His face was as stony as the rocky outcrop at the top of the hill. I wondered if his heart was made of similar granite.

Since Mum had passed he hadn’t shed a tear. My sisters and I had gathered round, reminiscing, watching old family films, looking through old photographs. We laughed at the memories, we cried at our loss.

He sat in the corner and stared out the window, unmoving, paying us no heed.

Now we reached the peak and I offered him the urn. He shook his head and stared out at the horizon below.

I hadn’t prepared any words. Mum preferred the silence up here, with just the sound of the wind whipping round the huge boulder.

I opened the lid and tipped the ashes out. The wind caught the grains and blew them around us in a swirl, gradually floating and dissipating.

After five more minutes of silence, he turned and began the descent. I followed.

‘It’s better this way,’ I tried to assure him again.

He merely grunted and walked ahead.

Better to give her a dignified end than watch her fade away. Was it selfish to spare ourselves that ordeal? Or selfless?

Copyright Sue Vincent

This is a response to the Thursday Photo Prompt – Stone curated over at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. Click on the link to read other stories inspired by the image.

28 responses to “AN ACT OF MERCY”

  1. Oh my, I was taken in by the story and felt the sympathy for the family and then…I read the end and now I have questions in my mind!
    And the answer is …… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Your story makes me think on euthanasia a bit differently. I’ve always thought of it as a choice one made for one’s self but this takes it in a different direction — involving family.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The ending of this is great in making the reader question all that has gone before. Is the father’s heart made of granite, or broken by the actions of his children? One to ponder on.

    Liked by 1 person

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