WeWriWa—A place where there’s no suffering

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. This week’s snippet comes a few lines after last week’s, when young widower Mr. Lebedev was reunited with his three youngest daughters in February 1921. He now has five of his ten daughters back.

Next-youngest sister Natalya asked oldest sister Galya why she’s stumbling around, and Galya revealed she’s now blind (though hoping to get a sight-restoration operation in America). Mr. Lebedev has promised Fyodora, who’s not quite seven, he’ll spend the rest of his life giving her all the love and protection she was denied in the orphanage system.

Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine with his belovèd daughter Elisabeth

“Where’s Mama?” Fyodora asks.

“She’s in a very nice place where there’s no more suffering,” Mr. Lebedev tells her, holding back tears. “We’ll see her again someday.”

“Where are my other five sisters?”

“I don’t know.  Some of them may be with your mother.”

“Now, please, Papa, we have to go to America.  Take us to a place where there’s no suffering,” Natalya pleads.

“So then Mama went to America?” Fyodora asks.

“She went to a magical place with angels, harps, fountains, gold, eternal youth, and love,” Mr. Lebedev elucidates.

When Mr. Lebedev remarries a bit over two years later, to female protagonist Lyuba’s mother, Fyodora realizes her mother must be dead, and what her father meant when he said her mother went to a magical place with things like golden water and harps. Her Machekha (Stepmother) Katya is the only mother she ever really knows, having been separated from her blood mother shortly after her third birthday.

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12 comments on “WeWriWa—A place where there’s no suffering

  1. Ed Hoornaert says:

    I hope he finds more of his daughters.

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  2. I just can’t imagine being in this situation, but I like his character–working so hard to gather his flock.

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  3. Interesting passage. I hope Katya isn’t an evil stepmother.

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  4. Author Jessica E. Subject says:

    It would be so hard to have to tell young children that their mother has died. Like Ed, I hope he does find more of his family has survived.

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  5. jakerose says:

    That has to be heart-wrenching, having to try to explain to your children what happened to their mother. Awesome snippet though!

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  6. Trying to explain to children when a parent or other loved one has died is VERY hard. Another thought provoking excerpt today!

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  7. It’s so hard to explain these things to children. I understand her confusion.

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  8. Jenna Jaxon says:

    So sad to have their reunion marred by such sadness. But I’m glad the stepmother will be a good one.

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  9. It’s a nice way to explain things, but clearly confusing his daughter. Sometimes euphemisms don’t help…

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  10. P.T. Wyant says:

    I agree with Caitlin — sometimes it’s better to just be honest and matter-of-fact instead of hiding death behind euphemisms.

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  11. Diane Burton says:

    Very noble of him to try to find his daughters. From what I’ve read about that time period, it was rare for a father to be so concerned. Very nice snippet.

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