Sylvia’s Thread of Life

Sylvie’s Thread of Life.
A Short Story Written By
Jo Skehan
(Approx. 1500 words)
Copyright held by Author.

Sylvie stood for a moment looking at the soft mound of earth recently placed carefully and
respectfully by the groundsmen. Dressed in black with a bright red scarf, one of John’s
favourites, and a wide brimmed black hat with no veil. Sylvie didn’t want to look too much
like the grieving widow.
Her three daughters walked slowly back to where the highly polished, black cars were
parked waiting to take them home. Home to what? Sylvie wondered to herself. A sob caught
in her throat. Stifling it, she kept her resolve to stay strong for the girls. Mind you they
seemed to be handling it rather well considering. Youth handled loss so much easier.
Sylvie sighed, wiped a tear away and followed the girls to the cemetery’s gates. Briefly she
looked back at the mound of dirt where John now lay. Peacefully she hoped.
‘Are you okay Mum?’ her eldest Harriet looked concerned. Sylvie nodded and climbed into
the sleek black car. Stroking the fine leather upholstery, she mused how much John would
have oohed and aahed over it.
Arriving back at the house, they found family, friends and neighbours milling about in the
kitchen and lounge. Jean, the housekeeper who cared for the family for decades had
allowed them entry and was already feeding them and pouring tea, coffee, sherry, wine and
whatever else they desired in an effort to ease their grief.
Harriet gave Sylvie a reassuring hug as they watched Emma and Chloe greet the crowd
gathered with their best hosting skills taught over the years by Sylvie. All was not in vain
then Sylvie thought. The pain in the pit of her stomach just wouldn’t go away, no matter
how many deep breaths she took, or forced smiles she gave. When would she begin to feel
normal again? Would she ever feel normal again?
John and Sylvie had been childhood sweethearts. A quaint old fashioned title for kids who
enjoyed each other’s company Sylvie thought. Their relationship continued and grew into a much deeper partnership over the years, so by the time they were twenty, they knew there was no one else for either of them and announced their engagement. Six months later they married in the local church, from where John was farewelled today Sylvie remembered with a shiver.
‘Are you sure you are okay Mum?’ Harriet asked again. Sylvie nodded and managed a faint
smile as Chloe pushed a glass of wine into her hand.

Three little girls were born over the next and happiest six years of John and Sylvie’s lives.
They bought this house, renovated it, created a child friendly garden out the back, and filled their days taking the girls to the zoo, parks and holidays at the beach in between work and school. They had a purpose. They were together raising their girls, living life, preparing for their retirement. Together.
Today, after saying goodbye to John for the last time, Sylvie was devastated to realise she
had no purpose without her life partner. The thread of her life had been severed. The main
thread that for so long, seamlessly kept them all together, happy and proud to be a family
unit was broken. What would she do now without that thread? Sylvie could feel the pieces of her life breaking off and falling away bit by bit, chunk by chunk already.
Harriet was married with her own family now. She had a fine husband, two gorgeous boys
and a busy career. Emma was a successful young doctor who liked to take jobs overseas to
further her experience in both medicine and life. Chloe, their youngest, was an IT expert
with her own business now flourishing in the small unit she rented on the beach. A keen
surfer Chloe spent her free time in the water with her likeminded friends.
They were parts of Sylvie’s life that had already left the family home, but kept close in the
family circle as if by a piece of elastic thread thanks to John’s insistence they all return
home for the major events in life such as Christmas, Easter, and where possible birthdays.
Would they continue to keep up this tradition now he was gone to them forever?
Days passed by in a blur for Sylvie. She felt no real purpose in her life without John. Her
part time job had been put on hold when her boss thoughtfully suggested she take time off
to cope with the loss and sadness. Each morning Sylvie got out of bed and made her cup of
tea which she then took back to bed. An avid reader, Sylvie always enjoyed reading for an
hour or so both morning and night in the sanctity of her bed. It was a habit she had insisted on keeping when the girls were young for the sake of her sanity.
As before she spent time with friends. She went for walks with the dog Buddy twice a day,
for something to do more than for the health of their aging blue heeler. Each day she heard and thought of things to share with John before she remembered he was not at home to laugh with her or shake his head in the same frustration she felt. At the end of each day Sylvie felt sadder and lonelier than she could ever remember feeling. She was half a partnership, half a woman and it didn’t sit well with her at all.

The crunch came on the day Sylvie checked the bank account and found both John’s
superannuation and life insurance had been paid in, giving her a very healthy sum of money to plan her future with. What future she asked herself? As far as she was concerned there was no future for her now without the love of her life by her side.
At a loss as to how to overcome her present emotional state, Sylvie turned to her best
friend Julia. Friends since their school days, Julia was single again after divorcing her errant husband of almost thirty years. With her lump sum payout of the marriage involving the sale of the home, investment properties and a half share of the business, Julia was now a lady of leisure enjoying her new life in a swanky city apartment overlooking the river. If anyone would have some ideas as to what Sylvie could do to brighten her world it would be Julia.
Julia’s suggestion to sell the family home met with a firm no from Sylvie. She couldn’t do
that to her girls, not yet anyway. Instead they redecorated the rather dull, old and boring
interior of the house in Sylvie’s tastes. The result was a modern, colourful, comfortable
place to live.
Julia’s next suggestion of travel met with a firm no from Sylvie also. She and John had
intended to travel Europe and America on his retirement, but that day didn’t eventuate
before his heart gave out on him unexpectedly.
Joining clubs, taking up golf or bowls were suggestions met with howls of laughter from
Sylvie. Absolutely not her thing she protested. The laughter made her feel a little brighter
though. The women decided to sleep on it for a few days and see what they could come up
with. Sylvie was now back at work and not enjoying it in spite of the new wardrobe Julia
insisted she treat herself to. Joining a gym crossed Sylvie’s mind as Buddy was too old and
tired these days to want to go for walks. His days and nights were spent snoring in his cosy
That was it! Sylvie was flabbergasted at her own idea and wondered if the loneliness and
frustration of the situation was cooking her brain. The more she thought about it, the more she liked the idea and decided to set it in motion.
A few days later she arrived at Julia’s apartment carrying a little bundle of white fluff in a
special carry bag. Sylvie visited a dog breeder a few days before, and bought an adorable
little Westie puppy called Sasha. She was lucky to get her only because Sacha was the
smallest of the litter and hadn’t yet sold.

Sylvie buzzed Julia’s apartment in the luxurious lobby. Julia was thrilled to see her and she
asked ‘To what do I owe this wonderful surprise visit?’
Sylvie thrust the carry bag in her friend’s arms and said, ‘I think I have found the answer to mending my broken life thread.’ Little Sasha was overjoyed to be the centre of attention
and pranced around Julia’s expensively furnished lounge.
Both ladies were delighted with the pup’s antics and hugged each other. This little bundle of joy would give Sylvie a purpose in life,
The smile on her face was the living proof that any broken thread can be repaired with love.



7 thoughts on “Sylvia’s Thread of Life

  1. Jane Risdon January 27, 2017 at 3:34 pm Reply

    A sweet story, thanks Jo. Not sure I could go as far as a dog or cat for company, but I know they are great companions for those who like having them and need someone in their lives. Good to see you writing. xx

    • joskehan January 27, 2017 at 7:31 pm Reply

      I will always have a dog, and would love a kitty again bu I doubt if Steven’s two cats would be kind to a young interloper.

      • Jane Risdon January 28, 2017 at 10:10 am

        I can imagine. It is funny, a brother’s two dogs seem to really miss the cat which died at some ridiculously old age. Two years after her death,they still react if you mention her name. 🙂

  2. Gerri Bowen January 27, 2017 at 4:27 pm Reply

    Awww. That was sweet. Lovely. 🙂

  3. Doreen January 27, 2017 at 8:16 pm Reply

    That was a delightful read. And so very true for dog lovers. Xxx

    • joskehan January 27, 2017 at 8:59 pm Reply

      There is nothing better than the love of a dog…..saw Jamie Drurie on tv last with his adorable big dog

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