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Saying Goodbye

Molly Furey

Isobelle Carmody Award

for Creative Writing


The fireplace lay cold and empty now, her tired eyes rested on the

hearth where she had knelt so many times in front of an open fire.

Her fragile body could no longer carry the earthy smelling wood or

bend to tend the glowing flames. She remembered sitting by this fire,

with a brand new baby resting in her arms rocking back and forth,

back and forth gen-tly in the peaceful warmth. She didn’t want to

leave this house where so many memories had been made. ‘Old age is

cruel, sad and lonely,’ Clara thought to herself. Its most recent

turnover was her realisation, with the gentle encouragement of her

daughter Rosie, that she could no longer live alone. Clara pulled back

the lace curtains, Rosie would be here soon to take her away from this

place. She didn’t want to leave, she wanted to live here until the day

she died, she wanted to have every one of her memories linked back

to this house, she wanted to stay.

She stood up and walked down the small corridor that led to her

bedroom. She stood there in silence staring at the empty walls where

photos had once hung. She remembered the Sunday mornings when

a wide-awake Rosie would come bounding into Clara and her

husband, Fred’s, bedroom and snuggle up in-between them. She

could still hear Rosie’s giggles as Fred playfully tossed the tiny angel

into the air. Now the giggles seemed to echo through the cold, lonely

house. She stood there for a while and then turned and shuffled into

the kitchen and lowered herself slowly into a creaking wooden chair.

She loved the fact that the chairs were all different. She ran her hand

over the worn surface of the old timber table. She remembered the

laughter, the tears, the joy and the heartache that had been shared

around this table. She looked to the end of the table, the place where

Fred had sat at every meal. How she missed him. The five years had

not eased the pain. She missed him every single day. The smell of

warm bread as it was lifted from the stove wafted through her


Clara stood up and walked towards the back door. She pushed

open the rickety screen door that led to the small back garden where

she and Fred had spent hours every week-end gardening and

planting things in their veggie garden. Fred was extremely proud of

his veggie garden, he never let a carrot be planted out of line or a

tomato plant grow too high, everything was perfect. But these days,

the veggie patch was old and over-grown. Clara couldn’t bend over

anymore to clean it up. She felt that she had let Fred down, it just