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Flower In The Garden
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A young girl learns to deal with grief after finding out her Grandmother is ill.
Sometimes in life things happen that we cannot control, things don't always go our way and this can make us angry, upset and confused.
The most important thing to remember is that this is normal for every human being.
Every day the sun will come up and the world will start afresh.
Molly had just turned seven years old.
It was a beautiful summer's day in June and the air was warm and sweet, the flowers were all in bloom and lit up the garden like a firework display.
Molly's Mum liked to tend to her garden as much as she could. She told Molly it was 'therapeutic', which meant that she found it relaxing and helped her forget all her problems.
Some of these flowers Molly had planted with her Grandma before she became ill.
Grandma had been sick for a long time; over the past month she had been a lot worse, which made Molly's Mum stressed.
Molly had asked her Mum several times when Grandma would get better, but her Mum always responded with the same answer, "I don't know."
Molly knew that Grandma was sick a lot, and had lost a lot of hair.
She knew that it was hard for Grandma to get out and about like she used to.
If Molly was feeling worried or upset, she liked to remember all the fun things she and Grandma used to do.
When Molly was very small, she and Grandma used to go on walks through the wood behind her house. The wood seemed to go on forever, with many twists and turns.
There were trees of every shape and size in vibrant colours of green, red and brown and bushes the size of the garden shed.
Molly's favourite part of the wood was the stream that ran through the middle of it.
There were large stones planted in the stream, which made it easy to hop on, to reach the other side.
Over the stream was a little wooden bridge that Molly would stand on and throw bread down to the ducks that would roam around the wood.
Grandma would make a little packed lunch of sausage rolls, strawberries, cupcakes and apple juice and bring it all in a little wooden basket.
They would sit on the bridge eating and watch the frogs swimming up and down the stream, creating small ripples and waves with every move.
When it was time to go, Molly always felt a little sad.
"What about all the little frogs and the ducks? Where do they go when we aren't here?" she asked.
Grandma would smile and take Molly's hand.
"They go back home to their own homes."
"Will they be looked after like us?"
"Of course, they all go back to their Mums and Dads. They are one big family; they all look after each other, just like we do."
Molly and Grandma's walks had to stop when Grandma became ill.
Grandma found it hard to even walk to the bathroom, let alone outside.
When she went into hospital Mum tried taking Molly on the walks herself.
Molly pretended that she was having fun so she wouldn't upset her Mum, but it just wasn't the same.
They went on a few walks until Mum worked out that Molly didn't want to go without Grandma.
"I'm sorry Mol, when Grandma's better you'll be able to go on as many walks as you like."
"When will Grandma be better, Mum?"
Mum sighed and put her head in her hands; she said the words that Molly hated hearing.
"I don't know."
Molly sat on the grass in the garden with Mum that morning in June.
She drew a picture of the wood, with her and Grandma in the centre, surrounded by swimming ducks and frogs. Mum was watering her plants and tending to the flowers.
"Mum, can we go and see Grandma so I can give her my picture? She can keep it by her bed."
Mum turned to look at Molly.
Her soft brown eyes were watery and her face that was usually so bright and rosy was as white as ice cream.
She put down the watering can and came to sit on the grass with Molly.
Molly held out her picture and Mum took it carefully.
She sniffed and traced the colourful lines with her fingers.
"You know what? I think Grandma will love this. We can go and see her this afternoon, okay?"
Molly smiled; she hadn't seen Grandma in a couple of weeks.
The hospital wanted her to get as well as she could before she had visitors.
Molly and her Mum reached the hospital at half past two.
The building was large and grey; it didn't feel very homely at all.
They went inside and took the lift a few floors up to Grandma's ward.
Molly felt worried; what if Grandma didn't remember who she was?
She gripped her Mum's hand tightly.
They stepped out of the lift and walked along the corridor.
There were lines of beds with a lot of sick elderly people in them.
Mum said Grandma was lucky because she had her own little room to herself to relax in, which she could decorate in any way she liked.
They arrived at Grandma's room and knocked on the door.
Grandma was tucked up in bed, with a nurse sitting either side of her. They both smiled as Molly and Mum walked in.
"Grandma's just having a quick nap to get rid of her headache; she doesn't usually sleep for long."
They stood up and left the room saying they would be back to check up on her in a while.
Molly went over and sat on the seat next to Grandma.
At first she was quite afraid to look at her properly because she looked so sick.
She propped the picture up against the lamp on the bedside table so when Grandma woke up it would be the first thing she saw.
Molly looked at Grandma sleeping.
Her hair had all fallen out, so she wore a pearly pink headscarf that swirled around her head like candyfloss, and was clipped to the side with a butterfly shaped broach.
Her face was pale like Mum's was earlier in the day, but her eyes were dark and swollen.
She looked peaceful and happy asleep, maybe it was nice to sleep, because she couldn't feel any pain.
Mum came and sat on the other side of Grandma.
She had bought a large bunch of pink flowers to put on Grandma's table.
She said it was to keep the room bright and happy, to match Grandma's personality.
Grandma didn't seem bright and happy recently, but 'She will get better soon' Mum kept saying.
They sat in the room for twenty minutes.
Mum told Molly to sit on the floor and draw Grandma another picture.
Molly sat quietly with her pens and paper and began to draw.
Mum sat with her head in her hand and drifted in and out of sleep.
Molly drew Grandma in the garden, with a head full of blonde curls and her eyes big and blue. She was standing next to a patch full of flowers of every colour with a watering can in one hand. Next to her was Molly, who was holding Grandma's other hand.
When she finished the picture Mum said it was time to go.
Grandma was still asleep, but Mum said it was best that she got as much rest as she could.
Molly left the second picture on the chair next to the bed.
The nurses came back in and told her they would make sure Grandma looked at them.
Molly went and gave Grandma a kiss on her head, her skin was like fire, but she looked ice cold.
"Is she going to be okay, Mum?"
Mum took Molly's hand as they left the room.
"Of course, she's got everyone looking after her, and us too. They're like one big family."
"That's what Grandma said about the animals."
A couple of days later Grandma had become worse, every time she ate she vomited it straight back up.
Mum went to go and see her but Molly wasn't allowed, so she stayed next door with Mrs Willow. She was an old lady like Grandma; but with curly white hair and whiskers on her cheeks.
She lived with her husband Albert and their cat Bruce .Her garden was exactly like her Mum's. It was rounded with flowers circling the grass, then a small vegetable patch at the back.
Mrs Willow also had flowers inside the house; they were kept in different coloured pots along the windowsills of the house.
Molly went to touch the petals of a purple one but they were hard!
"I keep these ones around the house so I don't have to maintain them every day, they're just for show, you see. Then I can spend more time looking after the real ones outside."
"Grandma would like those in her room, then they would last longer," Molly said as she inspected the leaves.
"I think she likes the real ones much better. When you go back home with your Mum, why don't you plant some real ones in your garden for Grandma? She'd love to see them blossoming when she leaves the hospital."
Mrs Willow made Molly lunch and they both sat out in the garden.
It was another lovely warm day. Mum was due to be back around three o'clock, it was approaching half past two.
"Will I be able to go and see Grandma today?" Molly asked, picking at her sandwich.
"Maybe not today, but we should see what your Mum says when she comes to collect you."
Molly frowned; she knew that Mum wouldn't let her go.
The phone rang and Mrs Willow went inside to answer it.
Bruce the cat sauntered out into the garden and rubbed his body against Molly's arm.
He had bushy white fur and blue eyes, Molly thought he looked a lot like his owner.
Mrs Willow came out into the garden five minutes later; she had a grave look on her face.
"I'm afraid your Mum won't be home tonight Molly; she has to stay over with Grandma.
We're going to go back to your house at bedtime. Why don't we make some presents for Grandma? Maybe tomorrow we can go out and plant those flowers for her too."
Molly didn't feel like doing anything, all she wanted was her Mum to come home with Grandma. Although it was warm and sunny outside, it felt cold and dark to Molly.
Mrs Willow went back inside and left Molly with Bruce.
She tried to cry, but no tears came out. She tried to think about something happy, but everything seemed grey.
Mrs Willow came back out into the garden with some sheets of card and little pots of paint.
"I only get these out when my little Grandson comes to visit, but I think you'd like them more than him. You'll certainly use them better."
Molly looked at the paints. There was one of every colour she could think of.
She thought about painting the flowers in the garden, using Grandma's favourite colour of bright pink.
She dipped the brush in and started to paint the outline of the flower, slowly the flower started to look beautiful.
Molly suddenly felt angry. She dipped the brush in the black pot and started slashing across the picture, she did it so furiously the card began to dent and tear.
Mrs Willow rushed from her chair and took the brush from Molly.
She pulled her in tight as Molly began to cry.
A couple of weeks later, Molly and her Mum were stood at the grave.
"Go on Mol; put everything on top so Grandma can take it with her."
Molly knelt at the coffin, dropping all her pictures she'd drawn for Grandma.
She held the crumpled pink flower in her hand and stroked the petals, before dropping it down too.
"That's really beautiful, she will love it. Where did you get it?"
"It was a flower from the garden, one we planted together."
Molly and her Mum held hands, smiling up at the dreamy blue sky, knowing Grandma was looking down on them.
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