Mom, author, nurse, teacher . . . reading the world around me

Fall Writing Frenzy 2020

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

I decided to throw my hat into the ring for the wonderful Fall Writing Frenzy Contest again this year. For those who don’t know, you pick an image and write a story for kids in 200 words or less. Mine is sad, but it’s the one that poured out of my beleaguered 2020 soul.

I hope it speaks to you in some way. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks to the amazing Kaitlyn Sanchez and Lydia Lukidis for sponsoring this contest. And a huge thanks to all the donors!

Image 10
Mom’s Last Wish
2020 Fall Writing Frenzy
199 Words

“I want to see the leaves change color one last time,” Mom said in July when we heard her cancer was back—and worse than ever.

I swallowed hard, but couldn’t form words.

Dad walked over and took Mom’s hand. “We’ll make it happen. I promise.”

So we took Mom home, and kept her room filled with flowers, music, art—and as much laughter as we could manage. For me, laughter was the hardest part.

One early morning in October, Dad gently shook me awake. “Let’s give Mom her wish.”

A red convertible glowed against the sunrise.

I gawked, and Mom smiled. Dad said, “I figure we should do this right.”

As the morning fog burned off the highway, Mom looked between us. “It’s beautiful. This will go in our favorite memories album. Whenever we feel sad, we can flip to this day.”

I closed my eyes, memorizing the wind on my face, and the smell of damp air. But what if I can’t remember everything?

At the slightest touch against my arm, I opened my eyes.

A lone leaf—swirled yellow and orange, had dropped from above.

A tangible keepsake of Mom’s last wish.

Now, I’ll never forget.


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  1. DeAnna Smith

    Oh Melissa, I love this. I am weeping at the beautiful sight painted out here for me to take in with your thoughtful words. Such a lovely portrait of love and happiness. Thank you for sharing your gift for me to enjoy this the first day of October. DeAnna

  2. It’s achingly sweet and the voice seeps love for family. Wish you the best in the contest.

  3. Jennifer Raudenbush

    Wow, you really pulled me in with the first sentence. Very poignant piece. Good luck!

    • Thanks, Jennifer. I look forward to reading yours as well. Planning to do it today. Hope all is well! I sure do miss HIghlights! 🙂

  4. Colleen Owen Murphy

    I love the fact that dad borrowed the red convertible for the occasion. Very moving story.

    • My dad would have done the same. We lost him 2 years ago, and my sister shortly before that. I think this story comes from those losses. Thankfully, I still have my mom. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

  5. This is really sweet and lovely. I enjoyed being part of this family’s special memory. Well done! Good luck!

  6. This is so beautiful and sad. I love the last image of the story.

  7. Wow. So heartfelt and bittersweet <3

  8. This is beautiful.

  9. Oh my heart! A delicate tribute to tragedy.

  10. Oh, this is so touching! Very nice!

  11. Anonymous

    What a moving story with lovely sensory details!

  12. Jamie Bills

    What a powerful story in so few words. I was holding back my emotions. We used to drive up in the mountains with my grandparents every fall to look at the leaves, then came the year we lost both of them to cancer. You brought back those feelings. Beautiful. Best wishes with the contest.

    • Thanks Jamie. My grandparents lived in the mountains too, and I always miss them this time of year especially. Good luck to you as well.

  13. This is sad and beautiful.

  14. This is really beautiful.

  15. This is beautiful <3 Thank you for sharing your work

  16. anneuro

    Sublime. You’ve written such an exquisitely poignant yet hopeful piece, Melissa, expressing the beautiful evanescence of life and the seasons. I especially loved the notion of keeping a mental “favorite memories album” juxtaposed with the “lone leaf” representing “a tangible keepsake of Mom’s last wish.” @AnneLipton

  17. Oh, wow, this really tugs at the heart, Melissa. You did a lovely job creating emotion and scene in a small number of words. Good luck with your entry!

  18. Beautifully written!

  19. Melissa, Wow! So much emotion packed into so few words. The ending was perfect!❤️

  20. Very sweet, thanks for sharing with us for the fall writing frenzy

  21. Very sweet, thanks for sharing with us for the fall writing frenzy

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