27 December 2013

Published December 26, 2013 by rochellewisoff


As always, writers are encouraged to be as innovative as possible with the prompt and 100 word constraints.

Henry David Thoreau said it best.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”


*Note: Due the fact that Christmas fell on Wednesday this year, this prompt is being posted Thursday, the 26th. I’m also leaving the link open an extra day to make up for it. 



Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end. (No one will be ostracized for going a few words over the count.)


Make every word count.


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  • Shalom,
  • Rochelle

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The Following story is dedicated to my husband Jan. 

Genre: Literary Fiction/Tribute

Word Count: 100


            “A-one and a-two…” said the man on television.

            “I hate Lawrence Welk.” I stamped my foot.

            Mom’s brown eyes flashed as she jumped from her chair to turn up the volume. I grabbed her around the waist and we fell to the floor where she tickled me into submission.

            A tower of strength, she always won. 

            Somewhere along the line, between responsibilities and business-as-usual, without my notice, the tower crumbled.  

            In semi-darkness, she stares at a blank screen. I search her listless eyes but the spark is gone.

            “Mom? I miss Lawrence Welk.”

            Her brow crinkles. “Do I know you?” 



photo (2)

Fields Family Portrait


82 comments on “27 December 2013

  • Dear Rochelle,

    May you and Jan find the strength to weather the coming storm in your love and the love of those who care for you.

    Deep beneath the outward story, Living Legacy is a beautiful testament. Love endures, life endures. Make sure that you do, too.




  • This was lovely Rochelle, on a subject that is almost too painful to write about and certainly too painful to bear. The line ‘tickling into submission’ set such a happy, playful tone to what turned out to be a cracker of a sad story. I’m sorry if this touches on your own reality, and wish you well for the times ahead.


  • Rochelle, you have such a talent for tugging at the heart and tearducts. That last line nearly made me break down. Anyone who has gone through that with an elderly relative, especially a parent, knows that intense pain.


    • Dear David,

      The so-called experts say to write what you know, right? We’re living this reality as my mother-in-law slips away. Watching my husband go through it is doubly painful. Thank you for the affirming comments.




  • Dear Rochelle, I’m sitting in a business center in a hotel and I have tears in my eyes after reading this. You write from experience but oh the way you write is magnificent. All the Best, Zainab


    • Dear Vicki,

      Strange I don’t remember Mom ever saying anything about your dad. At least I don’t recall. It’s hard to watch. I never dreamed that a vibrant, intelligent woman like Mom would go this way. It’s like watching Grandma Jessie all over again. Thanks for the comment and the hugs.




  • As science and medicine find ways to prolong life, this scene becomes more and more common. You have captured it beautifully and tenderly. I hope you both find the strength to give Mom all the love and support you can; somewhere deep inside, I am certain she can feel it even if she doesn’t understand it.


    • Dear Jennifer,

      It does make one wonder if medicine is doing us a favor, doesn’t it? My mother in law saw her own mother go the same way. She outlived her mind by ten years.
      Jan’s sister brought Mom home for Christmas day. She seemed to enjoy being with family although, at times, she looked very confused.
      Your comments mean a lot to me. Thank you.




  • Dear Rochelle (If that IS your real name)
    My father suffered from dementia the last two/three years of his life. It was tough, especially for Mom, his primary care-giver. He did keep his sense of humor though. One night when I was helping put him to bed, he looked over at Connie and asked me, “Are you getting any of that?” For one brief moment he was back, then gone again. I will forever carry that memory with me and count it a blessing.
    Best wishes for you and Jan as you walk this difficult road.
    May God Bless – Russell


    • Dear Russell,

      This is a tough one. I liken it to giving birth. There’s a point in labor where the new mother is filled with the realization that no one can do it for her and there’s no turning back. Thank you for sharing your own experience. Unfortunately I know too many on the same path.
      Christmas day, my sister in law brought Mom home for the day. As with your dad, I saw a tiny spark every so often.
      Your understanding words of kindness mean a lot.


      Rochelle (Yes, it’s my real name according to my birth certificate).


  • Oh my. It’s so difficult to watch the mind of a family member drift away like that. So sad, especially when long memories reveal the true nature of the person. This is a well-crafted tear-jerker Rochelle. Well done as always.


    • Dear Eric,

      It is a very difficult thing to watch. Even more difficult is watching my husband go through it. His mother has always been an important presence in his life.
      Thank you for your supportive comments. I’ve added a few tears of my own to this story.




  • Such a sad take on the prompt this week. I’ve not had to go through this, and I hope I never do. I know a few people going through it though and I can’t even imagine how hard it must be. Well written as always, Rochelle.


  • I went through this experience with my husband for two years before he passed, and it’s truly impossible for anyone who has never experienced it to fully understand the degree of emotional trauma involved for the caregivers. But you have done an incredible job of relating many facets of the experience in just these few words. Only a truly gifted writer can take the indescribable personal pain and translate it into a realistic, yet palatable picture for the reader. A wonderful piece, Rochelle.


    • Dear Sandra,

      Your comments are so dearly affirming. It was never my intent to garner sympathy, but to convey the agony in watching a person die while they yet live. An excruciating time for my husband who has always been close to him mother. It must’ve been indescribable for you.

      Thank you and Shalom,



  • Oh, she does indeed have beautiful eyes. So sorry that they have faded. You and the rest of the family obviously remember the joy and the love that was in them once, and are returning that love to her. She may not recognize who you are or what you are doing for her, but she would miss the level of comfort that it brings, were the family not so caring.

    Keep on keeping on….


    • Dear KZ,

      It was never my intent to make anyone uncomfortable with this story or to garner sympathy. It’s very difficult to watch an intelligent, vibrant human being lose herself in the fog of dementia. Thank you for your comments and wishes.




  • Rochelle, such a powerful piece. Your transition here is seemless, “Somewhere along the line, between responsibilities and business-as-usual, without my notice, the tower crumbled.” I’m sorry you’re experiencing this. I believe that I’ve begun this journey myself with my dad. Hugs.


    • Dear Amy,

      Thank you for both your compliments on my story writing and your affirming words of comfort. My heart goes out to you and your dad. Will always be happy to listen and share as we travel this difficult road together.




  • Ah, Rochelle, my heart goes out to you and your family! Well written. The line, “the tower crumbled” is very powerful! Tears are rolling down my face….Major hugs to you and yours R! ^..^


    • Dear William,

      I tried to write historical fiction…some kind of bio piece about Gustave Eiffel. While I learned a lot about the history of the tower, nothing really jumped out at me. I kept zeroing in on the lights and how in my MIL’s life the lights are quickly going out. I’ve never heard the song. I’ll have to check it out.

      Thank you for coming by and commenting.




  • Dear Rochelle,
    When I replied to your comment on my blog I hadn’t read this post. I hope my reply did not seem too insensitive.
    I read this with admiration and then shock – to realise where you had led us. Then I read the comments and I see what you are going through now. You have my deepest sympathy. I understand what you are going through so well, as I am one of the only props for a close friend with no family, whose husband is going through the same twilight.
    It’s so hard for you to watch and so hard to be so deeply involved. I hope all the love which is flowing towards you helps a little, Valerie


    • Dear Valerie,

      In no way did your reply seem insensitive. It’s difficult to know how to respond at times…how much do I say?

      I’m happy that you read with admiration…a high compliment. I didn’t write this piece to garner sympathy, but to face up to the situation in the best way I know how…by writing about it. It’s proven to be cathartic for both myself and my husband as I think it’s brought us a little closer together.

      My heart goes out to you in your situation, my dear friend. And thank you again for the camellias.




  • Hey Rochelle and everyone… nice to meet you… came here by Björn and thought i’d give it a try… what a cool pic and challenge… my link is up and will try to read as many of the others that have linked up as well now… happy saturday everyone…smiles


  • oh… and re your own take… it’s so sad to lose someone before they’re gone… dementia is a cruel sickness and it’s so painful for the family when the memories are gone and your own mom doesn’t remember you any more…brought me to tears…


    • Dear Claudia,

      I’ve said the same thing. It’s like the person has died but you can’t bury the body because it’s still breathing. Although I think Mom still remembers my husband, his sister and brother. I’m not sure she actually remembers anyone else. It’s the cruelest of diseases.

      Thank you for commenting. I’ll be reading yours in a few.




  • I think this captures the sad contrast between how things used to be, and the present reality. Sometimes it is the positive power of memories that can get you through. A life well-lived is never truly lost.


  • My grandmother spent the last 13 years of her life in a nursing home because of her dementia. Not sure how long before she went into the home that she already had it. Certainly a struggle to lose someone while they’re still with you. Take care!


    • Dear Bryan,

      My husband’s grandmother outlived her body by at least 10 years. Yes, it’s a struggle. The corpse walks among us and there’s no closure, only the empty shelled reminder. Thank you for your comments. Blessings.




  • Having read the comments that follow this sad story I don’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said, except to tell you that I also wish you the both the very best with this difficult situation. My paternal grandmother didn’t suffer dementia, but she was lobotomised when my father, her eldest child turned 18, and he was presented with the release papers to sign giving consent to the procedure that they said would cure her. She was left with the mental capacity of a five year old, in the body of a grown woman. As a small boy I was terrified when we visited the asylum where she spent most of her adult life, it was little more than a prison with bars on the windows to the cells they called the residents rooms. As we wandered down those long corridors to the day room, I kept to the middle of the passageway, avoiding the outstretched hands that would grasp through the bars to feel some human contact. At Christmas she would come and stay with us, this giant child, and I would have to give up my bed, which she would frequently soil at night. I would refuse to kiss her and tell my father I hated her because she was so strange and frightened me. I saw the pain in his face but I never understood, I was too young. He lost her far too young and bore a terrible weight of responsibility for what happened to her. She lived to be 86 years old, but she died a little girl. I don’t mean to sadden you with this, I just felt moved to share an experience your story woke within me. Your stories always make me think and feel. Shalom!


  • Rochelle, having lost my mother to Huntington’s Disease, two years ago this week, I am touched by your story. My mom was in and out, often in… but trapped in her horribly failing body. We watched Lawrence Welk EVERY week when I was young; I loved it. I still imitate him for my own kids, who have no idea what I’m referring to! 😉 A touching, beautiful story drawn of a “tower of a” woman. As usual, fabulous use of the prompt.


    • Dear Dawn,

      I still have fond memories of the early days of our relationship when Jan would take me to his mom’s house. He used to change the channel on her or at least make rude comments when either Lawrence Welk or Grand Ole Opry came on. They were her two favorites and he detested them both. He was in his early twenties at the time and she in her forties. I got a kick out of watching the “wrestling matches” between them.

      She was a tower of strength as she single-handedly raised four ornery, headstrong children. And did a great job, I might add.

      I’m so sorry about your mother. My mom’s been gone 33 years and I still miss her terribly.

      I’d love to see you LW imitations. I personally never cared much for him or his show. 😉




      • Dementia ia s cruel, cruel master. Watching my mother disappear piece by piece… like your m-i-l, it is hard to see them lose those key bricks in the tower. HD, is genetic, and my grandmother who was a very public figure in our area, became a shadow of the incredibly strong and impressive woman she’d been… trying to hold onto who they were, when they are so different, it isa very sad thing. I’m so sorry for Jan and your loss. Your story is a tender, sad tribute, that clearly, so many (too many!) of us relate to. It is your gift, Rochelle. Dawn


  • My heart goes out to you and your husband Rochelle. My heart also goes out to his mother, who didn’t choose what happened to her and doesn’t understand it any more than the rest of us. May light and love be yours always. Wonderfully sad and moving story.


    • Dear Jackie,

      I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose yourself as Mom has. She turned to me on one occasion recently and simply said, “I’m confused.” I wanted to stop and sob right then and there.

      Thank you for your compliments and well wishes.




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