One foot in the grave

One foot in the grave

A Story by h cingisiz

Based on a writing exercise where you write for 10 minutes and include a proverb ("One foot in the grave") and 8 specific words (cliff, blackberry, needle, cloud, voice, mother, whir) - a bit dull.


Two weeks ago my mother finally went for her colonoscopy, I say finally as her previous appointment she got the proverbial cold feet and cancelled last minute. A few days after this I called her and asked how it went.  I could sense in her voice the dread of the whole affair but urged her to make another appointment right away.  I tried my best to empathise and give her support, encouraging her that it was a routine procedure that she shouldn’t be afraid of. She often mentions her age and this I believe was only confirming her perception that she had one foot in the grave, personally I think she’s got a few good decades left in her yet, but she feels old and little anyone says will change that.

The woman needs moral support, she’s lived most of her life dependant on others and only the recent marriage of her youngest son had found her alone and faced with daunting independence. To date she’s adapted well, to be fair the recently betrothed sibling is only a few streets away, his wife, a most gracious and kindly sort, regularly helps out, giving my mother lifts to here and there, doing the occasional bit of shopping when my mum is unable, plus my sister (though not as frequently about) is also within the vicinity, so complete independence it is not, yet still these out of the blue trials bring a cloud over her head and is comparable to a sufferer of vertigo stood on the edge of a cliff.

My following conversation with my mother (despite my logistical distance from England we speak every week, probably more so than my sister ironically, but she is a very busy lass) brought to light the plan of action for her looming appointment. Stacey, my brother’s wife I mentioned previously, had arranged to be the taxi to and fro the Hospital and my sister made arrangements to take a few days (or at least shifts) off work to stay at home with mum over the following days. All this was some relief to me as it had been needling me that my mother was facing all this rigmarole alone, and I wished I wasn’t so far away from home, the helplessness I felt got to me one evening so much so that I sobbed like a child, a rare occurrence for me the ice-queen.

Her re-appointment was on Tuesday, like clockwork we always speak to each other on Thursdays but my mother suggested I give her a call on Wednesday as I might even catch my sister; I’ve forgotten the last time I spoke to her it was so long ago.

I alleviated some of my helplessness by ordering some flowers online (carnations to be precise, entitled blackberry burst, with free chocolates no less) to be delivered unusually by first class post, not guaranteed to arrive next day but the affordability out-weighed the precision, and I couldn’t resist the temptation to add some extra Belgium chocolates to the order, the image of them online made me want to lick the screen, I didn’t.

Wednesday came quickly; with two young lads (6 and 8 years) my time invariably travels at light speed anyway. I called, Mum sounded relieved but worn out, she immediately thanked me over and over for the flowers, said they were such a surprise and did the desired trick of cheering her up. The whole episode was less disturbing than she imagined, though she mentioned the apparatus made an odd whirring sound but she was distracted by watching the complete internal invasion on a screen next to her. Her main relief, oddly, was the fact that the assisting nurse had the same first name as me; Helen.

© 2012 h cingisiz

My Review

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This is very good, and I would never have guessed that it was contrived around a given set of rules and words. It sounded very natural, in other words. Oh, and I can understand someone wanting to skip out on a colonoscopy.

Posted 10 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

h cingisiz

10 Years Ago

Thank you for your review, I'm using exercise to get a feel for writing as I'm completely new to it,.. read more
Samuel Dickens

10 Years Ago

New to it or not, I'd say you have the knack.

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1 Review
Added on December 4, 2012
Last Updated on December 4, 2012
Tags: exercise, colonoscopy, dull, proverb, cliche, grave, death, age, flowers, coma, bored, lobotomy


h cingisiz
h cingisiz


A British ex-pat mother living in SE Turkey with my family, working from home mainly as a graphic and website designer, but I love all things creative including writing but have only recently begun my.. more..