Remembering Earl

“You know, Earl, some nights, I just can’t sleep. Even after all this time, the bed still feels empty without you in it. I’m left lying there awake for hours, with what memories I still have left.

“Do you know I can’t even remember anymore the day we met? Senna had such a sad look on her face when she was recalling the story and I just looked back at her blankly. Apparently you were checking out my produce a little too closely and knocked over my cart at the Farmer’s Market. You always were so clumsy. Even if I can’t remember it anymore, it’s easy for me to imagine it.

“But you know what I do remember? When we got married. We couldn’t have a fancy wedding, because we’d put everything into getting that farm house to start a family, so we had the ceremony in the backyard. I can’t remember anymore all the guests that were there that day for the big occasion, but I do remember growing the flowers and baking the cake myself just to cut some corners… but it still felt perfect. Being in your arms felt perfect.

“And that kiss was certainly perfect.

“When exactly was Ashton born? I still remember the date — thank goodness this dementia hasn’t taken my own children’s birthdates away from me yet — but I can’t clearly remember his birth anymore. I can’t remember Senna’s, either. I’m sure it must have been the most stressful and blissful time of our lives, though.

“I do still remember fragments from their childhood. I remember you were such a good father. Pushing Ashton on the swing…

“Playing with Senna when she was a baby…

“Oh! I remember when we took that vacation to the beach! Wasn’t that fun? I had to stay with the baby, but Ashton wanted you to teach him how to fish. You were so excited! You didn’t catch anything that day, and ended up with a nasty sunburn, but it was nice, wasn’t it?

“Or when we’d all go picnicking together by the lake… You always loved being outdoors. We both did. I had my garden, and you would’ve spent every weekend fishing if father duties hadn’t gotten in the way! You know, both the kids have taken after you a lot in that regard… Ashton just got another promotion at the science facility for his soil research, and Senna loves taking inspiration from the great outdoors in her paintings.

“They grow up so fast, don’t they? We grew up so fast, didn’t we?

“I can’t remember Ashton’s Scouts ceremony anymore, but I know he still has his badges, after all these years. I can’t remember what Senna painted to put into her first elementary school art show, even though I know it must have been on our refrigerator for months after that…

“Yet, I remember some of the strangest things. I remember the fight you and I got into over buying a computer for the house when Ashton got older, because he insisted that he ‘needed it for his schoolwork.’

“I remember the day you came home with a surprise for the kids — a new sandbox for the backyard — and Senna didn’t want to come out for dinner because she was busy building little sand people. That child always was so creative…

“I remember so many fights between the kids over whose turn it was to do the dishes, but I remember a few of those brief moments when they’d get along… if competitive water balloon fights can be considered ‘getting along.’ You know, these days they get along quite well. Senna visits Ashton’s family often. Ivy is quite smitten with her Aunt Senna. She thinks she’s ‘So cool!’

“Ah, and then there was us. You never did like watching TV — nothing good was ever on, you’d always say. You loved mystery novels, though now, I can’t even remember the name of the series you loved so much. I think I still have one of them on my bookshelf. You know the strangest thing? Some mornings I’ll wake up, and find that book out in the living room, but I don’t recall ever taking it off the bookshelf or reading it… my dementia really is getting quite bad, Earl.

“My favorite place in that old farm house was always the kitchen. It was just so large! And there was just something so fulfilling about preparing a meal out of ingredients I’d grown myself from our own garden. It always warmed my heart to see your happy face when you ate my cooking. You said I was a ‘real natural.’ I miss that, so much. You know, even though this house is so small compared to that old farm house, I still invite the kids and our granddaughter around for family meals whenever I can, because I miss seeing a ‘full table’ eating my cooking so much. Is that strange?

“I remember the hugs…

“…But I can’t remember what Senna dressed up as for Spooky Day.

“I remember the stories you and Ashton would tell after your camping trips…

“…But I can’t remember who Ashton asked to his High School Prom.

“I remember the surprise kisses…

“…But I can’t remember the name of that resort we stayed at when we won that free vacation.

“I remember the time we went on a date to the Watering Hole Saloon and you couldn’t stop staring at the mixologist’s breasts…

“…And you denied it and we ended up getting in this silly argument about it. Why, of all the things I remember, do I remember that? But I guess, Earl, we need a bit of the bad times to make the good feel that much more fulfilling, don’t we?

“I’d just been feeling self-conscious. I was a middle-aged woman, feeling the effects of age settling in around her. But you never stopped making me feel beautiful.

“…Even if you were a terrible, clumsy dancer.

“It really is amazing how time just seems to slip us by in retrospect, doesn’t it, Earl?

“I don’t remember when we decided to sell that farm house. The kids had already graduated and moved out, we were retired, and it just seemed like the right thing to do, didn’t it? I remember Ashton really wanted us to move into this house on Bob-o-Link Dr., because it was right down the street from the house he’d just bought with his new wife. It was pretty bare when we first moved in, wasn’t it?

“Do you remember when Ashton first introduced us to Melody? I don’t… How did they meet? I know he’s told me a thousand times, and now I just feel embarrassed to ask him again. But I remember that you had really liked her. You said that she was such a pretty girl, with so much drive, and you’d go walk her dog Basil with her. ‘To get the old bones out of the house,’ you’d say. She never seemed to mind that she’d have to walk a bit slower, though I think it may have annoyed the dog a bit, hahahaha!

“Where did they have their wedding, again? It was at that nice park, right? I’m pretty sure it was… I remember I was there, and I remember how happy Ashton looked, but the details, they elude me now…

“It feels like it didn’t take long at all until Ivy came along. You were such a good grandfather. That little girl loved you so much! It’s really a shame that she’ll never really get to know her grandfather. You should see her now! She’s so big! She’s in elementary school! I took her to the Autumn Festival not long ago. Goodness, what energy that little girl has! She got her face painted like a tiger, and we bobbed for apples — I won, by the way! — and she talked her old grandma into going through the haunted house. And then we came home and she carved a pumpkin with a kitty face. She loves animals, and gets on so well with my kitty Shadow and their family dog Basil. She has her very own guinea pig, too! She’s such a treasure. And did you know that Melody is now pregnant again? Ashton is going to be having his second child! It pains me to think that even I might not live long enough to see this child come into the world…

“Ashton looks so much like you, Earl. Sometimes I call him ‘Earl’ without meaning to, but he just accepts it. At my age, it just seems silly to correct me, I suppose. They know who I mean.

“You were always such a good listener for the kids, even after they grew up. They always tell me that, you know. How much they miss having you around, what a supportive influence you’ve always been. Ashton already had his own family to help him get through the hard times after you left us, but Senna… it was really hard on her, you know? I called her, to see how she was doing, a few days after your funeral, and she said, ‘I was feeling really lonely, Mom, so I adopted a cat!’ I had to laugh. ‘Senna, Dear, your mother did the same thing!’ We spent the rest of the evening telling each other all about our new kittens. Such a strange coincidence… You know she’s living with me now? She thought it would be for the best, considering my health and all…

“You know, my fondest memories are those right before the end. Perhaps because those are the freshest, the ones that time hasn’t taken away from me yet… or perhaps just because with the kids gone and with both of us retired, we had plenty of time to spend with just each other. You’d take me with you when you went fishing, and I’d look for wild plants and seeds. It was so beautiful out there, so serene…

“And I loved you then as much as I’ve ever loved you.

“Remember that last Summer Festival we spent together? Oh, we acted like we were still children!

“And you showed everyone that a little old man was still the reigning Hotdog Eating Champion!

“I felt like a teenager in love on the rollerskating rink…

“…Until your clumsiness, as usual, ruined the moment.

“And we danced, oh how we danced!

“And even after all these years, you were terrible at it, and I still had to lead!

“Do you remember when we got this picture taken, Earl? We took a tour of the City Hall together. It was just three days before… before…

“Oh Earl, why did you have to leave us? Some days, I wish you were still here so much that it hurts. I can feel both my mind and my body slowly giving away on me. Somehow, I know that journey would be so much easier if you were still there by my side to make it with me. But you’re already gone, and here I am, wondering when I’m going to get to see you again…

…Did I make the journey easier for you, Earl, being here, by your side?

“Daaaw, who’s Mommy’s good kitty? You always seem to know when I need cheering up, don’t you, Shadow? You’re right, of course, I should get back to bed…

Good night, Earl. I love you.”

This was written for the Purple Day Sims event. You can find out more about it at the Purple Day Sims website or the Purple Day Sims forum thread. This short story can be considered a side story to my series The Cat Chronicles since it features characters from that series.

Purple Day is about remembering beloved Sims that are now lost. I actually have not personally lost a Sim yet (I control a serial killer in my story The Yandere Diaries so I can’t help but see those deaths as, well, my fault in some way) but the main (human) character of The Cat Chronicles, Rose, was created to be a widow — it was her grief over the passing of her husband that caused her to adopt a kitten, Shadow, and thus formed the entire catalyst of the story. I thought it would be interesting to explore the effects of the death of a Sim that, technically, was never actually featured as a character within the story, because his death has had such an impact on one of the main characters regardless. Also, that main character is having to come to grips right now with her own impending death (it could happen “any day now”) and I know, when that happens, it is going to have a major effect on me, both as a player and an author. She’s been with me throughout the story, and while I know she has to go, I’m not sure if I’ll be ready when it happens.


About Mastress Alita

I'm a fulltime librarian, a chronic migraineur, a tea addict, and an avid Simmer that writes SimLit and maintains the Stories and Legacies Index, a link directory of SimLit on Wordpress. Though I obviously love cats, I actually don't own one! (Blame my apartment lease for that!) I do have a charming old cockatiel, Kali, that has been my companion for the last seventeen years!
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13 Responses to Remembering Earl

  1. CitizenErased14 says:

    Wow, I loved this so much! It was so well-written, and I really liked how you did the black images for the gaps in her memory. Super effective! This was a great tribute for Purple Day :)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. cathytea says:

    This is really beautiful and effective! It’s so neat that you went back and added the back-story. I really love your Sims. I agree with Citizen about the use of the black screens! Thanks so much for writing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks CathyTea! Yes, it was quite interesting; Rose and Earl were originally created as elders, with Ashton an adult and already married to Melody with toddler daughter Ivy and Senna as a young adult, so I basically had to work backwards to create this story by loading a new file and dropping that family into it, then saving each individual Sim to the bin, then loading a new file and creating a new household where I loaded those Sims from the bin but changed their ages to recreate the household at different points in time. It was so interesting to suddenly see them younger! I about fell over when Earl turned out to look exactly like his son Ashton as an adult, hahaha!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Beautiful remembrance of Earl. I, too cherish the good memories of growing up of moments spent with family and friends. Am glad that the memories your Sim has are all of good moments as those are the ones to keep close to heart when they are all one has left. Please accept condolences from myself and my Sims especially those from Sims 3 worlds since that’s the game you play.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I actually only played Earl for a few days at the beginning of Cat Chronicles before he passed away, and I started the story right at Rose getting her new kitten, Shadow, as a way of coping with his loss. So I didn’t have too much time to get too terribly attached… but it still hurt so much to see Rose mourn for her husband so terribly. He does still come to visit when she’s asleep sometimes… he does leave that murder mystery novel he likes so much around the house (it’s not your dementia, Rose!), and once his ghost even curled up into his side of the bed beside his sleeping elderly wife, which just struck me so much. Soon though, I know it’s going to be Rose’s time, and I’m very attached to her. I know it’s going to be difficult for me when her time comes.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. rebornmonster says:


    That was beautiful. I’m literally bawling right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. raerei says:

    This was a lovely tribute. Earl was such a great guy! This is such an awesome way to have create backstory. Kind of like remembering backwards? Except for them you were giving her her past back.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Twiggy says:

    It is nice to see a glimpse of Rose’s thoughts even though not all are as vivid anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that short story is still one of my favorite things I’ve ever written. I really love Rose. I know there is a lot that gets lost about the human characters of the story by writing from the cat PoV but she’s actually a rather endearing old lady, dementia and all.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Aww… it was nice to see the flashback of their life together. I loved this flow of this chapter, and all the pictures interjected. Beautiful tribute! :)

    Liked by 1 person

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