Every day after school, we go to the park.
Every day, the man on the bench admires the acers in the Japanese gardens.
Every day, he smiles and asks my daughter how she is.
But today he isn’t here. She whispers that maybe this is his first day in Heaven.
Henry appreciates nature, and spending time in the park admiring the trees seems like a pretty good way to use your time.
At the hospital, I find mum. She looks concerned, like I’m not dressed warm enough. I hold her hand, thank her for all she was and kiss her cold frown. On the wall there’s a whiteboard with her name scrawled on it and a section titled Patient’s Needs. It’s blank.
Giles Montgomery writes ads for a living and fiction for joy. Find him on Twitter at @gilesmon.
“I’ll take my lunch later,” I told my head nurse.
I held Betty’s hand while her breathing slowed to almost nothing. Her family hadn’t visited in weeks.
“It’s okay. You can go now. He’s waiting for you.”
I smoothed her hair, and she relaxed as she took her last breath.
Catherine McAllister loves her work as an emergency room nurse and also enjoys teaching nursing students. She has two lovely daughters, three lively dogs, and a supportive husband. She writes in her free time.
He does his work under many pseudonyms. Sometimes he goes by cancer, or stroke, or heart attack; other times he’s called car accident, missing in action, or simply victim. No matter what he calls himself today, his true name is writ large and bold across each of our frail bodies.
Aeryn Rudel is a writer from Seattle, Washington. He is the author of the Acts of War novels published by Privateer Press, and his short fiction has appeared in The Arcanist, Factor Four Magazine, and Pseudopod, among others. Learn more about Aeryn’s work at rejectomancy.com or on Twitter.
“Hey Google, close the blinds.”
“Hey Google, dim the lights.”
“Hey Google, start my favourite slow classics playlist.”
“Hey Google, send out all the last messages to friends and family from my draft box.”
“Hey Google, administer the anaesthetic and switch off the power to my ventilator.”
“Hey Google, Goodbye.”
Jo Withers worries that technology is getting out of hand and avoids it wherever possible. She is author of the middle-grade science-fiction novel “5 Simple Steps to Saving Planet Earth.”
Soft white grass, pure green sky.
Cotton shirt, like kisses on my neck.
The sun is warm and flowing, washing me in a vanilla-scented mist.
The stab of gin, the spark of tonic on the weather-beaten corduroy wood beside me.
Cane in hand, my dog at my side.
Aaron is a fitness and wellness coach. He writes for pleasure and relaxation.
Some form of dementia has stolen her brilliant mind
But has kindly left her beautiful soul.
From a hospital bed finally she knows no limits.
All worries, self-doubts have vanished,
Layers of life’s woes stripped away.
Her eyes filled with love, she sings and is happy.
Her truest self, revealed?
Lisa Lysen is having fun exploring her passion for words, hoping an adventure in writing may be somewhere in her future.
The dog knew she was dying.
He lay at her side enveloped in the stink of her rotting body, listening to the whistle of her laboured breathing, focusing on the occasional words she muttered softly, not “Walks” or “Supper” or “Treats”, only the names of her children and dead husband.
After many jobs and several careers, Linda White lives in a little village with her dog and lizard, and rides her horse for mental health.
I despise the word “burden.” It is such a depressing word. “A beast of burden,” “a burden to bear,” “laden with one’s burden.” It makes me cringe.
And now, ironically, I have become the very thing I despise.
From my hospital bed, I wonder how I can unburden my family.
Sadie McCurry wrote this story.
I held her delicate hand while listening to the faint sniffling in the room. I watched doctors come and go as her breathing gradually slowed.
I’d never known her well.
Suddenly, she whispered, “Desk,” and slowly slipped away.
Later, sitting at the desk, I read the words, “I love you.”
Morgan Wehner is a thirteen-year-old girl who likes to read and write, play sports, and eat.