Love - and The Real Me
Fiona's two stories that she has written are below. These can be purchased in full from http://www.cutalongstory.com/authors/f.-linday/1251.html
This first story called 'Love' recalls my experience of miscarriage, many years ago. In 2010, it won the Unique Publication's Short Story Award. In 2013, it was included in an American anthology of praise and redemption called, Spiritual Awakenings, edited by Sara Saint John. This non-fiction prose tells of family love and the heartache around miscarriage. The tale is hopeful and honest. Family humour has to click in as does the acceptance of support on many levels. A tale of faith.
'It was my fault: that was my first dreadful conclusion on hearing the agonising news. Our little family had been happy until this onset of the bad old days. Only, after those few foul words spewed out of a consultant’s mouth, things changed forever. We were a young couple who thought we could have it all. We were very naïve.
--- Why? flashed through my head. Maybe I’d not rested. Was it something I’d done?
We’d breezed into the outpatient’s clinic without a care in the world. But during the routine consultation my hubby went quiet. We just stared at each other in total disbelief. Eventually, I fell into his arms. He gave me this hug and said, "We’ll be okay."
Whilst holding back huge sobs, I just leant on him. For Maggie, nestled between us, there simply had to be this façade of coping. On coming back into our cubicle, after acknowledging our beautiful little girl, the doc smiled and said, "Take a while to get over it, Mr. and Mrs. Clegg, say six months and then try again. At least you know you can do it!
But then he labelled our poor, dead baby something horrible and booked me in to stop the night, to vacuum it away. Like, I was supposed to imagine nothing really happened and be treated the same as mums who didn't want their babies, mums in for terminations. No wonder it did my head in. It was cruel being on the same ward with mums having abortions who had a choice.
My dad came to my bedside. It helped a bit. He just cried with me. He, at least, admitted it was sad. That something wrong had happened and it was okay to be disappointed.'
The Real Me
The next story about a student with mental health family issues. This is called, 'The Real Me' is included in a Leicester writer's anthology. It came from a response to a call-out about 'the thin veil between this life and the next'. The setting is real, it's where I work an inclusive arts centre attached to the Leic Uni, called Embrace Arts.
'My mum wasn't always a comedian. Lately though, her nerves are rubbish. Whilst I can’t catch her upsetting ways, the idea of my losing the plot consumes me. My dad’s last piece of advice was, ‘Live each day to the full because life’s not a rehearsal.’ Since then I pack in the fun. But she misses him, and it triggers her profanity, making things impossible. Such sad history cramps my style and I need to take care of what I wish for. Somehow, I’ll work out how to honour his wishes.
--- Until, ‘on stage’ at the surgery, she embarrasses me with, ‘P*** off!’ Now that’s cringe worthy.
Come back, Dad. All is forgiven.
--- She never swore when he was alive. If only my father hadn't got the dreaded ‘Big C’ before even retiring then I wouldn't have to be on duty. To be honest, none of this is in my mum’s plan, bless her. At nineteen, this attention-seeking behaviour isn't exactly my idea of fun either.
--- Wow, Mum, where did that come from?’ I ask her when the dispenser enquires if she’s been on medication before.
--- My brother and I have not long left home to study. We are in our first year at Uni. Our parents were supposed to be getting their space back.
Mum nods. ‘Oh, yeah! That Valium was good stuff, getting me through my bad patch.’
She’s winding me up. Then she makes an outrageous claim towards an innocent bystander and I want to be swallowed up.
--- I splutter, ‘I'm so sorry. She doesn’t really mean it,’ leaving our neighbour wounded. Meanwhile, her chaos counter is rocketing.
--- Note to self: Marry early to avoid my kids going through this trouble.
Supermarket trips are swapped for home deliveries due to her outbursts. Even church
friends who regularly took her out now make excuses. Apart from attending health appointments, she’s limited to our home where I have temporarily moved back.'
You can also read a novel by Fiona on teenage loss called 'Get Over It?' - which is available from www.onwardsandupwards.org/product/get-over-it.