Angela Grout, Author
|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on September 11, 2022 at 10:10 PM||comments (0)|
THE TRAIL OF BALLOONS
A MONOLOGUE BY AM GROUT
2020-Performed online with Majestic Theater Summer 2020- see You Tube channel- performed by :
2022- Open Mic Performance at the 2022 IWWG Conference- Monologue- performed by Angela Grout
Video to be attached ASAP.
When I was five, I left a birthday party with a blue balloon in my hand. It wasn’t a special balloon but when I got outside the wind swept it from me and it drifted off to the sky. I was so upset that I didn’t hold it tight enough. My grandmother offered to get me another balloon but I wanted that one. She said, “Bobby, it wasn’t your fault. Heaven needed it now. Have faith and trust that God will keep it save for you and one day you will see again.”
Months later, my mom was in the final stages of kidney failure. I didn’t know her kidneys were failing her but I knew she was sick. She had been sick all the time over the past few years. Dad moved me and my sister away from her and out of the house. He told us it was better for all of us. I imagined she was contagious. I didn’t see her often but we did talk on the phone frequently. She had doctor’s appointments and tests every day. She told me there were some days she would throw up for hours after her treatments.
When Mom died, Dad said it was because Mom stopped getting treatments. I wasn’t sad like most would think. I was actually relieved she wasn’t suffering anymore. I told Dad “I hope God takes care of her just like he is taking care of that balloon I lost.” Dad smiled and said, “Yes, I am sure he will.”
The day of mom’s wake, there were bunches of balloons at the entrance of the funeral home. I walked in and saw the casket across the room. It was metal and shiny like Dad’s truck. Hesitating for a minute, I approached the open casket and looked in. I expected to see mom but that is not what I saw.
I looked around the room and saw a big letter “B” made out of flowers. I didn’t understand, Mom’s name was Dianne and that was D not B. A man in a black suit entering the room carrying another wreath of flowers. There wasn’t a need for more flowers but he placed them on an easel next to the casket. I ran over to him and asked, “Where is my mother?”
That is when I heard her voice. She was sitting on a couch in the back of the room. She was holding a blue balloon.
I ran over to her and she handed me the balloon. I was so excited. I hugged her tight, careful to not let go of the balloon. Then all of a sudden, one of the balloons in the doorway popped. I jumped and said, “Mom, What is going on?”
With tears in her eyes, she held me a little closer and whispered “I am so sorry. My addiction cost me your life and mine.”
I looked at her and said, “It’s okay Mom. God will take care of you, just like this balloon. And you won’t be suffering anymore with your pain. It’s not your fault.”
She cried louder and kept repeating how sorry she was. Then a door next to the casket opened revealing a long hallway. A bearded man appeared dressed in white, calling her name and said, “Dianna, It’s time.”
She squeezed me once more and stuttered the words, “I love you. I will see you soon.”, then she walked to the door and slowly disappeared in the hallway.
The man adjusting the flowers was now turning on a television in the corner of the room. I asked him, “Where did my mom go?” He ignored me. A video containing photos of my family scrolled on the screen. I looked back in the casket and saw the body lying there looked like me. I touched the hand, it was cold. I poked the face and it was stiff.
The boy in the casket was wearing my favorite shirt and sneakers. I felt like Greg in the book called Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I read it with Dad this summer. Greg had x-ray vision, and somehow I could tell this boy even had my favorite socks on. I must be dreaming I thought. I remember someone talking about when someone you love dies, you lose a part of yourself. Maybe that was what this was. I guess I loved my mom more than I ever knew. But I loved my Dad too, and I wished he was here.
A second later, I heard my father’s voice. I ran over to him and hugged him. “Dad, I am so glad you are here. You have to look in the casket, it’s so weird.” Dad remained silent. He was looking at a card on that had fallen from one of the flower designs. The card read, ‘Your son will be remembered in our hearts forever.’
The funeral director placed a comforting hand on Dad’s shoulder and expressed his condolences. Dad said, “I can’t believe this is really happening. One minute we were tossing a ball to distract him from crying about his mom, and then in an instant, Bobby was lying in the road. Why couldn’t I have saved him?” Tears began to well in his eyes.
Dad knelt down at the casket and placed his hand on mine. He said, “Son, I am so sorry. I failed you. I wish I could have been a better father.”
Dad’s hand was warm. I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Dad you have nothing to be sorry about, you are the greatest Dad ever. I love you.” Dad whispered back, “I will always love you.”
A beautiful woman dressed in shades of blue entered the room. She motioned for me to come near her. “Hello my child,” she says, then her arms extend like angel wings and she caressed my shoulders.
I looked into her eyes and saw the most wonderful light. The light came from beyond her eyes, beyond her soul. Her soft wings continued to caress my arm and she share with me this story.
“This is the gift of the spirit. You were made from this light and now you must return. Though it is far earlier than expected, you will be welcomed home just the same. Tears will dry. Know there is no need to breathe here, you will just be. You will hear all the kind words, and see so much. There is so much love that all your fears will disappear. You will remain in the hearts of many and reside in the arms of God forever.”
I found myself surrounded by blue balloons. The balloons embraced me, filled me with love and healed my wounds. The video played in the back of the room showing the life I lived. It was pretty great. It wasn’t the story of a wimpy kid, it was the hero of a brother, the partner of a father, and a proud member of a family.
The blue lady adjusted the balloon in my hand and said, “New memories can be made, but nothing will ever be the same.” And together we floated to the heavens with that balloon.
Dad walked outside to get some fresh air. Silently he whispered, “I need a sign.” When he opened his eyes, a single blue balloon brushed his head as it floated to the sky.
|Posted by email@example.com on April 20, 2020 at 11:15 PM||comments (0)|
Title: Buttons Making a Difference (published in tTHE RECORD, WS, MA)
By AM Grout
During the Covid19 pandemic medical staff must wear a mask at all times. “Eight hours and my ears are really sore, after 16 hours the skin begins to break down from the constant pressure of that elastic.” states a nurse from Western Massachusetts Hospital. The elastic used over the ear to secure the mask quickly creates an open wound. Regardless of the pain staff must continue to protect themselves.
Nurses have found hacks for linking the elastic bands behind their head with a paperclip. Unfortunately it is not full proof, paperclips slip, “dirty hands” are up at the face trying to adjust the slipping mask or the elastic breaks off the mask and the mask is now damaged.
Westside resident Lori Clauss read about a nurse at St Luke’s Urgent Care in Pennsylvania that was looking for a unique headband that had buttons. The mask hooked onto the buttons protecting the ears and as a bonus it would also hold the hair back from the face. Lori was compelled to use her sewing skills to help this woman who was nearly two hundred and fifty miles away.
Lori hunted buttons and got a reply from Steph Wolf of Pennsylvania. Steph was selling a large box of buttons on Facebook Marketplace with a “porch pick up”. Lori knew that option was not going to work and offered to pay for shipment. Steph was so moved by Lori’s charity project that Lori woke up the very next day to a large heavy box overnighted with thousands of buttons. Steph had also included a touching note thanking Lori for letting her be part of something so beautiful.
With the help of her longtime friend Celina Bertera, Lori has completed 20 headbands and shipped them off to the nurse in Pennsylvania free of charge.
Celina and Lori want to help out their own medical community which is suffering the same fate. “We are determined to get as many as we can possibly make to all of these amazing women and men on the front lines. It is our way of thanking and showing appreciation for all that they are doing. Not to mention the feeling you get in your heart knowing you are not completely helpless, being able to show our love and respect to all.”
The charity project was advertised on West Springfield Community on Facebook and they were promptly swamped with requests. The staff at Western Mass Hospital is just one of the many recipients of Lori Clauss’s fashionable help.
Kim Dotiwalla a registered nurse, explained that “these buttons make all the difference; and the headbands holds my hair off my face and prevents it from getting tangled in the elastic bands.”
Lori Clauss, Celina Bertera and Steph Wolf are just three of the many unsung heroes helping to improve a really tough situation. Our area hospitals employee roughly 58,000 people. Do your part on their behalf. They ask you to please stay home.
If you know of someone making a difference- contact Angela.firstname.lastname@example.org
AMGrout is a WS resident and the Author of APRIL RAiN, Dear Baby, Get Out!, and An Angels Journey. You can follow her on Facebook @AuthorAMGrout.
|Posted by email@example.com on October 31, 2018 at 3:00 PM||comments (372)|
Effective Words Affect Me- Inside the mind of Author AM Grout
When I pick up a pen, I often pause to consider if a story is worth writing. I make this decision by how the inspiration and the influences that surround the idea of the story affects me. If the story affects me to the point that I must sit and write, I set a timer, and do it.
I seldom pause when writing with a pen in hand, therefore the scribbles are most likely only legible to me. I once tried to learn shorthand so that I could write faster, but the dashes, slashes and symbols were too foriegn to understand.
The cool thing about handwritten rough drafts is that I can abbreviate, use private symbols, and even write the word "ELAB" when I want to elaborate more in the typed version of the story. Typing the rough draft is easy, editing is not so easy.
When typing the words I slow down seeing the edits that need to be made such as punctuation, verb tense, and spacing. My type A personality doesn't allow me to hand editing over to just anyone. My trusted resources provide me with what I need, yet I am still responsible to make the final edits, something I want to let go of a little.
Every page I type, I often can get sidetracked with the aesthetics of the layout. But truth is I just want the stories to be as pleasing as the visual words on the page. The reality is the effective words on the pages in some of my stories may not bring peace when the cover closes, but they will certainly affect the reader.
In my journals and my everyday life, my writings are often reflective.
In the stories I write, I have many moments where I reflect on the what ifs, whys and the what would I have done in that circumsatance. I suppose that is the way effective writings work.
An effective story, has words that provide an effective way to affect someone's thoughts. They certainly have affected me or I wouldn't have picked up the pen.
(Submitted to Write Angles Conference 2018 )