Tag Archives: death

2026. A place to retire

What an exciting thing to happen! Charmaine and Tristram had spent a lifetime raising three children and slogging their guts out. Now that the children had flown the nest, and Charmaine and Tristram had both retired, they made a decision to sell their house and move to a smaller house in a less busy environment where peace could reign in their sunset years.

But the exciting thing was this: a television company had issued an invitation for their house-searching to be filmed! The television compere would show them houses and hopefully before long a suitable house would rear its head. And rear its head it did; so fast and so suddenly!

It was the perfect house; with the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms and everything else. The kitchen was wonderful. The view was spectacular. The garden was big and challenging enough to keep their joint gardening interest alive. Charmaine and Tristram put in an offer.

The offer was accepted! They could move in two weeks. How exciting is that?

A week passed and Charmaine and Tristram packed lots and lots of stuff into boxes. Then on the eighth day, Tristram suddenly died. In his sleep. His unexpected death was a great stimulus to the success of the TV program.

(Footnote: Once again I’m calling for suggestions for an opening sentence. Please leave one sentence in the comments which I shall delete after jotting it down (so as not to mess up the comments on this story). Only one suggestion per person – if at all! The only reward will be a link back to your own blog, and if you don’t have a blog than like marrying Prince Harry it will be for the prestige and glory (but without the money) There have been 4 contributions so far. Thank you. More welcome!).

Herb: It sure wasn’t everyday that you see one, that’s for sure.

Yvonne: “I’ll really have to think about your offer,” said Alida.

Max: Sam and Molly bought a 1966 Mustang from Molly’s dad but when driving away they heard something rattling in the door panel.

Noelle: The sky outside the open window was dark with the portent of a storm.

1998. Practical Felicity

Felicity was at least eighty-six years old. She was still trim and able enough to live on her own, except she didn’t live on her own. She lived with her husband, Laughton, who was eighty-nine. When their dog of thirteen years took ill he was too big and heavy for them to lift it into the car to take to the animal care shelter. They had to get the neighbour over to give a hand. Of course, the neighbour didn’t mind.

But that’s not what this story is about. This story is about how a storm blew in from nowhere and decimated the entire village. The neighbours seem to have disappeared. Laughton was killed by a piece of flying roofing. Felicity was literally alone.

Felicity knew that the electricity and water wouldn’t be turned on for days – such was the serious extent of the storm. She also knew that it could be days before anyone reached her house and could remove Laughton’s body.

Dear practical Felicity! She thought if she hurried, before all the cold escaped from the cabinet freezer, she could perhaps put Laughton’s body in there to freeze until help arrived. Laughton was old and light but an enormous weight for Felicity to push and shove. First she got one ankle on the edge of the freeze, and then the other. Gradually she worked to the knees. Once his bottom was over the edge the whole corpse slithered into the freezer. It had taken Felicity well over an hour and she was exhausted. Everything had happened so fast. It was as if she was in a bad dream.

She went to close the freezer lid. It wouldn’t shut. Rigor mortis had set in and Laughton’s knees were sticking up above the closing level.

It wasn’t until then that Felicity burst into tears.

1993. Body in the woodshed

When Dawn saw the dead body in her woodshed she didn’t know what to do next. Clearly the body had died several hours earlier. Rigor mortis had already begun to set in. Dawn had once worked as a nurse so she knew these things. Trying to revive the body was a waste of time. It was as dead as the wood in her woodshed.

Dawn was a practical woman to the hilt. She remained absolutely calm. She surveyed the situation as if she was in a fabric shop selecting a pattern for a proposed table runner. What to do with the body? She shut the woodshed door and went back into the house.

It wasn’t winter. It wasn’t cold. There would be no need for her to get firewood for a couple of months. She had bought an air ticket for her husband to go to Hawaii on a vacation for several months. They did that in their marriage once every decade or so. It cleared the air and they could start afresh. He had left yesterday, so the story would go. Dawn would simply leave the body in the woodshed until winter.

That way the coroner would have difficulty determining the cause of death of her husband. “But I thought he was having a great time in Hawaii.”

1992. Things that quickly fade

Annette loved flowers. She always had several vases of flowers in her living room and a little retro corkless medicine bottle on the window sill of the kitchen with a sprig of rosemary and a twiglet of this and that.

When her husband died the undertaker quietly asked Annette in the cemetery if she wished to have the flowers sitting on the coffin when it was lowered or would she prefer that the flowers were placed on top of the grave once it was filled in.

“Oh God no!” exclaimed Annette, speaking slightly louder than the undertaker. “I’m taking all the flowers home!” And she did! It’s not that she didn’t love her husband. But what use are flowers dying on a grave? Flowers from the funeral arranged in her living room were a much better reminder of her sad loss and a heart-felt tribute to her husband. That way too she could appreciate in full the kindness of the people who had sent condoling flowers.

Great-aunt Matilde paid a sympathy visit, mainly because Annette always served with a mug of coffee some homemade chocolate chip cookies that used ground oatmeal, nuts, and lots and lots of extra chocolate. In fact, Annette grated into the mixture several chocolate bars more than the recipe called for.

“I think flowers at funerals are a complete waste of money,” declared great-aunt Matilde surveying the living room bouquets. “When I die I don’t want people spending money on things that quickly fade.”

As occasionally happens, great-aunt Matilde was 88. She went home and sadly passed away shortly after. Annette arranged the surviving living room flowers and took them to place on great-aunt Matilde’s filled-in flowerless grave.

Not a dime was spent on things that quickly fade.

1984. Honey, I never made it

Granville had made his wife, Doreen, the most beautiful rocking chair. It had taken him months of secret working in the shed out the back. Doreen never knew what he was up to. She supposed he was simply messing about, and then one day he produced the rocking chair and said “I made this for you, Honey.”

What a beautiful chair! Carved legs! A perfect, perfect rocking motion! Even the sweetest cushion on the seat!

“What a clever husband I have!” declared Doreen. “Who would have believed?”

But the truth was, Granville had started to make a rocking chair and things didn’t work out. It was a mess, so he had a rocking chair made. It certainly was a magnificent rocking chair, but he had merely pretended to have made it himself.

“What a clever husband I have!” repeated Doreen. “Who would have believed?” She was over the moon.

Sometime later, Granville was diagnosed with a terminal disease. He grew weaker by the day. He knew, as he reviewed his life, that entrance to eternity perhaps demanded sorrow for sins. He simply had to tell Doreen about the rocking chair.

It was clear that the end was near. Granville still hadn’t confessed to Doreen. And then, with one gigantic effort he declared “Honey, I never made it”. Within seconds he was dead.

Doreen always thought, as she rocked her way through widowhood, that Granville’s final “Honey, I never made it” was some premonition that he had been refused entrance through the Pearly Gates.

1979. The passing of a spouse

Barbara closed Rodrigo’s eyes. It was always a bit scary when someone died with their eyes wide open. One lid kept opening slightly. She had read where the imprints of Ancient Roman coins were found on mummified bodies, and so she got two twenty cent coins and placed one on each eyelid to keep them shut.

For two days Barbara had sat next to her dying husband’s bed. Her kindly neighbour, Lynn, helped quite often during that time to give Barbara little breaks. Lynn hoped that when the time came for her to care for her own husband, if such a need occurred, then she would be as caring and gently calm as Barbara. And now the wait was over. Rodrigo had died. Peacefully.

How the two day watch had brought back memories for Barbara. She had met Rodrigo at the beach. He was from Bolivia. It was love at first sight! He was so handsome! So kind! Such fun! They had got married in the blink of an eye. They honey-mooned on an island resort. He wasn’t overly rich, but life was comfortable and secure. So many, many memories of their ten year marriage.

Such happiness rarely lasts; at least not often. Rodrigo was the third husband Barbara had poisoned.

1961. An exclusive club

Although it might appear as rather arbitrary, and in fact it was, Heaven was divided into multitudinous groups of people. The membership of each group was determined by the last words they uttered on Earth. For example, the members of the “I-Love-You-Darling Group” had experienced a fairly run-of-the-mill death in which they were able to utter a reasonably civil statement as they passed on. The “Goodbye Group” and the “I’m-Going Group” were other examples. The “Au Revoir Group” was made up mainly of foreigners but the occasional person who spoke proper English made it into their ranks.

Most groups had many, many members, and for a millennium or so St. Peter at the Pearly Gates had wondered whether or not other criteria might better suffice.

There was one group that was the envy of all. It was known rather jovially as the F Club. Very few belonged to it. The members were the victims of some sudden accident when their plane dropped out of the sky or they saw a huge articulated truck plunging headlong into their vehicle. Their last word was an exclamation of surprise, as you might imagine. So sought after was the desire for membership to this group that St. Peter had to slightly stretch the rules. He had to allow for different parts of speech that used the word. For example, some people may have turned the word into a verb and not finished the sentence before expiring. However, a line was drawn if the F word was followed by “heck”. It reeked a little of Hecate and was considered vaguely inappropriate.

No one was surprised at the small affiliation in the F Club. Most in the circumstance of final accident had exclaimed a naughty word. They had, naturally, been cast into Hell. But those more lily-tongued had screamed at the point of accident not an unacceptable curse, but simply “Flip”. As stated, those whose final “Flip” was forever wrecked by a verb plus Hecate – “Flippin’ Heck” – were cast aside. As was “Freakin’ Hell”.

So here’s to the three members of the F Club. May they forever rejoice.

1939. To die alphabetically

Jerome Holke Barbarich-Askelund’s doctor had given him bad news. He had not been feeling well and was not at all surprised when the doctor announced (in a kindly and tender manner) that what Jerome Holke Barbarich-Askelund had was terminal.

“Oh well,” shrugged Jerome, “we all eventually get our marching orders I suppose.”

He went home and within a week had become obsessed with the death notices in the morning paper. Here was a list of those who had died – usually the day before. Jerome began to work out each morning where his name would go alphabetically if he had indeed passed away on the preceding day.

Amor
Austin
Baird
Burgin
Cain

If he had died his name would appear between Baird and Burgin.

Ackerley
Alexander
Batwell
Blayney
Blight

If he had died his name would appear between Alexander and Batwell.

And there, on the third day, BARBARICH-ASKELUND! There it was in print! In black and white! What a mystery!

Anderson
Atherfold
Aycock
BARBARICH-ASKELUND
Butt

“As far as I know,” said Mrs. Barbarich-Askelund, “we are the only ones in the country with this family name. It’s a complete bafflement. I’m in a state of stupefaction.”

After two weeks, Mrs. Barbarich-Askelund’s friend, Gloria Wiggins said, “Look Myrtle-Bianca, you have to admit that he’s been dead for two weeks now. You can’t go on pretending it didn’t happen. “

“Oh Gloria!” sobbed Myrtle-Bianca Barbarich-Askelund, “to die is one thing. To appear in print between Aycock and Butt is shocking. Jerome will never forgive me.”

1933. Two deaths on the one day

Rosslyn was more upset about her dog dying than she was with her husband’s passing. Both died on the same day; both suddenly; both deaths unrelated.

To be fair, Mercury the dog was the only friend she had. He was a chow chow and had been on heart medication for a little while. His suddenly demise was always going to be a possibility. On the other hand her husband had been on no pills. “It’s a pity there’s not a pill for verbal abuse,” Rosslyn used to declare throughout their marriage; for Earl had a tongue that Rosslyn nicknamed “Whiplash”.

And so it was that her best friend, Mercury, and her least-best friend, husband Earl, both died on the same day. Who was to know? Rosslyn paid to give her husband the skimpiest funeral possible. Mercury got the works, and his ashes were returned from the crematorium in a silver-plated urn inscribed with his name.

The marriage had been a mistake. She should never have gone ahead with it. There were ample signs during the engagement period that he would verbally abuse her once they were married. And indeed she was proved right. The honeymoon had barely started when the abuse began.

It was sad that Mercury wasn’t going to be about to celebrate the wedding anniversary next Saturday. The absence of a husband at such a celebration was no loss. Rosslyn always celebrated the wedding anniversary with her dog. What else was there to do?

Goodness! Coming up this Saturday they would’ve been married for sixty-four years.

1924. Only one miracle allowed

Nina-Marie had recently died and was thoroughly enjoying looking down from above at her loved ones. There was her husband Clive, her cat Maisie, and her dog Wolfgang. They certainly missed her.

During life it had always been Nina-Marie who looked after the pets. It’s not that Clive wasn’t interested or didn’t like them; it was just that the task had fallen to Nina-Marie almost accidentally years ago. Nina-Marie fed the cat and dog; Clive brought in and stacked the firewood. They were the two marriage-allotted chores that occurred most days in early evening.

In her last hours Nina-Marie had said to Clive that if she was permitted, if it was at all possible, she would give some sign that she was doing well in eternity. It would be some little thing; some surprise perhaps; something that Clive would recognize.

Upon arrival in Heaven Nina-Marie was informed that she would be granted one request regarding life on Earth; one prayer to answer. Wistfully she gazed upon her earthly family. She didn’t want to waste the single wish she could grant.

I know exactly what it will be, thought Nina-Marie. The little apple tree, the one we planted several years ago, has never borne fruit. This year it shall have fruit. Not too many apples, that would be wasteful, but just enough for Clive to say “Aha! That’s Nina-Marie’s doing!”

Nina-Marie was about to make arrangements for her “miracle”, when she noticed something; something serious. The cat and dog’s water bowls had dried up. Clive hadn’t given them water since the funeral. It was an oversight. This was an emergency. I wish he’d give them water! Give them water!

Goodness, thought Clive almost instantaneously, they’ve run out of water. And that was Nina-Marie’s one miracle all used up.