You can't do this, Bex. You can't just stop functioning. Your daughter needs you." She sighed, because Rebecca had yet to say a single word that wasn't a sob or a cry or her dead husband's name. "I know you can hear me, sweetheart. Please, just be there for her. Talk to her. She is just a kid. She needs you."

This line of dialogue especially reveals a lot about who she is. Consider how she can develop the story line.

Organization

A few times throughout the story, it appears that you strayed from themes or lost track of the goal in that portion. Make sure to always write with an objective, checking that extra information doesn't cloud your purpose. For instance, I felt although the letter was wrote from a child's viewpoint, you could have deleted the first paragraph and said more to how Sara was feeling. Adding smoother transitions can also help to create flow between ideas.

"Hope you are well. Mrs. M said that we should always start a letter like that. I can write paragraphs now, can you believe it! I am so happy. I was a little sad before. Mrs. M read mine after school and you and momma weren't there. But I am okay now. I am learning new words every day. Big words. Mrs. M said that I could become a writer when I grow up and she explained to me what a writer is and I think I would like to be one one day. I will write stories. And you will read them to me at night when you come back!"

If you are interested in preserving the piece about her being a writer, you can simply shorten this as well.

Language Choices

My last critique is that you could do a little more with language. Despite the suiting tone of piece, it can still be enhanced with different word choice. More metaphors and similes can draw out the emotions in the story too.

This was a beautiful story of love and loss. I hope to read more like it in the future. :)




RandomTalks says...


Thanks for the review!



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Tue Apr 20, 2021 6:57 pm
stygianmoon17 wrote a review...



Hey there, hope you're having a fantastic day :D

This is a very powerful short story. I could feel the emotion behind everything, and there was this swelling of sadness I could feel as the story progressed, and it felt so relieving at the end, when it finally bursts.
The characters are not all that complex and three dimensional, but they still seem very likeable, and this is a short story so I can't exactly expect top notch characterisation. Still, they each had their flaws and strengths, and I could totally see this as something that could happen to someone.

I think what would've been nice would be to include a little paragraph, or after-prologue (I think that's what it's called. It's basically a prologue but at the end)
And you could've shown how they have continued to live their lives. Maybe from Rebeccas's perspective even.
Nevertheless, the ending as it is was still impactful.
There's so much hope, so much resilience beneath those last words- truly a great way to end a story.


I didn't notice any font, grammar, or spelling mistakes, and no typos either, I think.

I feel like one thing missing was the setting.
I get that she was in a hospital at the beginning, but what did it look like, from her perspective? Did she notice the cracks in the paint first ? Did she notice every bad thing in the environment, or every good thing ? It could give insight on whether she's optimistic or not about her future and just overall show in which direction her character will grow.
Or maybe the dark room where she's with her mother.
Maybe in the hospital she noticed everything that was negative and flawed, but maybe in the dark room, as she regained hope, she looked at a flickering candle, or at the moon in the night sky.
Those were what I felt was missing, but treat my opinion as you want :)

Keep on writing, you truly have a talent at it <33




RandomTalks says...


Thanks for the review!



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Tue Apr 20, 2021 6:55 pm
MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi RandomTalks,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

Your first paragraph is wonderful. It's emotionally charged, intense and has a very good shift between sentence structure. It feels like a short sob, just because there is this realisation trying to take hold.
These short sentences also accompany the reader in the coming sections, which I like because they seem like short cries that try to plunge Rebecca into grief and reveal the truth to her, which she tries to understand in her own way.
You also try to stay very realistic and come up with examples that are well chosen (scene with the T-shirt for example.) It almost gives you goosebumps.

With the dialogue, maybe it would help to insert who is speaking a few times, otherwise it seems a bit confusing.

I thought you put a lot of effort into portraying the death of a loved one as emotionally as you could. I would even say that you described it in a very human way, in parts so much so that I could sympathise. I also found it interesting how her mother spoke to her about her daughter. The mother wants Rebecca to stay strong for her child, but forgets that Rebecca has just lost someone who was not only incredibly important to her, but was also the one who created the new life with her.

The letter was beautifully written and in contrast to the text it also stood out because of the daughter's simple writing. I would just set the letter to italic next time to make it stand out a little from the rest of the text.
I think the letter is also the moment when Rebecca realises that she has to be there for her daughter.

Wow, can I just say again. The story was very loaded and sad without being too cheesy. You did a great job of keeping the reader reading, despite the sadness that can be read from the lines. But it was really worth reading it.

Have fun with your writing!

Mailice.




RandomTalks says...


Thanks for the review!




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