“Oh”

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I was thinking the other night of stories. As I often do. Alone in the dark. Mind racing.

The night was dominated by Silence. It became a casual audience to the rustling of my inner thoughts.

And I remembered a story my mother once told me of helping an old lady with her groceries. But the thing with stories, is there is often more than one variation of the same happenstance. I happened to be there for this story. In my version, seen from the eyes of a child, I remember my mother hopping out of the car. This was after one our trips to get my sister her bee shots. I am sure we still had the remains of chocolate croissants on our breath.

I vaguely remember there being an elderly lady. And something happened that had my mother and grandmother crying with laughter all of the way home. I believe my mother was helping the older woman with her groceries. The lady did not want help. My mother insisted. When she went to give the woman back her groceries, she handed them to her unevenly weighted. The poor old lady fell over. I am sure she appreciated the help. As a child, I just remember it being scary. My mother jumping out of the car. The unfamiliar neighborhoods. The energy of the city. A living breathing terrifying thing to a country girl.

As I lay awake, I thought, I will just have to ask my grandmother her side of the story. I had heard it before. But I loved to hear her tell it, because it always invoked big gales of laughter.

And then I remembered that I could not ask my grandma. The time for questions has passed. The big weight of the words “never again” settled down into my chest at the same moment my heart realized what was happening and bellowed out the word, “OH.” But it felt like “OHHHHHHHHHHH.”

When your heart speaks, you must listen. It is usually the mute organ in all of your orchestra of feelings. Which is funny if you stop to think about it, because it is the only organ we ever really hear. The constant, “bumping” a distant reminder of its baritone of melody.

It rarely speaks. It aches. It twinges. It might fall or drop. It might even break. But speaking is rare. It is not the most articulate of body parts. Usually just making one syllable words. Its favorites being, “Why?” “No.” “Yes.” “Stay.” “Go.” “Please.” But tonight it simply said, “Oh!” It was surprised. And then it wasn’t. All the words I was feeling wrapped up into those two letters.

My body quivered with the weight of the words in the dark. The echo of my heart’s last cry still vibrating through my body. Through my soul. My heart began to “bump” once more. But it was with a sadness. A funeral drum.

“Oh.” My soul simply said. “Oh.”

My tears answered their chorus as they ran down my cheeks and hit my pillow. Pit. Pat. Pit. Pat. They performed a solo symphony of their own.

Silence bowed and stayed heavily by my side through the stillness of the night. Only moving to rustle the covers. Or hum with the fan in the evening air.

My broken choir lay in a wet weeping mess.

Each instrument felt broken. Ruined. The strings severed. The keys twisted. This particular song would never be played again. At least in the chord of memory that had shattered my being that night.

Yet Silence still quietly applauded. For its favorite tune is sadness. It is when Itself can actually be heard.

Only the broken hearted can hear it.

And learn to call its name.

“Oh.”

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* This was written in response to The Daily Posts Weekly Writing Prompt, “The Sound of Silence.”

35 thoughts on ““Oh”

  1. Oh. What a brilliant post. Grandma’s often tell the best stories and it is so sad that we often cannot ask them to re-tell them just one last time when we are old enough to truly appreciate them.

    • Hank you Stephen. Exactly, it is always the questions we want answers to that can never be answered. It leaves a void. I hope you are doing okay. Your trip sounded just lovely. I am jealous!

      I hope your week is excellent!

      Jenni

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    • Thank you Jessica. Your son is so lucky to have such a close family. I envy all of the culture he gets to soak in. Very lucky and loved little boy! : ).

      Have a wonderful evening!

      Jenni

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  8. This is beautiful Jenni. One of my students sent me a list of affirmations last week. One was “Try to feel the love more than the loss.” This story is a beautiful way to try to do that. I wish I could have heard your grandmother laugh. Earlier today, I was remembering my grandfather’s laugh and it made me smile. He taught me to always try to find joy or a smile or a laugh anytime you can.

    • I like that. For the most part that is what I do. But sometimes, the sharpness just sticks you and it hurts. I love affirmations. Thank you for sharing that one. It is beautiful.

      I am glad you had such a good memory today. It sounded lovely. : )

      Have a sweet week!

      Jenni

    • I am so sorry Alicia. You will be in my thoughts. My heart is so sad for you. It is such a hard circumstance.

      Please contact me if you ever need to talk.

      Jenni

  9. Oh honey. I wish I could give you a hug right now. Grief is always different for every single person, but I do think it will get better, with time. And I would rather sob my heart out because I really loved someone, than just shrug off the loss, know what I mean? It’s good to grieve, and apparently it’s scientifically proven that women feel better after they cry, while men feel worse. So there is always that.

    It can take a while getting used to someone being gone. I used to have dreams every now and then that my dad would have woken up, and he’d be talking and conscious and driving his car… but something would be off. He wouldn’t have come back quite right. Those dreams were terrifying, in a sneaky sort of way, and when I woke up from them I’d always have this moment of confusion, before I realised that no, it wasn’t true. Thankfully, I stopped having them after he died.

    Anyway, hang in there, Jenni. Big heart, big sorrow. But I am sure it will get better. 🙂

    • Thank you Gwen. Oh, those dreams. I am so sorry. Those would be terrifying. I am glad you are not having them anymore. I hope you are holding up okay. I have been thinking about you every day. I desperately need to write you!

      I do feel better after I cry. I actually think men do, too. It is a release. I imagine everybody needs it to be able to function properly.

      I hope you are doing okay. I hope your week is going successfully and easy and happily.

      Jenni

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