Writing group last night, sitting around Carol’s table, there were many prompts available to us to get on and write. We plumped for this quote that could be used as a starter for a poem or a piece of prose. I chose prose.
Today we believe that tomorrow will knock and lead us to an open door.
Here is my story, it took me 30 minutes to write.
She lay looking at the sign on the wall above the lintel to the door of her room. It was painted a pale green colour, the writing in cream highlighted in gold. Typical of the signs you found in shops similar to ‘The Present’, a gift shop she remembered from the High Street, long since closed. Motivational quotes written to encourage and raise morale.
Maria shifted her head and turned her face away from the sign. It was an effort now to move, these past few days she had been feeling much weaker and ever movement took a lot of energy. Energy that was quickly slipping out of her body, squeezed out by numerous growths that had taken up residence, unwanted and uninvited.
But the phrase had got in her head. It nagged her and made her restless. Waking her in the dark of night, boring holes in her sleep fence that no herd of sheep could fill.
Tomorrow will knock and lead us to an open door. Up to this point she had dreaded death. Moving into the hospice three weeks ago was in her mind the final straw. She had fought this illness for so long, so many different drug trails, so many different doctors who tried so many strategies. She had entered the hospice reluctantly. It had felt so defeatist and she was a fighter.
And now she had a glimmer of hope. What if death would be a new doorway of living for her? What if with death there came new life. A new way of living? Maybe not the purgatory that the nuns and priest had drummed into her as a child, but something else?
Maria’s days and nights were now filled with thoughts on what would be beyond that open door.
If according to Hindu beliefs she was going to pass through the door and be reborn, she wished to come back as a grasshopper. Whiling away the days in the sun eating grass and singing to herself.
If according to Buddhist beliefs her consciousness continued in another form, she wanted to be an oak trees. In fact the one acorn in an oak tree harvest that was able to put down roots. She would grow and live for over 500 years, watching, observing, connecting with other trees and lifeforms.
If according to Islam, on her death she would be taken by Azar’il and be questioned by two further angels, she would have to get her answers right to ensure a pleasant resting place in Barzakh!
Maria realised how similar this belief was to the purgatory tales of her childhood. The purgatory according to her mum, where she would be picking up pieces of thread and the many pins she had dropped in her sewing lessons. She smiled remembering these close times with her mum whilst sewing her dolls clothes.
How are you doing today Maria?
A voice broke into her thoughts. Maria turned to see that the shift had changed and a new nurse was sitting by her bed. ‘I’m good, waiting for the knock.’
‘Waiting for the knock?’ replied the nurse.
Maria gestured with her head to the sign over the door. ‘Oh’, came the reply. ‘What’s your viewpoint on what’s beyond that open door?’ enquired Maria.
‘Well..’she could sense that Lydia, as that was her name, was torn between duty to her patient and keeping a neutral professional approach and also had a clear interest in the topic.
Lydia, shifted her body in the chair, helping her to block her voice from the open door and the staff nurse behind.
‘I’m a humanist, I believe that we have one life and we need to live it well. There is no afterlife, no reincarnation. It is important that we live each day well.’
As the days passed, Maria’s mind drifted, had she lived each day well? Was there more she could do before tomorrow knocked and led her to that open door?
The root split the casing of the acorn. It had lain in the soil for a good few months, feeling the cold of the winter and the coming warmth of spring. As the root reached down into the soil it could feel and sense other plants around it. Tomorrow will knock, the green shoot was ready to push its way up through he open door of the soil ready to face the light.
Where did that story come from? Definitely from an article I had read at the weekend of a woman who wrote the stories of people near end of life. Here’s a link if you want to read it too. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/mar/05/what-being-a-hospice-volunteer-taught-me-about-life-and-death
I also wanted to include the word ‘hope’ as Carol my writing colleague didn’t want to write about it. Hope is always left in the box of stories.
If you liked my story, please leave a positive comment to keep me writing.