Thursday, January 29, 2015

rital dukes smith 300WESTERN Ky. (6/7/13) – After years of using nothing but shower gels, I recently bought several boxes of Pink Dove soap.
 
At the time, I considered it an impulse buy.
 
But as I opened the first box and breathed in its scent, I realized it reminded me of Mom.
 
I recall her lathering my arms and legs with pink Dove soap before bed when I was little.
 
A good, warm bath with the creamy, pink soap, clean pajamas and being tucked between two crisp, cool sheets is one of my fondest childhood memories.
 
A gentle kiss on my forehead from Mom; the air from my open bedroom window moving gently across my bed; and, a faint light shining from a Mason jar full of fireflies on my window sill — and a ship of peaceful dreams set sail.
 
It's comforting to think about it.
 
As we grow older, the chances we've had to give up mother or father increases.
 
I lost my father when I was 16.
 
I lost my mother two years ago. Amazing that it has been two years.
 
About a month before Mother's Day, the ache in my heart for her had started to grow. I don't know if it coincided with Mother's Day or the fact that the numbness I felt during her passing is going away.
 
The tough facade I've projected, I learned from her.
 
Mom worked 38 years at General Electric in Owensboro, buried two husbands and raised five children. She didn't miss work because she "didn't feel well." She carried the family alone when she had to. Mom never let on about her own heartaches and sacrifices, but she had many.
 
Whenever she talked about her own mother, who died young, her voice would soften.
 
Missing her so much lately has softened my heart and it's hard to talk about her without my voice cracking and my eyes filling with tears.
 
Last week, I shared some of these feelings with my hair stylist.
 
When I told her about the pink Dove soap, she told me about her grandmother and her Jergen's lotion. She said she loved the scent of it because it reminded her of Mammaw and, "Mammaw was mom to me."
 
There will always be something to remind us of those we've loved - the people that have impacted our lives in more ways than faded photographs can reveal.
 
The taste of your aunt's chicken and dumplings and coconut cake or the tune of an old song can bring them back to us.
 
If I could only capture those moments of joy like fireflies in a jar, I would set them beside my bed and sleep like a child freshly bathed with Dove soap.
 
Rita Dukes Smith
Western Kentucky Review Editor
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