Contest RecapMidlife Collage sponsors a weekly contest of midlife short stories. U.S. citizens and legal residents age 40 and older may enter. The Editor selects five stories for publication on our website each week. Readers leave comments and Facebook thumbs-up likes urging the panel of Judges to choose a contest winner. Readers also send the Judges their opinions of the best story on our Closing Arguments page. The contest period is Monday through Sunday noon PT. The first-place story enters the Winner’s Circle and receives a cash prize of $50. Winners of a $50 cash prize are eliglble for a $100 contest, which we run quarterly. See the Submissions Page for the Contest Rules for details. ANYONE, worldwide, age 18 or older can comment on the stories in a contest.
Angry, seething mad and in denial. That was my summer of 2009. My eldest brother was ill and told me that he had cancer. The doctors gave him only a few months to live. I was devastated.
He could have stayed at the hospital, but no, not my brother. He said, “I can’t stay here. I need to say good-bye to people.”
I lived 300 miles away from him and did not have enough income to make a solo trip to see my brother for the last time. But my daughter made trips back and forth between the city where I live and the town where my brother lived. She brought her friends, but whenever I asked for a ride, she always said that there was no room in the car.
One early morning I received a call that my brother had a short time left and my daughter was coming over to pick me up. We didn’t even make it out of town when her cell phone rang. My brother had passed away.
We traveled the entire way in relative silence, my daughter, granddaughter and two of her friends. I turned my face to the Iowa fields and tried not to lose control of my emotions. I didn’t feel like talking, but I wanted to scream, bawl like a baby and throw something—that would break glass because my heart felt as if it was shattered into tiny fragments.
When we arrived, I got out of the car and walked straight into the arms of my younger brother. I didn’t see anyone else.
Everyone seemed to be accepting that my eldest brother was gone. I was furious! They got to say good-bye. They had their last moments with him. I had nothing!
We arranged the funeral and then all hell broke loose. My sister and I were outside tiding up the yard. We exchanged harsh words over the arrangements. I stormed inside the house and my sister followed me. We screamed at each other in full view of the family.
Then the gloves went off; we had a knock-down drag-out fight in the kitchen. It took several relatives to separate us.
My sister left the house and I walked to the next town in rage. My glasses were broken, I had scratch marks across my face, and I was bleeding and sweaty. I walked seven miles in the heat yelling in my grief like a lunatic.
I kept hearing rustling in the cornfields as I walked. A car pulled over and the occupants offered me a ride. They were friends of my brother’s, and they drove me to my younger brother’s home. I stayed at his house the night before the wake.
That night I thought over my actions and was mortified to face my sister again. At the wake my sister and I avoided each other.
The next day at the funeral, emotions were running high. My sister and I waited outside for the funeral to start. We hugged each other. Grief brings out the best and the worst in people.
Ten months later I lost my sister to cancer. I miss her every day.