Before Antibiotics

cemetery graveyard tombstone

You were so young, so tiny. You’d not even had dreams, not sought to see your goals blossom and bloom.

And here you are – in a hole, next to other families’ headstones all marked “INFANT” with a single date underneath. Could I get you one of those stones? A final blanket that might comfort you as you look down from Heaven and remember that your mother always loves you, no matter how young you were taken?

And here I am – moving on to the next grave, an unmarked patch of earth where sweet Ona, six, was buried last year.


So, I’ve recently been listening to a 19th century book wherein the author uses “blossom” to mean “woman hits puberty” and IĀ HATE that usage. So I decided to turn that on its head and write it from a more frightening place.

This was inspired by Charli Mills’s Carrot Ranch prompt, blossom.

Photo by Brett Sayles on

17 thoughts on “Before Antibiotics

  1. Charli Mills says:

    You did a great job of turning that phrase on its head with “goals” being the focus for blossom and bloom. I have walked similar graveyards before antibiotics, noting each loss.

  2. Norah says:

    Oh my, that’s so sad. I also have a distaste for that other use of the word ‘blossom’. It seemed to be used quite frequently when I was growing up, as if a young girl’s maturation was there for everyone to observe and comment on.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I recently read a 19th century work that talked about how women would blossom and be ready to marry at 16 or so, and that their point in life had been used up by the age of 40. It was horrible, and the word “blossom” just stuck out to me as one of the worst offenders.

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