An angel to watch over me

I was seven years old when my mother passed away. I don’t remember much about her but to me she was a loving woman who rarely raised her voice with anger at my sisters or myself. She was also an excellent cook and despite the little money we had, there was always a lovely smell in the kitchen. I remember her beautiful hair piled on her head and her long black skirt under which I would hide when an unannounced visitor would knock at the door of our home. Unfortunately, she died very young at the age of 32. I remember the day well, for it was the first time I’d been confronted with death. My sister woke me up early in the morning saying that mum had pushed on Heaven’s door, but I could not understand. I knew mum was sick. She had asthma and could not breathe properly ; she needed to rest and it was not easy to find a doctor in the countryside at that time. But I was just a kid and all I could wonder was how she managed to get up out of bed and open a door since she was so weak and where had she gone?! My sister brought me to Mum’s room to kiss her goodbye.   Lights had been covered and, despite the lilies, there was a strange smell floating in the air. Mum was lying still and cold on her bed, her hands folded on her chest. She was different and so pale. She looked like a wax doll with her long hair by her shoulders and her eyes closed. My sister whispered to me that Mum’s new home was in Heaven now and that her soul had been set free. Now she could overhear not only what we were saying but also what we were thinking, so we had to behave and make her proud so she would always love us.

From this moment, surprisingly I was not afraid! I knew mum would always look after me and eventually protect me because she was an angel now and her spirit would always be around. I could talk to her about my life, pray to her and ask for help if I needed it, which I did quite often. I guess this thought has empowered me and helped me to go through life, which has not always been easy but she has never let me down. I survived a devastating house fire without a single scratch, I was captured by the Germans during World War 2 and by some miracle I managed to escape. I have reached 96 years of age and have never been sick in my whole existence.

But today is the saddest day of my life and I need her more than ever to help me get through this painful time. I am praying to her to welcome my son, her grandson, whom I am mourning, into her home.

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This sad story is one of my assignments from creative writing class that I wanted to share with you. We were asked to look at old pictures we owned and to write a short story up to 500 words about loss from the perspective of a person we had chosen. The idea was that the loss had occurred when the person was a child and we had to tell what happened and how it had impacted our character’s life. We were also asked to write in the first person subject past tense as it was a recollection and many years had passed since the tragedy had occurred  We had to show what the child had learnt through this experience that stayed with him to adulthood. I must say it was a difficult exercise since generally I prefer to write about fun things and loss is not really my favorite genre. It was also a bit overwhelming for me since I decided to base my story on a true family life chapter. Actually I chose my grandfather who lost his mother when he was only a child and I became his voice for the duration of this assignment. On one hand it made me sad and a bit depressed to write about these past memories, I mean I can only imagine how hard it must have been painful for him. But in the other hand I am glad I could transcribe as a tribute stories I have  been  told a  couple of times by my grandfather. His mother, my grand-grandmother, was a beautiful woman who sadly died very young from asthma and I am grateful she is a caring and loving angel watching over my grandfather in sadness and happiness helping him to go though life giving him hope and bravery.

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My grandfather’s mother who died at 32

8 thoughts on “An angel to watch over me”

  1. My dear virgine I love your story .
    I am realising what kind of person you are I was not wrong you are hugely called to write and show us your soul ….
    You do not be sad world is fulled of sad stories and they must be written even though they are not liked at all …
    Keep going my friend I am your fan for ever even I can be the only one .
    Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My dear friend Balbina, thank you for your lovely and kind words, I am glad you enjoyed this story. You are right the world is full of sad stories and some are meant to be told and written. Loss is part of our lives and we should learn to accept it or at least learn how to live and deal with it. My grandfather’s story is a powerful and inspiring example of love and hope: he lost his mother at a very young age but he never ceased to believe in her. Somehow he managed to keep her alive in his heart and she is his angel watching over him ever since.

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  2. Dear Virginie,

    Thanks a heap for your kind words about my English. I appreciate it a lot. They encourage me much to go on writing. Talking about that, I have in mind to write two essays this week. One about nuclear power, in particular if I consider it the most suitable energy for the long-distance future and another one about a complaint email. The truth is that we’re finishing our English course and I need to make an extra effort because exams are coming. To be honest, undoubtedly the toughest one is listening. Let’s see what happens.

    Ahh, by the way, excellent and glum story at the same time. You always write well-structured and meaningful stories. Great for you Virginie!!!!

    Take care and be as much happier as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Antonio, I wish you all the best for your exams! Like I said your English is very good so don’t be stressed during the tests, stay focus, be confident and you should be all right! As for the articles you intend to write this week, I am very impressed 🙂 Writing is a good way to practise English and to put words into context (the best way to memorize vocabulary). I find it very challenging but also very rewarding at the same time! Regarding the listening part, I know exactly what you mean… it is always the hardest part! Here are some advice on how to proceed: bear in mind that the most important is not to understand every single words you hear but the general meaning of the story. Once you have the context, you can manage to guess the words that are missing to give meaning to the whole sentence. Sometimes I don’t understand everything but somehow I manage to guess what it is all about and then I just concentrate on the sounds and generally I manage to recognize the words from the sounds I hear if it does make sense 😉 so to sum up: context and general meaning is the most important, then you can figure out the rest thanks to logic and the sounds you hear, then you can put all these informations into words! Don’t hesitate to practise by watching TV, films in English, listening to the radio etc… Good luck!

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    1. Thank you Indah. Actually it is NOT my story, it is my grandfather’s story who lost his mother when he was a child. Maybe it was confusing because I used the first person to narrate this story. The reason I did so was to become my grandfather’s voice in this post like he was the one telling his own story and not me.

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  3. your great-grandmother is beautiful and so is your writing! to write both narratively and factually in your non-native language with this much command – quite impressive!

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  4. Merci beaucoup Ruth 🙂 I agree, she was a really beautiful woman. I agree it was not easy to write this text as English is my second language but I must say my creative classes have really helped me to improve my writing skills. What about you, how is your new job going? Do you still have time for your French and Spanish classes?

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