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The Shotgun

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posted on May, 2 2014 @ 08:47 AM
Another piece on "Panhandle Imagined"

The bedroom is normally pitch black but when I open my eyes there is a sliver of light piercing into the room. I am waking up to the sound of crying and muffled words. I throw back the covers and cautiously make my way to the door. Through that sliver of light I hear the voices of my mother and my brother coming from the living room. I slowly walk to the door and stand listening to the sounds, trying to make sense of them. The sobbing and crying are growing louder and I find my self scared by their intensity. I am fearful of opening the door any wider.

Slowly, I push the door open and enter the room. There in a pale halo of light I find my mother sitting on the couch and my brother on his knees in front of her, pleading with her. The house is dark except for this small area where we are. The dim light casts frightening shadows across the cold room.

As my eyes adjust to the light I see my mother has a shotgun under her chin and her fingers are on the trigger. My brother is pleading with her to give him the gun. “Please momma, give me the gun,” he insists! She does not answer him but continues to sob.

I am confused but join my brother on the floor. Kneeling before her, we plead and beg. My stomach is heaving with emotion and my tears are dripping from my chin and cheeks. My brother reaches out and tries to lift my mother's fingers from the trigger but is unable to do so.

I continue to plead, while he focuses his efforts to release my mom's grip on the gun. She resists his efforts and shakes her head no. Mom can barely make eye contact. Her head is down and she has the shotgun trapped with her legs and arms. We are trying to pull it away from her but she is much stronger than us.

The single reading lamp next to the couch plays upon the scene with a yellowish cast making the scene even more macabre. My mother's sobbing continues as we pull and beg and plead, again and again. Finally, with a great sob of surrender she shutters and releases the gun.

My brother quickly runs from the room with it and goes out the back door. I climb up on the couch and throw my arms around her. My brother is gone for several minutes and I am left holding my mother, cradling and comforting her as a mother would comfort her child. I kiss her cheek and taste her salty tears. I brush her long hair back out of her eyes with my tiny hands. She looks at me from her tortured face and mouths that she loves me. I hold her tighter. She responds by hugging me until I can barely catch my breath.

My brother returns to the room and mom moves over and he sits on the other side of her. She pulls us in closer to her. I can feel her body still heaving periodicaly as she holds back sobs. We sit together on the couch, holding on for dear life, until emotionally exhausted I fall asleep.

I awake in the morning sleeping next to my brother on the couch and there is a blanket covering us. I sit up with a start, looking to see where she is. I am relieved to see she is in the kitchen making breakfast for us and the smell of homemade pancakes fills the room.

“Doug, go wake up your sister and bring her to the table,” she tells him. My brother goes into our sister Patty's room and picks her up out of her crib and brings her to the table and puts her in a highchair. Mercifully, she must have slept the entire night.

We sit around the table in our usual places. My mother opens the oven and brings fourth a stack of hotcakes she has been keeping warm. My mother places a small stack of cakes on each of our plates. We smear them with margarine and then she pours some warm homemade syrup on them. It is thin and watery, more like maple flavored water. We hungerily eat them and tell her how good they are. She smiles at our complements. Our sister Patty plays with the pancake in front of her tearing with her fingers, licking her fingers and makes a silly face and we laugh. We don't talk about what happened, ever.

posted on May, 3 2014 @ 03:13 PM
This was a real life adventure growing up in northern Idaho. I was around 4 yo and my brother was 8 years old.

posted on May, 3 2014 @ 04:09 PM
a reply to: grayeagle

This was real? I S&F you yesterday, and meant to comment - sorry. When I came back to comment, I noticed your addendum.
Wow, grayeagle, now I don't know what to say. I was going to comment on your writing and say how real it all seemed, and how my heart leapt when I came to the bit about your mother holding the shotgun. And how you had captured perfectly that feeling of being a child when suddenly everything's ok again, and you know it by the smell of pancakes and the normal routines resumed.
Now I just want to hug you! That must be an image that never leaves and fills you with a million questions. God, that's harrowing.
But beautifully written - if that helps

posted on May, 3 2014 @ 05:01 PM
a reply to: beansidhe

Please note I had posted about this incident before but revisited it for a writing workshop I am in. From that day forward I have spent my life trying to help people overcome pain and sadness. I have been a teacher, a pastor and a social worker/counselor. I was left with the feeling that if I had stopped talking she might pull the trigger. The pressure to come up with a solution for their problem made it difficult to be a truly good listener. I would be busy in my mind trying to find the answer. It took me many years to work through that. Now I am retired and I am trying to write about my life and how things like this impacted me in a way that may help others find encouragement. Thank you for reading and commenting.
edit on 06/02/2011 by grayeagle because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 3 2014 @ 05:08 PM
Such a deeply powerful story - so frightening and much more so because it was from your own experience. Very well written. S&F.


posted on May, 7 2014 @ 03:14 PM
a reply to: grayeagle

Hi greyeagle. Hope your doing well. I cant imagine the fear you and your brother held that night seeing that. And im sorry you had to witness the whole event. But it is good to see how you managed to use this experience to turn negative into positive by helping others. That is something you should be very proud of. Your an inspiration to many

posted on May, 7 2014 @ 10:17 PM
a reply to: TheDoctor46

Thanks Doc! Sometimes it takes a lifetime to learn a lesson, sometimes they come hot and fast. How are you my friend? I hope you are doing well over there across the sea. I finally have a surgery date for my knee replacement. I'm scheduled to go under the knife on May 19th. I will let my friends know how it went. Peace

posted on May, 8 2014 @ 08:28 AM
a reply to: grayeagle

Hi there. Yes i feel im heading in the right direction at last. I sure have learned a few lessons lately. Better late than never. Im getting the spring back in my step to
. Well i hope the op goes well for you. I will be keen to know how you are. Keep safe my friend

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