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WritingAfterDark

Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Holding Back the Tears.

Last week I cleaned out my mom’s kitchen cabinets. This week, I took on the challenge of cleaning out the bathroom closet and medicine cabinet. Not much of a challenge, really, considering I had to toss most of the four shelves full of medicinal items with past expiration dates.

The real challenge was to hold back the tears. Mom hadn’t cleaned out the closet or medicine cabinet since my dad passed away more than seven years ago. That’s why this was a challenge. Every morning, when I’d pick up my toothbrush and toothpaste to brush my teeth, my dad’s razor and combs stared back at me from the front corner of the second shelf. Each time I opened that damn closet, his aftershave bottles reminded me of his fresh clean-shaven scent of “Old Spice”. As a little girl, I used to stand and watch Dad shave and comb his hair. He’d twist and turn and push and pull his face in different directions and I’d giggle the entire time until he was finished and wait for him to say, “Okay, Peanut, it’s time for you to step out.”

It took only an hour to clean out the closet. Took a little longer for a few other things though.

My dad is with me every day, in my heart and in my mind, but certain things just set me off, and I knew I didn’t need a constant tug at my heart every morning. What took the most time was gathering my wits and wiping the tears after sitting on the bathroom floor for nearly an hour sorting through Dad’s precious items and stacking them neatly toward the back of the shelf behind the towels.

When I came across the unopened box of aftershave I’d bought for him the Christmas before he died, I lost it. Yes, I miss Dad. And yes, I cried, but they weren’t tears of sadness, they were tears of joy for all the wonderful memories he left for me to smile about.

Watching you shave was just a little thing we shared, Dad. And you always told me, “It’s the little things that matter.”

Thank you, Dad for reminding me this morning that you’re always with me.

Make me smile. Leave a comment...


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4 Comments:

Blogger Mac said...

That's a beautiful articulation of how it feels, Joanne.

Thanks.

10/21/2005 4:01 AM  
Blogger Mark Pettus said...

That was beautiful. I'm going to go call my dad.

Thanks.

10/22/2005 10:33 AM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Thanks for reading, Mac. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

10/27/2005 4:32 PM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Hi, Mark. Thanks for reading. I'm happy it sparked the need to call your dad. Tell him "hello" from me. ;) When you see him next time, give him a hug as well.

10/27/2005 4:33 PM