Is killing ever justified…I have thought deep and long…

                                                       …but am still at the start point.

She lay writhing as the waves of pain assaulted and receded. Every night, I buried my head under the pillow, yet heard her moans piercing, like needles through fabric.

Six weeks, Mom had withered and Dad aged.  Mom’s cancer was killing Dad.

One night, a shadow wavered past my opened door. In bare feet and crumpled pajamas, I followed.

It was Dad, in one hand her medicine and in the other, a heavy revolver. I crept silently back to bed, my heart pounding out of my rib cage.

There was a loud crack, followed by soft sobs, then silence. I’ll never forget the acrid smell of cordite that filled the house that night. The note said suicide.

For fifty years, I refused to recount or revisit that tragic event. Today, looking down on the wrinkled face and shriveled body, which lay, gasping away the last breaths of life, I had to know…about that terrible night.

“…the insurance money…we decided…I was the better caregiver…you needed me more,” croaked the voice, before breaking into whizzes and coughs. “That is why…your Dad took his life.”

********** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2012 **********

56 comments

  1. Eric this is so beautifully written and heartfelt. I agree with you that we are not the ones to cast rocks on those who struggle with these burdens. We are taught that we are never given burdens that we cannot carry…life would show us otherwise. All we can do is encircle those living through heartwrenching difficult times with humanity and love. I also agree with Peter (gs) that it is a wonderful thing that the WWW and blogging allows us to share and reach out to each other… well done buddy – Love Jane x

    1. Hello Gunjan,
      Thank you for the visit and comment.
      Terrible choices are placed at people’s doorstep…I drop a small pebble hoping for ripples that say > don’t judge, ever.
      Peace, Eric
      P/s Good luck and take care with the meditation.

  2. Eric
    There are some losses that are much more devastating just due to the nature of them. The depths of despair that invade the world of some people is beyond our comprehension. Wonderfully written.
    Anita

    1. Dear Anita, you have succinctly encapsulated the theme. And thank you also for your compliment. Peace, Eric
      P/s Looking forward to your next short story. Loved that flash fiction about breakfast with the grans.

  3. Eric, a tragic story, a painful memory, share here so eloquently as only you could do, I feel. If this was YOUR story, you have my prayers for your peace of mind and comfort. There were one or two families in my home community who experienced similar traumatic life-takings. We do not know what is right, what is best! We can only reach out in compassion to the survivors.

    1. Dear Rose (yes, I trawled through your blog and managed to lift your name),
      What an eloquent compliment. Thank you.

      Several readers have hinted that they would like to know whether this is a true story and whether it is my story. Please do forgive me if I retain certain confidentialities. I write based on my life experiences and the experiences of people close to me. I also think I am a keen observer of people and events.

      You too have witnessed heart-wrenching events that forces one to confront certain questions. God bless your fortitude.

      Luv, Eric

  4. I am blown away at how the WWW and blogging is bringing these deep questions to light, sharing with others so we can learn about ourselves. What a burden to carry for so many years, and to finally touch it, and find it remains, but no longer has the weight it did. I watched my mother waste away in ICU on a respirator, pacemaker, feeding tube, etc. for 104 days after surgery for Ovarian cancer. There was more than once I thought just two minutes with my finger covering the vent… but then the law would have called me a murderer. She died before dawn on Easter Sunday, I still find meaning in that. Blessings to you and your family … Peter (gs)

    1. Hello Peter,
      It is an honour to have you visit and share your own terrible experience.
      The law is a straight jacket and religions tend to be a little dogmatic, at times – I reckon. If society does not reach out to help, then it should not fold arms in judegement or worse – cast rocks.
      God bless and keep us from being tested,
      Eric

  5. Wow, this is a beautifully written piece with a little twist at the end. I enjoyed reading it very much. I came to your blog after you liked a poem on my blog. This piece is pretty cool.

  6. A very sad story.It makes me more sad that something like this happened to me once. Although I thank god that it did not pull through to such an extent. Yet, although it was a sad story, I was still mesmerized by this.Your posts are amazing and I hope you continue to do so. thank you for liking my post as well.

    1. Thank you for your visit and sharing something about your life. I am glad that it did not go the full tragic length as this tale.

      I appreciate your compliment about my posts and shall continue to bring Life, Love and Family stories and poems.

      Please also look out for me as I plan to visit your blog, Eric

  7. As I read through, I found myself hoping this wasn’t a true story…I know somewhere that I’m indulging in wishful thinking.

    Piercing and touching.

    1. I am not one to pass judgement but we need to look deeper into similar human predicaments. When society abandons and leaves a person to his/her own faculties, we should not be quick to cast rocks at their decisions.
      Thank you for your visit and comment, Eric

  8. Somehow it seems to be a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea: dad, unable to cope with pain and sorrow, kills himself and mum is dying. Who is going to look after the poor orphan then?
    But still a sad, beautiful story, well written and with a poignant, unexpected end. (I like sad stories!)
    Love
    Steph xx

    1. Human laws are clear…but I often wonder about God’s part in this. I am a firm believer that suicide is very wrong – that our life is not ours to destroy. Yet, there are times when that belief is shaken (not demolished, but shaken).

      Thank you my dear, for your compliment on my writing. Oh, sad stories…you like a good cry once in awhile. Therapeutic, I reckon.

      Luv and hugz, Eric

      1. If only you would know how many tears I’ve shed, reading beautiful texts or while watching romantic films, my dear Eric!
        Steph xx

  9. This…is beautifully written. I tip my hat to you…if I was wearing one…Lol. Lovely and sad, but always lovely to me when someone’s mouth shuts and allows their heart to speak and write. 🙂 God Bless You.

  10. What a sad, sad commentary! They have a system in this country where, when the aged caregiver is getting to a point where they cannot handle the stressful sickness of their partner, the sick partner is taken into what they call “respite care.” This allows the caregiver a time of healing so they can carry on to give their care to the loved one. However I have to agree the stress of seeing your partner for life suffering would never be removed from consciousness. Another good blog to make us all think.

    1. Hello Ian,

      Yes, most countries, including Singapore, have good systems and facilities in place to help the poor and sick. Though, there are many more where the help facilities are found severely wanting – even in developed countries.

      I wonder still…is the taking of life ever justified.

      Peace, Eric

      Incidentally, this story has its genesis about 50 years ago, when medical and social care as we know it was in infancy.

  11. I followed over to your blog after you ‘liked’ one of my poems. I especially like your descriptions of senses in this piece. It brings the reader closer to the moment. If this is a true story, you have my heartfelt condolences for your pain. Children deserve so much from the world.

    -Z

  12. Oh, what a painful story. I know that these kinds of things go on, but to read it in such eloquent words. . .whew!!! I of course don’t know if this is auto-biographical or just a story, but I think it will speak to people who know of or were in a family where this type of thing has happened.

    For me, it reminds me of the day in 1972 when my 14 yr old brother died a very tragic death. The family would never be the same.

    Godbless You Eric!

    1. Dear Sandy,
      My especial and heartfelt thanks to you for sharing about the tragedy in your life – it is so sad.
      God’s continued strength to you and family,
      Eric

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