Thursday, April 29, 2010

#fridayflash - Lilac

The sound of the traffic outside Emily's window woke her again.

As it had for as many days as she can remember.
She lay there for several moments enjoying the fresh scent of spring wafting in the window and gently blowing the clean sheer white curtains. She gazed at the play of shadow and light on the ceiling then resigning herself to another day.
She slowly climbed out of bed.
Emily slid her feet into the worn lilac slippers, shrugged herself into the matching robe and shuffled her way to the bathroom. She enjoyed the feel of the cotton nightgown as it brushed against her knees.
Emily’s bathroom was lilac as well. It was her favorite colour and looking around she felt the same pride she felt every day in having lovingly decorated it herself. Many years ago now, but she kept it as clean and fresh as the day it was completed. Lilac print wallpaper picked to match the scent of the lilac flowers that drifted into this room from outside the window every spring. Her mind drifted then
Her husband had decided to surprise Emily and so, on a particularly hot Mothers Day. He started hard at work while she was on her daily trip to the corner store. Emily arrived back only to find him laying face down beside the hole he had dug, the lilac bush removed from its pot and laying beside him. No one could say how long he had lain there. Emily had been gone for almost an hour and a half, stopping to chat along the way to the young mothers out on the beautiful spring day, their babies snuggled up inside their carriages, mosquito netting to keep the bugs off.
Late that night, long after everyone had left and her oldest daughter lay sleeping in the guest room, Emily wandered out of doors and finished planting the lilac bush in the cool night, with only the sound of the spring peepers to keep her company. Her tears falling into the soil that she pushed around the root ball and patted firm.
Coming back to the present, Emily looked at herself in the mirror. Wiped the tears and examined the lines around her eyes, and thought to herself,
"Here is another new one. I am sure it wasn't there yesterday"
She opened the sterile white cabinet and removed her toothbrush, loaded it with mint and swirled it around on her teeth.

Emily wanted to die.

She was not depressed. She was not ill, she was just very, very tired.

Her life had been full. Her wonderful husband taken from her far too soon. Over 30 years ago. Emily had 7 children she was proud of and so many grandchildren and great grand children it got difficult to remember just how many and what their names were. She did however recognize them as hers when at family functions.
She had been a social activist for many, many years. Holding strong and fighting for what she believed in. In the 1930s she was a member of the CCF, which later became the New Democrat Party. She was a strong advocate of Children’s Rights and Foster parenthood. And surprising to almost everyone with the exception of her children, she supported the legalization of marijuana.
Most recently, however, Emily became a member of the Right to Die Network.
Emily had all her teeth; she had her health and had led a long mostly happy, fruitful life.
But she was feeling them. She was just plain tired all the time.
Many letters had been written. And possibly many more were yet to be written. She was determined to see this through. Her children had accepted her decision. She wanted so badly to be able to plan her death by assisted suicide. To be able to have her children with her, to reminisce, and finally say thier goodbyes.
Now eating her bowl of oatmeal, covered in sweet melting brown sugar and milk, she composed her letter as she had morning after morning for more than two years. She enclosed it in the envelope and addressed it and would mail it like she had all the others when she went on her daily walk to the corner store. And as always, she would stop and chat with all the young mothers out with their babies.
On her way back to the bedroom to dress she glanced at the small overnight bag by the door.
It contained a freshly washed lilac cotton nightgown, her second robe and a new pair of lilac slippers. Tucked safely away, wrapped lovingly in her favorite scarf was the picture of her husband and herself. Harold, so dapper in his Sunday suit and Emily in her best spring dress wearing the same scarf wrapped over her hair to keep it from blowing. They were heading off to a Sunday picnic in his brand new 1940 Ford Deluxe Convertible. They were seated as close to each other as they could be without being one person. His arm protectively over her shoulder, and she leaning in to be as close as possible. Obviously, deliriously happy and in love.
The bag was ready, should word come that she will be granted her wish. And if she was fortunate enough to get word in the spring, she would go out and cut a bouquet of Lilacs to sit beside her bed in a vase so when the time came she could drift off to lilac scents’ and memories, at peace.
95 years was a long time, she was ready to rest.


  1. This is so sad, yet happy, and so beautifully told.
    I'm glad to have found you, and welcome to #fridayflash (my apologies if you've been with us a while - I've been absent myself for a few weeks).

  2. Beautiful story, Lynda.
    Absolutely loved it. Your best yet.

  3. The presentation of the crowded spaces made this extremely hard to read. However, with patience and determination, I did read it, and yes, a very good story. Welcome.