Contemporary Sad

Miri sat in a chair, in the corner of her den, staring into space. The room was dark. The only light that could be seen from the doorway was coming from the kitchen. No one was home. But then no one would ever be coming home again. Miri had two children, a boy and a girl. Her daughter was married and had moved away. Her son was still living with her. Or, he had been, until he was gone. The funeral was held yesterday. This was the second time in two years that Miri had buried someone she loved. Her husband had died after a lengthy illness. And then there was her son Aiden, who had died of an overdose.

There had been so many people at the funeral. Too many people to count. Not that Miri was counting. She was barely there. She sat numbly as the funeral progressed. The speeches might have been poignant, but she wouldn’t know. She was there physically, but not mentally. She tried to pretend that the person they were eulogizing was some stranger, not her beautiful son. Miri was in a fog. She may remember her daughter Kelly speaking, but she’s not even clear about that. She sort of remembers the ride to the cemetery. Everyone getting out of the car and standing beside the grave. Watching the casket being lowered into the ground, and then the dirt being thrown on it. Her son was now part of the earth. She would never see him again. She would never talk to him again.

After the funeral, Kelly told her that she and Rob were going home. Rob tried to encourage Kelly to stay with her mom, but Kelly refused. She just couldn’t deal with the death of another loved one, and had to escape. Miri didn’t argue, she just let them go. Right now, she wanted to be alone. When Marc had died, everyone had hovered over her, and she felt as though she would choke with all of that concern. Miri knew people meant well. But still. 

Now, her heart was completely torn to shreds. She knew that there wasn’t anyone who would get what she was feeling. In order to understand, you would have had to lose a child. It was like taking your heart and putting it through a shredder. It hurt so much. It’s so hard to explain, and she didn’t want to explain. What she really wanted to do right now, was sleep. She wanted to go to sleep and see her son, her baby, and touch his face. She wanted to hug him again. Not one last time, but hold onto him forever. She wanted Aiden to come back even with all of his issues. She would do better with him now. Miri was sure she knew what to do to keep him safe. But Miri was based in reality. The truth was, if an addict wants to get clean, he will. If he doesn’t, you can’t do anything about it.

Miri shrugged off the blanket and got up from her chair. She decided to go to bed. She couldn’t function right now. Maybe sleep would help. For a little bit, anyway. She had the presence of mind to check the door and go into the kitchen to shut the light. She looked at the counter, which still had remnants of some of the food that people had brought earlier. She took the food and just shoved it on a shelf in the refrigerator. She would deal with organization when she felt better, if that ever happened. She shut the kitchen light and went into her bedroom and collapsed on the bed. She fell into a fitful sleep.


Miri was awakened by a loud pouding on the front door. She felt like she had been hit by a truck! Her head hurt and for a second she forgot about the last few days. Then it struck her. She cried out loudly. She had such a sense of hopelessness at the thought of Aiden’s loss.

“Miri! Miri! Are you okay? Let me in! It’s Lisa!”

Miri was no longer in a fog. She knew exactly who she was, where she was, and what had happened. She didn’t want to let Lisa in, but she had no choice. Lisa had been so kind to her through both of her tragedies and she understood about addiction. Her son was an addict also. But he had been sober for the last six months. Lisa heaved a sigh of relief every time she saw his face. “There but for the grace of G-d.....” When she heard that Aiden had died, she cried almost as much as Miri.

Miri hobbled over to the door and opened it.

“What are you doing here, Lisa?”

“I was checking up on you. I was here yesterday and you never answered the door! I tried calling and texting with no response! I’m worried about you!” Lisa lived down the block.

“I’m okay. I went to sleep.”

Lisa looked at Miri. She looked a mess. And the house smelled from stale food. Could Miri have slept for the last two days?

Lisa made her way into the house. “I’m going to make something for you to eat. You can’t starve yourself. You’ll get sick!”

Miri looked like she hadn’t eaten in ages. She was so thin with huge circles under her eyes. She’d been through so much.

And where was Kelly? She and Rob should have stayed for a few days. Miri should not be by herself!

“You slept for two days, Miri. It’s late morning already. I’ll make you some eggs.” Lisa knew Miri’s kitchen well and started pulling everything out to cook.

“I’m not hungry.”

“Doesn’t matter, you have to try to eat.”

Miri sat down at the kitchen table and just waited quietly for Lisa to finish making her eggs.

Lisa put the plate in front of Miri and watched as her friend force fed herself. Miri took bite after bite, but didn’t taste anything. Lisa made her a cup of coffee as well. But Miri didn’t touch that. 

“Do you have anyone that can stay with you for the next few days?”

“No. And I don’t even want anyone here. I need time alone. Thank you for breakfast and for checking up on me, Lisa, but please go.”

Lisa knew better than to fight with Miri, so she cleaned up the kitchen a bit and left. But she would be checking up on her friend on a regular basis even if Miri didn’t want her to.


Miri closed the door behind Lisa, locked it and went into the den. Breakfast had helped. Her head was much clearer now. But she didn’t want to be clear. Being clear headed meant that she would think, and she didn’t want to think. She sat down in her favorite chair and just stared out the window. After a bit, she got up and went to the bookcase where all the family pictures were displayed. 

There was Marc playing ball with Aiden. There was a picture of all four of them at Disney. Then there was a picture of Kelly and Aiden hugging each other in the backyard. There were so many pictures of all of them. There were graduation pictures of Aiden and Kelly. By the time Aiden had graduated college he was using heavily. The wedding picture of Kelly and Rob was prominently displayed on the shelf above all the others. Miri was remembering that Aiden had made it to the ceremony, but couldn’t be bothered to stay for the rest of the wedding. So much happiness tinged with sadness. And now Aiden was gone.

Miri picked up Aiden’s graduation picture and started yelling at it!

“Why did you leave?! You could have come back. I would have helped you. Now you’re gone forever!” Miri started to cry and continued, until she had no tears left. She sat down, wrapped herself in a blanket and fell asleep.

Miri had no idea how long she slept, but by the time she woke up it was dark. She was alone. But she couldn’t keep living like this. Lisa was right. She was going to make herself sick. And for better or worse, this was her life now. She still had Kelly and Rob. They lived a distance away, but maybe they would come back to visit. Maybe she would go there at some point. It was something to think about.


It’s a year later....

The first anniversary of Aiden’s death. 

Miri had planned on going to the cemetery today to say a prayer at Aiden’s grave. She was still in a lot of emotional pain. But she tried to pull herself out of it. She would agree to participate in some of the social functions of her friends. Some events were harder than others. 

She had determined that she would attend the wedding of one of Lisa’s sons. It was supposed to be a big bash and Lisa really wanted her to come. Miri had said yes, even though her heart wasn’t in it. But she wanted to be brave and strong and pick herself up and move forward and deal with her tragedy.

Miri got dressed. She found her favorite cocktail dress. But when she put it on, it was hanging on her. She had gotten so thin. She wore it anyway. A little bit of makeup and jewelry with the right shoes and bag, and hopefully no one would notice how big the dress was. She had been so pretty once. Now there were bags under her eyes. Dark circles that didn’t want to be erased. Oh well. At least she was getting out.

A few hours later Miri arrived at the wedding venue. As soon as she got to the door she turned around and ran back to her car. She just wasn’t ready! That happened several weeks ago. 

But today was the anniversary. She would be going to the cemetery alone. She had called Kelly a few days ago, hoping that her daughter would fly in and go with her.

“I’m sorry mom,” Kelly had said. “But I can’t come. I am having such a hard time dealing with Aiden’s death even a year later. I just can’t do it.”

Kelly and Aiden had been really close, until he started using drugs. Kelly could handle Aiden’s addiction. Like many people, she just didn’t understand why he started to use in the first place.

“I know it’s difficult for you Kelly. But think how difficult it is for me. Why can’t we do this together?” But there was no reasoning with Kelly.

Miri went to the cemetery alone. She stood in front of the grave and cried and cried. She stood there for hours, and then she finally left.

Since the death of Marc and then Aiden, Miri felt like she was constantly in a dark place. It was rare that she even smiled anymore. She stopped taking care of her home and was considering putting it up for sale. She stopped caring for herself too. She felt that darkness always followed her. First her husband and then her son. Would light ever shine down on her? Was she destined to live like this forever?


It’s two years later.....

“Mom where are you?” Kelly said in frustration as she stared at the phone. This was the fourth time she tried to reach Miri, but to no avail. Miri was not answering her phone or responding to texts or emails.

“Where could she be?” Kelly asked Rob.

“Well, you know your mom. When she gets depressed she just shuts down. Today is the second anniversary.”

“I know. I wish I knew how to help her.”

“Maybe we should visit. Let’s go spend some time with her. She’s all alone. I know she would be happy to see us. I can work remotely, and so can you.”

Kelly hesitated. If she went, she would have to go to the cemetery to see her brother. She hadn’t been there since Aiden died. She missed him so much. Maybe it was time to bite the bullet and do it. Anyway, Kelly hoped that her news would bring a smile to her mother’s face.

Kelly couldn’t get through to her mother, so she and Rob decided that they would fly out and surprise Miri. Hopefully, her mother would be up to the visit.


Nine months later....

Miri was cuddling her granddaughter in her arms. There was a bright smile on her face. The baby was looking up at her grandmother and Miri felt a lightness she hadn’t felt in years.

Kelly and Rob had moved in with Miri for a few months. Kelly went to the cemetery. And it was as difficult as she thought, but she was glad she went. She spoke to her brother and told him all about the baby and what a wonderful uncle he would have been. She also told him that he would never be forgotten, and that Ada, who was named for him, would know all about Aiden.

Miri was still in a lot of pain over Aiden’s loss. She thought about him every day. And she never stopped crying. There were many dark moments. Miri knew she would grieve for her son for the rest of her life.

But, when Ada was born, the light in Miri’s heart had been turned back on.

March 24, 2022 21:23

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Rebecca Stack
21:44 Mar 31, 2022

Such a sad story but lovely ending. Glad the remaining family finally pulled together and that the granddaughter returned the light to her grandmother's heart. A few typos', pounding and I assume it was Kelly couldn't handle Aiden's addiction. Only one small part I found a bit confusing, the paragraph starting a few hours later I had to re-read a few times. I think maybe it was just because it jumped from few hours later, to several weeks back, to today - I think if you'd said several weeks ago in the paragraph starting she had determine...


22:50 Mar 31, 2022

Thank you for reading my story. I noted the typos. Unfortunately, I type so quickly and sometimes I miss those. The paragraph starting with "a few hours later" immediately follows the paragraph about Miri getting dressed for the wedding. I thought that was pretty obvious. And the segment begins with "one year later". The paragraph about Miri's attempt to get back to her social life is my way of telling the reader what she has been attempting to do over the first year to come back after the loss of her son. Then, I remind the reader that toda...


Rebecca Stack
18:51 Apr 01, 2022

I was very impressed with it overall. It was very true to life and very emotional read so well done for tricky premise really well written x


19:03 Apr 01, 2022

This story is not entirely fiction. I took some literary license with some of the details, but the emotional piece in dealing with the loss of a child is real. Thank you again for reading and commenting on my submission......Rebecca


Rebecca Stack
19:41 Apr 01, 2022

I'm so sorry to hear this, sending hugs to you, most of my stories aren't entirely fiction either I think as an author we draw on personal experiences in our writing. Thanks to you again too xx


21:12 Apr 01, 2022

Thank you so much! I never thought that I would use my personal experiences. But ever since I started writing these stories, I really feel myself tapping into those experiences. This one though, was the most emotional. My first story, is actually a true story of how my husband and I met, if you want to read that one. But that was a happy story. Anyway, thanks again! Have a wonderful weekend! Rebecca


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