She lay there completely drained, unable to speak, but also not feeling the need to. Exhaustion had robbed the strength necessary to keep her eyes open. Throughout the night she fought hard but, by the third time the staff rushed in, summoned by the blaring alarms, she felt herself slipping. Wearily, she turned her face in his direction. In the rush of doctors, he had been driven to the far corner of the hospital room. His face showed fear she’d never seen before . He looks stricken, she thought. Through her new calm, she felt only briefly sorry for him. She grew detached and he grew dim as she began that exquisite surrender. The hands of the people working on her body grew faint. Their voices took on a distant tinny sound.

There was no fear. That surprised her. How many times had she begged for this moment of release but backed off, fearful of what lies beyond? At last, she found herself wrapped in comfort and, with a growing sense of disengagement, she thought, how ironichow peculiar that my old prayer would be honored now, when I no longer plead for escape. Be careful what you wish for.

She vaguely felt her body moving. Her eyes blinked open to her doctor’s hovering face, asking questions she couldn’t respond to. They blinked open to lights flashing past overhead, then open again when a mask was placed over her face. They finally opened to him, his forehead resting against hers, his eyes full of worry. He squeezed her hand and she felt that.

On the verge of surrender, the first cry of their son touched her ears. She thanked God for his life, grateful for that piece of her that would remain with her husband.

Then she closed her eyes.

This week The Red Dress Club’s Red Writing Hood prompt was for a flash fiction piece inspired by the word LIFE. The story needed to be told in 300 words or less. Mine is precisely 300 words and based on the birth of my son. Every single word is true, except for the part where I died, of course.


  1. Wow. Powerful stuff. And so, so good.

    She grew detached and he grew dim as she began that exquisite surrender. The hands of the people working on her body grew faint. Their voices took on a distant tinny sound.

    That line lingers, as does the dreaminess of the piece. The juxtaposition of the manic activity and the detachment of the reader works.

    And when that baby cried, I hoped she would pull through.

    • I’m happy that my words worked and that I was able to convey the dreaminess/detachment with the flurry of activity that was happening simultaneously. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. That got my pulse racing. Really good.

  3. oh i am gutted she died! you took me on a 300 word journey and now i want it to have a happy ending! brilliantly written as always x

  4. I loved this piece so much. I felt in the room, felt the emotions. Beautiful!

    • Thanks! I was a bit worried about writing this ‘alternate ending’ to our story and how it would be received. 🙂

  5. Arrrrgh! Then she closed her eyes! What are you trying to do to us? Loved this, most especially the exquisite surrender. Beautifully done.

  6. Circle of life, if you will… absolutely love it. 🙂

  7. Glad you didn’t die. Nice work!

  8. I like how you conveyed the disconnect/detachement/distance without being cynical. This was really emotional in a good way. As you said on my blog (thanks btw) – Nice!

  9. You already know how much I love this. Reading through it again made me really notice the squeeze of her husband’s hand and how she “felt that.” Again, I am struck by the relationship they share. The love that is apparent and so strong. Even as she/you are fading away, you still feel that connection to him…and in the last moment, you think of him and what you’re leaving behind.

    Beautifully done.

  10. Oh my goodness! So powerful! I love this. So sad it wasn’t a happy ending for her. “Be careful what you wish for”. Love it.

  11. Thanks for not giving us the fluffy ending! This may be wrong, but I love it when everyone dies. I like how in your piece life is transferred and picked up. I like that the end is a continuation.

  12. What an intense 300 words that was Kelli! You describe the detachment she was experiencing so well.

  13. These are such strong oppositions – all the hectic rush around her and her resignation. Beautifully written!

  14. Woo! That teared me up! Excellent story!

  15. Great job. I love the emotion that you evoke with this piece. Very hard to do with 300 words. 🙂

  16. This got me teary eyed. Nice job!

  17. I have often wondered what it’s like to “go”. I’ve had many loved ones pass away. You wrote a calming description of what it is like to slip from ths place to the other. Thanks for sharing that intimate part of your life.

  18. Wow, I don’t even know exactly how I feel about that. Very poignant–I feel like I could stop and think about it for a while, process it. That’s my biggest fear right now–to leave my kids too soon. Amazing for 300 words

  19. I knew it was you from the first line and was heartbroken when you let yourself die! I’m so glad you didn’t really…

  20. Oh sad, scary, emotional, powerful. I held my breath hoping for her {you?}.

    This line: “On the verge of surrender, the first cry of their son touched her ears.” read like poetry.

  21. This is absolutely beautifully written, Kelli. I feel like I’m living that moment through your eyes.

  22. Well done! Really nice writing.

  23. Wow! Beautifully written.I felt so “there”! You describe everything so well and details, I felt as if I was watching a really great movie! XOXOX

  24. Oh my gosh Kelli. Terrifying!!! I felt every syllable cut through me like a knife. You never cease to amaze. You are also, for yet another reason, a kindred spirit.

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