Anxiety – 31 days of writing prompts!

Write about a noise — or even a silence — that won’t go away.


This is a really difficult one for me to write, because when I’m anxious about something it’s not usually a noise that makes me feel upset.

I think the closest thing I can think of for this prompt happened on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday in 2002, when my grandfather passed away. There had been no indication that he was ill – he’d had heart trouble in the past, but there hadn’t been any signs of the heart attack that killed him that night. He was in his favourite chair, reading his newspaper when my grandmother left the room. When she returned, he had died. She rang my father in a panic, and he and my mother rushed to the house. My father attempted CPR, but it was no good. He was gone.

I had waited at home – I was in that awkward in-between phase when I was working full time but hadn’t saved enough for a house deposit yet – and eventually my mother rang to tell me that she was staying the night at my grandmother’s house and my father was returning home. I was to look after him, she urged.

I had no idea what to say to him. He wasn’t crying, but he wasn’t talking either. I tried to say the things that I thought you had to say, but you couldn’t exactly call it a conversation. It lapsed into silence. I stayed as long as I could with him, but in the end of the pressure of that silence was too much and I caved. I went upstairs to bed and left him to sit in silence downstairs. We’re not overly-demonstrative in my family – love is shown in gestures rather than in words. I didn’t have the words that night, and I didn’t have a gesture either. All I had was silence.