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On the afternoon of June 7th, I was drinking my coffee when the phone rang. My husband Jonathan answered it, "Hello," he said. After listening, he paused and looked worriedly at me. Something was wrong! Realization that the caller brought bad news hit me, as Jonathan handed the phone over: "It's Colleen."
I took the phone out of his hand, said, "Yes, Colleen? What's the matter?" It definitely wasn't a usual thing for Barbara's best friend to be calling me on a Sunday! "Barbara passed away this morning in a freak accident ..." Colleen began.
The room began to darken around me. 'Passed away' at 24 years of age? I couldn't believe it! It had to be a joke! The crash of the falling telephone brought Jonathan running; I remember him picking the phone up to talk to Colleen as I fainted.
The mourners came early to St. Mary's Cemetery. Some wept, and others whispered together, as they stood around the open grave. In the background, the priest was saying, "Barbara Ann, vivid with life, brought us love and joy -" The sun shone so bright in the sky, a light wind blew, touching the mourners with chilly fingers. "She was young and beautiful, and awake to the beauty around her -" the priest continued to drone on. The crowd was still except for the sound of weeping, and the priest's voice. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want..."
Everyone seemed to be there: Barbara's family, her office friends and close friends, Colleen, her husband and parents. "May we yet see the radiance of a new day." the priest droned on.
I felt the strength of Jonathan's arms around my shoulders - a comfort in this nightmare.
"Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust." The priest looked up, telling the mourners with sad eyes that it was time. Barbara's family stepped forward, single carnations in each hand, and each placed a carnation on the now-closed casket, then knelt and prayed. Standing up, her father snapped one last, final picture of his beloved daughter's resting place, and taking his wife's arm with their son following beside them, they walked quietly away to the cars that were waiting for them ....
(c.) 2004 Rosanne Catalano


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The following comments are for "In Memory Of"
by ctrosanne

This seemed a bit rushed to me. Don't get me wrong - a death/funeral can be an interesting subject for short fiction. However, four paragraphs is a little TOO short.

Also, there are no major characters, only names. For writing to have an effect, the readers need somebody they come to know and sympathize with. We know next to nothing about the people here, so the funeral is less a tragic event than an unfortunate cliche.

Just my .$02


( Posted by: QueasyDillo [Member] On: October 28, 2004 )

Reply to ....
First bad review I've gotten, thank you! I sincerely appreciate your honesty on this short story. It was originally intended to be a "book" about my friend's life and death, and what you read was the first chapter ... wrote it back in 1981 (the year my friend died), and never got a chance (or the time) to make it into a book; only 'revised' it (and the word count) this year (2004). was looking for a short story, and loved it so much (as you see) published it on their front page. I did not mean to write 'cliches' and did not feel this story had any, but, now, I will re-read this story (also working on a couple of other, more recent, short stories, but not online) ... You have given me the inspiration to now finish this short story as a book -- a true tribute to a dear friend; I thank you for that (her family would love a 'book' on her life)! I had originally typed this story on a typewriter (PC's were not really around back in 1981) and did have good intentions to finish it as a 'manuscript." Got too busy working a full-time job (secretary)and just trying to pay the bills ... never finished it. I, personally, loved this short story as is (as did all my friends and family) because it is based on 'fact,' not fiction. Yes, my friend's father actually did take a picture of her casket (she and her father were very close), and, as strange as it sounds, it is all true. Thank you for the honest review, now I will sincerely make the characters come to life as much as the 'real' people who knew my friend are ... I did change all the names in this story because the people are still alive; the only name that is real is my friends' name. Once again, thank you for my very first bad review ... I appreciate honesty! You gave me the desire to 'revise' again and complete this as a book.
freelance writer

( Posted by: ctrosanne [Member] On: October 28, 2004 )

Happy I could help
You have the beginnings of a fine story here, with a little tweaking.

The trouble with writing the death of loved ones and friends is, despite the abundance of material, you tend to be in a daze during the proceedings.

I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your friend (albeit twenty years late). Best of luck.


( Posted by: QueasyDillo [Member] On: October 28, 2004 )

You Are Right ... I Was In a Daze While Writing This Story!
Thank you for telling me I have the beginnings of a fine story; that made me feel alittle better ... it is so true that I was in a 'daze' while writing that ... that whole year, after she died, was just a blur for all her friends at work and her family. I will post the 'finished' manuscript and/or draft of the rest of this story, thanks to you for which I am sincerely grateful that you were totally honest with me! Believe me, we, writers, do not always get honest reviews from our family or friends, unfortunately. Once again, thanks for giving me the inspiration to make it into a book! Looking forward to more 'honest' reviews from you ...

( Posted by: ctrosanne [Member] On: October 28, 2004 )

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