I’ll save my introduction for after the story, lest it count as a spoiler. Here, I will just say thank you to Rochelle for hosting, Claire Fuller for the photograph, and all the Fictioneers for cutting me a bit of slack at the moment, when I am struggling to read more than one or two submissions each week. My story (and then the intro) follows, and your comments and feedback are always gratefully received.
Ella bought her first display cabinet when she was thirty-four. She’d never really been a collector; knickknacks always seemed like an expensive way to fill a house with nothing.
She chose a wooden, rugged-looking one, because Peter would have liked it. Pirate treasure wouldn’t have felt odd there. His treasures – hers now – fitted too: a piece of coral, seven rocks, a couple of dried leaves and a coin among the favourites. And then, in the final spot, the too-small urn where Peter himself could count them all forever. Her little Peter Pan, who would never grow out of boyish things.
I’ve touched on this subject before, but this week is Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness week, and while Peter in the story is a little older than that technically includes, the grief his mother feels is certainly in the same camp.
I know all about boyish collections – our front window ledge and porch are cluttered with just the sorts of things Peter has left for his mother, and soon I will have a second little collector on my hands. What I can only imagine (and frankly, try not to), is the grief of a mother who has lost her child. The origins of Peter Pan, it has been suggested, are in just this sort of loss, and certainly when I read about a little boy who never grew up, the childish fantasy is edged with the adult fear. There is only one way to avoid aging, and very few of us would choose it for ourselves or our children.
I am thinking and feeling today for the Lost Boys (and Girls), and for the parents they left behind. I know this includes some of the Friday Fictioneers – my heart goes out to you all.
38 responses to “FF – Mementoes”
That’s sharp as fairy’s sting
Thanks (I think!)
Beautiful and poignant tribute to such a heartbreaking thing.
Thanks, Snow. I’m glad it struck you like that
Great story, very tragic and heart warming at the same time.
Aww, thank you, Iain
This is so very sad. Beautifully written.
A poignant and beautiful piece of writing.
Thank you, Mike
What a touching and wonderfully written tribute, Jennifer. They do collect, don’t they? When my son was younger he would collect cones and leaves, rocks and his favourite – sticks. Shelves filled with bits and pieces and every bit important to him.
A perfect story for the day
Oh yes, the sticks. Those now have to be set up in particular patterns on the porch!
Haha! At least there’s a system 🙂
A fantastic submission to Friday Fictioneers, and for such a good cause. I think fiction has always been such a good way to discuss and raise awareness of these topics, and it’s why the world needs authors.
Thank you, Zebra. I agree about the value of fiction – sometimes it’s too hard to deal with the raw truth
Your beautiful and sensitively written story touches me deeply. As a mother of three sons I’m forever grateful that the worst ‘tragedies’ encountered in their childhoods were a few stitches and a couple of broken bones–a nose and a toe. However I’ve held the hands of friends who have lost infants. As much grief as I felt for them, I couldn’t imagine the pain they suffered.
Once more…wonderful story.
Thank you, Rochelle. I’ve been reading today about the Aberfan tragedy in Wales 50 years ago (exactly). Even just reading about it, with all that time and distance between us, made me cry.
I will now look that up.
A beautiful example of how to show emotion through little details of behavior, and let the reader fill in the rest. The impact is even more poignant for you not spelling it out.
Thank you, Joy. I felt it hit hard enough just as it stood. My son collects like this, so it was powerful enough for me to get this close!
I think it actually hits harder when it’s hints and showing rather than flat out telling. It rings more true. Well done.
A bitter sweet story.
Beautifully written about a very sad subject
I love it when someone can make their story serve a purpose. Well done.
I like it when that happens too, although in my case it’s often accidental!
Well I can tell you how it does feel… though mine never reached the age to collect anything, he was barely 8 months old.
This is a beautifully written à propos story.
I was thinking of you and a few others when I wrote that comment in the extro, Dale. I just can’t imagine
Aww… thank you, Jennifer.
I hope you never do.
Awww, loved this one! Great take on the photo!
This is so sad.. I do remember the collection of toy cars at my uncle and aunt… from my cousin dying from cancer…
What a tragedy for your family, Bjorn, and such a powerful memory for you.
A very touching story. The last line brought tears to my eyes.
Thank you, it was intended to be the final punch
Touching tribute. I lost my brother when he was six. Mother could not get over this.
This truly pulled at my heartstrings. I have no children but know a couple of women who have lost theirs. Oh the heartache. Well done.