Missing Mom and Dad

I purchased a new brand of moisturizer recently. It has a soft, almost powdery, fragrance that reminds me so much of my mom. I don’t know if Mom used this product–I doubt it because she’s been gone for twenty-six years and it probably didn’t exist back then, but she must have used something similar. The sense of smell is powerful and  every morning when I smooth it on my face I’m reminded of Mom. I like that.

The other day I was listening to a CBC radio broadcast on the way home from work. It was a fascinating, almost ordinary, memoir-type story. I was engrossed by the narrator’s tales of his family life when he was a child and I was struck by a single, simple phrase he spoke just before I turned onto our street.


“…a man in a plaid car coat and a fedora.”


Immediately a picture of my dad came before my mind’s eye. Those few words took me back to my childhood and I remembered the way Dad looked in the wintertime when he wore a tweed car coat, a fedora on his head, and rubber boots on his feet. In that moment I missed my dad who died when I was in my early twenties. That’s the power of words.

Two memories: one a result of a smell, the other a result of a descriptive phrase, both reminding me of my parents who have been gone almost thirty years. I’ll be fifty-three in a few weeks and I can’t help but wonder if one ever stops missing their parents. I wonder if my parents missed their parents.

Something to ponder.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. I’m sure they did miss their parents. I know I still miss my own, and it will be the march of time for each generation to feel their loss, and remember. How can it be otherwise? Thoughtful post.

  2. Isn’t it amazing how smells and words evoke memories for us so quickly? I can relate to your blog — both my parents too are gone and I will always miss them. My father was orphaned at four and often I’ve wondered what a child understands or misses about parents at that young age. Thanks for this thought provoking post.

  3. Isn’t it remarkable how memories can come flooding back at the oddest moments. I was only four and a half when we immigrated to the US. Recently the strange smell of a combination of fresh paint and oatmeal created a vivid memory of our trip to the US on an ocean liner. Smell is a powerful sense.

  4. I love it when there is an ability to evoke, in words, in the senses, even in quiet. I think some people are with us always, all it takes is that scent, or words, or sound, to bring about a little visit.

  5. Dear Linda,
    I know when my paternal grandfather died in 1943, my dad missed his dad agonizingly. In fact, I plan to post a story about that in the next couple of weeks. When our parents die and we become the “last generation”–the elders–we long, I think, for the comfort and security of someone older and, we assume, wiser. I still feel that both my parents were wiser and smarter than I. And I still miss them. Mom died in 1968 and Dad in 1975. Long ago and yet I often find myself thinking, “I have to tell Mom–or Dad–that. Wonder what they’ll think?”


  6. Great post, Linda…you got me with the fedora…reminded me of my adoptive dad…he always wore a fedora in the winter months, even in Florida…this memory suddenly came to mind…in 1973 my husband and I married and moved to Tampa to go to USF, I was working part-time as a medical transcriber at University Community Hospital, on a break one day at work and all-of-a-sudden, I looked up and there was my Daddy in his fedora walking in the front door of the hospital…he was in town on business, and just wanted to see his “little girl” to tell me he loved me and give me a hug…oh, how I miss his hugs!

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