Reading Time: 2 minutes

My mother sits by the window. She’s been stationed there for almost three months now.

It seems as if she’s waiting for an unknown visitor. Her eyes, glazed, crawl upon the glass, their vision limited by her sorrow.

Her husband, my father, passed away in his sleep. It was a death many would die for. Silent. Unassuming.

I want to ask her what she’s thinking but am unsure of myself.

The way the days are passing, she appears less like a person, more like a corpse.

She eats, sleeps, and breathes, but really nothing more than that.

Some days, I watch her, eager to see her slip, and reveal the truth behind the charade of her depression.

She’s not the only woman to have lost a partner. I was widowed before her.

Unlike her, I had three mouths to feed, numerous duties to fulfil. There was no time to sit and grieve. My tears mattered only to me. And I shed them every night, alone, so that no one would see.

I had to be strong. It was expected of me.

Yet this woman, my mother, is the exact opposite. She cares little but for her own feelings. Is this a sign of ignorance or senile resignation.

My father had lived long and well. Eighty-seven, a sufficient number. His life boasting of achievements and hearty, loving moments. My mother a party to this, their struggles showed more promise than my entire life put together.

But she sits and mopes. Ignoring me. Her sadness, more meaningful than our relation.

Where is her gratitude? I finally have to ask.

She looks at me. Her eyes burning with anguish.

‘Forgive me. I never knew how much you suffered. The guilt is killing me.’

I step back. Speechless. Ashamed of my lack of understanding.


He must climb the mountain. And renounce the world around him. How far will his Yogic Pursuits take him?

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30 Comments on “My Lack Of Understanding – Flash Fiction Story

  1. You capture the fine emotions between grief and guilt and the their likeness in manifestation so very well. The last light bulb moment is also very unexpected. Great work! I look forward to your daily suspense.

  2. A very important lesson on the absolute uniqueness of heartbreak and why we should not compare grief, since all loss is experienced at one hundred percent, no matter if you lose a single loved one or ten. Nicely done, as always.

    • As forever tormented humans, we love to compare. And grief isn’t excluded. I guess greater insecurities are attached to such logic. I myself have wandered through such predicaments. They are anything but positive. Your words are encouraging. Thank you! 🙂

      • True, our “competitive” human nature is always at play. If only there was a way transform it into being “cooperative” as a default setting.

  3. That was good. A poignant look at how we can never truly understand what’s going on in someone else’s head.

    This line got me: “It was a death many would die for.”

    • Exactly. We never know what the other is thinking. That line was like a flash of lightning. Thank you so much! 🙂

  4. Most times we don’t see what is right there before us and dwell in past mistakes, and depressive moments, It is usually because it has affected us the most. A very good message in this story. Well done.

    • I agree with you, Shobana. Our own thoughts and insecurities lead us to drawing half-baked conclusions. And to understand another’s pain isn’t easy. Many times we remain oblivious of it unless we encounter something similar to it. Thank you for your wonderful thoughts. 🙂

      • So right you are. In these times I don;t know if oblivious is bliss or not. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

  5. Pingback: Yellow Eyes Still Haunt Me - Flash Fiction Story | It Ain't Right Till I Write

  6. Right ..it is better to ask than to just assume …each one is fighting her or his own battle….is burdened by a different set if emotions…
    Beautiful expression of emotions 🌹🙏
    Stay blessed 🙏😇

    • It’s difficult to step beyond one’s own perception and understanding. I agree with you. Thank you so much for your time and wonderful comment. 🙂

  7. This story reminded me of a Khaled Hosseini quote: “She remembered Nana saying once that each snowflake was a sigh heaved by an aggrieved woman somewhere in the world. That all the sighs drifted up the sky, gathered into clouds, then broke into tiny pieces that fell silently on the people below. As a reminder of how women like us suffer, she’d said. How quietly we endure all that falls upon us.” People often say that females are the more emotionally expressive gender and are more likely to talk about their feelings with others. However, the truth is, so many women suffer in silence and learn to hide their true emotions and grief deep down because they’re usually the ones that need to remain strong and provide for others. I also really liked the message in this one about not guessing emotions before asking first. It’s a little hypocritical that the speaker didn’t do that despite people probably not realising that she was extremely upst while she was grieveing because she had to put on a brave face for her children.

    • The quote is truly beautiful in words and thought. This is the benevolence and plight of women. They bear so much in silence and this silence is often taken for granted instead of being appreciated and applauded.
      Often lost in our own emotions, we turn a blind eye to the suffering and feelings of others, assuming what we think to be the only reality. Kindness and open-mindedness can save us from so many misconceptions.
      We often realize things when they’ve passed a certain stage, but even then it’s never wasted. Thank you so much for your deep and meaningful comments. They give me so much joy.
      But please don’t compromise so much upon your time. Always consider your convenience first. It’s all okay. These stories will never finish. 🙂

  8. Your story reminds me of the few days I spent with my grandmother in Christmas 1999. She was 97, didn’t eat, and was silent about her grief and suffering. Still, we laughed and I brought her a huge pine cone I found while out walking (she wouldn’t go out). She put the cone on the window sill in her bedroom. I know that she appreciated my presence and attention. I, too, am grateful for these last moments we shared. She died two months later.

    • This is so sad and also beautiful. At times, words fail in expressing the depths of our hearts. Silence is so easily misunderstood. If only everyone assumed positive intent. Thank you, Dianne, for sharing this personal story.

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