Martha felt intense loneliness and coldness in her heart that day. It was a weekend and there was no work she could bury herself in to make her forget that this was the second anniversary of her son Leon’s death by the hand of a drunk driver. A death that had made her get a new job and move out of town because she felt smothered by glances and whispers.

She sat on the couch and stared at a copy of the card she had placed at Leon’s grave at his funeral. It had a photo of Leon riding his bicycle, and in the back a verse she had written herself:

My lost wanderer
Floating away forever
In the hereafter

The TV volume set to maximum, she buried her face in a pillow and cried for a very long time.

She almost didn’t hear the doorbell. When she answered, a young boy gave her a small envelope and then turned and vanished. Going back inside, she opened it and found a card. The picture at the front had her, Leon and Hiro and his wife Sara, an elderly couple who had been their neighbours. Sara had died of cancer just two months before Leon died. On the back of the card, there was a little verse:

Our will to stay
Despite their being far away
Has brought us today

The sun was setting when she pulled over at the cemetery. She hadn’t been here since the funeral. Hiro was standing at Leon’s grave.

They stood side by side for a long moment at Leon’s grave. The grass had grown over him, oblivious of how the ground had snatched him from her and swallowed him up. The blossoming cherry tree growing a few feet away had laid a carpet of pink petals over the grass. They stood quietly under the pink cherry blossoms, remembering. And Leon lay quietly under the soil and grass and pink cherry petals, remembering. His twelfth birthday would have been a few days from today.

As Martha’s tears flowed freely, Hiro held her hand.

4.1 14 votes
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Brigitta Hegyi
Brigitta Hegyi (@brigitta-hegyi)
7 months ago

It’s terrible to lose someone you love and accept that he is not a part of your life anymore. The last line shows a kind gesture. Great story!

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
7 months ago

A very bitterweet story Daniel. So much sadness in her own loss, but hopefully the kindness of an old acquaintance, who had himself felt loss, will help her back to herself.

Cedric Aouta
Cedric Aouta (@cedric-aouta)
7 months ago

Great piece my friend. Such a brilliant overlap of despair and hope.

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Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
7 months ago

Hello Daniel, and welcome to the Voice club. It’s never easy, when we write about the loss of someone close, and you handled the story with great tenderness. You captured this in the short poem – Our will to stay, despite their being so far away, has brought us today. It takes courage to carry on living Daniel. Well written.

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti (@dipayan-chakrabarti)
7 months ago

Wonderful Daniel, this is more than I expected. Your story has a moving appeal for readers. It ends on a high, creating solace and joy.

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Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti (@dipayan-chakrabarti)
7 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Onchoka

I completely agree with you.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
7 months ago

A very well written and emotional story, Daniel. It show great compassion and talent with the written word and an inner life. The two pieces of poetry are beautiful.

Sandra James
Sandra James (@sandra-james)
7 months ago

A lovely heartwarming story, Daniel, made all the more special by the poems. Very fitting. My brother passed away almost thirty years ago and it was those acts of kindness by others that helped to ease the pain a little. Well done 🙂

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Santina Forlenza
Santina Forlenza (@santina-forlenza)
7 months ago

I felt like in a black and white movie, where specks of pink colours are floating in the air at the end. And the verses of poetry add pure art to this story, Daniel.

Santina Forlenza
Santina Forlenza (@santina-forlenza)
7 months ago

Congratulations Daniel!

Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
7 months ago

Congratulations, Daniel! This is lovely writing, especially the haiku.

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Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
7 months ago

Congratulations Daniel and well done.

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti (@dipayan-chakrabarti)
7 months ago

Congratulations to you, Daniel.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
7 months ago

Congratulations, Daniel.

Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
7 months ago

Congratulations Daniel.

Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse (@marianna-pieterse)
7 months ago

Congratulations, Daniel! This is such a heartbreaking story, told so beautifully.

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

Congratulations, Daniel.

Cynthia Wambui
Cynthia Wambui (@cynthia-wambui)
1 month ago

There is always a ray of hope around .. We only need to look around us. Good job Daniel. It’s a bitter sweet story, a beautiful read.

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