A Family Trait (Apollo’s Lyre – Bouquet of Shorts, September 2011)

When my uncle was killed in a road accident, it fell to my mother, his sister, to break the sad news to my grandmother.

Gran just blinked when she was told, and stared into space for several minutes.  My mother prepared the universal panacea for grief, a strong cup of tea, but when it was placed beside my grandmother, she said she preferred coffee, and since she hardly ever saw her son, she didn’t feel she would be affected in any concrete way by his death.

By the time the coffee came, my grandmother had amended her statement, declaring that he’d always sent her a tenner at Christmas and birthdays, so she was going to miss that.

Several years later, within a few hours of my father’s death, my mother announced her intention of turning his bedroom into a study where she could conduct her correspondence and store her books.  It would be nice, she said, to have the extra space.

I pondered both of these instances at the time, wondering whether there was a streak of self-centredness running through our family, or whether perhaps this was just one way of dealing with loss.

Whatever, it seemed callous, and I hoped that if it were a family trait, it might have skipped a generation in me.

It was disappointing therefore when some years later, faced with two sombre-looking policemen on the settee opposite, I heard my voice ring out.

“Good grief, he was only halfway through decorating the dining room.”



About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Published Work. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to A Family Trait (Apollo’s Lyre – Bouquet of Shorts, September 2011)

  1. Sheila says:

    They say grief takes people in unexpected ways… Very nice, simply told story.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Missing You Already – Friday Fictioneers, September 2017 | castelsarrasin

  3. A more detailed version of the 100 word story with less impact because of its length. It’s still an insightful look at the way people cope with grief. Loved it !!!
    Izzy 😎


  4. Indira says:

    With age people cope differently as they have seen many deaths. Nicely written. Both are impactful.


  5. Rowena says:

    Sandra, I much preferred the longer version to the shorter one and found it easier to make the links. I also like how the longer length and the way she slowly eflects back on events, and you can feel the cogs turning. I could really put myself into this one. Well done.
    xx Rowena


  6. ellenbest24 says:

    I liked this in a somber matter of fact way. The humour, though black sprang at me in the short version. Though this delivered the sadness of a life or lives passing unmissed. My sister laughs at bad news, she doesn’t want to it is just so. I like both for different reasons, good work I say.


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