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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)

TITLE: A Blanket for the Soul
By Karlene Jacobsen


Snow swirled, dipped, then rose again as the cold air bit and whipped around the small group huddled together. Woolen coats, scarves and mittens covered bare skin. Eyebrows, beards, and pretty knit hats became haven for snowflakes wishing to rest before completing their journey to the ground.

The woman in the center of the group clung tightly to the man sitting tall and straight next to her. Unaware of the frigid temperature assailing her, she stared ahead—unseeing. The cold ravaging the earth around her was nothing compared to the ice pushing through her veins.

The man placed an arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. Her head tilted and lay upon his shoulder then she closed her eyes. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, was it?

Friends, relatives and neighbors imbibed in the celebrations of December’s feasts, as this young—too young—mom bid farewell.

Anger, doubt and fear curled around her heart, blowing in the frosty message, “See, you serve Him so faithfully, and look how He repays you.”

Faith was the mocker now, wasn’t it? Faith was the one who enticed and seduced, only to blast her into the arctic. How terrible it was to receive a gift so precious, full of life and promise, and to have her ripped away, taking along with it chunks of the heart as well.

The preacher said some words, offered a prayer, consoled the couple, and left them alone. The crowd dispersed, seeking the warmth of their vehicles. The couple sat in the chairs, beside their child. Would life ever be good again? Would there ever be hope again?

Into the frozen ground would go the shell of one, and the hearts of two. They waited as the undertaker lowered the casket. Inch by inch, they lost another piece to their flesh: innocence—hope—trust—peace—faith—life—dreams—childhood—their first born.

From deep within the recesses of her mind, arose words of memory from the year before:

“Mommy look! God made a blanket for the ground.” Their little girl exclaimed.

The woman looked around, as though seeing for the first time. A layer of snow covered the ground as a woolen blanket then peace tugging along with it, faith and hope climbed out of the hole and back into her soul.

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This article has been read 675 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 08/21/09
So sad, and yet such a beautiful ending. This one tore at my heart strings.
Jan Ackerson 08/24/09
Very lyrical, lovely prose.

I think your title gives away the ending...if you take this piece further, consider a different title.

Even though this piece felt very complete, I'd also be quite interested in "the rest of the story". I wanted to know these people! Well done!
Kristin Slavik08/24/09
Sad and somehow sweet at the same time. A couple of minor things:
as this young—too young—mom bid farewell.

Bid should be bids. Also the 'too young' thing confused me at first. Any age is too young to bury a child. Is it a teen?

I would live to see where this story goes and find out what happed to get them there.
Colin Swann08/24/09
I know how sad it was to bury
my teenage brother on a winter's day. You captured that sadness well. These memories are sad but precious. Colin
Mona Purvis08/24/09
Your writing set the somber tone to this solemn piece. Not a place any would choose to go, but one we sometimes must be in.
Jeanne E Webster 08/24/09

Poignant story. Thanks for making it come out all right!
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/24/09
Your story is sad but beautiful, constructed well and with a good message.
Beth LaBuff 08/24/09
This is so exquisite in flow and description. "Into the frozen ground would go the shell of one, and the hearts of two." Your writing has a poetic quality. I love the hope in your last paragraph.
Ada Nett08/24/09
What a bittersweet story. You captured their raw pain so well. Good job.
Bryan Ridenour08/25/09
My first born turned seven yesterday, and I can't imagine losing him or any of my children. This tugged at the heart and I felt the pain of this couple. But you also helped me feel their hope at the end. Nicely written.
Patricia Turner08/25/09
Poignant and lovely and perfect for this topic.