Wednesday, 20 February 2019


Here is my entry for WEP February 2019 challenge


The couple sat in the lounge by the fireplace
Surrounded by wood panelling and heartache
Two souls not talking, no conversation
With each other for a long duration

The spell was broken as she turned her head
At the sound of the birds fighting over the bread
Burnt toast crumbs scattered over the lawn
Hetty broke the silence and said, look at those birds, Sean

The warmer weather is coming, there’ll be worms galore
Waiting for the hard-baked soil to warm up some more
Her husband tore his gaze away from the window
Looked at his wife’s face, her wrinkled brow

His gaze took in the years of love and happiness
Joy and comfort and of course some sadness.
They didn’t have long left in this place
Their home for many years, their base

For many long years their memories encased
In the fabric of the walls, cement, bricks and mortar
The fights of their two children, a son and a daughter

They’d turned the page of the calendar
Although the numbers were a blur
February had finally come
It was time to leave their home

The tears welled up in her eyes
Pupils dilated with her fears
A journey in to the unknown
A different part of town

New people to meet and greet
Independence slowly abating
The loss of dignity
Superseded by security
So said their family

With love in their hearts
They helped them depart
Their lovely home and abode
As the minutes sped and time slowed

Their lives past before their eyes
They gathered their supplies
Speeding up and slowing down
With a laugh or a frown
They were ready to say goodbye

Hetty marked off the last day of February on the calendar.  Twenty-eight days they had lived here now.  When would it feel like home?  Probably never she thought.  Her home was gone.  A lively, young and vibrant family of four had bought it and would make their own memories there. 

She could hear Sean moving around, he would be out of the bedroom soon, dressed in his shirt and tie, blazer ready over his arm.  Not for him the casual look of today nor her if she was honest.  She styled her hair every day, she wore clean clothes every day, used a pinafore to keep her clothes clean when she cooked.  She wasn't going to be a little old lady with grease spots and old food marks all down her front.

Sean settled himself in the armchair with the newspaper while Hetty scurried round in the kitchen readying the teapot and cups and saucers, checking the biscuit tin was full of Liz’s favourites.

Their granddaughter was a great comfort and support to them.  Always ready to take them to their appointments now they were no longer able to drive.  That was a big blow to their independence.  Hetty sighed deeply, life goes in cycles she thought and this was the start of the last cycle of their life. 

They were safe, secure in the knowledge that they had some independence but with help on hand if it was needed.   What more could she ask for?  Her youth back?  No point in looking back she chided herself, things weren't always rosy back in her younger days, two small children, none of the benefits of central heating.  Life wasn't hard just different from today’s conveniences.  They managed.  In some ways there was less stress, still stress but a different kind of stress.  

So now here they were still in love after 66 years although there were times when they weren't happy with each other – ha!  They worked through their differences and didn’t give up on each other.
Sean stood to open the door and greet Liz.  She was the apple of his eye, his one and only granddaughter, the one most like his beloved Hetty.  The generation gap seemed so small to him today as he saw hope and love and comfort in her eyes.

Settling down to their tea and biscuits Liz announced her good news. 

‘Ben and I are going to be parents which makes you great-grandparents.’  Beaming with delight Liz accepted the hugs and kisses from the two members of the older generation.

Such wonderful news to complete the first 28 days of this new phase of their lives.  Hetty was already planning many knitted outfits for this new life to come, neutral colours to begin with until Liz told them the sex of the baby.  No surprises or guesses what the baby would be for this young couple. 

‘This was the best move we could have made,’ muttered Sean in to Hetty’s grey hair.  She wrapped her arms around his thickening waist.  ‘We’ll make the best of it, you’ll see,’ came her response.

Word count: 796


  1. Hi Sally - what a wonderful entry - both ... the poem and the story - loved it ... with so many delightful twists and turns - so good to read - really heartwarming - clever ... thank you - cheers Hilary

  2. Getting old is not a holiday, I know. I'm going in the same direction (we all are), even though I haven't exactly arrived yet. All the same, getting old also has its rewards, as your post amply demonstrates.
    A kind-hearted story.

  3. Sally, I'm loving your entries with both poem and prose. It definitely works and no more so than this entry. A thoughtful look into the future with all the angst that the elderly have when/if they have to leave their home for a place that may never seem like home. What does Hetty say: When would it feel like home? One of life's greatest blessings is good health and the ability to be independent til the last. However, some move into these retirement homes and find much joy in the community.

    Thank you Sally for serving up this treat for us. Your entries always carry an emotional impact.


  4. I really enjoyed both the poem and the narrative. I think I would enjoy Hetty and Sean's company!

  5. What a lovely account of life change. I hope I enter this phase as gracefully as your couple has. I think I'm too independent, to much a fighter of change.

    I loved the voice and sentiment of this. Nostalgic and progressive in equal measure. Sometimes I think there are more changes with advancing age than there are with growing babies. At least with the babies, its not the whole world that moves too.

  6. AHH - you hit a spot there with the poem and the story - reflections about growing old and the bitter sweet passage of time.

  7. You've captured beautifully what the older generation goes through! I enjoyed the poem as well as the story and can only hope we will be able to transition as gracefully as Sean and Hetty.

  8. I loved the combination of poetry and prose, each part taking a different angle on the same story of an older couple who are gracefully finding their way within their changing circumstances.
    Thanks for sharing!

  9. A heartfelt story, that balances both poetry and prose in a superb manner. Well Done, Sally.

  10. The cycle of life continues on. As they enter the last phase of their lives, a new life is soon to begin for their great grandchild. This was a beautiful look at two people who have weathered so much of life together. Well done!

  11. Yes, what everyone has said! Just when I was feeling a little sad, here came the good news and I was cheered just like the couple in the story.

  12. Beautiful and so timely with our ever increasing aging population. This was a sweet and sad glimpse at how it feels when life forces changes upon us.

  13. The problems of ageing as well as the rewards, a thought provoking entry. I loved the ending particularly. The positive note of hope. Well done.

  14. I really like the poem before the narrative part of the story. It's a nice combo. There have been several poetry entries this month and I've enjoyed them all. I also enjoy this heartwarming story and its subtle message of hope woven within the anxieties of change. Thanks for sharing it.

  15. Loved the way you told their story in the form of poetry :) Enjoyed the ending.

  16. I loved both the poem and the story. You perfectly captured the couple's reservations about moving and their sadness at leaving behind that chapter of their life. I'm glad that the story ended with them feeling content and hopeful for the future.

  17. Wow—cool approach, the poem and the story. I like it. It was also particularly poignant as we are in the process of convincing my in-laws to move out of their home, which is really getting to be more than they can care for. The transition didn’t bother my mom, but she’d been living alone far too long. I think it’s harder for a couple. Glad they got something great to help them over the transition!

  18. Hi Sally,
    I loved the line, 'surrounded by wood paneling and heartache.' It's hard to move at any time in life and for older people to leave their home that they loved, even harder. You captured the emotions well and then helped them find joy again. Well done.

  19. That's so nice, and very calming. Nice to feel fulfilled afetr many more worrying stories!

  20. This made me cry with joy and sadness. You captured the emotions entailed. My wife and I are retired and moved to the US where her family are able to help us - children, grandchildren, even greats who will grow more responsible, I hope. But leaving our home in Wales hurt...

  21. This was a beautifully written story. Well done!

  22. Hi,

    I enjoyed this story. There is so much enduring hope and optimism. Two people learning how to cope with the changes taking place in their live. I am so glad I drop by and read it. It brought a smile to my face.
    Great job.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

  23. I’m still doing the WEP rounds. Better late than never, right?

    I love your combination of poetry and prose. You always get the blend just right.
    Wonderful entry!

  24. Wow! You've made loads!!! They're all beautiful! I hope Issy is better soon!
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