And then she died …. finally

Trying out my own writing prompt for my Writing Workshop Hop: experimenting with the close first person point of view.

I wrote this a long time ago, am submitting it again for Sandra’s Writing Workshop

Funny, I seem to remember the plastic chairs as red!  Oh no, they were red when my daughter was born.  I remember her, squalling angry red faced horror.  I hated her on sight.  Yeah ….. she grew up into a demanding shrew, married that gay kind of person.   Hate him too!  What she needed was a rogue to keep her in line!  Humph!

Yes, they have all come.  Elder son with his butch looking wife, younger son with his empty headed timid wife.  Elder son …. pompous  and never amounting to much.  Yeah, Himself had great hopes from him.  I could have told him this one thinks too much of himself.  Look at him now ……. hen pecked and bullied by his daughters!   Will never do any great stuff.  Younger son ……we loved him so much, but he was only good at sweet talking the ladies.  Now sells used cars.  Is it a profession?  It is cheating!  And his wife, hahahahaha, jumps if any one so much as looks at her.  But younger son married her … for her father’s money.  I know – he thinks I am too stupid to realize it.

I can sense the embarrassment!  They hover around me, exchange glances …. wonder if they should be talking to me, wonder if they are getting it right … wonder if I can hear them

I can sense the embarassment!  They wish they could cry or express grief, they whisper, shuffle, look out of the window

Ahhh I am experienced.  Have watched older ones leave.  Birth is brutal, painful and exciting …. a new person coming into this world.  Death ….. death is boring.  Smartest to be gone in the night in sleep.  Spare every one the wait.

Simply hand over the baton to the next generation.  My children, they clung to me when they were younger.  My smile brought them joy, frowns despair.  Now they sit on plastic chairs and glance furtively at their watches.  They wish I get on with it.  Oh I have lived too long.  They won’t cry!  They’ll get out tattered albums one day ……… does any one have albums any more?  They’ll laugh and comment “Oh look at me!  I had such a silly hair cut those days!”  No one will miss me ..

They’ll grieve – a bit.  I understand.  Been there done that!  We share the same genetics ……

There will be full attendance at the cremation ….. nahin toh log kya kahenge, (what will people say) they will be properly attired in white kurtas and pajamas.  There will be a chautha, a terhvan, rituals for the dead.

Then they’ll get my things out, throw my clothes into cartons for the poor people.  They’ll wonder about the amount of books I managed to collect.  They’ll fight over the jewelery, their spouses trying to control them, trying to cool them down, getting them to make up.  But these three …….. hehehehe, aging balding 6 year olds in a sibling fight.

Been there done that!  I understand ….. the same genetics.

Spoils will be divided, a last meal had together while they plan the latest car, the new furniture out of the proceeds!  Death leaves us richer – materially

I understand.

I wont make a scene.  Just go out for a cup of tea.  Dont hover over me.  I’ll do it.  I do care for you my dears

I’ll cross over without any fuss

Just leave

I’ll    …    just  …..    do ….  what I  …..   have  ….     to


35 thoughts on “And then she died …. finally

  1. 🙂 You’re a gorgeous person and u know that!

    Loved it, but didn’t understand why u took off on the kids. Please to enlighten at your convenience.

    Heyyy, its not about me. Its for a magazine … about last thoughts before dying ….. Yes I have a wicked and mean imagination

  2. oh to be a fly on the wall when the parviar reads your post this morning!! i love it by the way.

    Ooops!! Did not think of that!
    So would I … now that the deed is done!

  3. Hmmm has me thinking, is it really a fiction or part of real life experience??

    Fiction …. hmmm – may be I chaneled a snarky dead woman’s spirit

  4. Scary!

    I did not ever think of what a person lying on the deathbed would be thinking. I completely agree, the best is to die in one’s sleep, no thoughts, no faces to see, nothing!

    Yeah …..

  5. this is not a ritu post… why so sad ritu… but well written this story left me sad too

    Well – whaddyu know, Me has got typecast the clown! Hehehehe

  6. 😦 u made me sad.

    but its beautifully written. As brutal as u intended it to be….

    Life is harsh …. and practical. Its meant for survivors! I felt like getting gritty and brutal. I’m glad it came through

  7. Loved this post. First, because its so brutal, and so real. Second, because its in direct contrast with your ‘real life’ (atleast from what I can decipher from your lovely posts). Really enjoyed reading this. Btw, where can one find this writing exercise?

    There are many websites. Caferati does it for Indian writers,,, and then yahoo and google groups. Apparently Facebook has also started one …. I pick up exercises that fascinate me and then just write

  8. i hated this post….

    thats a first on your blog !

    Ouch! Any way …. I needed to do this … its a writer’s eccentricity … chul as it is called in colloquial hindi

  9. Ohhh okie, so it’s fiction. 100% fiction. Sure? phew, now i can comment. very hard-hitting, sort of dark, and in complete contrast with your usual posts.

    Yeah it is! I am a happy person … can smile while crying because I find me looking comical with the sniffles. This was for a change

  10. what happened Ritu, its not your sunny self?

    I needed to do something different …. death and dying on my mind …., so I picked up this theme and wrote

  11. Oh, so glad you like up! And yesm this is a very close fist person narrative — can’t get much closer as we’re actually inside this character’ head as she dies. If you were to revise it, I’d only suggest trying to work in a few more details to help ground the reader in scene ; I was a little confused as to where we are. There’s the opening about the red chairs, and then later the family sitting in chairs, but that came a little late for me to really get that the “scene” is her actually family around her death bed. I assume it’s in a hospital? Look at what Updike does in that paragagraph: he establishes a very colloquial teenage point of view, but without losing sight of scene — those details of the store, physical descriptions etc that allow the reader to SEE as well as hear. Anyway, you get what the “close” really means, nicely done!

    • Thanks for the feedback. Yes, now that you pointed it out, the location has to be specified. Yes it is a hospital, the narrator is dying and the family is waiting for her to move on.

  12. I thought this was absolutely brilliant. I didn’t really notice till I read Sandra’s comment that I too was confused about where it took place. I thought she was already dead through the whole thing and the kids were at the viewing, then at the end I realized the person had not died yet and they were waiting for the inevitable.


    • Kathy, I did not either. To me it was a internal thought process of a dying sour old lady. Was concentrating so hard on her thoughts that the fixing of the location just slid

      Loved doing this exercise

  13. a person moving on to an unknown realm would not think of what pettiness he’s about to leave behind.The pragmatics of death( whether material gain rituals or grieving) is only for the ones left behind.The end of an individual’s life brings about an absolute absorption into what he experiences,with each sense shutting down,last one being hearing.On the part of the dying,
    death then would be the surrendering of the life sword,ahead of the final resting,the last relieved sigh and an unconcern towards the living.The casting aside of the cross that he bore so long.there is a peace in death,at least for the dying,if not for the ones left behind.
    but Ritu,this was well written,and out-of-the-box (coffin?)

    • Oh no, I know of many petty people with petty concerns. One was even taking count of the number of shawls that would be put on his/her dead body. Another was wanting to cut someone out of his/her will, and this too four hours before the actual death. We would like to think that we have moved on to a different level, but for some, the level does not change

  14. Wow!  Really interesting!  I thought she didn’t love them…but she does!  People are complicated, and you captured that  🙂

    •  @ElizabethRodriguez People are complex.  She is a sour woman, but she does love her kids, in her own way

  15. Wow-very interesting view and feeling from a dying person. I also participated in the workshop –

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