Cuffer Prize competition closes 5 p.m. today

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The deadline for submissions to the Cuffer Prize, The Telegram’s Short Fiction Award, is 5 p.m. today.

The contest is sponsored by The Telegram and Creative Book Publishing and their parent company, TC Media.

Cuffer Prize rules at

Organizations: The Telegram

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  • Helen Griffin
    February 15, 2014 - 18:10

    Before I Leave HelenG He lay there in one position as he could not move without assistance. His body racked in spasms of pain if a muscle moved. His mind drifted in and out to things of the past, present and future. Was it just a few weeks ago that his doctor had told him he was terminally ill with no chance of him surviving surgery to remove the tumor in his lung? It was suggested he see oncologists to book appointments for chemotherapy and radiation. He wasn’t about to be a guinea pig during his last few days on earth. His doctor gave him six months to a year to live. But diagnosed with prostate cancer, lung cancer, bone cancer and a brain tumor, he was steadily going downhill. He had had one day since he heard the fateful news that he could actually walk around without pain. Now as he lay there on a low positioned couch, his mind went over many things. He was increasingly going downhill and no amount of chemotherapy or radiation would help him now. He hungered now for food more than ever in his life. He ate with a zest. As the weight quickly disappeared from his body, he hungered more and requested meals throughout the day. In everything he did he needed so much assistance. It was given him freely whenever he wanted help. He knew he would be lovingly cared for as his beloved wife had been cared for at home. He knew there was still one person he could count on in this life. As the days passed, his bodily functions were shutting down. He became weaker with each day. He reached out his hand and took hers and kissed it ever so reverently saying,” I love you.” She knew he was in his own way preparing her for the end and expressing his gratitude for her compassion, consideration and loving care she had bestowed on him since her birth. He told of her of the angels he had seen around her. Christ had paid a visit to his home to assure him that he had received His saving grace. He was guaranteed God’s love and a place in heaven. His days on earth were faithfully observed. His only concern now was for her. He was assuring her that she would be so blessed now and in the future. He had implied that she would be taken care of. A host of angels were already in place to watch over her. He knew her faith was strong. He also knew she would indeed remember this to sustain her. His tired body was failing quickly and now his voice was gone as well. His facial expressions told her immediately how he was feeling and what he needed and still she made sure his needs were taken care of. He lapsed into a coma as his breathing became labored with only gurgling sounds to indicate that life breathed through his fragile body. Hours later the gurgling ceased, he opened his eyes for a brief second, looked around the room and breathed his last. Finally, the pain vanished from this shell of a body. He was now at peace never to be tormented by pain or affliction again. As she guided his broken shell of a body outside to the waiting hearse, she knew he was in a better place and nothing could ever hurt him again. Before he left this life, he had imparted his words of wisdom, gratitude and consolation to the one person who had been by his side throughout his illness.