Gone, But Not Forgotten.

Written in response to: Write a story about a someone who's in denial.... view prompt


Christian Fiction Sad

“Leslie, I need you to look at me. I need you to look me in my eyes, young lady.”

Leslie slowly looked up at the taller man in front of her, a permanent frown etched on her youthful, alabaster face. Her dark brown eyes met his piercing blue, a stark contrast between each of the other. The man bent down to Leslie’s level and brushed a strand of dark hair away from her pale face, a subtle frown on his own coffee tinted face.

”She’s gone, my dear. Your mother just passed away a few minutes ago,” he reports quietly, his words a soft breeze in the midst of the chaotic storm in Leslie’s mind.

Leslie promptly freezes, pure shock and horror evident on her face. Her mouth is slightly agape as her mind struggles to register the words that had come from the mouth of this man. This man who was now very familiar, this man who wore a white coat and glasses. This man who had become like a second father and a confidant to Leslie. This man who had held Leslie when she cried, who had watched her when her real father was away at work.

”But… But they said she was getting better. They said that the- the cancer was shrinking or something. How does this happen? How could this happen?” Leslie asks, rambling in her fear. She looked up at the doctor, desperately searching through his eyes for any signs of falsehood or deception. She sadly found none in the familiar gaze of this man.

”Sometimes, it just comes out of nowhere, dear. I’m so sorry,” the white coated doctor replies, patting Leslie’s shoulder sadly. He stands and enters back into the hospital room that had also become familiar to Leslie.

She peered inside of the glass in the door, the sight making her heart stop. Inside the room was her mother, but it was not her mother. No, this woman was not the happy, carefree lady who played and sang, dancing around at every moment possible to make Leslie smile and chuckle. This woman was frozen, her chest not rising nor falling. This woman had monitors connected to each part of her body, but none of them registered anything. This woman was frozen in time, taken far too soon.

The white coated doctor pulled the white sheet over the body of Leslie’s mother, signaling that she was truly, truly gone. Leslie slumped against the wall of the hospital, sitting down on the sterile floor. She pulled her knees to her chest, sobbing into them as if there was no tomorrow. She cried and cried, the floor eventually receiving a few tears as well.

Sometime later, Leslie stopped crying. She stood and wandered aimlessly around the halls of the hospital, remembering every little moment about the duration of her mother’s stay. She recalled the sounds of her mother’s frail laughter, watching her walk down the halls and rebel against each of the doctor’s orders. She remembered bringing her mother homemade pancakes on Mothers Day and bringing her the most sprinkle-licious cookies at Christmastime.

Leslie, after walking for an hour or two, eventually found her way to the front lobby of the hotel. How many times in the last three years had she sat in this lobby? How many times did she check in her badge to the receptionist to go and see her mom? Too many times to count, that was for sure. She had sung at the children’s Christmas choir here in the hospital. She has done so much for the doctors and children who were in hospice, volunteering and doing whatever she was truly allowed to do at thirteen years old.

Leslie slowly walked up to the pay phone in the wall, her steps heavy with loss and despair, then pulling out a shiny quarter from the front pocket of her jeans. She put the coin into the slot and dialed her father’s number, her hand shaking as she picked up the phone and held it to her ear.

”Daddy?” She asked into her end of the line.

”…Les? Is that you, baby? What’s wrong?”

Leslie sighed in relief, a small smile on her face at the sound of her father’s voice.

”I need you to pick me up, Daddy.”

A few moments of silence passed before her father spoke again, his voice now deep and troubled.

”I’m on my way, darling. Just stay in the lobby for me, okay?”

”Yes, Daddy.”

Leslie sat in her usual chair in the lobby, swinging her legs and waiting. Something in her mind clicked, and she suddenly started thinking through many things that were… not true.

*She isn’t dead.*

*Mom is still alive.*

*I’ll get home and she’ll be in the kitchen, holding Isaiah and making Mac n’ Cheese.*

Leslie convinced herself of this, nodding and muttering it under her breath. She was so engrossed in her mumbling that she didn’t notice her own father walking into the lobby of the hospital.

Leslie felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up.

”My mom isn’t dead!” She exclaimed, perhaps a bit too loudly.

Her father’s expression dropped when he saw the state of his daughter. Her eyes were red and puffy, and her cheeks were stained with tears.

”Let’s go home, Leslie. We have to explain some things to each other, and your brother,” her father replied cooly, his dark eyes set in a solid determination. He nodded and helped Leslie up from the cold plastic chair, walking out with her under his shoulder.

Leslie and her father walked out to his old Sedan, buckling in and driving back to the suburbs in absolute silence. The only sound came from their breathing and the desperate attempts to not sob coming from Leslie’s father. She stared out of the dusty window of the car, watching as the scenery changes from the loud and busy streets of the large city to the quiet suburban countryside.

Leslie refused to believe that her mother was gone. She would walk into the house, find her mother cooking Mac n’ Cheese, and give her the biggest hug in the world. She wouldn’t let go, and Leslie would be the happiest eleven year old of her age.

”My mom isn’t dead,” she promised herself.

June 16, 2024 06:14

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Mary Bendickson
19:06 Jun 16, 2024

Hard to accept a harsh reality such as this.😔


A.B. Writer
18:30 Jun 17, 2024

It is. A few years ago, a lady at our church passed away from breast cancer. It was hard, as my mom was close friends with her. I got to go to her house and draw Jesus with chalk on her driveway a few months before she passed, and she loved it. We all miss her, but she is with God now.


Mary Bendickson
18:53 Jun 17, 2024

Just got word our pastor's wife passed yesterday. She was diagnosed with rare form of brain cancer in Jan. She was in mid-sixties. So hard. But know she knew Christ.


A.B. Writer
17:52 Jul 02, 2024

Oh my gosh. That is so sad. I will definitely be praying for that family.


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