Grandmother is very fragile.

“We cannot travel this year,” I gently tell her. “Pandemic is fierce; we want to keep you safe.”

Grandmother grieves and loses her appetite. “Every year, our blanket under the trees,” she wails. “Lifting my face to flowers. Pink everywhere.” Her eyes fill with tears. “Tradition.” We take meals to her room, massage her feet, try to comfort her, but she seems to be collapsing into herself. I’m wracked with worry.

Then my dear wife Yui tells me her idea. I am wide-eyed. “You are willing to do this?” I know what that room means to her. It was to be our nursery, then grow into a playroom. Instead, it has lain empty all these years. Yui nods. “It is time.”

We work by night, to keep the secret from Grandmother. The walls and ceiling become blue skies, with piles of soft clouds. Against the sky an exuberance of blossoms, painted in dozens of shades of pink. Soft lighting simulates sunshine. A few strategically placed, tiny fans create spring breezes. Yui fashions hundreds of paper mache blooms and I string them with wire into the shape of a tree with branches tall and wide enough to form a canopy. Under the tree, we spread a thick blanket with pillows and a picnic basket that will overflow with favorite foods. We even find a delicate cherry blossom scent, and lightly perfume a few pink clusters.

April arrives, and we coax Grandmother out of her room. “We have a surprise for you. Come see.”

As we open the door to the wondrous new room, the light in her eyes nearly blinds me.

“Sakura,” she exclaims in delight, settling onto the blanket with us. Our little family of three sits quietly, remembering Grandfather, Father, Mother and our infant son. “Life is fleeting,” I whisper. One of the flowers breaks off from its wire, floating gently down to rest on Grandmother’s lap. It almost seems real. Yui breaks into a smile, and adds “But oh so beautiful,” as she breathes in the ancient fragrance.

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Voice-Team (@voice-team)
1 year ago

A surprise—art recreating nature—is a gift of love. The cherry blossoms are present to all our senses! Beautiful writing – with enough love and creativity, old traditions can still continue in spite of current day challenges.

Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse (@marianna-pieterse)
1 year ago

Julie, this story was absolutely beautiful! What a happy ending to what started out as a very sad situation. What a wonderful and selfless gesture from Yui to let the room that obviously means so much to her, be transformed into something beautiful for someone else’s benefit. I really enjoyed this.

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
1 year ago

Julie, this story is so heart-warming. Made me quite emotional, so you definitely hit the spot. Very well done.

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Zena Wilde
Zena Wilde (@zena-wilde)
1 year ago

This story both warmed my heart and broke it at the same time – what a wonderful gift for the grandmother, and an aching reminder that life is indeed far too fleeting.

Susan Giles
Susan Giles (@susan-giles)
1 year ago

What a wonderful way to continue traditions, and bring joy to family members. Our ingenuity does come out in times of stress, as in these pandemic times.

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
1 year ago

Such a warm and uplifting story Julie that goes straight to the heart. Very nicely done.

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti (@dipayan-chakrabarti)
1 year ago

Your story has struck a chord with me. Brilliant job, Julie!

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
1 year ago

I love the way loss and sadness is understated and unexplained in the story when it comes to the significance of the nursery. It seems to have been a place the couple had closed off after the loss of their child. Now it can serve the purpose of being a place where healing, comfort and celebration is accomplished. That’s a beautiful solution, Julie! A very well written story!

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Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
1 year ago

I love the solution Julie, simplicity come through love in bringing spring, and the cherry tree to the home, how love blossoms.

Sandra James
Sandra James (@sandra-james)
1 year ago

A beautiful, heartwarming story Julie! The future nursery has been transformed but will always be blessed with something special for the babies to come. Very well done!

Susan Dawson
Susan Dawson (@susan-dawson)
1 year ago

You have allowed us to easily imagine that room.

Santina Forlenza
Santina Forlenza (@santina-forlenza)
1 year ago

Congratulations Julie!

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Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
1 year ago

Congratulations, Julie, on a beautifully written story and on your win.

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
1 year ago

Congratulations Julie.

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti (@dipayan-chakrabarti)
1 year ago

Congratulations to you, Julie.

Sandra James
Sandra James (@sandra-james)
1 year ago

Congratulations, Julie! Well done.

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
1 year ago

Congratulations Julie. This is a truly beautiful story, I found it so touching the first time I read it.

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
1 year ago

Congratulations Julie.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
1 year ago

Congratulations to your success, Julie! I’m happy for you!

Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse (@marianna-pieterse)
1 year ago

Congratulations, Julie!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
11 months ago

Congratulations, on your win, Julie. That was a success, I am happy for you.

Last edited 11 months ago by Lotchie Carmelo
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