Sophie Gartshore

School: Glasgow



Shock  2 minutes after

She stood silently, trying to make sense of what he was saying, to understand why he was here. She couldn’t move. Her mouth had dried up like a desert; she tried and tried to swallow to no avail.It seemed nothing in her body would work. She felt her own body retreat into itself, something within Winifred’s secret heart broke that day. She couldn’t find it within herself to acknowledge her daughter crying as the policeman spoke, she just clutched her pregnant belly and allowed herself to fully numb over. “How did she…?” Ida spoke cautiously from beside her. Winifred couldn’t bear to listen to it and ran out of the room, almost tripping over the saxophone case on the floor in her haste.

Denial  1 day after

The only thing she could think was no. No to Viola’s death. No to Ida’s busking. Winifred refused to allow herself to grieve, refused to allow herself to breakdown; she kept going on pure adrenaline. She refused to realize her own flesh and blood, Ida, crying through the night in the bed next to her. Winifred erased every misfortune from her head. Viola’s untimely death, Ida’s redundancy and even her own pregnancy. She went on as normal.

“Mama?” Do you want to talk about… Vio…?” Ida spoke.

“What about her, Darlin’?” Winifred said cheerfully in response.

“Mama…” Ida was perplexed that her own Mama wouldn’t speak about the recent tragedies that had struck the family. Winifred completely ignored her daughter all together and fled to her bedroom where she simply cried and sobbed and wept. Every emotion she had poured out of her eyes in her tears.

Anger 1 month after

“Ida!” Winifred shouted loudly at her still sleeping daughter.

“Ugh… I’m up, I’m up…” Ida groaned from her cavern of blankets.

“You’d better be!” Winifred snarled.

By 8:00 o’clock Ida was up and out the door ready to busk at the shopping district where the most money was made.

As soon as she had left Winifred dropped to the bed with her hands on her face, hiding her scowl.

She threw an old hairbrush at the scruffy wall and watched as it bounced off of the already crumbling plasterboard and saw as a whole chunk of wall flew off.

“Damn it…” She mumbled as her breath came in ugly, shallow gasps.

Bargaining  42 days after

Winifred kneeled facing her bed with her hands clasped.

“Dear God,

Please listen to my prayer in earnest, just as I have listened to and obeyed you. Bring my daughter back! Bring her from the grave andallow me to begin once again! I know I am lesser than you. I repent and acknowledge that I have had my two children out of wedlock, soon to be a third… But please… give me one more chance to care for my daughter properly. Amen.”

Guilt  2 months after

Winifred stared at the ceiling with a horrible overwhelming feeling of anxiety, sadness and worry, these emotions swirled together to create an unfamiliar one. Guilt.

She began to think things like, “This is my fault, I did this…”

Winifred broke down into tears as she drove herself deeper and deeper into this pit of self- blame. Winifred paused as she felt a small trickle of water drip down her legs. Her waters had broken.


Depression  5 months later

Winifred sighed as she nursed her newborn baby.

She sighed when she spoke to Ida.

She couldn’t sleep.

She couldn’t eat.

She only had one thing to live for. Mae. That was the name she had chosen for her daughter, It had been Viola’s middle name, it had felt right to give her a name that meant something.

Wah! Wah!” Mae cried. Winifred stole a glance at the clock and rushed to lay Mae in her second-hand cot. Once her own, once Ida’s, once Viola’s. Winifred set to sewing as she knew if she tried to sleep insomnia would hit again.

Acceptance  5 years later

“Mama! Mama!” Mae shrieked as she ran about in front of Winifred. It had been a long battle on depression, distress and despair. But, looking at her ecstatic daughter pointing and giggling at a young quail preening itself in a puddle, she knew that she would get over it. Even if it took her entire life, she would. She wouldn’t regress back to her angry self, her depressed self, she would continue to protect and love both of her daughters as well as her third. As Mae and Winifred walked through the gates of the cemetery together, she pointed to a small, modest headstone and said, “Look Mae, that’s your big sister.

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