Week 14 Story: The Dead Mother

I was in love, and life was perfect. I had the most beautiful woman, Helen, and the best marriage. The world was our oyster, and we couldn't wait to build our lives together by starting a family someday. All of our neighbors rolled our eyes when they saw us out of envy and jealousy. Helen became pregnant and gave birth to a precious little girl. Soon after, however, Helen became sick shortly after and suddenly died.
There I was-- left without love, left without knowing what to do, and left with heartbreak. Helen was going to be the caretaker of my sweet child while I was working. I needed to hire a caretaker for my baby girl. An old woman, Hanna, came to my door asking for the job. Hanna cared for the child like it was her own child.
During the mornings when I was with the baby, she would cry for hours on end. For there was no woman to nurse her, and no matter how tight I swaddled her up in that wool blanket, she would still by crying. When I left for the city to work, I left the child in Hanna's arms. I didn't know if it was the woman's touch she had, but I do know that when I put my baby girl in Hanna's arms, she would stop crying. I would then come back from work again, and Hanna would leave my house. Hanna left, and my baby would resume wailing. I thought it was kind of peculiar that when I put the child to sleep, she was once again calm. Was it my fault? Did my baby not like me as much as I adored her?
At night, I began to hear my front door open and close every night at midnight and then footsteps leading to the baby room. Although I was terrified, I never worried for my baby's safety because I never heard crying. So last night, I peaked around the corner of the room to see who was this person looking over my baby. It was Hanna. Or was it? She was dressed in Hanna's clothes from earlier that day, but from the profile it looked like someone oh so familiar. Helen! It was the ghost of Helen! This whole time, I was dreading having the baby grow up without her mother. But whether she's dead or not, I realized that my baby would always have her mother, walking with her every step of the way in life.

Baby girl, Flickr

Bibliography: W.R.S. Walston, Russian Folktales: The Dead Mother (link)

Author's Note:
In the original story, the father hired an old woman to care for the child, but her role was unrelated to the deceased mother. I thought it would be interesting to incorporate the woman into the story as being the ghost form of the mother. And in the end, instead of coming to terms of the ghost mother returning and the dead baby, I ended it more on a happy note where mother would visit the baby everyday, through the nanny and at night, and the baby would live a happy life wither her father.


  1. Hi Shary! I really felt the pain that the husband felt after the death of his beloved wife. It would be really hard to take care of a little one by themselves while dealing with the grief. Although the father doesn't worry about the footsteps at midnight, I would definitely worry about the safety of the baby, even if there wasn't crying. He must really need the sleep! I'm so glad it turned out to be Helen/Hanna!


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