Anne Peterson

Healing words for wounded souls.

No Longer Here (FmF)

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Photo taken by Jessica Peterson

Linking up with Lisa Jo Baker for another Five minute Friday. Prompt: Together

Together. She never knew that word before. Till she found him, or rather till he found her.

And since that day they were always together, but not like two peas in a pod. She hated peas.

She just knew she always wanted to sit across the table from him. To be the one to hear his stories again and again. And she did.

And when the doctor used the c word she knew what he meant, but she refused to believe it.When he slipped downhill fast she held onto the denial that had become her new companion.

She couldn’t be alone, she screamed inside. He had to be here. He’s all she ever knew. He’s the one who accepted her as she was.

And yet, he is gone. He left when the cancer took over. He changed before her eyes.

And he forgot things. Like who he was, and why he was in a rehabilitation place.

“Can we go home now?” he would ask each time.

And then there was the day he said, “Oh, I get it, I am home.”

Sometimes he forgot they were together. He spoke about her, but only to others.

She misses him so much. Too much to think about. Instead she shuffles into the quiet kitchen to make a cup of lonely coffee.

Petting one of the cats on her way to the other room, she forgets why she went in there.

Alone is her new life and she hates it. He wasn’t supposed to leave her. It wasn’t in her plans.

Pretty soon it will be dark and she’ll pull covers over her tired body. And maybe if she’s lucky she’ll fall asleep.

But hopefully she won’t dream of him. It’s too hard waking up to find out he’s gone all over again. That they are no longer together.

Too hard.

About Anne Peterson

I write words you can feel, sometimes they rhyme. If I'm not writing, I'm telling stories from my head, to little ones who call me grandma.

16 Replies

  1. What a wonderfully written piece. Thank you for sharing. I read some of your work last year when I attempted the Tribe Writers class and I have to say, you continue to share in a compelling and elegant way. Thank you.

    1. Jennifer,

      What a kind and thoughtful comment you made. Thank you. I was just thinking of two of my sister-in-laws and how their lives have changed. I wrote about one in this story but I’ve been thinking of the other one as well who just became a widow in February when my brother Steve had a massive heart attack and died.

  2. I agree with Jennifer. You continue to share in a compelling and elegant way, Anne. This is your best FmF post yet because you left me wanting to read more and also wondering who you were writing about.

    1. Patricia,

      I’m piquing your curiosity? That’s good, right? I woke up thinking about my brother’s wife, Betty. So that’s what this story was about. You know, sometimes I think I could do fiction.

  3. Hi Anne! This is embarrassing but I wrote a comment and can’t remember if I clicked to post it. Not sure what happened but I’ll try again because I have to let you know how much your post moved me. Thank you for writing this. As a new follower, I am looking forward to reading more of your beautiful words.

    1. Angel,
      Thank you so much for your comments. I’m so glad the piece touched you. Your words encouraged me.

  4. Wow, Anne, I see from the comments above that this was inspired by your sisters-in-law, but I wonder, could this be the opening page of a novel about a woman who discovers herself in a new chapter of her life? Have you done much fictional writing? cause you have a wonderful voice for fiction.

    1. Kathleen,

      No, I had never done fiction before. But I liked it. Thanks for your comments. I once wrote to a prompt A tin whistle and a passport. It was for a competition. I didn’t even place but when my English professor read my piece she started crying and told me she didn’t know I had lost a little boy. I told her I hadn’t. She loved the piece which I still have. So besides that, no. I haven’t written fiction.

  5. Anne, this is powerful! I too think you have an amazing voice for fiction. Beautiful piece!

    1. Rebeca,
      Thanks for the read and for your comment. That’s encouraging.

  6. Anne, stopping by from FMF today and am awed by the compassion, love and truth found in this post. You writing is not only compelling (I could not NOT read all of it) and elegant (almost like poetry) but it has also helped me today. We lost my husband’s brother a year ago next month. Within a period of 18 months, a rare dementia took him swiftly and without warning he lost his cognitive abilities. It was hard when he no longer recognized his wife of 57 years or my husband, his brother of 76 years. And then as you say, he was gone.

    Each time I read something, anything similar to your post it helps me understand the vacous nature of grieving and why we must grieve. I then share what I read with my husband and with prayer and hope we’re going to get past this. We’ll never stop missing Jim but we will learn to leave without the together with Jim we so loved.

    1. Sherrey,

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. It’s funny you called my writing poetic because I am also a poet.

      Sorry for your loss. Today’s post was me thinking of my brother Gus who died of Pancreatic Cancer a couple of years ago. Then I lost my youngest brother to a heart attack in February.

      I think we never get completely past someone’s death, we just make adjustments. I lost my mother when I was 16, my dad when I was 24, My sister to domestic violence, when I was 30 and then Gus a couple of years ago and Steve in February. I am well acquainted with grief. I just finished a book about my sister’s story and I’ll be writing one on grief next.

  7. This post is truly, truly lovely. I am so impressed with what people can write in 5 minutes! Mine are always much shorter, it seems, than the others I read.

    You weaved together a story that made me empathize and feel right along with the characters. Thank you for sharing your gift. I am sorry you have experienced so much loss. I am glad you are writing about it. I’m sure your words could help many people.

    Hopping over from everydayawe.com for Five Minute Friday.

    1. Stephanie,

      Thanks for reading and for your encouraging comments. I’ll have to check out everydayawe.com. You know I am also surprised at times what comes out when you just have a short amount of time. But I totally enjoy taking part in it. Thanks again, Stephanie, I appreciate it.

  8. Anne a gripping read I want to know more and yes I see her in so many of my friends, family and mother. I hate that cancer the word sends a sick feeling in my stomach, even now. Long after my father lost his battle. You are such a beautiful writer.

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