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When Lilacs Bloom


 
Cassie loved the lilac bushes bordering the dirt road up to their farmhouse, and spent many summer afternoons playing with her dolls in the grass beneath them, sheltered by the dense canopy of leaves.  Purple was her very favorite color, and she was certain that lilacs must be the scent of Heaven. 
 
When Cassie turned eleven, her mama took sick with pneumonia, and despite the doctor's efforts, she died in the month of June.  No one had much money for funerals or flowers, so they filled their parlor where the wake was held with lilacs, and covered the simple wooden casket with even more.
 
Years later, when Cassie and her husband moved into a house surrounded by lilac bushes, she surprised him by demanding that they be cut down, saying they reminded her far too much of Heaven.
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I'm linking up with Lillie McFerrin at Five Sentence Fiction
where the writing prompt this week is "purple"

20 comments:

  1. This is very good - and a really complete story. It says just enough without saying too much at the end.

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    1. Thank you K R, I really appreciate your input!

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  2. You really did capture a whole story in these five sentences. Very nice.

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    1. Thank you Sharry! It is interesting how the things that happen in childhood are carried with us.

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  3. A complete story that reminded me Mom's lilacs did not bloom this year.

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    1. I love lilacs, Gail, they really are my favorite scent. I like them ever better than roses!

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  4. Josie, I loved this one its own merits, but it also harkened back to a poignant memory.

    I was tight with this family - parents as well as kids - the parents loved when (in high school days) I'd sit at their baby grand and "play the old songs," leading the singalong. One night, we went out for pizza and went back to the house for music.

    Next morning, their son (and still my friend) Mike called to say that, in a freak accident, his mom was killed that afternooon when another car flipped over and crashed into hers. Death was instantaneous.

    I ran over to the house to prepare shive (she was Jewish, if informally so), and "Papa John" said, "Oh, look at the lilacs. God, Gerry really loved her lilacs, used to fill the house with them."

    I went around the whole neighborhood and asked folks if I could snip a few from each bush. By afternoon, there were lilacs in every room. All purple. Now I'm crying, but this brought back so much love... thank you. Amy (and now a funny poem) http://sharplittlepencil.com/2013/02/07/dads-dynamic-deeds/

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    1. What a beautiful story, in a sad but loving kind of way, Amy! I am glad that my story sparked this memory for you. I loved lilacs, my father didn't, it wasn't until I was grown that I found out his reasoning was based on a story very similar to the one above.

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  5. This is gorgeous yet extremely sad. A favourite colour that is too much to bear. Beautifully written and as everyone else has already said, a whole story succinctly written. xx

    PS I know I've said this before but I have to say it again because I love cats. Your pics are so cute of your cats with such cutie names that really suit them. Fur kids are awesome! xx

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    1. Thank you Lizzie! It is sad when something that we love becomes a bittersweet memory, as is true of the lilacs in this story. I love them so much, but now when I see them I am reminded of my father's sadness when his father died.

      I share your love of furkids, they are the joy and laughter in our ordinary lives, such devotion, and ever so manipulative!:-)

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    1. Thank you. Yes, sad that something lovely ended up connected to a sad memory.

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  7. Very sad. Understandable reaction that a lot of people would have. Nice work. :)

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    1. Thank you Chantel. Yes, I can understand why seeing more lilacs would evoke painful memories.

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  8. THANKS for having left a comment on my endeavor for this prompt. I like the dichotomy you have running through it. You start off with the innocence of Cassie believing Heaven must be like the smell of lilacs, to a traditional meaning of PURPLE signifying death since they got used to cover plain pine box. When Cassie and her husband move to a new house which has lilacs bushes, and she surprisingly demands him to have them removed because they remind her too much of Heaven; I feel it goes beyond that simple remembrance. We need to remember this memory of Heaven is one she had as an idea in a child's mind; instead, what I feel is actually going on here is the memory of her mother's death and her mother being in Heaven now, something which she doesn't want to be reminded of each day.
    POWERFUL and MOVING.

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    1. You've understood exactly what I was trying to convey, Robin, thank you so much for your thoughtful commment!

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  9. It is a pity that the buses had to be cut but understandable if in evoked such memories. In some religions purple is the colour of funeral vestments but I never assiciate it with death. The smell of lilacs remind me of my grans house. Good strong story. Enjoyed reading it and the follow up comments.

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    1. I love lilacs... the color... the scent... and their dense foliage, Marie. My father's memories of them are much sadder, and now when I see a lilac bush I understand why he didn't want to see them in his yard, but it doesn't diminsh my attraction to the way they smell. Thank you for stopping by!

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)