In November I ran a prize draw on my author page asking people to suggest subjects for a short story. This was the winner as it touched my heart very deeply. “Juanita Clarke For my daughter, Carolina who sadly passed away 3 years ago………” I asked Juanita for some details and this is the story that Carrie told me. I was delighted and honoured to meet her as Carrie helped me write this for her mother.
“Having visitors when one is in hospital is a mixed blessing,” Carrie thought, not for the first time. Yes, of course it was fabulous to see her family, especially her Mum who doubled as best friend but…the strain of not showing the illness was exhausting.
That was why, even though she didn’t really want to, Carrie allowed herself to slide into a deep sleep. She’d have a nap. Maybe when she woke up the pain would be less and she could have a goodnight chat with Mum on the phone. That would be nice.
For five months she had been doing the typical “brave, adventurer Carrie” act and fighting the cancer as if it were her opponent in a kick-boxing match. Something she hadn’t tried yet. Maybe, if she .. no WHEN she got better… so few things left on her “to do” list. She’d been lucky.
Well, maybe not quite so lucky.
Her head muzzy with the drugs, Carrie drifted away with her thoughts in confusion like a tangled skein of yarn. She wanted to be at home. Even if she were going to die… face it, she knew she was going to die, she wanted to do it at home. Not linked up to machines that go beep and surrounded by noise. The view from her bedroom window haunted her so, without thinking, her hand went to raise the curtain.
There it was! The garden of her childhood but full of people and animals. They were looking up at the window and waving. Her twins, cradled in the arms of a relative Carrie hadn’t realised she missed so much, chubby fists waving too, calling her down, out into the sunshine. A horse nodded over the hedge, wanting to go out for a hack, remembering her pockets, always full of pony-nuts or mints as a special treat.
Carrie slipped out of bed and looked at the careworn body lying in it. She didn’t need this any more. It was sad for Mum, but she’d find a way to tell her it was OK. She had places to go and people to see, animals she hadn’t cuddled for ages. In her head she could even hear their voices now. “Come on, Carrie, time to go”
As her spirit glided down to the garden, the machine by the bed began to shriek but Carrie couldn’t hear it.