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Photograph (standard:Inspirational stories, 515 words)
Author: EutychusAdded: Aug 15 2009Views/Reads: 1996/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Holding together the pieces that remain after the loss of a loved one.

Weeks earlier, he had discussed with a co-worker the theory and practice
of the Jewish tradition of Sitting Shiva. Intrigued, he took the 
tradition to heart and considered the psychology behind the practice 
sound enough to emulate the practice when the time came. 

Three weeks to the day after that discussion, Abbie watched her father
methodically place towels over the three mirrors in their house. 

“What are you doing, Daddy?” 

“I want to think about your mom, and if I cover the mirrors, I won't see
myself and want to think about me instead.” 

“Is it okay if you think about me?” 

“Of course it is,” he said and hugged the four-year-old to dispel any
concerns his statement might have raised in her mind. 

Four days later, when his untended facial hair was getting to be just a
little bothersome, he found himself sitting in front of Pam's dresser, 
contemplating going through the drawers. Shaking aside a touch of fear, 
he removed a cardigan sweater and inhaled a familiar scent. He 
immediately decided that the unexpected reminders would be the worst 
ones for the near future. The reminders he could see were becoming easy 
to deal with, but her smell caught him completely off guard. 

Choosing to avoid the clothing drawers, he moved to her keepsake drawer.
On top lay a copy of a collection of Emily Dickinson poems. He recalled 
reading some of these in a 19th century literature course in college, 
but they hadn't made a lasting impression. He absently set the book 
aside and as he did, something nearly slid out of the pages. He took 
the book in hand again and opened it to the page where the ersatz 
bookmark sat. 

He initially ignored the writing on the back of the three by five piece
of photo paper because a processing date on the back indicated it was 
taken early in their marriage. He turned the photo over and smiled for 
the first time in many days. 

The first vacation they had taken together as a couple, Daniel had
managed a slice of cheesecake with a Kodak disc camera. The image, 
taken over the top of the shower in their cabin, revealed little more 
than a smile and bare shoulders, and it was the only such photo that 
Pam had ever permitted. 

Memories of the trip came flooding back. They had hiked in the woods
around the cabin, ended up by the lake, skipped stones in the water, 
and made love in the hot tub on the back porch of the cabin. Suddenly 
uncomfortable with the memories, he turned his attention to the pages 
the photo had marked. 

'The bustle in the house/The morning after death/Is solemnest of
industries/Enacted upon Earth./The sweeping up the heart/And putting 
love away/We shall not want to use again/Until eternity.' 

Deciding that the placement of the photo had been deliberate on Pam's
part, he hazarded a look at the back of the photo to see what had been 
written. Only four words, but they drew a full range of emotions from 

“I'll see you soon.” 


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